In the Background

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More background “of Interests.” The locations, themselves, are of interest, but the things you can spot in the background are fun too. Left to right, Police Officer Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) a long way from Mississippi where he premiered in ‘In the Heat of the Night’, in a phone booth on North Point getting a tip on a big drug deal coming down soon in the 1971 film ‘The Organization’. In the background is the Longshoremen’s Hall. As well as being a meeting place for political and labor gatherings, some great San Francisco bands have played here like the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin. Second from the left, Bob Hope in the convertible chasing Peter Lorre, who’s chasing Dorothy Lamour down California Street and on to Grant in Chinatown in the 1947 film ‘My Favorite Brunette’. Now, that’s one parade in Chinatown I’d love to have seen! As well as Old St. Mary’s, notice, although it’s hard to see when the picture is compressed like this, the red awning on the building at the left reads ‘Cathay House’. You can see the name more clearly in the Bob Hope movie, and they’re still open for business! Second from the right, the reenactment of the Hibernia Bank robbery involving Patty Hearst and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1988 film ‘Patty’. The gang enters the bank led by Donald DeFreeze (Cinque) played by Ving Rhames. Although the robbery actually took place in the Sunset District, the scene was filmed in the Richmond District near the ocean. In the background is the historic Balboa Theater, opened in 1926, and still going strong. Sadly, the actress portraying Patty Hearst, Natasha Richardson died from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in 2009. Far right, Joan Bennett races down the Alcatraz dock to watch her lover George Raft depart by boat for the “Rock” in the 1940 movie ‘House Across the Bay’. Behind her car is the curving Van Ness Municipal Pier, and to the right the National Maritime Museum. The Alcatraz loading dock still exists, but is closed off for safety reasons now. My comparison shot is from the Van Ness Pier behind Miss Bennett’s car. (Thumbnail image)

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