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Sarasota Pop Culture

Given the connections between Sarasota and the circus, it’s no surprise that Cecil B. DeMille’s Oscar-winning The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) was filmed here. The surprise? DeMille made the stars—which included mega-celebs Dorothy Lamour, Betty Hutton, Charlton Heston and James Stewart—do their own stunts. Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro filmed a forgettable remake of Dickens’ Great Expectations at the Cá  d’ Zan in 1998. While the area has served as background for a raft of locally generated fiction it has yet to produce the kind of defining piece like Carl Hiaasen’s Miami-based Tourist Season or Ft. Lauderdale-central Strip Tease. Sarasota’s most notable cultural contribution has been Sarasota Modern architecture which had an international impact on design and construction in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Sadly, many of the homes and buildings they created locally—including the landmark Riverview High School designed by then-chairman of the department of architecture at Yale Paul Rudolph—have been demolished in recent years.
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