Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Petulia - Topless Club

    Petulia claims she has fallen and broken her rib but Archie doubts that it was caused by an accident.  He asks his friend Barney (Arthur Hill), also a doctor, to take a look at her.  Barney suggests lunch to discuss what he found and they meet at a topless club, newly popular back then after Carol Doda had blazed the trail in North Beach four years earlier.  Below, Archie enters the club and makes his way past a long bar.

 

    But where was this club?  Citysleuth has been looking in vain for it for two years then - serendipity! - he came across it in another movie, revealing the location.  The club was Varni's Roaring Twenties at 807 Montgomery Street near Jackson, long since closed down.

In 1964 ...  This vintage photo shows how the Roaring 20s looked back then.  Note the stained glass circular window on each side of the entrance and the friezes above them displaying a girl on a swing, a novel feature of the club.

... and Now,  807 Montgomery today (below), now houses law offices.  (Incidentally, it's on the same block as Ernie's Restaurant of Vertigo fame  - see that here).

 

Then ...  Archie joins Barney at his table - the long bar can be seen behind them to the right and, beyond Barney, one of those stained glass windows.  Note the girl swinging behind them in an open well space above the exposed basement level and note too the chandelier encircled by light bulbs in front of her.

... and Now,  taken from the same spot on the ground floor of the building looking towards the entrance, the photo below shows an interior made over into office space.  In particular the open well has been floored over and a row of offices added along the wall on the right where the bar used to be. 

From another movie ...  Amazingly a scene was filmed six years earlier in the 1962 San Francisco movie Experiment In Terror from the exact same spot.  Here it is, with the swinging girls and a view of that stained glass circular window.  The same chandelier is also there. 

 

    And, on a nostalgia note, here's a matchbox cover from the club with, naturally, the ubiquitous girl on a swing.

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