I first became interested in this portion of Vallejo Street in the mid 1980s after watching a movie called ‘Hell on Frisco Bay’, made in 1955 and starring Alan Ladd and Edward G. Robinson. (IMDb)
The east view along Vallejo Street on the steps between Montgomery and Kearny Streets from a slide picture I took in 1985 and now: The view from here is spectacular! The pier at the end of Vallejo Street is Pier 9.
Another slide picture I took on the Vallejo Steps just above Montgomery Street in 1985. If it wasn’t for the cars you could hardly tell the difference.
In a 1957 episode entitled ‘The Witness’ from the television show ‘Harbor Command’ Inspector Ralph Baxter tracks down a witness to a murder who’s hiding in a house on the Vallejo Steps. He goes down the steps to the house where the man is hiding to convince him to turn himself in.
Baxter goes down the steps to the house with the dark painted door on the left. The house has been remodeled and the door is painted white today.
Inspector Baxter notices a suspicious man in the doorway of a house across the street from the where the witness is hiding. Sure enough, the man turns out to be one of the gang trying to locate the witness to kill him. The bottom picture is the doorway where the bad guy was watching from.
The opposite side of the Vallejo steps from where Baxter walked down seen in the episode.
Vallejo Street between Montgomery and Sansome Streets in a slide I took from 1985. Trees block some of the view today. A house has been built now in the empty lot to the left of the van in the 1985 picture.
In a ‘Harbor Command’ episode from 1957 entitled ‘Gold Smugglers’ two dental assistants have been forging the dentist’s name to order gold that they’ve been stockpiling. They murder the doctor when he finds out what they’ve been doing. They attempt to smuggle the gold out of San Francisco. Naturally, Inspector Ralph Baxter will spoil their plans before they get too far. Here, they try to make their escape in a taxi on the Embarcadero at the foot of Vallejo Street. You can see construction work on the soon to be finished Embarcadero Freeway in the right background of the show scenes.
“Mr. and Mrs. Nobody; you’ve just murdered a dentist, smuggled stolen gold, and stashed the car used in your crimes. What are you going to do now?”
“We’re going to Disneyland!”
Now, back to Alan Ladd: In ‘Hell on Frisco Bay’, Ladd plays an ex police officer wrongly convicted of manslaughter who’s just been released from prison. He comes back from San Francisco to try to find out who framed him. Sometime around 1985 I recorded the film on a VHS video recorder, and was interested in the location of this scene. Ladd is shadowing a mob moll to locate a witness to the murder he was framed for. The movie is finally available on DVD, and I watched it again last night, probably the first time since 1985, to get my captures.
Although the location wasn’t identified in the Alan Ladd and Eddie G. movie, it was easy from the scene to track it down to Vallejo Street and Hodges Alley, between Montgomery and Sansome Streets, where I took the 1985 slide in the top picture.