‘Harbor Command’ visits the Richmond District

HCOpenuseThe television show ‘Harbor Command’, starring Wendell Cory as Captain Ralph Baxter, ran from the fall of 1957 until the summer of 1958. Most of the episodes were filmed around the Embarcadero, but in the episode ‘Lovers’ Lane Bandits’ the Harbor Command takes a trip to the Richmond District. A teenage girl, who attends George Washington High School in the Richmond District, sneaks out of the house after she’s been grounded to meet her boyfriend at a “lovers’ lane’ near the Pesidio. She witnesses a murder there, and, unfortunately for her, one of the killers has seen her, although she doesn’t know that. Captain Baxter learns about the girl through detective work and is desperately trying to find her before the killers do.

HCCabrillouseHCCabrillo2useBaxter goes to the old Playland-at-the-Beach amusement park to talk to her father who works there. Baxter and his partner park at the Cabrillo streetcar turnaround near the Funhouse. The bottom picture is where they entered Playland from the Great Highway today.

HCFunhouse1useBaxter questions a fellow who works at the Funhouse to find out where the girl’s father is. This scene has an extremely rare shot of Laffing Sal in action at the Playland Funhouse. Behind them is the Playland Merry-go-round. The merry-go-round is still in operation today at the Yerba Buena Center.

HCFunhouse2useThis is about the spot where the Funhouse once was.

HC42Balboause Baxter learns from her father that she’s meeting a friend at a drug store at Balboa Street and 42nd Avenue. Here, the two girls leave the drugstore heading west toward the beach. This is the northeast corner where the girls were walking today. I couldn’t get the same line up on the corner because of parked cars.

HC42Balboa2useThe killers stalk behind them in a truck.

HC37Balboa1useWhen we next see the two girls they’re at the corner of Balboa and 37th, five blocks east in the opposite direction from where they were heading the last time we saw them. The girl with the light hair has a real problem; she’s witnessed a murder and she knows she should tell someone, but her dad had grounded her and when he finds out she sneaked out she’s sure he’ll just kill her! Hey, honey, turn around! Your dad probably won’t kill you, but the two guys in the truck behind you will!

HC37Balboa2useWhen her friend goes into the market on the corner one of the killers grabs her. Oh, oh, this doesn’t look good! Somebody had better learn to obey her dad in the future.

HC37Balboa3useHer friend comes out of the store to find that she’s disappeared. This was at the northwest corner of Balboa Street and 37th Avenue.

HC37BalboauseBut this teenager has a guardian angel, Ralph Baxter, approaching the corner where she was taken north from 37th Avenue.

HP37BalboaHer worried friend tells Baxter the direction they went.

HP40Balboa1useThe bad guys turn north off Balboa onto 40th Avenue.

HC40BalboauseHarbor Command misses the turn at 40th and in a action reminiscent to the chase scene in ‘Bullitt’ burn up rubber backing up to 40th Avenue.

HC40Balboa3useThey head up 40th to Geary Blvd.

HPCHouseuseOn Point Lobos Road the Harbor Command police cut the truck off right about here, just down from the Cliff House.

HCFinale1useAs Baxter and his partner approach the truck, they threaten to shoot the girl if the officers don’t back away.

HCfinale2useWhen the teenager faints, (well, I probably would have too) Baxter gets a clear line of fire and shoots the man with the gun. That’s Sutro Heights behind him. He pulls the driver out of the truck, and case closed. The two videos below are the Funhouse scene from the show, and Laffing Sal today in Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf. They say it’s the same one; judge for yourself.






















1906 + 113

Today is the one hundred and thirteenth anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco. For the first time in awhile they didn’t extend the April 15th tax filing deadline so I was able to go over to San Francisco on the day before the anniversary to take some pictures. These are location shots of high density photographs of the disaster, many of them from the Shorpy Archives vintage picture collection.

113HyattuseWe’ll start at the foot of Market Street looking west. The crowned Call Bulletin Newspaper Building, the tallest building in San Francisco at the time, can be seen in the far background on the left in the vintage picture. That was the ruins of an interesting looking building where the Hyatt Regency is today on the right.

113MontgomeryuseWe’re further up Market Street now at Montgomery Street. There are three survivors today from the vintage picture; the Call Building on the left, remodeled now and called the Central Tower, the gothic looking Mutual Savings Bank Building directly across from the Call Building, and the reddish-brown  Chronicle Building, taller now that it was back then. (blogspot.com)

113NewMontgomeryuseNew Montgomery and Mission Streets, looking north toward Market Street showing the ruins of the Palace Hotel and the rebuilt Palace Hotel there today. The building in the background is the one on the right in the previous vintage picture taken at Market and Montgomery Streets.

113CalluseArmy soldiers brought down from the Presidio marching past the Call Building on fire: Woe betides to any looters they may have come across; they shot them on the spot back then! (blogspot.com)

113PineuseWe’ve moved north to Pine Street looking east past Kearny Street. That’s the Bank of America Building on the left center in the current picture.

113FlooduseWe’re up on the top of Nob Hill now. That’s the gutted James Flood mansion, the only mansion on Nob Hill to survive the earthquake and fire. I don’t mind a cable car photo bombing one of my pictures any time. The Flood mansion is now the exclusive Pacific Union Club.

113Stanforduse Looking toward the south western corner of California and Powell Streets where Leland Stanford’s mansion stood. Farther up California Street are the ruins of Mark Hopkins home, now the Mark Hopkins Hotel.

113MarketuseRefugees heading east and west along Market Street near 3rd: The Ferry Building is in the background. It’s interesting how most of them are following traffic rules and staying on the right in both directions.

113FerryuseAnd, of course, most San Franciscans favorite survivor, the Ferry Building; roughed up, but she took it well. In spite of these monstrosities they’re putting up nowadays, like the Sales Force Tower, the Ferry Building is still the “Grande Dame” of San Francisco.









What you miss with Photoshop

Photoshop is a great computer program that even an amateur like me can have fun experimenting with, but you have to leave a lot out to get a decent fade in with then and now pictures. This set is a Photoshop collection of pictures of mine along with my original photos; sort of comparing two comparison types of comparison pictures.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAPSDPassagetwouseA hoodlum kidnaps Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) and drives him to a spot below the southern entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1947 film ‘Dark Passage’. Since September 11th 2001, this area has been off limits to the public.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAPSTaylor2useFisherman’s Wharf near the end of Taylor Street at twilight in the 1950’s:

GE DIGITAL CAMERAPSPland2useOrson Welles exits the Funhouse at Playland-at-the-Beach leaving a dying Rita Hayworth inside in another 1947 movie ‘The Lady from Shanghai’. Welles is walking toward the Great Highway. Playland was demolished in 1972.

PSPointusePSPointtwouseAfter being shot twice and left in an empty prison cell on Alcatraz by John Vernon and Angie Dickinson, Lee Marvin recovers consciousness and swims back to San Francisco from Alcatraz with two bullets in him to seek revenge. That’s quite a feat! The movie was ‘Point Blank’ from 1967. The modern picture is the current San Francisco skyline from Alcatraz Island.

PSPortraitusePSPortraittwouseLana Turner enters the old I Magnin Department Store on Geary Blvd. across the street from Union Square in “Portrait in Black’ from 1960.  This is an effort to establish her alibi while she plots with Anthony Quinn to kill her husband. In the background is the St. Francis Hotel on Powell Street.

PSGreenwichusePSGreenwichtwouse“Look out!” Almost a head on crash with a cable car and an automobile at Hyde and Greenwich on Russian Hill: The vintage picture is a Fred Lyon photo from the 1950’s. This picture is sometimes labeled as looking toward Telegraph Hill from Lombard Street at Hyde, but it’s not.

PSWharfusePSLagoonredo“Come all ye young sailormen listen to me, and I’ll sing you a song of the fish in the sea.”

Fisherman’s Wharf Boat Lagoon in 1939 in a picture from the Charles Cushman Collection. In the background of the vintage picture is the large gas tank near Fisherman’s Wharf located there from the early 1930’s to the 1960’s.