‘Down Periscope’, starring Kelsey Grammer and Lauren Holly, was filmed in 1995 and released in 1996. It’s a silly thing about a World War Two era submarine involved in war games with the modern 1990’s United States Navy, but it’s fun to watch, and it was filmed in part at Fort Mason and on board the submarine the USS Pampanito, now at Fisherman’s Wharf.
The crew, along with Lauren Holly, line up alongside the Pampanito for inspection:
“Is that regulation cleavage, sailor?”
That’s the Pampanito’s aft deck gun behind her. (IMDb)
“Fifteen Men and Lauren Holly’s chest; Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.”
That’s the top of the conning tower, but my view’s from the opposite side (musings.elisair.com)
There she is; sleek and fast, built to kill, a real beauty forward and aft. Hey, I’m talking about the Pampanito! (musings.elisair.com)
The submarine was towed over to Fort Mason for the closing scenes. (musings.elisair.com)
Regulation high heels and a salute: (musings.elisair.com)
I walked around Fort Mason early in the morning on July 4th. It felt both spooky and sad. Being one of the largest embarkation centers for the Pacific Theater during World War Two, the amount of activity that took place here back then is hard to imagine, and many, many, people left from here and never returned. I was singing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ to myself as I thought about that generation.
The top photo is a slide I took above Fort Mason around 1985. I remember that they had a World War Two exhibit in one of the pier buildings and it was filled with World War Two veterans talking about their experiences. Sadly, it’s not likely many of them are still around now.
Here’s the USS Pampanito all decked out for the 4th of July. The film crew, in no way, showed any disrespect for the landmark, and took good care of her during filming. Pampanito took six war patrols during World War Two, sank at least as many ships, and was heavily damaged from depth charges on one of the patrols. Sadly, in one of the attacks Pampanito was involved in, the ship sunk was carrying Allied prisoners, unknown to the crew. Over 1100 POW’s died in the sinking. The torpedo was not fired from the Pampanito, however, but from a sister sub involved in the attack, the USS Sealion. Seventy three of the survivors were rescued from the sea by the Pampanito. Let’s take a tour, aft to forward, through the submarine.
You cross this passage and enter the sub through this hatch on the aft side.That’s the Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship behind her.
The aft torpedo room:
The aft engine room:
The forward engine room:
That looks like Charles de Gaulle on the cover of that Time Magazine.
The Crew’s Mess:
This room with the eerie red light is the control room where all attacks were planned.
Looking up through the conning tower, that’s the periscope.
I would have been the first person heading here after a depth charge attack!
The forward torpedo room:
Those are the forward torpedo tubes. The left one has a torpedo in it.
You break to the surface here in the fore of the ship, and you don’t have to worry about enemy destroyers or airplanes watching for you like the incredibly brave and heroic men of the “Silent Service” did.