‘Harbor Command’ was a thirty minute television show that ran from October of 1957 until July of 1958. The show starred Wendell Corey as police captain Ralph Baxter. You may recognize Wendell Corey as the fall guy in a 1949 movie shown regularly at Christmastime called ‘Holiday Affair’ with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. The TV show has some terrific San Francisco locations, mostly along the San Francisco waterfront.
Harbor Command was a fictional law enforcement agency that worked along with the Coast Guard. Their headquarters was located in the Ferry Building.
The Embarcadero Freeway was being built during filming of the show and construction of the highway can be seen on the left.
Baxter and another officer in pursuit of a mob leader are shown at the entrance to the old Pier 39. In 1978 the pier was demolished and the tourist attraction that’s there today was built on the old foundation of the pier. The bottom photo is the entrance to pier 39 today.
The same episode with the previous picture ends with a shoot-out that resulted in Baxter killing the mob boss on the eastern side of Pier 39. Below is the eastern side of Pier 39 today.
A shoot-out with Ralph Baxter is a poor prospect, as another bad guy taking cover in the background learns on the old Van Ness Pier in the episode titled ‘Contraband Diamonds’.
In ‘The Final Score’ a fugitive falsely identified as a murderer climbs the old public announcement tower on the west side of the Maritime Museum and shoots back at pursuing Harbor Command police.
The Harbor Command police return fire, and the bottom photo is the tower today. Don’t worry, this one ends happily and the innocent man is cleared.
In the same episode as the previous picture, as the police pursue the fugitive a sinking ferryboat is shown in Aquatic Park near the Maritime Museum. I’ll have to research what that was all about. The old and now closed snack bar and restroom building can be seen on the right in both photos.
In ‘Smallpox’ a man with a vendetta and out to kill the man who framed him, approaches Beach Street from Hyde. He is unaware that he has smallpox and may be infecting many people in San Francisco.
The camera moves up to show the location is where the Buena Vista Café is. The Buena Vista is still there but with a different sign now.
Later in the ‘Smallpox’ episode, the carrier is shown at the corner of Jefferson and Powell Streets going in to the old Eagle Café.
A parking garage for Pier 39 was built on the corner where the Eagle Café was located in the top photo. The Eagle Café was rescued from demolishment and moved across the street and relocated at the top level of Pier 39, shown in the bottom photo.
In one clever episode entitled ‘Gold Smugglers’ two dental assistants have been forging the doctor’s signature to order gold shipments delivered to his office. They have used the dentist’s molding plates to shape the gold into hubcaps in an attempt to smuggle the gold out of San Francisco on a car ferry. When the doctor discovers their plan they kill him. Here they are seen parking in from of Pier 17 on the Embarcadero where the Exploratorium is now located.
Looking north along the Embarcadero and the old Belt Line Railroad tracks from Pier 17:
A Harbor Command squad car races down Bryant Street next to the Bay Bridge entrance heading toward the Embarcadero:
The episode ‘Clay Pigeon’ ends in a shoot-out in the southern wing of the Ferry Building with Baxter and his partner chasing a parolee who has been trying to kill Baxter for sending him to prison. Maybe not as load as gunfire, but it’s a lot noisier in this section of the Ferry Building today.