Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Coppertone Girl looks for a new home



Anyone who grew up in Miami in the 50s and 60s remembers driving by the Coppertone Girl when going through downtown Miami on Biscayne Boulevard. She and her naughty dog graced the Parkleigh Building on N.E. 6th Street and Biscayne strategically placed so that every tourist driving into Miami or going to the old Seaport to catch a cruise ship was greeted by her cute surprised expression as the dog pulled down her pants just enough to show what a beautiful tan you could get on any Miami beach. Unfortunately when the Parkleigh was demolished in 1991 the poor girl was left homeless. But not for long! Schering-Plough, owners of the Coppertone trademark, donated the sign to the citizens of Miami and placed it in the care of the Dade Heritage Trust. The Trust has taken loving care of its adopted daughter ever since. After refurbishment of the sign, the Trust relocated the sign to the east side of the Concord Building at 66 W. Flagler St., where the golden girl sans pooch hangs today. Sadly, now this second locale is no longer able to host the popular image.




The solution to this dilemma is to entrust the sign to the MiMo Biscayne Association. The group was verbally promised the sign last November and has been just as diligent as the Trust in pursuing any option that will save it for a second time. Schering-Plough has offered $2000 for the removal and inspection of the landmark. According to a spokesperson, Schering-Plough expects the sign to come down sometime in April at the latest, and then all parties involved will determine the next steps for the Coppertone tyke. It is expected that Miami's most famous sunbather will be relocated to the MIMO district to carouse among her contemporary motel row surroundings. Stay tuned for her rebirth.




By way of historical background, the Coppertone Girl was the creation of graphic artist Joyce Ballantyne Brand, using her daughter Cheri Irwin as the model. Cheri is presently employed as an aerobics instructor in Ocala, Florida. Later, Jodie Foster made her acting debut as the Coppertone girl in a television commercial, when she was 3 years old. The sign was built buy the well known Miami sign company, Webster Outdoor Advertising, that created many of the famous old signs around Miami of that era.

14 comments:

Bill From Gainesville said...

why does it have to move from the flagler location?

Dave said...

I believe the Concord Building is being renovated or demolished so it couldn't stay there.

oldsalty said...

I seem to remember seeing the sign as I exited the Sunshine State Turnpike at 163rd Street. And, didn't the dog raise and lower her bathing suit??

Don said...

I'm sorry to disagree but the Coppertone girl with the dog was displayed for years before artist Joyce Ballantyne Brand used her daughter Cheri Irwin as the model to REcreate the original look. There are numerous folks who state that Robin Porter of Hialeah was the original model. See the comments at the bottom of
http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/memories_ads_old2 for more elaboration.

ava333 said...

OLD SALTY is correct. Before it was anywhere near Biscayne Blvd., the Coppertone sign was a the area of 163rd/167th and Memorial Hwy greeting anyone coming into Miami by way of the Florida Turnpike. It was moved to Biscayne Blvd. when the Cloverleaf Exchange was built. Yes, the panties when up and down.

Dave said...

There were many coppertone signs throughout the county. This one stood on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. I was born and raised here and saw it every week for years in the 1950s when we picked up my dad at the old seaport near the Miami Herald building. There was also one installed much later on Dixie Highway near Coconut Grove.

rocky piper said...

We all people still go there and get a half baked and take it home about once a week. I really admire your blog page. I believe Frankie's Pizza is the best pizza . I had it many times and love to try it again.
ice cream ocala

garden said...

Party with an underground feel at Arkadia Nightclub! Arkadia is know for the best parties on south beach today With sick performances. top miami clubs

garden said...


Space Nightclub is one of the top hot spots in Downtown Miami. Top Dj's are known for their awesome performances at space top miami clubs
.

ram gar said...

I remember the armynavy store where you could test your tv bulb i remember royal castle big boy burgers carvel burger king mcdanolds
all on NW 7th ave also on 7th ave the drive in the the holtel i forget the name but you could see the movie from the outside i remember utotum years late 7eleven took it over the miami edison middle school the only school in dade county that had a basement and it was one of the oldest schools the kids first started going the in barefeet they were poor famrmers kids i remember the shark at the entrance to crandon park all the beaches and the zoo with the train ride in cradon park had bathrooms and showers outside the miami seaquarium there they had a monerail train that would go aorund the seaquarium there was the set for the show flipper remember the speed boat races and when the bridge would open and would stay open it seemed like forever i remember the local tv shows montage the skipper chuck show the dade county youth fair when the super bowls would come to miami going to miami beach trying to find parking and when okie chobbie was just farmland downtown miami seeing where the channel 6 building was and the building of mutual of omaha insurance building when were bay side is they use took take tourist on fishing trips the orange bowl where high school team would play we use to go fishing off Biscayne bay and in school when being a patrol office was a big deal because the local police would come and pin the badge on you eating mangos from the trees dressing up for phys ed going to the theater to see the nut cracker and peter and the wolf going to the keys on the old wooden bridge and it was din lit and when the 18 wheelers would pass by they would shake the bridge and the sharks were shimming underneath the wooworth and wooco stores windixie has bin around for ever the miami high school northwestern edison killian jacson high north miami high miami beach high it was the best of times miami was a quiet southern city with lots to do

Tiffany said...

Oh my gosh...my brother Chris use to tease me every time we drove by this sign, because I looked like the little girl....so much so that I didn't realize it was only in one location...ahhh memories.

tony parra said...

Why was the billboard at 163rd street taken down?

Chrystal Powers said...

Those signs were all over Miami in the fifties. I especially liked the one at the 163rd St. cloverleaf, which was still there into the nineteen-eighties. That one was uniquely animated and was the one that was most worthy of perpetual conservation to my personal sense of nostalgia. There was one near the Castaways too and another on South Beach, more up and down Biscayne from Greynolds Park to Sears and more by the Seaquarium and Marine Stadium but none of those were animated. It was a nation-wide ad campaign at a time when beach culture was a world-wide craze.

Chrystal Powers said...

Oh, yeah, I just remembered; there was a series on animated television commercials of the girl and dog on the beach too! They may have been in color but we had a B&W teeVee, so that's how I remember them.