Preservation: How Sweet It Is!

Cristina Veiga writes about a shift in focus for the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center: Both teams bidding on the project will retain the historic auditorium, now known as The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater. The venue, originally known as the Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium and known best for its stint as the home of Jackie Gleason’s hit CBS variety show in the 1960s, was slated for demolition in one of the competing redevelopment plans.

This is good news and seems to make sense — isn’t a live performance venue a good feature for a convention center? But here’s the intriguing part: Veiga writes, “From the start, the competing South Beach ACE team has planned to retain the theater, restoring it to its original architecture and opening the back to create an outdoor music space.”

Miami Beach Auditorium, clearly pre-Photoshop“Restoring it to its original architecture?” Hmmmm…Does that mean a return to the sweeping proto-MiMo facade of the Gleason era, pictured here on a vintage postcard we found on ebay? This bears watching, to say the least.

And while we’re glorying in The Glamor That Was Gleason, up top there’s a clip from the Wolfson Archives’ YouTube channel — Gleason’s birthday party at the Fontainebleau, February 1965, with Master of Ceremonies Jimmy Durante.

In the words of The Great One, “How Sweet It Is!”

Video and audio included in this post is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.

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