MARINELAND OF FLORIDA - THE WAY IT WAS

 

THE FOUNDERS & FINANCING

To finance the plans W. Douglas Burden , one of the founders, brought in Sherman Pratt, an avant-courier of the documentary film. Ilia Tolstoy , another founder , donating his time was traveling back and forth to Florida collecting data. Realizing that the construction of the oceanarium was going to be immensely expensive, Burden approached various bankers. Basing their willingness to grant loans mostly on precedent , which the oceanarium did not have, this cautious species of businessman timidly withdrew. " How do you know that you can catch sharks and how can you be sure they will live? " they ask Burden. He could not say positively that they would, but he pointed out that he was about to conduct experiments that would furnish the needed proof. He gathered, however, that even if he furnished it the bankers would shy away. He reflected that if the oceanarium was completed and proved successful, one could be sure that they would be glad to loan money for the new competitive oceanariums, using the experience of this one as their precedent. The aggressions of the Bureau of Internal Revenue have made financing the most severe problem of a pioneering venture. The difficulty of obtaining risk capital almost scuttled the Marine Studios. Enter C. V. Whitney, no stranger to pioneering ventures. Whitney was greatly attracted to the farfetched possibilities of this one. After reading the prospectus Whitney told Burden, " I have one hundred thousand to back this idea ".

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