Harold And Maude - Demolition
Maude wants to know what Harold does when he isn't visiting funerals? Cut to a construction site where a wrecking ball is demolishing a building; They watch intently from a balcony across the way.
But where was this filmed? The only skimpy clue that may still be around is that house on the right; CitySleuth has yet to find the location and appeals to his readers for help ...
Then ... They move on to a scrapyard, fascinated by the clattering sounds of recycling at work. In this view from the crane's cab there's a message emblazoned on the hillside in the distance proudly proclaiming 'South San Francisco - The Industrial City'. It enabled this location to be pinpointed.
... and Now, here's that site today, a bare lot next to Exelixis, a genomics company seen on the right at 170 Harbor Way in South San Francisco. This map shows its location with a red marker and, in blue, the hillside sign location, on the aptly named Sign Hill just below Sign Hill Park. If you compare these Then and Now images closely you can match up some of the pylons of the PG&E substation across Gateway Boulevard.
This recently taken aerial photograph gives us a closer look at the Sign Hill slogan. First appearing in 1923, the letters were made permanent in 1929 using gunite, a new material back then, now widely used for forming swimming pools. Cleverly, to compensate for hillside changes in slope, the letter heights vary so that from ground level perspective they appear the same. The city of South San Francisco has morphed over the last century from heavy to light industry, in particular establishing itself as a biotechnology center.
Then ... Back to the scrapyard; this time the camera looks in the opposite direction across Harbor Way.
... and Now, from the same spot today we see a covered bridge crossing Harbor Way, linking two Exelixis buildings.
Then ... But rather than witnessing things being destroyed Maude's preference is watching things grow. In a greenhouse she explains to Harold how the plants represent an affirmation of life - the gospel according to Maude, one might say.
CitySleuth came across an unconfirmed claim that this was filmed at the Avansino-Mortensen Nursery in San Bruno (this map shows where it was). If so, it would have been one of the cluster of greenhouses seen in this c. 1950 aerial photo of the nursery in its prime. Sneath Lane separates the greenhouses from the Golden Gate National Cemetery on the right and across El Camino Real along the bottom that's the Tanforan horse-racing track. Its grandstand is partially visible on the left.
... and Now, two new freeways meeting at the 280/380 interchange now dominate this same aerial view. The nursery served the Bay Area's flower market for 45 years from 1929 until it was dismantled in the 1970s. Tanforan racetrack, opened in 1899, was replaced by a shopping mall in 1971.