[This first of these features doesn’t count because it only takes two degrees to get to one of our books, but here’s an example of how they’ll will work.]
We are saddened by the recent news of Jane Russell’s death at age 89. Russell was a voluptuous pin-up girl, admired by millions of soldiers during World War II, long before many of those same soldiers had ever seen her perform in a film. The marketing genius of Howard Hughes brought her to the big screen in classics including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes alongside Marilyn Monroe.
What few people remember about Jane Russell is that in 1955, she starred in what was to be the last film she would make under the direction of Howard Hughes. The treasure-search adventure Underwater was filmed at Silver Springs.
In 2008, the University Press of Florida teamed up with Gary Monroe to publish his book, Silver Springs: The Underwater Photography of Bruce Mozert. Among its many accolades, the book was featured in a Smithsonian Magazine article titled “The Life Aquatic with Bruce Mozert.”
During the heyday of Florida theme parks, Bruce Mozert created some of the most memorable kitsch photography of the era. His underwater shots of beautiful models in crystal-clear waters were sent out on wire services and helped establish Silver Springs as Florida’s premier tourist attraction. In the 1950s, his work helped lure the postwar generation to a land of fantastic, tropical, and mass-produced amusement.
Silver Springs’s popularity never depended upon parrots, monkeys, alligators, airboats, water-ski shows, or models dressed as mermaids. Instead, its appeal was primarily beneath the surface of the water and cruises on glass bottom boats were the major attraction.
Mozert was Silver Springs’s official photographer for nearly forty-five years, and his images were designed to sell the park. No one came up with ideas as zany or as memorable as he. A model cooks at a stove, wooden spoon at her mouth to taste, while condensed milk rises from a hidden can (to look like smoke); another bathes in a tub, scrubbing her toes; yet another relaxes on a chaise lounge while a nearby air conditioner hums away.
Gary Monroe has collected some of the best underwater shots by this remarkable photographer. These photographs—many unseen for decades—capture those heady times in all of their whimsical glory.
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