This September will be the 140th birthday of Lotta’s Fountain at the intersections of Kearny. Geary, and Market, dedicated September 9th 1875. Nobody pays much attention to this ugly and neglected fountain, but like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Ferry Building, San Francisco will never get rid of it. For over one hundred years survivors of the 1906 Earthquake met at this fountain on the April 18th anniversary until they all died. A replica was made of Lotta’s Fountain for the opening scenes of the 1936 Clark Gable movie ‘San Francisco’. On Christmas Eve, 1910 opera soprano Luisa Tetrazzini gave a free concert at Lotta’s Fountain that drew over 200,000 spectators! It remains, and, probably, always will, the biggest concert ever held in San Francisco. I wonder if Paul McCartney could top that if he gave a free concert at Lotta’s Fountain! This turn of the Twentieth Century photo shows the fountain in its original size, but relocated from where it was first dedicated. I love all the hustle and bustle in this picture; like, the little cutie with the cop. Is she getting directions? Is she getting bawled out? And, maybe, he’s just paying special attention to her! Or the family, hand in hand, stepping onto the sidewalk on Market Street, behind them. At the left, a coachman with baggage heads off to the West Hester Hotel, not to be confused with the Best Western Motel.
Frank Sinatra dodging cops in front of the Ferry Building in the opening scenes of ‘Pal Joey’ (1957).
Another alert policeman in ‘The Lineup’ at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park spots the bad guys, and starts the action rolling that ends in their demise. My pick for one of the best police movies shot in San Francisco. That’s the old and new De Young Museum in the back.
Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt’: The hydrant, street sign, and call box are still there, but the call box has been relocate. The corner grocery store at this spot where Bullitt stacks up on TV dinners is still in business. There are a few slow scenes in this movie, but Ah, that chase scene!
Super Cop, Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) dispatches a bad guy in a guard tower with a mini bazooka in the 1976 film ‘The Enforcer’.
The guard tower explosion in the film created an outcry from some uninformed San Francisco politicians who thought the film makers were destroying historical landmarks on the island, but a dummy guard tower was constructed for the explosion scene. Real guard towers like this one were left alone.
Tyne Daly, (Cagney and Lacey) Dirty Harry’s partner in the 1976 film ‘The Enforcer’:
Here Tyne Daly is at 43 Osgood Alley trying to keep up with Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” whose chasing a bad guy. She doesn’t realize that she’s carrying a bomb in that brief case.
Some serious police action going on in Golden Gate Park in the 1950’s: The Park Mounties still patrol the park out of the old Police Stables Building built in the 1930’s. (Images of America)