San Francisco in Cinema: Herbie the Love Bug
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.

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