Monday, August 29, 2011

It Came From Beneath the the Shipyard

Even by today's standards, the cinematic trickery of "It Came From Beneath The Sea," which shows Hunters Point Shipyard and other sites on the San Francisco waterfront roughly handled by a gargantuan sea monster, is convincing.

Bayview Hunters Point residents and others with a fondness for the eastern waterfront, will find this four minute sampler of the science fiction classic fascinating.

The film documents as much by what is left out. Nearly 50 years after the Great Earthquake and Fire, old buildings are few and far between. The crowds filmed fleeing the beast include few women and people of color when, in fact, 1955 was the year that women accounted for 35% of the total workforce, and Dorothy Dandridge became the first African-American to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.

See a great timeline of African-American's in film highlights.

Still, the film that once thrilled kids at the Chiller Dillers, a scary movie series at the single screen theater on the east side of 3rd between and Quesada and Palou, now serves as important visual documentation of life in our part of the Bay nearly 50 years ago.

One question remains: How did the Ferry Building clock tower get restored after the devastation wrought by giant tentacles?!

See a bit of the later colorized version of "It Came From Beneath the Sea" here. Ray Harryhausen, the creative genius behind the stop gap animation-fueled black and white original, helped create it.

- Jeffrey Betcher

Enjoy lots more about the history of BVHP.

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