San Francisco, in Color, in the 1940s
December 11, 2012
The GLBT Historical Society has a video on YouTube showing nine minutes of San Francisco scenes filmed by “gay filmmaker Harold T. O’Neal.” It opens with great night shots of Chinatown, then skips around the city before settling on a two-minute sequence on Market Street starting around five minutes in. That’s followed by a minute of cable car footage, including rare film of the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line, which disappeared in 1954. All well worth a look.
They say the film was made in 1940, and some of the shots seem to date from about that year. However, the navy ships shown, as well as some of the transit scenes, are clearly later than that. Specifically, scenes of old Market Street Railway streetcars on Market painted over to hide their patented “White Fronts”, and Powell Street cable cars in Muni livery, make those scenes no earlier than 1945. So the film is probably a compilation of shots taken at various times. Thanks to the GLBT Historical Society for preserving it, and to one of our readers, Chiu, for pointing it out to us.