Chicago: Leisureguide Publications, 1974. A Near Fine Hardcover.
Gently handled, no flaws to note.
Near Fine / No Dust Jacket As Issued. Item #012439
This was an annual publication. Each hotel had an added first page advertising its individual amusements. This copy came from the Diplomat Hotel. The farthest north of the major “Beach” jewel hotels and the closet to growing Ft. Lauderdale.
Excellent period advertisements for restaurants and nightlife, some in full color and full page. A bit more upscale from later hotel room guides. Complete with 17 informative articles. Some examples: Beyond the Twelve-Mile-Limit, Bahamas; Lure of the Everglades; Flesh, Feathers, and All That. A Tour of Gold Coast Nightlife from Big Extravaganzas to Intimate Singles Bars.
Surprisingly, few have made it to institutional collections and only one of this year have been located. All 7 copies are in South Florida Universities.
This guidebook is a snapshot of an era of glitz and swank from the still-standing Fontainebleau Hilton on Collins Avenue, near Arthur Godfrey Boulevard, to the old Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, an area broadly defined as Miami Beach boasting its own Glitter Gulch.
This ritzy promenade of high-life hotels thrived from the 1950s, when bandleader Godfrey and actor-comedian Jackie Gleason made the town famous, through the mid-1970s.
During that period, along that strip, a dozen major hotels with large supper clubs presented Las Vegas's and all of show business's hottest stars. Also on the card were the home-grown revues. The annual "Flesh and Feathers" French-style extravaganza, at the Americana's Bal Masque Room, was the biggest. Several different towns dotted the strip, but all were lumped together in the glamor and excitement that was Miami Beach.
And up in Hollywood, there was the Diplomat.
For this grand dame of a hotel to be considered part of "Miami Beach" took a bit of a leap: Fashionable society had to mentally annex some three miles of condo-crammed waterfront to complete the cultural bridge if not the geographical one to Jackie Gleason's Miami Beach.
But the Diplomat would keep its showbiz luster well after the real Miami Beach palaces had fallen on tough times. The stars would keep coming to the Diplomat, packing in the swells at the hotel's Cafe Cristal after the lights were shut off in the showrooms of the Deauville, Carillon, Playboy Plaza, Eden Roc and even the Fontainebleau's La Ronde Room.
Gleason threw birthday parties at the Diplomat, counting presidents among his guests. Godfrey broadcast his CBS radio show from the hotel's prestigious Tack Room.
And when greater Miami's image went sour, the chamber-of-commerce marketeers redrew the mental map: Suddenly, everything from the Diplomat on down to the Americana in Bal Harbour became part of "greater Fort Lauderdale."