Event: “Shot in San Francisco”.  Curator Pete Gowdy and Oddball Films present an evening of vintage 16mm films focused on our beautiful city by the ba


Event: “Shot in San Francisco”.  Curator Pete Gowdy and Oddball Films present an evening of vintage 16mm films focused on our beautiful city by the bay. Long lost sights and sounds, some amazingly well preserved, and everywhere parents and grandparents in their prime. Highlights include: San Francisco: Queen of the West (1947), a stunning Kodachrome tour of the city circa 1947; San Francisco’s Ageless Cable Cars (circa 1950), another beautiful Kodachrome documentary focused on the iconic cable car; Blackie, Wonder Horse, Swims Golden Gate (1938), very rare newsreel of the amazing feat by Blackie- all for a lump of sugar!; Black Sabbath Parade (1970), what other town would throw a parade for Black Sabbath?; 1970’s News Outtakes, featuring some outrageous nightclub scenes and Mission District lowriders; A Boy Creates, a charming educational film shot on location at Playland At The Beach (RIP) and the Emeryville Mudflats; plus one-of-a-kind Jefferson Airplane clip, Tony Bennett and Judy Garland and drag legend Charles Pierce. Wear some flowers, leave your heart, and open your Golden Gate!!
Date: Friday, May 7, 2010 at 8:30PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or info@oddballfilm.com
Web: Printable PDF


Highlights Include:


Queens in the West

San Francisco: Queen of the West (Color, 1947)

Lost San Francisco in stunning color- this post-war travelogue covers all the sights our fair city is famous for; some is remarkably the same, others lost to history. Notable shots include Chinatown’s own telephone exchange and the colossal neon nightlife Babylon.


Climbing halfway to the stars...

San Francisco’s Ageless Cable Cars (Color, circa 1950)
Well made documentary covering all aspects of our iconic people movers, in beautiful Kodachrome color! Traces the history of the cable car system, including their near total loss, how it all works and incredible pre-earthquake point-of-view footage riding down Market Street towards the Ferry Building as hundreds of people, cars and carts cross and scatter in the lively halcyon days of the city.


Shorty sat in the back with a sugar lump to tempt Blackie!

Blackie, Wonder Horse, Swims Golden Gate (B+W, 1938)
Astounding newsreel shot October 1, 1938 of a horse named Blackie as he makes history in San Francisco Bay by swimming from the Marin County side to San Francisco's Crissy Field.
In late September 1938, Bill Kyne, of the Bay Meadows race track, was at Roberts-at-the-Beach (Great Highway at Rivera) and said to Shorty Roberts that horses could not swim. Shorty's response was that his horse Blackie could swim across the Golden Gate. Kyne initially wagered $5,000 that this could not be done. The final wager was $1,000, and the plan was for 12-year-old Blackie to swim from Lime Point in Marin County to San Francisco.
Shorty accompanied the horse on the swim. According to Al, there were no wetsuits, so Shorty covered his body with grease. In addition, Shorty couldn't swim. He wore a life preserver and held onto Blackie's tail.
The swim took 23 minutes and 15 seconds---an hour less than it had taken an Olympic swimmer. When Blackie and Shorty arrived in SF, the SPCA was waiting, but admitted that Shorty looked much worse than the horse and didn't cite him. Shorty always insisted that the horse loved swimming in the bay. In fact, when the two reached land, oats and hay were waiting for Blackie, but he turned around and began to head back toward the water. The evening after the swim, Roberts-at-the-Beach had a huge party to celebrate Blackie's accomplishment. (Description via Outsidelands.org)


Magic on the Embarcadero

Black Sabbath Parade (Color, 1970)
One-of-a-kind footage of a pre-gay pride parade welcoming Black Sabbath to San Francisco. Full freak flags were flying for this Embarcadero parade- trannies, hippy busses, weird floats- all in honor of future reality TV show star Ozzy Osborne and the Sabbath.

It's every British band's dream to play the States. When we got there finally, we fucked as many groupies as we could. In San Francisco, they even had a Black Sabbath parade! Coming from Birmingham, England, where the fuckin' sun never shines, it was magic to us. – Ozzy Osbourne


1970’s News Outtakes (Color, late 1970’s)
Shot for a local television station, some outrageous clips documenting the “poppers” nightclub scene- amyl nitrate inhalers that were in wide use at the time- strippers, Village People look-alikes, and Mission Street lowriders!

jefferson airplane

Jefferson Airplane/Golden Gate Park (B+W, 1967)
Unique, unknown silent amateur footage of the Jefferson Airplane performing and some appropriately trippy Golden Gate Park experimentation!


A Boy Creates (Dir. Bert Van Bork, Color, 1971)
Sweet kids film made by the masterful, prolific educational filmmaker Bert Van Bork of a boy who admires the clowns and other figures (including Laughing Sal) at SF’s Playland at the Beach (closed and leveled in 1972), then collects junk and builds figures along the Emeryville mudflats (where the famous scene takes place in Harold and Maude and still visible today as you drive along Highway 80).

PLUS- a rare Tony Bennett and Judy Garland duet of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, drag legend Charles Pierce singing “San Francisco”, and… Carol Doda in her prime!!!

charles pierce

Charles Pierce


Carol Doda

bennet garland

Tony & Judy


Curator Biography
Pete Gowdy (aka DJ Chas Gaudi) is host of San Francisco’s Shellac Shack, a weekly 78 rpm listening party and a DJ specializing in vintage sounds: soul, jazz, country, punk and new wave. A graduate of the Vassar College Film Program, he is an associate producer of Marc Huestis Presents, the long-running movie legend tributes at the Castro Theatre.

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.  
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educationals, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.