In February 1964 the Beatles had invaded Miami Beach, and they needed somewhere quiet to escape the mobs of screaming fans for a Life magazine shoot. Through an Ed Sullivan Show connection, the mop-topped British sensations were pulled away from the swarmed Deauville Hotel and spirited to 5750 North Bay Rd. -- a house owned by the local Pollak family.
"They were quite impressed with the house and the photos of my parents with their friends," Linda Pollak, who was 15 at the time, later wrote in the Chicago Tribune. "Very polite, they waited to be told what to do. They were pale, skinny guys."
Pollak and her three brothers were instructed to get into the chilly pool first so the photographers could adjust their camera settings. Then the Pollak kids waded out and the world's most famous pop stars waded in.
"They started splashing and goofing around," Pollak wrote. "Except John. He got out of the pool and sat in the back with his wife."
Only one photo was published from the shoot: a black-and-white image of the four Beatles, all neck-deep in water and wearing silly facial expressions. The pic, which graced the back page of Life, became one of the most iconic images of the
band ever published.
Now the current owner of the house, Chicken Kitchen founder Christian de Berdouare, has applied to demolish it -- and at least one local Beatles buff would be heartbroken over the loss. Grant Epstein, a real estate agent, grew up just a couple of blocks from the house and was friends with the Pollak boys. He still has a picture of his older brother sitting next to a shirtless, sunglasses-clad Ringo Starr taken the day after the shoot,
when the Beatles returned to the Pollak house for a visit.
"I don't see how anybody could knock it down knowing the Beatles were there," he says. "It's like another piece of Miami history gone to the wrecking ball."
According to real estate records, de Berdouare has owned the five-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot home since 1997, when he bought it for $1.3 million; in 2013, the home's market value was listed at $5.7 million. On April 6, de Berdouare filed a public notice in the Miami Herald that he'd requested approval for a new two-story single-family home on the site once the structure was demolished.
"It's outside of any historic district," local historian Paul George says. "Which means that as an owner, you can do what you want with it."
De Berdouare did not respond to a request for comment.
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Epstein says he hopes bringing attention to the demolition request will inspire the businessman to reconsider. "But probably not," he adds. "It's all like a Beatles fan's pipe dream."