Along with taking his typical umbrage at a victimless crime (ie. Heather, the “Fuck Da Eagles” girl being the subject of a “naughty boy magazine photo spread” — not that Phil would allow such smut into his home), the New York Post’s Last Angry Man aka The Pop Culture Tru Warier proves for once and all if you dare challenge him in a game of Trival Pursuit, you’re in for a world of hurt.
Monday, in Florida for Supe 41, Francesa gifted Chris Russo and other WFAN listeners a U.S. history lesson. Miami Beach, Francesa explained, wasn’t much until Jackie Gleason (above), in the 1960s, made it the home of his popular TV show.
“Jackie Gleason,” puffed Francesa, “put Miami Beach on the map.”
Russo, in the role of Grasshopper, seated at the wise man’s feet, seemed both fascinated and believing of this “fact.” Perhaps some listeners were equally enlightened.
And then, to emphasize both this “fact” and his wisdom – as if it might be on the final exam – Prof. Francesa repeated it: “Jackie Gleason put Miami Beach on the map.”
Gee, thanks, Professor Mike, except for one thing: You’re full of it. Again.
In 1964, when Gleason’s show first appeared from Miami Beach, Gleason and other top entertainers were drawn there because it already was “on the map,” and had been since the 1920s, when Miami Beach first became known as a playground for the rich, famous and infamous.
In the 1920s, Al Capone owned a mansion in Miami Beach. In 1947, Capone died in Miami Beach. By the mid-1930s, Miami had three daily newspapers and air-conditioned trains daily left Northern cities for Miami Beach.
Two of America’s largest and most legendary hotels, The Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc, were up and running by 1956 – in Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau was the setting of the 1960 Jerry Lewis movie, “The Bellboy.”
Hialeah and Gulfstream Parks, both on the fringes of Miami Beach, opened in 1925 and 1939, respectively. Both opened to serve the sporting interests of Miami Beach’s visitors and residents. Miami Beach’s famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant drew famous people who were long dead before Jackie Gleason hit town.
But in 1964, according to the all-knowing Francesa, “Jackie Gleason put Miami Beach on the map.” Geez, what a blowhard.