I was talking about “old” Miami Beach, which to me was the 1980s. This was before all the glitz and glamour and before they called it “South Beach.” It was just Miami Beach.
We used to watch them film Miami Vice often. And we really got up close. Years later I would watch them film Burn Notice around town, but we couldn’t get as close, but I managed at times, I would take pictures and write about them here, and here and here). And this is a funny story called, The Accidental Extras, how we were mistaken for extras while they were filming.
I remember one time in the ’80s we were watching Miami Vice film and there was a car chase on Ocean Drive and we were standing right there on the sidewalk watching. Cars were speeding and spinning mere feet from us and there we were, watching the action.
Once I left the beach, the actual beach with the sand where I was laying out, and I got in my car and as I drove down Collins Avenue, I was stopped and asked if I wanted to be in a movie. I said, ok and was told to drive when they said, “action.” I did, but I never made in the movie. You can see the scene they were filming on the opening credits of “The Making of Mr. Right,” the 1987 film with John Malkovich and Ann Magnuson. It’s where Ann is driving down Collins as the film titles roll at the beginning. You can see a lot of the Miami Beach I hung around in at that time, raw and not made into the pink and purple and neon place it is now.
Back to Miami Vice. Once my friend Jack and I were watching them film at the Hare Krishna hotel. Were were right up close and personal again. As we watched, my friend said, “Isn’t that Karen Black?” She was a big actress at the time. I asked, “Where?” And he says, “You’re leaning on her chair!” And so I was. She was sitting in a director’s style chair and I was leaning on the back of it, while she was sitting watching the scene. You could literally get up that close in those days.
I always remember in that episode, “Victim’s of Circumstance,” how they screwed the Hare Krishnas out of their moment on film. In the last scene, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas are walking from the hotel, down a walkway/alley type thing and behind a wall were the Krishnas. As the two men reached that spot, the Krishnas came out from behind the wall and did their thing with drums and tambourines, you know how they do. Well, that was the final scene in the episode and on tv, as the two guys walked, the credits rolled. As they reached the wall, the scene froze, it just froze and the credits rolled over that. So the Krishnas were never seen on the show.
Years later, the Krishnas moved from that hotel to a church in my neighborhood and I got to know them on a first name basis.
My brother and I were at the Hare Krishna hotel a few times. They would allow anyone to come in on Sundays and provided free food. Good people to talk to. I grew up in Miami and loved the “old” Miami Beach. We hung out at the various bars on the beach back then, Washington Square, The Cameo, Cactus Cantina, Club Beirut, etc