Posted July 13, 2020

Sandy Beaches to Silver Screens in St. Augustine

Read about some movies made here.

St. Augustine is no stranger to the silver screen.  Over the years, our city has served as the set in some of Hollywood’s blockbusters (and some of their flops too)!  We’ve listed some of the filming locations so you can do your own movie backlot tour.

1955’s Revenge of the Creature (Universal) was the sequel to the classic horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Gill-man returned to the screen, after being captured in the first film, to be studied at the “Ocean City Oceanarium.”  Marineland (then Marine Studios), was one of the primary filming locations.  While the original oceanariums where scenes were filmed no longer exist, Marineland is still open, where you can see the iconic dolphins today.  You can view the trailer on YouTube here.

Illegally Yours (United Artists, 1988) may have been a box office flop with a $13 million budget, it only brought in just over $259,000 in the box office.  Although the film was not a success, St. Augustine was certainly a star (sorry Rob Lowe!).  The former St. Johns County Courthouse (now the Casa Monica Hotel), the St. Augustine Lighthouse, and the Castillo de San Marcos can be seen throughout the movie.  You can view the trailer on YouTube here.

North Florida was a hub for silent movies in the early 1900’s, earning the nickname of the “World’s Winter Film Capital.”  Jacksonville, being the largest city in the area, predated Hollywood for one bright, shining reason: the sun.  Motion picture cameras in that era needed large amounts of light in order to function well.  Florida, being the Sunshine State, was able to fill that role well!  What is now the North Florida Regional Airport once was a set for the airplane scenes in The Perils of Pauline.  Numerous other productions took place in St. Augustine where local scenery emulated the Saharan Desert, Brazil, and other exotic locations.

Sources: IMDB, The Jacksonville Historical Society, The St. Augustine Record