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Key West Pop Culture

While Jimmy Buffett lived in Key West and still visits annually for the Parrotheads gathering, many link his song "Margaritaville" to Key West, as well. However, it wasn’t written in Key West and no official tie-in is known to exist. John Mellencamp released "Key West Intermezzo" in 1996 that made it to #14 on the charts. Key West’s greatest artistic fame, of course, surrounds Ernest Hemingway’s 12-year residency in Key West, which included all of the 1930s. He penned "To Have and Have Not" here, along with parts of his other great works. Tennessee Williams wrote "A Streetcar Named Desire" while living in the city in the 1940s, and his pal, poet Robert Frost wrote “The Gift Outright,” which was read at John Kennedy’s presidential inauguration, in Key West. Other local literature includes the Alex Rutledge mysteries by Tom Corcoran, "Dream of Orchids" by Phyllis Whitney, "Ninety-two in the Shade" by Thomas McGuane, "Seas Outside the Reef" by Rosalind Brackenbury, "Mile Zero" by Thomas Sanchez and "Postcards from Paradise" by June Keith. An adaptation of John MacDonald’s "The Deep Blue Good-By" (the first of his Travis McGee mysteries) is being released in 2011 as a movie directed by Martin Scorsese. Films partially shot in Key West include "License to Kill" and "The Rose Tattoo" (adapted from a play by Tennessee Williams). An ill-fated TV series briefly originated in Key West called, quite cleverly, "Key West" in the early 1990s about a man who hit the lottery jackpot. No wonder nobody watched.