Play It Again, Sam - Fearful
Over coffee Allan cannot stop thinking about his affair. He rationalizes that Dick is sophisticated enough to accept that his wife might fall in love with his best friend…
Other than the smiley face poster, (does it read ‘Chuckburger’?) there aren’t enough clues here to figure out where this cafe was.
Then … But then, alarmed, he worries that Dick might be driven to suicide once he finds out, imagining him marching to his demise into the swirling surf at Ocean Beach at the westernmost edge of the city (map)…
… and Now, the tide is out in this recent view looking south from near the Cliff House. (That’s one of Golden Gate Park’s windmills on the left).
Then … But wait, it could be worse … perhaps it will be Allan’s life at risk - the sight of an Italian movie poster prompts him to imagine an enraged Dick on a vendetta.
… a vintage photo, he was passing the Palace Theater, opposite Washington Square park at the junction of Columbus and Powell in North Beach (map). This is an image of how it looked when the movie was filmed at which time it was also showing Chinese movies and was known as the Pagoda Palace.
After being closed for years the theater was demolished in 2013 when it was deemed the ideal spot to extract the two boring machines that had dug the twin Central Subway tunnels extending the T-Third Street line from near the Giant’s ballpark 1.7 miles north into Chinatown. (Read more about that here). The photo below captures a piece of one of them being hoisted from the retrieval shaft in 2014 at the old theater site. (Watch a time-lapse video of both machines being removed here).
… and Now, a new retail/condominium structure has been built on the site retaining the blade sign as a reminder of its historic past.
Then … Allan pictures himself as a bakery worker being attacked by fellow worker Dick, first amusingly with bread dough then, more seriously, with a knife. Behind him there’s a turn-of-the -century Italian baking oven, a clue as to the location.
CitySleuth is often asked how he finds a location. His search for this one is but one example, involving many dead ends but at each one finding a further lead to pursue.
In the 1970s the North Beach neighborhood was home to a host of bakeries, a good place to start looking. CitySleuth visited them all: the Liguria Bakery at 1700 Stockton is still there but their oven doesn’t match this one; Danilo’s at 516 Green, now Baonecci’s, also still has its oven but again, different; the Italian-Swiss Bakery, most recently Sylvia’s Pastry, at 1501 Grant was gutted just weeks ago and its oven removed but an unearthed vintage photo showed it also to be different. CitySleuth spoke to the owner of the Victoria Pastry Co. that back then was at Stockton and Vallejo but he ruled it out as the place. The store at 1351 Grant that once housed Figoni Hardware still has ovens downstairs, unused for decades, but they don’t match either. Finally, a hot lead: at the venerable Gino and Carlo bar the owner pointed CitySleuth across the street to where Cuneo Bakery used to be.
… and Now, the Cuneo Bakery site was at 523 Green Street; it’s now a Copy Center and sadly its old ovens are no longer there. CitySleuth was referred to Mark Sodini, owner of Sodini’s Restaurant across the street who used to work at the bakery. He confirmed that the movie scene was filmed at Cuneo; what’s more, he was upstairs in the building while the scene was being shot downstairs. Cuneo Bakery relocated years ago to South San Francisco where it continues as a wholesale business. The current co-owner Wendy Mallegni is the daughter of the family who owned and operated the North Beach site and she too confirmed that the scene was filmed here at 523 Green.
With the movie oven gone a matching photo isn’t possible but the extant example across the street in the basement of Baonecci’s at 516 Green is very similar, possiby the same manufacturer, and is offered here as consolation. Compare it to the ‘Then’ image above.