This Lake Worth woman is one of Playboy magazine’s first centerfolds

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She’s been a catalog model, cigarette girl, Vegas cocktail waitress, New York theater actress and bit part player in an Oscar-winning movie.

But it was one photo session in the early 1950s that sealed Neva Gilbert’s claim to pop culture fame. The Lake Worth resident was one of Playboy magazine’s earliest centerfolds, Miss July 1954, a beautiful, long-legged blonde posed alluringly across a tiger skin rug.

“I’m the oldest living Playboy Playmate,” she proudly tells people.

But is she?

Find out, and see more photos of Gilbert then and now, in our story:

THE CENTERFOLD NEXT DOOR

 

5 things to know about the Stuart Air Show

Military jets take over the South Florida skies as part of the Stuart Air Show at the Witham Field Airport from Friday, November 3 through Sunday, November 5 2017. If you’re into this sort of stuff, this event will go beyond your expectations as it’s not just a visual show, but an interactive experience for the entire family.

Here are 5 things you need to know:

1. Aerobatic performances and Air Show

Of course, the #1 reason for most to attend is to watch these incredible airplanes do all kinds of turns and tricks at high speeds and altitude. And for the first time this year, there will be a helicopter stunt show. Crazy!

Aside from machinery, skydivers with smoke will be taking center “stage,” and when night falls, a display of fireworks with nighttime aerobatics will illuminate the sky. It’s like Circus de Solei in the air, basically.

2. Aircraft Rides

File Photo: Lt. Colonel John Klatt, of the Air National Guard aerobatic team, takes Daphne Duret, a reporter at The Palm Beach Post, on an in-flight interview Thursday above Stuart in 2009. (Sarah Grile/The Palm Beach Post)
File Photo: Lt. Colonel John Klatt, of the Air National Guard aerobatic team, takes Daphne Duret, a reporter at The Palm Beach Post, on an in-flight interview Thursday above Stuart in 2009. (Sarah Grile/The Palm Beach Post)

This should actually be your new top reason to attend from now on. Even though it’s pricey, the Stuart Air Show offers the opportunity to jump on one of these bad boys as a passenger and take flight. See the city from a sky soldier’s point of view. There are different aircrafts you can choose from. See the list here.

3. WWII Battle Reenactment & Weapons Demonstration

File photo of a WWII re-enactor watching planes (Vada Mossavat/The Palm Beach Post)
File photo of a WWII re-enactor watching planes (Vada Mossavat/The Palm Beach Post)

Fire! Boom. Actors and performers from all over the country will perform a show to honor our troops. With vintage uniforms, military equipment from the era, tanks and artillery, this show will recreate the battlegrounds of our military from back in the day.

According to the site, this year the WWII Round Canopy Paratroopers will jump into the reenactment with a WWII aircraft flying overhead thanks to The Road To Victory Military Museum.

4. Kids’ Zone and Amusement Park

File photo by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post
File photo by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post

While you have a drink with your buddies, your kids can be playing with theirs. There will be free activities such as face painting, letters to the troops and scavenger hunts in the kids’ zone. There’s an educational side too, so kids can learn about aviation and our military in a variety of fun games. To top it off, plenty of amusement park rides will be keep them busy.

5. Static Displays

File Photo: Back in 2011, students in the Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Program, a Career & Technical Education Academy at Martin County High School, received a hands-on history lesson. They gave a 1952 Mig UTI a make-over in time for the Stuart Air Show.
File Photo: Back in 2011, students in the Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Program, a Career & Technical Education Academy at Martin County High School, received a hands-on history lesson. They gave a 1952 Mig UTI a make-over in time for the Stuart Air Show.

While seeing the air show is great, actually taking your time to check out the aircrafts is something else. Walk around them, go ahead and take your selfies, and get peeks at the interiors of these military vehicles. The Stuart Air Show is as much an outdoors museum as it is a theater and a classroom. Enjoy!

If this list wasn’t enough to convince you to go, maybe you’d enjoy these free, lowkey ways to see the action from a couple miles away.


The Deets:

What: Stuart Air Show

When: Friday, November 3 through Sunday, November 5

Where: Witham Field Airport. 2011 SE Airport Rd, Stuart, FL 34996

Contact: 772-781-4882 or info@stuartairshow.com

Tickets: Get your tickets before November 4 and save $10 off general admission. All tickets are available online.

Note From The Stuart Air Show:

  • Advance tickets for the popular Dirty Flight Suit Party (Nov. 4), Friday Night Air Show and upgrade options for Spectator Seating, the Heineken Beer Garden, or the top-flight Bombers Squadron are available for purchase at www.StuartAirshow.com.
  • Standard pre-purchase ticket options are $5 for veterans/military (military ID required) and children 6-12 (5 and under free), $15 for children 13+ and adults. Tickets at the gate will be $25 (age 13+) and $5 for veterans/military (military ID required).

Photos: Who was the Witch of Wellington? The answer with amazing photos

Suzan Strauss was known as the Lava Lady in Los Angeles in the 1990's, where she let photographer Osker Jimenez capture her in her DIY couture. (Osker Jimenez Exposure House)
Suzan Strauss on a street near her Los Angeles home in the 1990’s. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at local thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at Wellington thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)

In Florida’s suffocating heat, she wore head-to-toe black, as if in mourning a loss.

Consequently, locals dubbed her the Witch of Wellington.

Read the full story about this eccentric Wellington and Los Angeles icon

But in Los Angeles in the 1980’s and ’90’s, Suzan Strauss was a street style star for the colorful outfits she designed, always worn with platform boots as high as horses’ hooves and a towering hat covering her hair.

The effect, said photographer Osker Jimenez, was to make her look seven feet tall as she glided slowly along Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, among the era’s pierced punks, dark goths and glam rock kids.

Fascinated with this self-assured, eccentrically-dressed woman, Jimenez photographed her for a decade, eventually publishing two books and staging a photo exhibition of his Strauss photos.

Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapers. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapes. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

 

Strauss' Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)
Strauss’ Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)

 

(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Strauss was born to an Orthodox Jewish family. In accordance with custom, she always wore hats or wigs to cover her hair. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding her home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding the lava rock-covered home that gave her the name “Lava Lady.” (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez' photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez’ photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

Palm Beach yacht wreck brings back memories of beached freighter

Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter that ran aground on her beachfront home in November, 1984. (Post file photo)
Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter, Mercedes, that ran aground at her oceanfront home in November, 1984.
(Post file photo)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)

The 72-foot yacht that ran aground on Palm Beach last week brought back memories of the time a storm drove a far-larger freighter into a socialite’s seawall for an uninvited three-month stay.

On Wednesday, yacht owner Thomas Henry Baker’s boat, the Time Out, ended up on the beach just south of the Palm Beach Inlet as he returned from a trip to the Bahamas.  Baker, who police say admitted drinking Long Island iced teas on board, blamed his GPS for directing him to shallow waters near the beach.  He was charged with boating under the influence, his second such arrest in the last month.

Back in 1984, Mollie Wilmot’s maid awakened her the day after Thanksgiving, saying the society hostess had guests at her oceanfront mansion, one door south of what was then still the Kennedy estate.

Wilmot expected it was the photographer scheduled to shoot her house for Town & Country magazine that day.

Instead, it was the captain and 10-member crew of a 197-foot Venezuelan freighter now towering over her pool cabana as the derelict rust bucket pounded her seawall into concrete chips.

Ever the hostess, Wilmot served the crew finger sandwiches, caviar and coffee in her gazebo, becoming the glamorous star of a reality show playing out on her beach.

I was working for a Miami TV station at the time and was among the gaggle of reporters and photographers who showed up later that day.

Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)
Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)

To us, Wilmot offered hot cocoa on cold mornings and icy martinis at cocktail hour almost every evening.  (I recall the network correspondents who didn’t have a story on the air that night indulging.  The rest of us were always on deadline or preparing for live shots.)

A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot's seawall, Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)
A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot’s pool pavilion on Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)

In her big white sunglasses, Wilmot, a horse breeder and department store heiress who died in 2002, became a national figure as she tottered around her pool patio, always wearing white while carrying her dog, a white fur ball named “Fluff.”

While various agencies debated how best to get the freighter afloat and reporters made bets on when it would be hauled out to sea, the droll Wilmot gathered her Palm Beach friends to sip cocktails and watch the news unfold live from her back yard.

After overstaying its welcome by 105 days, the Mercedes was finally hauled away to become an artificial reef off the Broward County coast.

Disney studios hoped to turn the saga into a movie called “Palm Beached,” but Wilmot balked at the choice of Bette Midler playing her as well as a plot line that had her cavorting with the ship’s captain.

Wilmot’s house was sold and demolished after her death.  A new house on the property sold for $23 million in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was this Boca Raton “dive bar” one of the first in the United States?

The Dive Bar as the last holdout in the old Boca Raton Mall (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)
The Dive Bar as the last holdout in the old Boca Raton Mall (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)

Should a neighborhood, chill-out bar be considered a “dive bar”? The premise of a new article on the website Thrillist suggests that letting any Cheers-like joint be labeled a dive bar is an insult to genuine dive bars. They aren’t the kind of places where everybody knows your name. They are dank, dark dumps where you don’t even use your real name.

As writer T.S. Flynn notes in his article: “Dives aren’t hip, and they aren’t the kind of place where listicle readers drink.”

Related: 7 best dive bars in the Florida Keys

We’ll drink to that. But here’s a funny factoid buried in the same article: Today’s noxious trend of non-dive dive bars may have started in, of all places, Boca Raton. As Flynn notes:

By the end of the ’80s, the term “dive” even began appearing in the names of new drinking establishments — a trend that, regrettably, continues to this day. One of the first, Christy’s Dive Bar in Boca Raton, FL, opened in a shopping mall in 1987. “I liked the idea of a casual, come-as-you-are, regular-guy place,” owner Allen Christy told the Boca Raton News. Of course, it took more than…a mall bar in Boca to turn “dive” into a wildly misapplied and overused appellation. 

The writer basically blames “dive bar” overuse on Guy Fieri’s popular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show and Mickey Rourke movies like “Barfly.” Anyway, we did a “deep dive” (in the parlance of modern, corporate-speak) and discovered that Christy’s had an interesting past.

The Dive Bar greets a lone lunch customer as the last tenant in the Boca Raton Mall. (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)
The Dive Bar greets a lone lunch customer as the last tenant in the Boca Raton Mall. (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)

Two years after it opened in the Boca Raton Mall, owner Allen Christy was the last holdout when a developer wanted to tear down the shopping plaza in 1989. Christy had a 10-year lease and didn’t want to go. He put up signs saying: “Stop The Rumors! The Dive Bar will be here for at least 8 1/2 more years!”

He also said the Dive Bar was “the busiest nightclub in South Florida,” and claimed that live music nights of reggae and post-punk made it a magnet for nearby Florida Atlantic University college students.

The Post’s Ron Kozlowski reported that the place had a certain desperado appeal:

    The Dive Bar name is illustrated by a huge mural that features a diver wearing a Capt. Nemo helmet on the ocean floor. The bar is long and narrow with a high ceiling covered by exposed pipes and air-conditioning equipment. A 130-foot bar runs along the right side, and a row of unpainted wooden booths hugs the opposite wall, which is decorated with hanging nautical ropes, a 14-foot-long Atlantic blue marlin and assorted bumper stickers. Most advertise the bar. Others identify radio stations or urge patrons to “party till you puke.” The floor is bare concrete speckled with splotches of flattened, dried chewing gum stuck to it…The beverage of choice is Budweiser, but dollar shots of liquor and mixed drinks are sold, too. 

So, maybe this Thrillist writer got it wrong. Maybe Christy’s Dive Bar really was a dive bar. After all, holding out against The Man to operate a nautical-themed, shots-and-beer speakeasy in the middle of a suburban mall in decline is kind of a dive bar-ish move. It could even be a Buffett song.

Allen Christy poses in front of The Dive Bar's mural. (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)
Allen Christy poses in front of The Dive Bar’s mural. (1989 file photo/Thomas Graves)

In the end, the bar’s demise was relatively swift. After a lawsuit and counterclaims and disputed numbers about its financial value, an out-of-court settlement was reached. The dive bar took a dive. Nothing stops a wrecking ball in South Florida.

And why did that developer want to tear down the Boca mall in the first place?

To build Mizner Park, the pink, upscale behemoth where, to this day, you’ll never find anything approaching a dive bar, even in name.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRUE DIVE BAR IN PALM BEACH COUNTY?

Tell us in the comments section.