Hollywood at the Lodge
Hollywood has visited the Lodge on many occasions. The beauty of its surroundings combined with the size and depth of the clear spring has let movie makers transform the Springs into the jungles of Africa or South America. The grand building of the Lodge itself has been used in films for staging film weddings.
The first film shot at the Springs was “Tarzans Secret Treasure” in 1941, staring Johnnie Weismuller as Tarzan and Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane. This film put the Lodge and the Springs on the map as both a location to visit, and a location to produce films. Edward Ball, the owner of the Lodge at the time, encouraged this. Mr Ball’s spring manager was an avid underwater filmographer, and was one of the draws to using the Springs as a filming location. He had specialized underwater filming equipment, and recruited local swimming talent when needed.
In 1954 the underwater scenes for the 3D film “Creature from the Black Lagoon” were filmed at the Springs. This film was shot in two parts, with underwater swimming doubles being shot at Wakulla Springs and the land crew shooting in California. This means there were two Creature actors and two leading lady actors. What made the film special were the underwater scenes that featured FSU student Ricou Browning as the Creature. This lead to a long film career for Browning. Ginger Stanley was the swimming stand-in for Julie Adams, the lovely leading lady of the film.
Gene Hackman filmed “Night Moves” at the Lodge in 1959, and the unmemorable Lloyd Bridges film “Around the World Under the Sea” was filmed at the Lodge in 1966.
In 1976, a film adaption of the classic young adult novel “Joe Panther”, starring Ricardo Montalban, was filmed at the Springs.
The last major film production to date was the blockbuster “Airport 77”, with the underwater scenes of the downed airliner filmed in the Springs. Producers went to far as to submerge a large part of a wide body jet in the Springs for the filming. Bits of the jet plane are still scattered around the park.
In addition to these major films, there have been a number of independent films, documentaries, and news novelty news reel footage using the backdrop of the Lodge and Springs.