From the early days of cinema,film makers have looked for locales that would allow them to film uninterrupted. Filming in New York was good when the weather cooperated. Directors & producers began to look elsewhere,California,& Florida were perfect as both states had mild winters and a year round filming season.In 1911 A city which had gone unnoticed til then was Los Angeles,with its perfect climate & landscapes it soon became home to a film-making group called the Nestor Company .They established a studio there called Hollywood , which became the movie capital of the world.From the 1910’s thru to today Florida ,sometimes called “Hollywood east”, has been the location for countless movies as well as T.V. series such as : Flipper,Sea Hunt,Miami Vice & lately CSI: Miami. Notable films made here include: Revenge of the Creature (1954) the sequel to “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” which was filmed at Silver Springs,a 1951 western starring Gary Cooper called ‘ Distant Drums’ ,and the underwater scenes from Airport 77 which were filmed at Wakulla springs FL. In 1977 Jaws 2 did a lot of filming here at Navarre Beach & Okaloosa Island FL.
The movie “Frogs” (1972) starring Sam Elliot & Joan Van Ark was filmed in Panama City, FL. Also using Florida as a back drop was the film “Empire of the Ants”. which starred Joan Collins as a sleazy Realtor trying to sell land in the Florida Everglades. As were two of the Tarzan films :”Tarzan finds a son” in 1938 and” Tarzan’s secrect Treasure” in 1941 at Wakulla Springs,FL. The series “Sea Hunt” with Lloyd Bridges was filmed in large part right here in the sunshine state at Silver Springs,Cypress Springs and Tarpon Springs FL.
In 1990 this lucky writer had the great luck to be in a crowd scene when “My Girl” was filmed here in historic downtown Sanford,FL . Remember the scene where Anna Chlumsky’s character Vada visits her Dr’s office, that was in reality the state attorney’s office. The streets in the center of town are still paved 70’s style with red bricks.
If you are a fan of Adam Sandler then you probably loved “The Water boy”.Scenes from it were shot at Spec Martin Stadium in Deland Florida.,as well at the prestigious Stetson University, where his character ‘Bobby Boucher’ takes his GED test. The National Guard Armory stood in as Henry Winkler’s office. Look real close you may spot a military truck. The film series “Lethal Weapon” even filmed part of the 3rd installment here.The scenes where they blow up the building were actually shot as the old City Hall in downtown Orlando was imploded to make way for a new building. For three months in 1991, the production crew were busy fitting the old Orlando City Hall building with carefully placed explosive charges to create the visual effect of a bomb explosion. The production crew paid for the demolition of the building. Even the former mayor of Orlando, Bill Frederick had a small part in the movie, playing a police officer. More recently Transformers 3 did some filming here at the Kennedy Space Center.
Florida has long been a back drop for the movie industry so next time you go to see your favorite film take a closer look, you may recognize Florida in the back ground.