An alternative journey through SAN FRANCISCO seen from the perspective of DIRTY HARRY filming locations

Roaring 20’s Club

552 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

SCENE SYNOPSIS:

The famous row of San Francisco strip clubs – Condor Club, Big Al’s, Roaring 20’s, Hungry i Club – located between 545-560 Broadway Street feature in Dirty Harry in two separate scenes.

First, early on in the film immediately after Scorpio’s escape from the Dante Building rooftop, Callahan and Chico are seen cruising west along Broadway on the lookout for the sniper.

Chico:  “What I don’t understand is how the helicopter boys lost him.” Callahan: “They were probably talking instead of looking like the were supposed to.” The camera pans past the clubs; Callahan and Chico then turn right at Columbus and the camera focuses on the Condor Club on the corner of Broadway & Columbus.

The second scene occurs much later and is actually shot inside the Roaring 20s club itself. Callahan’s “violation of the suspect’s rights” during the Kezar Stadium arrest results in Scorpio’s release despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Contrary to orders from his superiors, Callahan follows Scorpio in his own time, which leads him to the Roaring 20’s. Here, shrouded in a seedy red haze, we see the nut sitting by the bar getting spooked by Callahan’s presence. Scorpio stands up, downs his shot, and leaves. Callahan follows but when he gets outside Scorpio has already vanished (he slips away up a side street – Romolo Place – just around the corner).

Scene-shot (00:22:55): 546-560 Broadway Street – the ROARING 20’s and BIG AL’S strip clubs seen from Callahan and Chico’s patrol car as they head west along Broadway Street. This scene from 1971 differs very little to how it looks in 2010 (see photos).

STATE OF PLAY TODAY:

All four clubs seen in Dirty Harry are all still in existence today – and all four have kept their original names. Their location, the corner of Broadway & Columbus, is only a short walk from Washington Square heading south along Columbus.

In fact the clubs seemed to have changed little in forty years, except, of course, for the flow of girls who have come and gone.

The manager of the Roaring 20’s, fully aware of the role his club played in Dirty Harry, kindly granted me access to take some interior photos before public opening hours. I also chatted to one of the girls before her afternoon (12pm) shift started. Calling herself “Gypsy” she knew all about the club’s famous cult status. Good one.

Scene-shot (00:23:10): “There goes another satisfied customer”. The Condor Club in 1971 as seen when Callahan and Chico, heading west along Broadway, swing right at Columbus. The club is still in business today at the corner of Broadway & Columbus. Notice the arched brickwork around the windows.

Scene-shot (01:13:22): Scorpio (left) at the bar in the ROARING 20’s nervously observing Callahan observing him!

Scene-shot (01:13:25): Cool, calm and collected Callahan sips a drink by the lap/pole dancing podium with one eye fixed on Scorpio.

Scene-shot (01:13:50): Spooked by Callahan’s presence Scorpio (back to camera) makes a sharp exit out of the Roaring 20’s. Note how Callahan, sitting by the stage facing the girls, does not look up.

Scene-shot (01:14:09): When Scorpio departs the Roaring 20’s Callahan is quick to follow. Here we seen Callahan exiting through the right door. By the time he gets outside Scorpio has vanished. Moments earlier we also see Scorpio exit the club through the right door (see photos).

Scene-shot (00:23:25): “These loonies, they ought to throw a net over the whole bunch of ’em” – Callahan suggests how to make policing San Franciscos streets less demanding.

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One response

  1. Kevin Nawotka

    This Hungry i is NOT the club famous in the 50s and 60s for singers and comedians That one was on 599 Jackson Street. In the late 60s, the owner sold that business and sold the name to this establishment.

    February 25, 2014 at 23:52

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