The Embarcadero (4)


Another great picture from ‘Port City’, Pier 11 looking north toward Fisherman’s Wharf in 1926: The Embarcadero had three kinds of streets here back then; a smooth pavement for automobiles at the right, a stone pavement for horse traffic in the center where I’m standing, of which there was still a lot of in 1926, and railroad tracks at the left. This is a confusing spot on the Embarcadero today! “Hey, why do the piers jump from Pier 9 to Pier 15 here?” Well, I’ll tell you; Pier 11 in the old photo was demolished in 1935, and replaced in its location by Pier 9, the one behind the Broadway sign. There never was a Pier 13, even though they made a film noir movie  in 1949 set in San Francisco about Communist infiltration in  America called ‘The Woman on Pier 13’ starring Robert Ryun and Laraine Day. Pier 15, which houses today’s Exploratorium, and was not built yet in the old photo, comes next. (Thumbnail image)

The Embarcadero (7)

EmbarcadereoLaughuse  Police Officer Bruce Dern in the car follows a bus down Bay Street to Pier 33 in the 1973 movie ‘The Laughing Policeman’. His partner, Walter Matthau is on the bus trying to prevent a maniac from killing all of the passengers with a machine gun, as he did earlier in the openings scenes of the movie. (Thumbnail image)

The Embarcadero (8)


Police Officer Virgil Tibbs, (Sidney Poitier) has a truck get in his line of fire at a bad guy at Pier 38, near today’s AT&T Park in the 1971 film ‘The Organization’ If you’re wondering why Pier 38 is near AT&T Park and Pier 39 near Fisherman’s Wharf at the other end of the Embarcadero, it’s because all piers south of the Ferry Building were even numbered, and those north of the building were odd numbered. (Thumbnail image)

Talking to the Stars around San Francisco (Thumbnail images)


“Frank Sinatra! What are you checking out!” (Pal Joey 1957)


“I’m watching the Ferry Building as we approacheth. Nice, huh kid?”


“Hey, could I have a few words with you for a minute?”
“Too busy now. Check in with me at the International Settlement, kid.”


But when I got to the International Settlement, it didn’t exist, anymore!


So, I’m heading up Broadway when who should I meet, Clark Gable! He’s trying to put the moves on Greer Garson, but she isn’t having any part of it. “Sorry, Clark, you can’t win them all!” (Adventure 1945)


Ah, Coit Tower…… Wait, who’s that driving by? (After the Thin Man 1936)


Why, it’s William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, parking at their stately home on Telegraph Hill!                                                                                                                                                         Afterthinpioneeruse

“Hey, Nick and Nora, this is behind Coit Tower! Are you trying to pretend that this is your home?”
“We’re having a romantic moment here, pal. Do you mind?”


“Orson Welles! What are you doing out here at Ocean Beach?” (The Lady From Shanghai 1948)


“I just left Rita Hayworth in the Funhouse, and she’s dying! I have to leave, quickly?”
“Oh. Well, I guess it wasn’t much fun for her, was it?”


“Edmond O’Brien! What are you up to here at Fisherman’s Wharf?” (The Birdman of Alcatraz 1962)


“I’m waiting for the release of the “Birdman of Alcatraz” so that I can interview him.”
“Well, you’re going to have a long wait. Alcatraz boats don’t dock here, and never did.”


“James Stewart, nice to see you! Why are you out here at Fort Point?”
“I’m watching Miss Kim Novak over there to see what she’s going to do.” (Vertigo 1958)


“Oh, well, I’ll tell you what she’s going to do, Jimmy. She’s going to stand there for awhile, and then jump in the water!”



“Dustin Hoffman! Why are you driving so fast on the Bay Bridge?”
“I’m heading to Berkeley to get away from Mrs. Robinson!”
“Yeah. Well you’re on the upper deck; you’re going the wrong way!” (The Graduate 1967)


“Kim Novak! You’re always upset about something! What is it now?”
“Frank Sinatra loves Rita Hayworth, and not me!”
“Well, that can’t be; Orson Welles left Rita dying in the Funhouse a few frames back!” (Pal Joey 1967)


“Tippi Hedren! What’s with you here at Union Square?”
“I’m buying some birds at a pet shop ‘cause I just love birds!”
“Well, that won’t last long!” (The Birds 1963)



“Cary Grant! Why are you here at the Fairmont Hotel?”
“Judy! Judy! Judy!”
“No, Tim! Tim! Tim!” (Kiss Them for Me 1957)


“James Stewart and Kim Novak! You two again! What’s going on now?”
“I’m trying to explain to Miss Novak why I had to take off all of her clothes, and put her in my bed while she was unconscious!”
“Good luck with that one!”  (Vertigo 1958)

Nob Hill

NobcalifeastuseOne of the earliest pictures I’ve seen pf the east side California drop from Nob Hill; probably, in the 1870’s, looking down from Powell to Stockton Street. Old St. Mary’s can still just barely be seen today behind the red building in the center.

TopoftheMarkuseThe premier thing to see on Nob Hill is the view from the Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel.

Weeperscorneruse A 1940’s look at the Top of the Mark, I think from the Images of America series, explaining the origin of “Weeper’s Corner” on the northwestern side of the room where wives, lovers, mothers and sisters watched their loved ones sail away to combat theaters in the Pacific during World War Two, many who didn’t return. Bottom right is the view from “Weeper’s Corner” with fog obscuring the Golden Gate Bridge. Top right, two modern weepers in “Weeper’s Corner” today. Eh, they’re always whining about something!

NobPortalsuseThis is a terrific vintage picture from ‘San Francisco: As it Is / As it Was by Paul Johnson and Richard Reinhardt. At the left is the doorway to A. N. Towne’s mansion destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake. The doorway is now the Portals of the Past site in Golden Gate Park. Two of today’s survivors from the disaster are the James Flood Mansion, now the Pacific Union Club, on the left, and the Fairmont Hotel at right.

ChristieNobHilluseThe crest of Nob Hill from Grace Cathedral. I’ve always thought the top of Nob Hill to be one of the most peaceful spots in San Francisco. There’s a lot of interesting sites in this picture; far left is the Pacific Union Club, to the right of that, the Fairmont Hill. In the center is the Bank of America Building. On the right of the B of A Building is the Mark Hopkins Hotel with its Top of the Mark windows. Behind Christie is Huntington Park.

NobgoodsamuseblogA scene from the 1964 movie ‘Good Neighbor Sam’ at the start of a wild car ride through San Francisco where Jack Lemmon tries to prevent his passenger from seeing billboard signs with his picture on them throughout the city. This is at California Street approaching Powell. The actress on the left side of the billboard is Romy Schneider who, sadly, died of a heart attack at 43. The most interesting thing about this scene to me is the. KSFO Radio Station sign. They, probably, had the prettiest station identification commercial. Click on the link here to hear it.


NobgoodsamusetwoIn ‘Good Neighbor Sam’ Jack Lemmon turns left onto Powell in his Thunderbird past an old Flying ‘A’ parking location that is still there, and goes back to the 1920’s when it was a service station.

Nobwestredo The less famous western side of California Street on Nob Hill in a photograph by Phil Palmer from Harold Gilliam’s ‘The Face of San Francisco’: They sure ruined the view of Grace Cathedral at the top! Tourists line up at the Powell Street, California at Market Street, Bay and Taylor Streets, and Aquatic Park terminus for the cable cars, but this lonely one behind the Magic of Home sign at Van Ness doesn’t got much attention. Van Ness, at the bottom of the picture, was known as ‘Auto Row” and, maybe, still is for all of the car dealership locations that were there. You can see the Ellis Brooks Chevrolet at the lower right of the old photo.