Hitchcock Thinks the Mission is SF's 'Skid Row'

Here’s the rather obscure Vertigo snippet that Roger Ebert alluded to yesterday. So there you have it, in 1958 the Mission was considered “Skid Row”. Either that, or Hitchcock was a total wuss. In any case, we’re renaming the blog to “Skid Row Skid Row”.

Mock Duck posted a higher quality .mov of it in the original thread.


Ebert Thinks the Mission is SF’s ‘Skid Row’

12 Responses to “Hitchcock Thinks the Mission is SF's 'Skid Row'”

  1. diethylether says:

    Hardly an obscure scene or quote.

  2. M.A.C. says:

    well the Mission used to be mainly Irish, no? There you fuckin’ go…

  3. glenparker says:

    Yea, if it was 1958 then the Mission would have been full of blue-collar Irish. And just like today it wouldn’t have been hard to find passed out drunks and cheap hotels.

  4. Neo Displacer says:

    I caution against the thought that Hitchcock was an expert on San Francisco neighborhoods. He probably made the stuff up while sitting in LA.

  5. Mish Chick says:

    It is my understanding that SoMA was actually considered to be SF’s Skid Row at the time that Vertigo was filmed. But the address Gavin Elster gives Scottie in the movie is actually on the water (not in the Mission), since he’s a ship builder. Perhaps Central Waterfront or Hunters Point. So yeah, I agree that Hitchcock was a bit confused, but maybe more so than originally thought.

    • thepreyingpanther says:

      At the time Vertigo was filmed, there was no such thing as “SoMa”, it was just called the “Mission”.

      Thank you for being a student of San Francisco History 101.

  6. johnny0 says:

    Don’t forget SoMa was called “South of the Slot” at the turn of the century and I’m guessing until at least after WWI. Even though it burned to the ground it still remained industrial with warehouses.

    I’m suspicious of the claim that it too was called the Mission.

    Remember also that “a Mission number” would have been an old telephone exchange, e.g. MIssion 84101. Those are number that begin with “64″ today, like Shotwells – 648-4101. That exchange wouldn’t have been used in what we now call SoMa.

    A quick search of Dogpatch show numerous 64/MI numbers, so the shipyard theory looks good.

    My favorite though is still the 28/BU exchange, called BUtchertown.

  7. alex hyde says:

    I lived at the corner of 16th and valencia in 1974 it was definitely “skid rowish” back then.

  8. John A says:

    In the same movie they pronounce Gough as ‘gow’. So I’m thinking Hitchcock, genius though he was, was working with non-experts on how to use/refer to locales.

    Yet, I completely believe that parts of the Mission were considered pretty rough and undesireable — although ‘Skid Row’ was officially in SOMA, specifically down Third Street.

  9. Mark says:

    Everything was better in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Everything.

  10. laffer says:

    computers and cell phones sucked back then.

  11. i just need another 40 ouncer