Piggy Bank Recession.
During our early agency years in the post-war 1940s and ’50s, among the most sought-after South Florida clients were Miami Beach hotels.

The Ritz Carltons, Hyatts and Hiltons were decades in the future, rather, the resorts were operated by investors who had acquired their capital in other fields, but were drawn to the glamor of oceanfront hotels.

One of the most colorful of these was the late Sam E. Cohen, who, with his family, built and operated the oceanfront Sherry Frontenac hotel.

In those days television had not yet arrived, however, movie theater newsreels were a coveted publicity medium. In 1952 we recruited a production team from the enormously popular “Bill Stern Sports Shorts” series to film a sequence of the Aquaclowns — seven divers in clown costumes who performed daredevil dives, in unison, at the hotel pool.

The hotelier grumblingly agreed to host the cameraman, sound operator and director and the sequence was filmed.

Periodically Sam would ask when it would show. Finally the production, which included a full-width projection of the hotel’s logo across the diving platform, appeared at local theaters.

A few days after the opening Sam approached me, I assumed with a compliment on the outstanding publicity. Instead he asked when it would appear. Knowing that more than a few guests had seen the film and surely had mentioned it, I responded, “Quit kidding me, it’s been at the Lincoln Theater for several days.”

He looked me straight in the eye and replied, “Can you get me passes?”

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