The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

GBUAlcatrazuse Clint Eastwood wasn’t really “good” in ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, (1979) any more than he was “good” in ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’. He plays Frank Morris, one of three men who escaped from Alcatraz in 1962, and was never seen again. Here he is plotting the escape in the same exercise yard the Alcatraz inmates used to use.  GBUOrganizationuse These were the bad guys in the 1971 drama ‘The Organization’ starring Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs. Here they are at Montgomery and Market Street closing a drug deal that will end in a shootout and chase through the unfinished Montgomery Station BART tube. In 1974 , ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ television show filmed a drug bust and chase at the same BART Station in a series of pictures I posted in December of 2014. Check out the link below for that post. The #5 MUNI bus still runs along McAllister and Fulton to Ocean Beach today.                                                                     GBUSentineluse I used to think the Columbus Tower Building on Columbus Avenue was an ugly building, but I was only part right. It’s so ugly, that it’s beautiful! It was being constructed in 1906 when the San Francisco Earthquake severely damaged the building and it was completed in 1907. The top photo shows the framework for Columbus Tower right after the earthquake.

Some Rejects

rejectsdaydreamsuse I’ve had a cold from outer space or somewhere that’s been knocking me around all week so I haven’t been able to go over to San Francisco to take any pictures. I thought I’d post some pictures I wasn’t particularly happy with just to keep busy. They’re from interesting locations, but for various reasons I wasn’t pleased with them; the lighting was bad, the capture wasn’t good, or they just weren’t interesting pictures. We’ll start with this fascinating image from Buster Keaton’s 1922 short film ‘Daydreams’. Buster, being chased by San Francisco police, runs down Lombard Street and turns north onto Taylor. Construction began the same year on the “Crookedest Street in the World” at the top of both images, but it’s difficult to see how far along the work was from the movie scene. I don’t know if this film is available on DVD, I got the image from a fine San Francisco movie locations site on the internet, but when I went back to find the name of the site and give credit, I wasn’t able to locate it anymore.

Rejectstheivesuse I’d like to redo this one of Barbara Lawrence in front of the Ferry Building from the 1949 movie ‘Thieves Highway’. I took my picture late in the day and it’s not a good shot.

rejectsstreetsuse Actually, I’m enjoying this one more now that I’ve posted it; it’s an interesting capture from a 1972 version of ‘The Streets of San Francisco’. A Winnebago, “We’re giving ‘em away!” full of bad guys drives along the Embarcadero south of the Ferry Building. There’s a lot of interesting things to see in the film shot, such as the old YMCA Building in the center, the Embarcadero Freeway, but mostly, to me, the building with the scotch advertisement on the side. This was the Daniels Hotel where the witness Steve McQueen was guarding was rubbed out by hit men early in the 1968 film, ‘Bullitt’.

rejectsminnause Not bad, not good, but it is Clint Eastwood. “Dirty Harry” Callahan crosses 2nd Street from Minna Alley to do justice, (his kind) to three holdup men in the 1976 film ‘The Enforcer’.

rejectsdocuse The only thing good about this silly one is the location. Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal roll under the dragon during the Chinatown New Year parade on a stolen messenger bicycle causing it to race out of control down Jackson Street in the 1972 movie ‘What’s up, Doc?”. The parade route normally follows Grant Avenue when celebrating the Chinese New Year, but Grant isn’t as steep as Jackson so the scene wouldn’t have worked there.

rejectsvnesspieruse Tyne Daly and Clint Eastwood on the neglected Municipal Pier at the foot of Van Ness Avenue when it was in a little better shape in the 1976 movie ‘The Enforcer’ It’s an interesting location, but I took the picture at sunset rather than during the day when it would have been a better comparison.

rejectsdarkpassageuse This comparison of the Telegraph Hill portion of Montgomery Street from the 1947 film ‘Dark Passage’ speaks for itself as to why it’s so forgettable.

Yosemite National Park (A special thanks to the Visitors Center and to the Half Dome Village Administration desk)

yosemitehalfdomeredo Half Dome in the 1940’s: (Vintage Pop 88)

Yosemitetwouse Mother Curry, who founded Curry Village in 1899: The name has been changed to Half Dome Village. As my friend Cindy pointed out, it’s at the bottom of Glacier Point not Half Dome, and I don’t know why they’re changing these names in Yosemite, anyway.

Yosemitethreeuse I don’t know who they were, but that’s Yosemite Falls in the background.

Yosemitefouruse Nurses at the Ahwahnee Hotel, now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, during World War Two: The Navy took over the hotel during the war, because they thought the serenity of Yosemite would be beneficial to shell shocked sailors, but the isolation of Yosemite actually made many worse!

Yosemitefiveuse Now, off to Inspiration Point, and as beautiful of a view as you’ll find anywhere:

Yosemitesixusefirstone We’ll head through Wawona Tunnel, as they did in the 1950’s for the long drive up to Glacier Point.

yosemitesevenuse The view from Glacier Point:

yosemiteeightuse I couldn’t get too much information on how old this adobe is at the top of Glacier Point.

yosemiteviewredo This is the lesser known bluff, and Yosemite does not advertise its location, and discourages people from going out to it. I climbed up there after I took the picture and went out on the rock a ways where I took the picture at the bottom, but I didn’t go to the edge. I didn’t for two reasons; one, there was nobody there with me to take my picture, two, I wouldn’t have gone out to the edge if I was Captain America! That’s three thousand feet straight down!

Yosemiteelevenuse Guess I don’t look like I did in 1994, but I’ll bet that old bike I rented doesn’t either!

Climbing up the Filbert Steps with Humphrey Bogart

Filbertone Humphrey Bogart Plays a San Quentin escapee who has had plastic surgery to hide his identity from the police in the 1947 film ‘Dark Passage’. After the operation, he climbs up the Filbert Steps of Telegraph Hill to his hideout, Lauren Bacall’s apartment on Montgomery Street.  Filbert2 The steps turned here, as they do today, and begin their climb up Telegraph Hill. The wooden portion of the steps here was deemed unsafe in the late 1970’s and was replaced at this section.


A view from above of the area of the Filbert Steps in the previous photo:  filbert4 We’ll keep tagging along with our tired little gangster on his trek. The original wooden stairs from this point on are still there.  filbert5 “Come on buddy, you can make it, we’re almost there. I’m just as tired as you are!” That house to the left of Bogie, the “Captain’s House”, was built during the Civil War, and can still be seen from the Filbert Steps today!  Filbert6 “Made it Ma; top of the world!” He looks a little done in.


A aerial view from Coit Tower of where Bogart’s resting in the previous picture. The black car to the left of the palm tree is exactly where the roadster with the striped upholstery next to Bogie was parked. The apartment building with the mural behind the palm tree was his destination. It is said that Lauren Bacall, actually, lived there before she broke into the movies.

“Don’t fence me in”

Alcatrazuse A rare picture of prisoners on Alcatraz Island congregating in the exercise yard: Not sure if it was a problem or a friendly gathering, but there are prison guards in the middle of the crowd. Below is the corner of the exercise yard where the inmates were gathered.

Stocktonstuse Stockton Street, between Union Square and Maiden Lane in the 1950’s: These two gathering places will be fenced off from each other for some time to come due to the underground Stockton Metro tunnel being built.

DHarrytunneluse Dirty Harry, (Clint Eastwood) heads into the old train tunnel that runs under Fort Mason with ransom money to save a kidnapped child, and runs into three bad guys who try to rob him. In one of my favorite scenes from a Clint Eastwood movie, when they don’t “get lost” as he tells them to, he kicks one in the stomach, knocks another over with the money bag, and puts his .44 Magnum in the face of the third saying, “You don’t listen, do you, ass—-?” I tidied the word up a little, this being a family blog. The tunnel is fenced off now, but there are continuing efforts to have it opened as part of a bike trail, which would be a great idea!

Buffalouse “Where the buffalo roam.” In Golden Gate Park in the 1940’s: the buffalo were in a different part of the park, and other animals were confined in the area with them. The few buffalo left in the Golden Gate Park now are fenced in an area near the ocean called Buffalo Paddock. The fences are necessary not just to protect the visitors, but also to keep the buffalo safe from any harm from passing cars or being eaten!

FenceFBuildinguse No description is necessary. (Vintage photo Darius Aidala)

Ladies and little ones (and a puppy dog)

ladygrottouse That elegant lady in front of Fishermen’s Grotto #9 at Fisherman’s Wharf in the 1950’s had better get the service that she wants! The old Standard Station designed like a ship across the street remained in Fisherman’s Wharf from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, although, by the 70’s it had been remodeled to a more standard looking Standard Station. (Jerome Zerbe)

Birdsuse I’ve seen this Alfred Hitchcock movie, it’s scary! Actually, the little girl in the thick of it at Union Square in the 1950’s was a safe as the pigeons were! (Gene Wright)

Ladylookoutuse “Lady, look out!” This image from the 1960’s at California and Stockton Streets wasn’t as precarious as it looks; cable cars stop in the intersection…… I hope! (Nick Carter)

Pompeisuse “I’m a goin’ fishin’ too!”  Kids on the way to make the catch of the day, stop to visit a street musician and his buddy at Fisherman’s Wharf in the late 1960’s:  They’re just up from Pompei’s Grotto on Jefferson Street. (Martha Rosman)

Viewalcatrazuse “Hey look, honey, I can see Al Capone!”

“He’s dead!”

The lady doesn’t seem too interested. Until the 1970s after the prison closed, these telescopes at Fisherman’s Wharf were about as close to Alcatraz as you could get. They’re looking at it when it was still a prison. Those are the masts of the Balclutha in the background when it was berthed at Pier 41.

StevensonuseA child looks at the Robert Louis Stevenson Monument at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown in 1939.

“Who’s he, Daddy?”

“He wrote Treasure Island.”

“You mean, about the Fair?”

“No, it’s a story about adventures on a mysterious island with treacherous scoundrels, cutthroats, and pirates.”

”Oh, Alcatraz.”

Click on the link below for another series on women and children I posted

When it’s all too obvious

ObviousMFalconuse The opening scenes of ‘The Maltese Falcon’, (1941): The film makers identified the location, but most people wouldn’t have much trouble recognizing where the action will take place from this shot. Below, is a YouTube link to the opening scenes of the movie.

ObviousWharf1use Kelly Sherwood, (Lee Remick) must call “Red” Lynch, (Ross Martin) from a phone booth in Fisherman’s Wharf to find out where to deliver ransom money to free her kidnapped sister, Toby Sherwood, (Stefanie Powers)in the 1962 film, ‘Experiment in Terror’. Obviously, she doesn’t have a nickel, or maybe it was a dime by then. Behind her is the Fishermen’s Grotto #9 Restaurant. I’ve posted the YouTube link below before on my blog, but I enjoy watching it. It’s a neat recap of one of my favorite San Francisco movies packaged into the Henry Mancini theme from the opening credits.

Exper5use    When Kelly is told to cross the street and get into a cab, she is handed a ticket to a Giants, Dodgers game at Candlestick Park. $2.50! Obviously, when you’re a kidnapper springing for a baseball ticket for a relative of your victim, you buy one of the cheaper seats.  obviouszooislanduse “Benjamin, what are you doing here?”

“Here, in Berkeley?”

“No, Benjamin, we’re in San Francisco!”

Elaine Robinson, (Katherine Ross) didn’t, actually, say that last line to Benjamin Braddock, (Dustin Hoffman) in the 1967 film ‘The Graduate’, but she should have. They were at Monkey Island in the San Francisco Zoo, then known as Fleishhacker’s Zoo. Benjamin, obviously, needs the Google Maps App. Even the monkeys aren’t too sure about this guy! The link below is the YouTube video to the theatrical trailer for the film, although, the zoo scene isn’t shown.

Obviouszooisland2use Monkey Island is gone now, but the last time I visited the zoo, I asked one of the long time workers there where Monkey Island had once been and he was kind enough to show me this area here where it had once been located.  Phallicuse “Coitus interruptus.”

“I beg your pardon”

“Oh, Coit Tower. Slightly phallic, don’t you think?”

This is her impression of Coit Tower Police Officer, Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) imparts to Harry Callahan, (Clint Eastwood) as they walk through Pioneer Park behind Coit Tower in the 1976 film ‘The Enforcer’. Later, she tells him when referring to the power of his .44 Magnum,

“I see. So, it’s for the penetration?”

She, obviously, has something on her mind! Below, is a YouTube link of the scene.

obviousGGBrideuseA YouTube link below to a colorized version, (The film was shot in black and white) of the giant octopus destroying the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1955 move ‘It Came from Beneath the Sea’: Obviously, this was not a good day to take a drive to Marin.


The Alameda County Fair – 2016

Parkinguse The parking lot in the 1950’s: Well, the price has only gone up three thousand percent!  (Vintage picture Alameda County Fair Association Archives)Entranceuse Heading in: The parking lot in the 1950’s is now the Midway.  (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  HobbyPavilionuse The old horse racing grandstand was rebuilt in the 1960’s. On the right is the Arts and Crafts Building; I think they call it the Hobby Building now. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Jaimeuse Lots of cool things to see in the Hobby Building, like the Mushroom Display.  Midwayuse The Midway with all the Audrey Hepburn wannabes in the 1950’s: This was only the second day so the crowds were light, which makes it more fun. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Merrygorounduse They still have a Merry-go-round. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  kiddieridesuse Ah, the kiddie rides! You know, the ones I can handle. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Cokeorangebeeruse The old and new grandstand from the fair’s central park: (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Horseraceuse I probably didn’t do as well as F. Miller did in 1952, but I won $19.86 on this race! (Sammy DiLaura)  Stageuse The old Court of Four Season Stage, for years the main entertainment area, is gone now. This is where it was. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  MissCVuse The Court of Four Seasons from where the stage was: (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Garden Partyuse  The Flower and Gardens Building:

“If you’re going to a garden party, I wish you a lot of luck!”

They removed the old wishing well, and rain forest from inside here this year! (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)  Trainsuse The model train display has come a long way since its debut in the 1940’s. (Alameda County Fair Association Archives)


Just because

Powellcableuse The Powell Street cable car turnaround: I put this one in just because I thought it was a interesting picture, and not, necessarily, because this is an election year and we may have another President Clinton by the end of the year. The Owl Drug Store on the right would eventually become the Woolworth’s Department Store, a landmark on this corner until the 1980’s.  Pier48use Pier 48 on the other side of McCovey Cove in the 1930’s: I framed my shot a little more to the left just because I didn’t want to leave the Bay Bridge out. (San Francisco History Center)  Sloatblvduse 47th and Sloat Blvd. in 1940: I put this one in just because whatever they’re building on this corner now is not going to be better than a ten cent hot dog or hamburger! I don’t think that old fire hydrant on the corner is going to survive this ordeal. That’s the old WPA Sloat Blvd. entrance to the zoo, now closed off to the public. Click on the link below for a close up of the old Sloat entrance from a series I did in July of 2015.

Paintinguse “San Francisco”, a painting by Emil Kosa Jr. looking down Montgomery Street from Telegraph Hill in 1942: I put this one in just because I can’t remember if the expression is, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” or “Art imitates Life far more than Life imitates Art.” but one of them applies. (Hilbert Museum of California Art)  Chinatownuse Chinatown in the 1960’s: I put this one in just because I’ve seen that old Shanghai Low sign in dozens of Chinatown pictures as far back as the 1930’s, and never realized before that it is still there.  CableCarBarnuse Washington Street near Taylor just up from the Cable Car Barn on the left: I put this one in just because I may have posted it already, but I don’t remember, and I’m too lazy to go back in the archives and check. Click on the link below for a view at the bottom of the hill looking up toward where we are from a picture I posted in July of 2015.