Personal Best (2008)

Marina the Mermaid

On Friday evenings starting at 5:30, the portholes at Wreck Bar in the Sheraton Yankee Clipper (91140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), become inhabited by a half-woman, half-fish named Marina. For 30 minutes at a time, she glides through the pool, eyes open, with perfect grace, a marvelous feat considering she's holding her breath and being assaulted by swimming pool chemicals. In the earthbound world, she's known as Marina Duran-Anderson.

NT: Where did this phenomenon of mermaids swimming over the bar come from?

It was popular in the '50s and '60s to have mermaids in a restaurant. It was this gimmick during the golden age of tourism. It's fallen out of fashion, but I'm a pop culture enthusiast. I love all things retro and kitsch.

So you decided you would bring back the mermaid?

Yes. I went [to Wreck Bar] and it was beautiful. It was untouched. I asked the manager, 'Do you have any mermaids?' He said 'No.' And I said, 'Have you considered it, because I would love to swim through those portholes.' He looked at me like I had a third eye, but he said, 'Go ahead.' What could I do? It had to be done.

Why aren't there any mermaids in B-movies?

There are! There are some really funky mermaids. She Creature came out in the '60s, I think, and it was recently re-released by Stan Winston, the famous special effects guy. But he took some artistic license, recreated the mermaid as a monster. She was nasty — like mermaid meets werewolf. She's kidnapped by these carnies who want to make money by showing her to people, but she whacks their heads off with her tail.


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