‘This is San Francisco’

Sometimes, it’s just a big cartoon city for kids. (Thumbnail images)


They say the Cliff House is going to reopen later this year, but it won’t be called the Cliff House.

They view of Seal Rocks from behind the Cliff House:

The view from Coit Tower: Columbus is on the outs now because he may or may not have massacred Native Americans, but I’m still glad we have him to thank for the spaghetti and pizza in North Beach.

Alioto’s and Fishermen’s Grotto #9 Restaurants in Fisherman’s Wharf; both gone forever now:

A cable car slides down California Street on Nob Hill:



I don’t think I like the looks of some of those people on the cable car in the bottom cartoon, especially that mean looking lady on the right!

The Sing Chong Building and Old St. Mary’s on Grant Avenue and California Street in Chinatown:

The place where the traditional telephone booth used to be on the side of Old St. Mary’s Church in Chinatown:

The old streetcars that were relatively modern when the 1962 cartoon was drawn only go up to number 1080 nowadays. How dare that strikingly attractive girl on the bike get in my picture!

‘Hills of San Francisco’ (Thumbnail images)

Recently, I purchased a book on the internet entitled ‘Hills of San Francisco’, published by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1959, and with a Foreword by Herb Caen.  I haven’t seen the book around for many years, and I remember it as being THE explorers guide to the forty two hills of San Francisco. Some of the hills I’ve never had a chance to visit, and some of them I’ve never even heard of. There’s a lot to read in this book, so I’ll post pictures from only a few of the hills, and let the descriptions from the book of the hills I’ve included speak for themselves. The double photos above are the front and back covers of the book. The back cover lists the hills described in the book with a map of their approximate locations. Some of the vintage pictures are from the book, and some I found elsewhere.

The view from Sutro Heights around the time the book was published and May of 2022: They’ve included a little cartoon drawing of Adolph Sutro at the bottom left of the vintage picture.

The vintage black and white photo from the book shows the northwest view from the steps of Coit Tower. Below that is a scene from the 1957 ‘Pal Joey’. Kim Novak leaves what is supposed to be the front yard of socialite Rita Hayworth. She’s frustrated over the fact that she’s falling in love with Frank Sinatra, but possibly losing him to Rita. That Hollywood garden is long gone, and so is the view from here.

Highway 101, on the western side of Potrero Hill:

The old Reservoir being constructed between Hyde Street and Larkin Streets on Russian Hill: When I took my 2021 picture, they were just beginning work on a new park replacing the reservoir. The park opened in 2022.

Looking across Huntington Park toward Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill: The building between Huntington Park and the church has been demolished, and the southern tower was completed in 1964.

Irish Hill: Well I guess I’m an “intimate”, as mentioned in the text, because I found the hill; or what’s left of it. This was the closest I could come to updating the 1950s picture. This is all that’s left of Irish Hill; the city has indeed “passed it by”.

‘In Love and War’ (For Tom and Robin)

I found ‘In Love and War’ from 1958 to be a very enjoyable romance during a war movie. Set toward the end of World War Two, the plot concerns three Marine buddies, Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, and Bradford Dillman on shore leave in San Francisco before going overseas for fighting in the Pacific. Their three love interests are Hope Lang, unmarried and pregnant with Jeff Hunter’s child, Sheree North, Robert Wagner’s girl, who isn’t too sure about Wagner, seeing as how he’s a drunk and possibly a coward, (girls can be so particular sometimes) and Dillman’s squeeze, Dana Wynter, who’s not only an alcoholic as well, but obviously a slut! Dillman’s not too sure about their future either. The war scenes are action-packed and realistic, although nothing like the drama they’ll face on shore leave. Just kidding, the island fighting scenes are very well done. (Thumbnail images)

The film is presented in Cinemascope, so the characters are slightly elongated during the opening credits.

The three buddies enter San Francisco on a ferryboat from Oakland.

The credits fade out as they approach the Ferry Building.

As the ferryboat docks, the audience is told it’s 1944, although the island fighting episode shows film that looks like it was shot during the Battle of Tarawa, which was in November of 1943.

This was the most interesting San Francisco location in the movie. Robert Wagner pulls up to the home of his mother at Connecticut Street near 20th on Potrero Hill.

The house on the left is where his mother lives. She’s remarried to a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t like Wagner. I was able to meet the folks who live in the house on the right, and they were surprised to learn that their house is shown a number of times in the film. Tom and Robin told me that the house has been in their family for generations, and they had undoubtedly had another generation of their family members watching the film shooting.

Bob hesitates before going in. The Catholic Church, St. Teresa of Avila, is in the background at Connecticut and 19th Streets.

As a nun with a group of children pass by on their way to the church, Wagner decides that he’s not ready to go see mama yet.

He decides to stop by for several quick ones at Moran’s Bar and Grill before going home.

The building that Moran’s was in, on the northeast corner of 20th and Connecticut Streets, is still there.

When he comes out, I thought there might be a rumble, especially since one of those punks has a skull and cross bones on his jacket, but there’s no trouble, Hey, don’t mess with a Marine, even a cowardly one! (You just know that later on in the movie Robert’s going to come through when the poop hits the stoop) Fortified with necessary medicine, Wagner goes in to visit his mother, but it turns out just as awkward as he imagined it would.

A cable car heads up California Street on Nob Hill at sunrise on the last day of shore leave for the three Marines, and the film includes the obligatory view from the Top of the Mark. Other locations in the movie that I wasn’t able to include are the Hoover Tower in Palo Alto, Monterey and Carmel.