Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Days of Wine and Roses - Oil Field

  Joe's drinking habits have not gone unnoticed at his office.  He is demoted to a smaller account and, worse, the customer is in Houston requiring lots of visits away from home.

Then ...  He meets with his clients amongst a forest of derricks.

... in 1930 ...  It's highly unlikely the director flew his leading man to Houston to shoot this scene.  Why should he when there were lots of oil fields in and around Los Angeles?  CitySleuth postulates that the scene was either filmed at the Signal Hill oil field at Long Beach (map), or a photo backdrop of Signal Hill was used in a studio setup.  The photo below shows Signal Hill in the 1930s covered with derricks.  The site was still producing when the movie was filmed.

... and Now,  Signal Hill was originally so-named by early Spanish settlers because of the local Indians' use of the 365 foot hilltop to send smoke signals.  After oil was discovered in 1921 Signal Hill, completely surrounded by the city of Long Beach, incorporated to minimize oil revenue taxes and by 1980 up to 300 wells had produced 900 million barrels of oil.  With its oil field mostly depleted it is now a residential and commercial town.  There are still some producing wells dotted around; two nodding donkeys are seen below outside Curley's, the venerable cafe at 1999 E. Willow Street near Cherry that has been serving oilmen since 1932.

... and Now,  a solitary reminder of the past stands at E. 27th and N. Olive Avenue.

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