Wolfson Archives’ REWIND Summer Screenings Features 1977 Lifting of Cuba Travel Restrictions, U.S. Elections, News of 1961

Rewind introduces a new format

Havana’s iconic Tropicana nightclub, Cuban baseball, a stay at the Hotel Nacional, and an interview with an American hijacker are now on-screen at REWIND, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives’ ongoing screening series, presented at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus.

Also screening at REWIND: A 1968 children’s show in which a convention of kids elects Winnie The Pooh president and news stories of 1961, from Freedom Rides and “Swim-Ins” to storms, fires and a riotous spring break.

All of these programs are presented in a new format. REWIND SHORT TAKES, seen from noon to 1 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, are short – fifteen to thirty minutes each – and repeat during each one-hour screening, with an emphasis on collections of vintage news stories.

From 1– 1:30 p.m., REWIND LONG FORM will screen lengthier film and video works from the Wolfson Archives’ collections, emphasizing complete programs. Tuesday and Thursday programs will vary, showcasing the broad range of vintage TV shows held by the Wolfson Archives.

Headlining REWIND SHORT TAKES is “Ticket To Havana,” featuring news stories that recall a widely forgotten thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter initiated rapprochement with Cuba, allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba. His successor, President Ronald Reagan, would end the initiative some five years later, and travel to Cuba by Americans remained restricted until the recent normalization of U.S. – Cuba relations.

“Ticket To Havana,” a selection of news reports from 1977 and 1979 that gave Miami TV viewers an idea of what their trip to Cuba would be like, is being shown in response to the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

“In light of the changes in relations with Cuba, television news reports from the 1970s in our WTVJ Collection took on a new relevance,” said Wolfson Archives’ Director Rene Ramos. “With American cruise ships docking in Havana, here’s unique archival video that reminds us that we’ve been here before.”

The screening series takes its name from “Ticket To Havana,” a series of five reports aired on WTVJ in 1979. Reported by Diana Gonzalez, the reports detail how to arrange travel to Cuba and what travelers find upon arrival.

In addition to noting that travel conditions for Cuban exiles are different than those for other Americans, Gonzalez reports on shopping in Havana; Las Ruinas, a swank restaurant in the city; exchanging money and other issues of passports and paperwork; and staying at the Hotel Nacional.

The series concludes with a visit to Havana’s legendary Tropicana nightclub.

An earlier series of reports by Ike Seamans, aired in 1977, also includes a visit to the Tropicana and a look at tourism in Cuba. The series also features an interview with American hijacker Keith Rowe, living in legal limbo in Havana. Seamans also reports on baseball, sports culture and agriculture in Cuba.

Like Gonzalez, Seamans takes in the show at the Tropicana in his reports.

Featured in REWIND LONG FORM on Tuesdays is “Pooh For President.” Aired in 1968, just after the Republican National Convention (RNC) met in Miami Beach, “Pooh For President” is a locally produced children’s show set at a political convention, where the popular, honey-loving fictional bear, Winnie The Pooh, challenges Rodney the Rottenwolf in a race to the Pink House in Washington, D.C.

Hosted by “Popeye Playhouse” star Chuck Zink and featuring members of the “Popeye Playhouse” cast, “Pooh For President” mixes current events with comedy and clowning.

Kid’s fashion shows, presented by the show’s sponsor, Sears, Roebuck & Co., are a prominent feature of “Pooh For President.” Presented by “Annie Orphanik,” a pre-adolescent fashion maven, the shows take place on the convention floor, in the TV control room and the “IBM tabulating room,” and in a park in Paris, France. Sears marketed Winnie The Pooh children’s clothes beginning in the mid-1960s.

Featured in REWIND LONG FORM on Thursdays is “Year End Show 1961,” a roundup of 1961’s news events as covered by TV station WCKT-7 in Miami. Beginning with Cold War-era hunts for “subversives” in the Miami area, the show includes coverage of international news, news of Cuba and typical local news stories such as fires, robberies and an emergency landing at Miami International Airport.

The Civil Rights Movement is also part of the show, including Freedom Rides and a “Swim-In” on Fort Lauderdale beach. Fort Lauderdale is also shown in coverage of 1961’s spring break, which was unusually unruly.

REWIND is presented by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College, a film and video archive dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Florida and Florida’s people.

REWIND is presented with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

For more information, please contact the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at 305-237-7731 or info@wolfsonarchive.org. REWIND is open to the public and free of charge.

WHEN: July 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 & 28 and Aug. 2, 4, 9 & 11, noon – 1:30 p.m.
REWIND: SHORT TAKES, noon – 1 p.m.
REWIND LONG FORM, 1– 1:30 p.m.

REWIND Media-only contacts: René Ramos, Archives Director, Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives
305-237-7731, rramos@mdc.edu; Lou Kramer, Archives Manager, Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives
305-327-7731, lkramer1@mdc.edu; Kevin Wynn, Public Programs Coordinator, Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives
305-327-7732, kwynn@mdc.edu