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Video: Where the Sun Reigns!

Yesteryear Travel: Where the Sun Reigns!

Reela Films and director John Behney created this 1954 travelogue for the Greater Miami Development Board and Dade County Commission. Seen here in murky black and white, the film is accompanied by stock music and was probably shown as filler on late-night TV. Narrator Ralph Renick sounds as if he has a cold.

The end of the film is featured in this clip. Dad, Mom, and "little Lisa" watch alligator wrestling at Musa Isle Indian Village, which was the premier gator wrestling destination of that time (Its wrestling pit was a popular subject for classic Florida post cards). Note that Mom, who looks like a Florida swimsuit model, holds little Lisa directly over a sign that warns, "Do Not Sit On Wall."

Narrator Ralph says, "but all that is beautiful and exciting is not limited to the daylight hours in Greater Miami. Nighttime also promises a round of activity," and we're treated to a montage of after-dark Miami neon, advertising places such as the Bonfire Hickory Lounge with flickering fire and bubbly champagne glasses. When last we see Dad, Mom, and little Lisa, they're dressed in formal attire, eating giant bowls of ice cream, served by a waiter in a bow tie and dinner jacket with a towel draped across his arm.

"You too can enjoy the same fun in Greater Miami," says Ralph through his cold. "We'll be looking for you soon!"

Complete film at

Old Films: Fascinating!

Yesteryear Travel.

The Team has a special appreciation for archival films -- from family home movies to sponsored travel shorts. Senior editor Ken Smith is author of "Mental Hygiene," the definitive book-form history of America's classroom educational and industrial films. He was an archivist and cataloger for Rick Prelinger in the early days of the Prelinger Archives. This film is made available through the Prelinger Archives.

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