Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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A Florida Enchantment – The first homosexual movie July 1, 2011

First it was a novel written in 1891 by Fergus Redmond and Archibald Clavering Gunter.

Five years later in 1896 it was turned into a play where, “For the first time on an American stage, two women kiss in a scene in A Florida Enchantment. At the intermission, ushers were sent up and down the aisles to offer ice water to people who felt faint.” (Timeline of Homosexual History)

In 1913 director, Sidney Drew, turns the novel into a silent movie with the same title. It was filmed in St. Augustine and starred Sidney Drew, Edith Storey, and Charles Kent.

The synopsis of the movie: A young woman discovers a seed that can make women act like men and men act like women. She decides to take one, then slips one to her maid and another to her fiancé. The fun begins.  Below is a 3 minute summary of the movie.

This movie is considered the first homosexual movie by the documentary The Celluloid Closet. Black face is used in this film.


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Wanted Wednesdays: Santo Trafficante (1914-1987) April 28, 2010

When you think of Organized Crime what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Al Capone, Baby Face Nelson, or even The Sopranos. Florida also has had to deal with their own problems with organized crime and not just the mafia on vacation in our sunny state.

Trafficante was born in Tampa in 1914 to Mafia Don Santo Trafficante, Sr and Maria Giuseppa Cacciatore who were both born in Italy. He started working for the mob in 1953 when he 39. His father sent him to Cuba which at the time was under the power of Fulgencio Batista. While there he set up illegal casinos.

Santos Trafficante, Louis Santos, Enrique Chacon, Samuel Balto were various alibis Trafficante used to deal with his businesses both legal and illegal. Including the casinos in Cuba he was also involved in casinos and nightclubs in Tampa.

In 1959, when Fidel overthrew Batista in Cuba he shut down Trafficante’s casinos and even threw him in jail before deporting him to the United States. It was at this time it is believed that he started talks with the CIA in plots to kill Castro up until his death on March 19.

Trafficante has been charged with gambling operations, at least four Mafia slayings, illegally bribing union officials, racketeering and conspiracy, rumored to be involved in a Mafia plot to kill President John F. Kennedy, though he denied there was any such conspiracy. Over the years while he was charged with all these crimes he was either released or served little to no time.

Information comes from the Cuban Information Archives and Biography.com

 

Today in Florida’s History April 27th April 27, 2010

1863 Major General Dabney H. Maury was placed in command of the Confederate District of the Gulf today by the Confederate War Department.

1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle captured the British schooner Miriam in the Gulf of Mexico today.

1865 The U.S.S. Pontiac was dispatched to the eastern coast of Florida today to prevent Confederate President Jefferson Davis from escaping to Cuba.

Orange Blossom - State Flower of Florida

1909 The Florida House of representatives approved the orange blossom as the official flower of Florida today.

1929 Barbara Bancroft, the first licensed woman airplane pilot on the East Coast of Florida, today visited her hometown of Melbourne.

1929 The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was chartered today in Jacksonville. The organization had first been organized in 1883.