|Recent photo of Fountainebleau and |
By Jane Feehan
Miami Beach reigned as one of the most glamorous winter playground resort cities in the U.S. during the 1950s and 60s. Big-name entertainers headlined shows at the Fountainebleau, Americana, Deauville hotels and many others on the tourist-packed barrier island.
In 1956, tourists paid up to $40 a day for a room – a lot of money then for many. And there were entertainment expenses. The Miami News reported that such expenses were not out of reach; a night on the town for two that year could be enjoyed for $20. A “Jackson” or “double saw-buck” could cover any nightclub show, including taxes, tips and car valet – and a not-so-fancy-but-satisfactory-dinner.
The Latin Quarter on Palm Island, run by Lou Walters (Barbara Walters’ father), charged $6.50 per person, during weekdays - a dollar more on weekends - for a drink and meal. That included a two-hour show. Taxes would run about $1.40; a tip would tally up to 20 percent. Set aside 75 cents or a dollar for the valet and violà – a night out on the town (dancing, too) for about $20. Other places were cheaper.
The Godfrey Lounge at the Vagabonds Club, where Woody Woodbury headlined before his Fort Lauderdale days, charged $5.75 for a drink and dinner for one. For those not interested in dinner, the Fountainebleau charged a $7.00 or two-drink minimum per person. The Sans Souci asked for a $2.50 or $3.50 drink minimum.
And, there were many clubs and other venues that required no minimum to see a top-notch show. A long roster of entertainers included Milton Berle, Donald O’Connor, Myron Cohen, Joe E. Brown and Cyd Charisse. Those were the days ... that ended.
Miami News, Jan. 22, 1956
Tags: Miami Beach during the 1950s, Miami Beach history, Florida film researcher, historical researcher