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Friday, July 31, 2009

Shimmy dance technique

My latest Research magazine piece, "When Florida Sizzled," about Florida's real estate boom of the 1920s, is now online. Excerpt:

During the winter of 1925, visitors to the new Florida town of Coral Gables were treated to a curious spectacle. There was former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate and one of the best-known politicians in the United States, sitting under an umbrella touting the attractions of Florida real estate, including its ample access to what Bryan called “God’s sunshine.”

Bryan had been hired by George Edgar Merrick, Coral Gables’ founder, to make daily pitches for the development. The famed orator, moreover, was followed by another crowd-pleaser, shimmy dancer Gilda Gray, who as American Heritage magazine recounted decades later, “shook her chemise with such gusto that it took the viewers’ minds off the prices quoted for lots by salesmen circulating through the audience.”

Whole thing here.

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