Miami Beach Reflections

Scooby-Ooby Scopitone – Reprint Time Magazine

Friday, Aug. 21, 1964

In some 500 bars, restaurants and servicemen’s clubs throughout the U.S., the center of attention these days is a monstrous new machine called Scopitone. It is a cross between a jukebox and TV. For 250 a throw, Scopitone projects any one of 36 musical movies on a 26-in. screen, flooding the premises with delirious color and hi-fi scooby-ooby-doo for three whole minutes. It makes a sobering combination.

Scopitone, which has been the rage of France for the past four years, was invented by a firm that sounds as if it had been founded by Jules Verne; Compagnie d’Applications Mecaniques à 1′Electronique au Cinéma et à 1′Atomistique (CAMECA). Since then it has spread from Marseilles to Macao; Nikita Khrushchev even has one, loaded with Marxian uplift featurettes. Actually, Scopitone’s “musies” are descended from U.S. Soundies, which during World War II filled bus terminals and B-girl grottoes with grainy, black-and-white productions of The Flat Foot Floogee with the Floy Floy and A Boy in Khaki, a Girl in Lace. Television and Lucky Strike’s Hit Parade put a merciful end to Soundies, but it looks as if Scopitone will be here to stay awhile.

Rights to Scopitone for the U.S. and South and Central America were snapped up for $5,000 last year by Alvin I. Malnik, 31, a Miami Beach attorney, who will soon start distributing machines manufactured in Chicago. He already has installed them in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and dozens of military bases, and has a backlog of 2,500 orders. If Malnik has his way, every public place from the hoitiest cocktail lounge to the toitiest pizza parlor will be swinging to musies, all of which are eventually to be produced by Malnik himself. Meanwhile, Scopitone screens are filled by French films. One typical Gallic offering, El Gato Montés, captures the jollity of the annual Pamplona fiesta with trumpet playing, flamenco dancing and the shrieks of small boys being gored by rampaging bulls in the streets.

The production possibilities of Scopitone films make their promoter sound like Cecil B. DeMalnik. “Take Hello, Dolly! ” he says, eyes moist with enthusiasm. “Maybe we’d have an actress getting down from a train in a little hick town, and, you know, she’s Dolly coming back—I really don’t know the rest of the words—but then there’d probably be some people meeting her, dancing along. There’s just no end to the storybook film devices we can prepare.” Just for a start, he might try My Funny Ballantine, Tea for Tuborg, and Music to Cry in Your Beer By.

Life’s a BEACH! – Alvin Malnik

The founder of the Miami Beach landmark restaurant The Forge is expanding his residential enclave in Palm Beach County’s exclusive Ocean Ridge.

Multimillionaire Alvin Malnik dropped $7.9 million for a five-bedroom house on the Atlantic Ocean in the sleepy town east of Boynton Beach. The 9,417-square-foot house built in 1985 is at 6307 N. Ocean Blvd.

The lawyer-turned-real-estate-investor and his wife, Nancy, live in an 11-bedroom estate next door at 6301 N. Ocean Blvd. Their expansive home of six years measures about 44,600 square feet on 2.23 acres, making it one of the largest houses in the low-density town. Ocean Ridge has about 3,000 residents — including seasonal visitors.

Joseph and Carol Russo sold Alvin Malnik his newest home on March 28. The Russos paid $2.2 million for it in 1990. County appraisers put the market value of the oceanfront home at $3.85 million, less than half of the purchase price.

Malnik paid about $800 per square foot, and one broker said it was a good price.

The Russos recently bought a house that’s half the size in Palm Beach. They paid $3.95 million for a 4,686-square-foot home on Australian Avenue in February.

Malnik owes his South Florida celebrity in part to the success of The Forge, now owned by his son, Shareef Malnik. Rich in European architecture and art, the former casino is a draw for celebrities, politicians and wine connoisseurs. The restaurant’s underground cellar has room for up to 300,000 bottles.

In recent years, Malnik has focused on real estate. He transferred ownership of The Forge to his son in 1991 after a spectacular roof fire heavily damaged the restaurant.

Shareef Malnik re-opened it and took it to a higher level. He created Jimmy’z at Cuba Club as part of the restaurant and has hosted celebrities such as Madonna, Michael Jordan, Robert De Niro and Paul McCartney.

The elder Malnik has been an active investor in South Florida real estate for at least three decades, said Mark Gilbert, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield in Miami. Malnik invests in commercial and residential income-producing properties, but his name rarely appears on corporate records filed with the state.

Gilbert has been a friend of Malnik’s for years and does business with him at times. Gilbert was the registered agent of ANC Rental Plaza, in which Malnik was an investor. In February, ANC sold the former Blockbuster headquarters in Fort Lauderdale for $23 million to Miami-based N.R. Investments. The new owner is converting the tower to office condos, said N.R. Investments’ principal Nir Shoshani.

Renamed Museum Plaza, the 177,000-square-foot building has 45,000 square feet available for sale. Blockbuster founder H. Wayne Huizenga’s penthouse office and the ground-floor retail space are on the market for $290 to $320 per square foot, Shoshani said.

Malnik’s real estate portfolio also includes 32.5 acres of vacant land northeast of Lyons Road and Clint Moore Road west of Boca Raton, according to Palm Beach County property records.