“Forgotten Hollywood”- Touring a Historic Villa in Miami…

Posted on November 22, 2013 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

(reporting from Miami)

   Laurie and I visited the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the former estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune, on Biscayne Bay in present-day Coconut Grove. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate includes: many Italian Renaissance gardens; a native woodland landscape; and a historic outbuildings compound. The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models, and it was designed in a Mediterranean Revival architecture style, with Baroque elements. The  property originally consisted of 180 acres of shoreline Mangrove swamps and dense inland native tropical forests.

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   Deering built Villa Vizcaya between 1914 and 1922. Being a conservationist, he sited the development of the estate portion along the shore to conserve the forests. After the extensive gardens were completed in 1923, Deering’s health began to weaken. Nonetheless he traveled and entertained guests, including the silent film stars Lillian Gish and Marion Davies. Deering was described in his later years as a reticent man with impeccably proper manners, leavened by a sense of humor. He wasn’t a Jay Gatsby type figure of the Roaring Twenties era.

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                            JAMES DEERING

   Vizcaya has provided the setting for many motion pictures, both credited and uncredited. Deering enjoyed watching silent films in the courtyard, and had a particular interest in the works of Charlie Chaplin. External shots of Villa Vizcaya, for example, can be seen in the movies Tony Rome (starring Frank Sinatra); Ace Ventura:  Pet Detective; Airport ’77 (a scene featuring James Stewart); Any Given Sunday; The Money Pit; and Iron Man 3.

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   Our evening concluded with a meet and greet of fellow authors who represent the Class of 2013 of Readers  Favorite awards recipients. Writers included Lori Costew, Catherine Stack, Judy Brizendine, Kaitlyn Deann,  Irina Argo, Kenneth Pottie, Darlene Quinn, A.A. Jones, and Deepak Menon. Genres include modern fiction, biography, health, and children’s books. All the scribes were engaging sorts. In other words… my kind of folks. I was right at home with the festivities.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Friday, November 22nd, 2013 at 12:19 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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