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Alfred Hitchcock In SF

As I begin to compose this post,  I am listening to the stories about the tornadoes in Oklahoma, and I’m so sorry for those of you who are dealing with those horrendous storms.  I have to stop writing and watch the news.  This post will have to wait until tomorrow.  The tornadoes are more frightening than anything that Hitchcock imagined, and more urgent for you to watch and read as well.  My thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering there.

Oklahoma tornado

This morning I am going to take you out of the aftermath of the storms virtually to San Francisco where 67% of you voted to hear about in my next posts.

Back to the recent past, our walk up to Huntington Park.  First of all, if you’ve never been to San Francisco, you don’t get the FEEL for how steep the hills are.  On a 3D video, you might lose your stomach riding in a virtual car.  It’s not that bad in real-time, but almost, especially from a back seat where you can’t see the road as you start downhill.

Remember we were late already!  Huff, huff

Remember we were late already! You math buffs, what do you think the angle of this street is?

The reaction on foot is different!  Trust me, on foot, going up, those same inclines feel more like a heart attack.  Of course, we were almost late.  We had no idea it would take us almost 20 minutes to walk up three measly blocks!  Bending forward, noses nearly touching the ground to ward off wind resistance, we climbed at top speed up Taylor to Huntington Park across from Grace Cathedral on the corner of California and Taylor.  There we met up with our group.

I had to rent the movie Vertigo after this walking tour.  I never realized how few Alfred Hitchcock movies I had seen until I took this tour in San Francisco with Robert.  Granted in 1958 when this film was in the theaters, my parents would not have allowed me to watch it anyway!  Most of you, were probably not even born by that time.  So, I watched the entire movie until the last two minutes, and the movie stopped and the annoying loading circle took over the screen.  It never finished loading.  If YOU haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want to take the time to watch it, the link above will give you a plot summary and a list of the buildings as well.  They changed the ending for European viewers.  The English particularly, weren’t as into murder as we were.  In the US, the murderer got by with it.  Yikes!  I’m moving to Europe before THAT happens! Oh, right that was almost 60 years ago.  Wake me up!

Robert is the #1 Vertigo/Kim Novak fan.  He had a signed picture from her.  No, he didn’t let us see the real one.  He made copies of everything.  Just like our other tour guide, he had a binder of pictures to show us while we stood in the wrong place listening to his story.  He held us spell bound over hill and dale for over two hours!

Robert told us she argued about the suit.  Sounds reasonable.

Robert told us she argued about the suit. Sounds reasonable to me.  Gray wasn’t her color. Copyright Paramount Pictures


We learned a wee bit about Grace Cathedral and Hitchcock, who, in one movie kidnapped a priest for effect.  A real priest, I don’t think so, but it made an awfully good story to start a tour.

I had a hard time keeping up with the group!  This spire popped into view after we passed the front of the church.

I had a hard time keeping up with the group! This spire popped into view after we passed the front of the church.

Robert told us a great story about the condo where Kim Novak and her husband lived, “The Brocklebank” at 1000 Mason Street on Nob Hill, but all the time he was talking I thought he was talking about the Fairmont Hotel, so I took more pictures of that and of the fog at the end of the street.  What I remember was Ms. Brocklebank, the woman who owned the hotel and had an apartment in it as well, was late on her payment, so they repossessed it.  In addition, since she lived there, they also repossessed all of her personal goods.  Now the rents there are fairly low for some of the renters.  Some of them have been there since the seventies price freezes.  Their rent is only about $1,200 a month.  Normal rent is between $5,000 and $14,000 a month!

The Hitchcock movies filmed in San Francisco created quite a bit of work for set makers, and videographers.  The few things that were filmed inside of actual buildings were done so for odd reasons like he liked the floor.  OK, that’s important!  Hitchcock recreated most of the buildings in a set so that the walls did not inhibit the videographers.  In one scene he hired the chef, and the extras ate real restaurant meals for 8 hours straight.  Then it was time for lunch!  🙂  My kind of job!  🙂

James Flood's Brownstone

This was one of the hotel rooms that Kim Novak entered.  This is one of the VERY few buildings left standing after the 1906 earthquake.

Here is another famous place to which Jimmy Stewart followed Kim Novak.  It’s been renamed and renovated now.  You might like to stay at the Vertigo Hotel.  Robert showed us pictures from his binder that looked like the picture I just copied from the internet.  The rates are all over the place – $79-$550 per night!  hmmm.  Our rooms were pretty small.  I think I’ll transfer.

"Argosy" Argonaut Book Shop

“Argosy” Argonaut Book Shop

The last place I’ll take you is the “Argosy” Bookstore which is really the Argonaut.  It wasn’t open when we were on our tour, so Jean and I went back the next day, and spent half the day there.  Amazingly, when we walked in the first book that caught my eye was a 1895 Atlas of TULARE COUNTY!  Now why in the world would a famous SF bookstore have a Tulare County atlas?  Well, they had just made a huge purchase from a Tulare County estate.  “Who was it?” I asked.

“Stan Barnes,”  answered the Bob Haines at Argonaut.  Stan Barnes is the man in Tulare County that was responsible for getting Tulare County Historical Society involved with Tulare County Office of Education History Day.  He passed away just before the Society named the first scholarship for $500 in his name this March.  We spent the next hour or more looking through much of Stan’s collection, and trying to find information on Bravo Lake.  What a bonus to our amazing Mother’s Day trip.

I hope you are all safe, and hope you enjoyed the tour.  🙂

35 replies »

  1. Great tour Marsha, thanks for taking me along on it. I have always want to do to San Francisco, but don’t fancy walking up and down the hills. I love the description of the nose almost hitting the ground.


    • Believe me my nose wasn’t far off that hill! 🙂 Great fun, though. The picture I posted yesterday on my tc history girl FB page is of that same tour, but I hadn’t included it. 🙂


    • I wouldn’t even try that. When I was barely 30 I rode a bike in Colorado Springs. A 15 minute car ride took me an hour and I was almost late to work, AND I thought I would die. The combination of hills and thin mountain air hit me hard.


    • Thank you so much. I’m afraid I have gotten behind on awards, but I do appreciate them SO much! They are like charms in a charm bracelet. Every one of them says to the world, “Somebody that I know loves me.” I don’t know about others, but I LOVE to be loved. Thanks again! 🙂


  2. Those storms have been hideous, Marsha…

    I love reading about Hitchcock and I worked with a lady called Kim Novak and our boss’s name was Paul Newman! LOL – people would always have a double-take when I introduced them 😀


  3. Oh no !! Two rabbits now !! My feet are worn out just reading about your walk in SF MVBF Marsha. Can we catch a cab next time ?? Ralph xox 😀
    (OK is on my mind)


    • ok MFR Actually I think I saw three rabbits, so maybe they have multiplied since you looked. I’m not sure. I’m still in the process of upgrading my blog to improve its appeal, AND make it reflect the overall me. Basically this is the blog into which I reflect and connect with my closest friends. I may eventually create other blogs, but this one has all of my interests as they come up each day. Oops, I promised you nonsense comments. This one was serious. Sorry! xox So if you want a shortcut, don’t read this comment. I’ll figure out a cab version in a minute. xoxox


      • Yes. Three. One hopping around near the top of the page. Wow. That was a serious reply MVBF Marsha, please don’t do it again as nonsense suits you. Ute is having withdrawal symptoms as Manny has been missing from your posts for a long time and I miss him too !! Cab reply coming up. Ralph xox 😀


      • I would welcome the chance to become your cab driver. I am very expensive and you may have to push the cab up the SF hills as it’s past its sell by date. A bit like me 😉 Ralph xox


        • Are you for sale, Ralph. Do you come with a warranty? Oh right, it’s past the date. Hmmm, do you stink? Usually I smell things. If they smell ok, then they’re good to go. 🙂 xox, but only if you don’t stink! 🙂


          • Could we do the transaction over the internet? We could SKYPE. Fortunately that’s the sense that doesn’t escape into the dim halls of the internet. Oh, right, how can I buy without smelling first. Sorry Ralph, I’m going to have to pass. How about if we just remain friends instead? xo 🙂


  4. The Oklahoma tornadoes indeed are very distressing…been in my thoughts. Fear more severe weather is brewing…

    The weather here has been stirred and tempestuous with strange storms churning through, one after another- came up suddenly yesterday (perhaps why I’ve been a bit…askew lately, for which I do apologise)- all too redolent of the far more severe tempests and tornadoes further north. Aye, many are in my present thoughts and prayers.

    Meanwhile, you have crafted a wonderful sanctuary of words and images in which to find some solace. I was all too excited when I read the word “Hitchcock”, and then even more so when I saw, “San Francisco”.

    My kind of place, SF. Fabulous entry that was thoroughly engrossing. Absolutely phenomenal photos! I admit the grey-suit joke evoked silly chortling, and your description of your 3-block mountain-climbing, I mean, walking up the street, was precious.

    P.S. I just love “Vertigo”, and Hitchcock is such a doll. Excellent entry.

    One last P.S.

    Is that Robert there in blue with those fantastic glasses? Fabulous look he has!


    Autumn Jade


    • That is Robert. He was an excellent guide. His enthusiasm for all things Hitchcock caused me to rent Vertigo immediately. Others will follow although it takes up all my internet usage to stream or download one video.


      • Just my kind of fellow. I adore Hitchcock!!! You are in for some grand fun!!! And I would have just loved to have been there for that tour. So happy I can imagine being there through your account, so thank you, TOO groovy. Cheers,

        Autumn Jade


          • I wonder! Perhas those nice two older ladies would not have minded a ride? One on me shoulders, other on me back, and away we go. Yes, that shoulds like fun. Oooo and perhaps a little earthquake could tremble a bit just for an extra challenge!

            I loved the hills in Dubuque, Iowa, but they were awfully too small. Here it is much tooo flat. I like giant hills, especially to bike up. YUS too FUN!!!


          • Yes, Autty, MUCH too small. These are real hills! You could shoulder Jean, she’s only about 5′ tall, but I’m sure I’m bigger than you are. Good try though miss petite grisly bear. 🙂


          • And P.S.

            Since all we are doing is blathering on and on incessantly about nothing but earthquakes, you might enjoy hearing a geologist Iain Stewart pontificate about them for a whole hour! Har har, if you are so inclined. Here you are:

            Ooo if you want to see a stunning BBC documentary sometime, visually astounding, you might enjoy “How Earth Made Us”. I believe the American title is “How Earth Made History”. Great joy to watch.

            Speaking of absolutely stunning documentaries, BBC’s “South Pacific” is absolutely gorgeous, you might want to imbibe of that one too sometime.

            Right, many cheers,

            Autumn Jade





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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