Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Laughing Policeman - Porno Theatre

  Jake visits a porno theater to question the manager about his brother, an ex-San Quentin inmate, one of the bus victims.  A long shot, but Jake was hoping the connection might shed light on the massacre.

    The theatre scenes were filmed at the New Follies Theatre at 2961 16th Street in San Francisco's Mission District (map), seen here in 1968 as it must have looked when the movie was made.  (Note an earlier name, the Victoria, on the side wall).

... and Now,  The theatre is still in operation, below, but in 1979 it reverted to its earlier name, the Victoria Theatre.  The theatre first opened in 1908 as Brown's Opera House featuring G-rated vaudeville but when The Laughing Policeman was filmed it was offering R-rated burlesque entertainment.  Its longevity makes it the oldest operating theatre in the city.

 

Then ...  By way of introduction Jake flashes his SFPD badge to the sassy lady in the ticket booth.

... and Now,  from the same booth today, a daytime view across 16th Street.

 

Then ...  He heads up the stairs in the lobby but is taken aback to see his teenage son entering the theatre.

... and Now,  other than the snack counter and new paint the lobby has hardly changed.

 

Then ...  We have come to realize that Jake never cracks a smile but he's understandably less than amused to witness his son and a smattering of others enjoying an eyeful.

... and Now,  the seats have been replaced but there's still a firehose on the side wall.

 

Then ...  Backstage, the theatre manager gives Jake lip for being questioned about his murdered brother but more importantly is unable to provide useful information.  Yet another dead-end lead.

... and Now,  this is the basement dressing room area where today a concrete pillar has been added against the wall on the right to add seismic stability.

 

Then ...  On the way out the last thing he wants to do is listen to a Hare Krishna pitch.  The tiled ticket booth adds color, style and the street number, 2961, to the exterior.  This view looks west along 16th from Capp Street.

... and Now,  it's always good to see time stand still in these Then and Now comparisons.  OK, so the last digit of the street number is missing.

    A chicken and egg question ...  which came first, the floor tiles or the ticket booth?

 

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