44 Montgomery Street. Detail
|Herbie, the magical
white Volkswagen, hides from owner Jim Douglas near the Pacific
Stock Exchange when the little car runs away from home after being thrown
over for a red Lamborghini. The moody Love Bug also goes for a suicide
try by driving off the Golden Gate Bridge in Disney's 1968 slapstick classic
directed by Robert Stevenson. He doesn't quite make it over the side, but
San Franciscans will note that Herbie tries to end it all on the western
side of the bridge. The eastern side faces the City and is preferred by
the vast majority of Golden Gate suicide jumpers. Telegraph Hill resident
Douglas (Dean Jones) is a race car driver whose career is flagging until
the car with a mind of its own comes into his life along with Michelle Lee
as a Van Ness Avenue car dealer. The rear screen projection special effects
are dated, of course, but The Love Bug makes for a kind retro, non mean
spirited fun that younger kids might actually enjoy if given the chance.
The window washing mayhem building is 44 Montgomery Street. Some authentic
San Francisco details: You can actually hear the grip engage the cable as
a cable car crests Hyde Street. When bad guy Peter Thorndyke wants to sabotage
Herbie, he gets the car drunk on Irish coffee.
Stevenson's 1974 sequel, Herbie Rides Again, is also set in San Francisco. Other sequels, set in various locales, have followed through the decades. The detail photos show a latter day Herbie that was offered for sale on Ebay in 2003.
Copyright 2002 Hank Donat