Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The House Across The Bay - At The Airport

Then ...  Tim's idea of a date with Brenda is to to take her to a local airport.  They drive onto the tarmac between two hangars.

     In the storyline this scene was set in the Bay Area but it was filmed at Clover Field in Southern California at what is now Santa Monica Airport.  Here's an early 1930s vintage photo of Clover Field; at that time there were just three hangars - the one on the left was the first to be built.  The arrow shows the path of Tim's car in the movie.

    By 1940 a much larger hangar had been added alongside the first three as well as the sprawling Douglas Aircraft plant next to it at 3000 Ocean Park Boulevard.  The path taken by Tim's car is again marked, on the left.  Douglas Aircraft Company became a major defense contractor during WW II employing 44,000 working 3 shifts seven days a week.


    Brenda is about to find out there's more to Tim than she knew - it turns out he's an ace aircraft designer for the Crane Aviation Company.  They pull up and look skyward where a test pilot barrels Tim's latest experimental plane through its paces. 


Then ...  The plane lands and taxis up to them - the pilot is effusive in his praise.  The Douglas plant is In the background at left and the structure in the center is the large hangar seen in the photo (two above) next to the plant.  Douglas Aircraft's original Clover Field hangar is on the right.

    Here's another aerial photo of the airfield, taken in 1940, with a good view of the buildings seen above.  The arrow points to another plane which happened to be parked near the same spot as Tim's was.

... and Now ...  the same site today, alongside Santa Monica airport.  The newer, longer runway was built on the golf course seen in the lower foreground above.  The Douglas plant and hangars have since been torn down, replaced by business parks; the arrow points approximately to where the location above was.  The Sunset Park neighborhood of single family homes surrounding the airport mostly sprung up during WW II to house the Douglas Aircraft workers.


    Tim persuades a very nervous Brenda to climb into the aircraft with him for what will be her first ever plane ride.  "Contact!", he calls and the propeller is cranked.  Looking at this slick flying machine makes it hard to believe that heavier-than-air machine flight began only 36 years earlier.

    The aircraft in the movie was a Phillips Aeroneer.  This 1940 photo taken while it was in the Bay Area for the filming was at the San Francisco Bay Airdrome, an east bay airfield that used to be next to where Alameda Naval Air Station is now.  The tail is marked with its identification number NX16075 but also sports 'Crane Aviation Co. XPT', its name in the movie (check it out above).  By this time the aircraft had been bought by MGM studios who featured it in many movies, usually using renowned stunt pilot Paul Mantz, who flew it in this movie. (Photo by William T. Larkins).


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