Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

The Laughing Policeman - A Tip From The Angels

    Leads are few and far between in this case but an arrested drug dealer anxious to soften his sentence on a third strike passes on the name of the bus victim who had lured Jake's partner onto the massacre bus - a Gus Niles who sported a distinctive eagle tattoo.  But they still don't know who the bus killer was and their search for someone who might have been asking around for an automatic weapon, aka "grease gun', takes them to another quid pro quo meeting at a Hell's Angels hangout, known to the police as a source of weapons.

Then ... Driving up Texas Street they breast 19th Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood (map).  The city glitters in the background and in the center of this view the 6th Street and King Street exits mark the end of the incoming 280 freeway.

... and Now,  the freeway is almost hidden by one of the many Lower Potrero Hill projects currently under construction.

... recently ...  in 2014 the freeway from here was still clearly visible, a closer match to the movie view above.


Then ...  one of the bikers glances this way and that and, the coast being clear, beckons them in.

... and Now,  this is 605 Texas Street, a couple of blocks south of the top of the hill above (map).  Other than the added security gate on the front door it still looks the same.


Then ... a short passage leads them into the living room where a picture of a scantily clad female reclining on a Harley catches Larsen's eye.  Always the ladies man.

... and Now,  Déjà vu!  CitySleuth is nothing if not nostalgic and was delighted to find the room to be completely unchanged, including the built-in storage area.


Then ... the biker grabs a bottle of liquor from the kitchen to add lubrication to the negotiations.

... and Now,  the current owner had heard about the filming when buying the house two years after the movie came out and told CitySleuth that the kitchen remained exactly as above for another thirty years until it was remodeled into this current layout.


Then ... The visit wasn't a complete waste - the Angels tell them that prior to the bus massacre someone with an eagle tattoo had been around looking for a grease gun.  The detectives leave and, in this shot of them reversing out, the background reveals three of the adjacent houses.

... and Now,  those houses too have seen little change in over forty years.


Then ... They head back the way they came, up Texas Street.

... and Now,  as they leave Larsen reflects on what they have just learned... "Terrific... our John Doe now has a name, Gus Niles.  Now we know that Gus Niles was looking for a grease gun.  We also know that he was a victim on the bus, shot by a grease gun.  Now that ain't complicated at all is it?"


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