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Thursday, February 9, 2017

SOUVENIRS From The Life of Charlie Cinnamon

   Grove legend and publicity maven, Charlie Cinnamon, died last November surrounded by beautiful things. There were his friends, members of his family, and hundreds of souvenirs from his past. Two weeks later I began helping his nephews and nieces sort out the things he'd picked up in his ninety-four years.   

   Everything out and displayed, his South Grove cottage took on the air of a Charlie Cinnamon Museum.  Here is the leather-bound book he had his sixth grade friends sign in 1933. They attended "PS 48"
in the Bronx.


Charlie must have known he was going to spend most of his life in Miami. On his "My Favorite"page the eleven-year-old noted his favorite musical piece, "Cuban Love Song".

I came across his high school year book, diploma and beneath that, the things he brought back from serving with Patton's Third Army in World War II. 
                                              Charlie and his big brother, 1945
 The bayonet he brought back from Germany      where he participated in the liberation a concentration camp.

On the back of this photograph he wrote "Willy, Len and myself, Meisbach, Germany, July, 1945"

Private First Class Cinnamon served as a radio operator and editor of his battery's newspaper, "The Coffee Grind".

                        On a nearby shelf stood his first typewriter waiting for him to knock out the next press release.

     Charlie loved to write and he always had something to hold his words nearby.

    He love the theater even more and he spent sixty years working as South Florida's premiere publicist and promoter.   

Theaters and actors depended on him to get the word out and Charlie never let them down.

    Everyone in the business loved him. The piles of photos we sifted through  showed it.



In many of the photographs he is with members of his family and friends long forgotten.



In the late 50's Charlie was the publicity director for the Coconut Grove Playhouse when they staged the world premiere of "Waiting for Godot". 
  In 1963, to help publicize another show, he put together the first Coconut Grove Art Festival.

    The inside of Charlie's cottage looks like miniature art festival. There are paintings all over.

 Many are by his friend, Ronni Bogaev

Her bathtub painting (1980) is one of my favorites.
   The paintings will find new homes but the dozens of awards Charlie received?  I doubt it.

Charlie's love and his legacy live on in the hearts  of his many, many friends. It will also continue in the new Charlie Cinnamon Scholarship Fund.
   Charlie was a longtime board member of the Florida Theatrical Association.  The "FTA" just created a fund -in Charlie's honor- to help Florida 

high school students to participate in summer  

theater programs.  From their press release,

“Charlie’s heart and passion for the arts community, especially in his home of South Florida, was unmatched and it was a true gift to have him serve on our board of directors,” said FTA’s Executive Director Larry Watchorn. “He was devoted to education for all, especially in the area of performing arts, and we could think of no better way to honor his name and legacy than setting up this scholarship fund to engage and empower young talent.” 
     Did you love Charlie too?  Why not contribute to the fund? Donations to his scholarship fund can be made at: or by mail to Florida Theatrical Association, Attn: Education Department at 100 South Eola Drive, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32801. For more information, visit
    Out of all the "souvenirs" Charlie left us, I think he might like this one the best. 


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