Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Our Third Day In California
On the third day of our vacation Jenny and Kyle took us to Bodega Bay, CA.
Bodega Bay is in Sonoma county, CA on State Route 1, and is on the eastern side of Bodega Harbor, an inlet of Bodega Bay on the Pacific coast. The town lies on the edge of Bodega Harbor. Bodega Bay itself extends south along the coast to Tomales Bay. North of town lies a long coastal exposure of rock outcrops and beaches known as Sonoma Coast State Beach.
You can see the town across the water.
It is the location of scenes in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed film, The Birds (1963) and the cult horror movie Puppet Master (1989).
The ancient Potter School had already been condemned and abandoned as a schoolhouse when Hitchcock discovered it in Bodega. Film crews shored up and rebuilt it for the filming. The schoolhouse is a private residence now, though it has been used as a bed and breakfast in the intervening years.
The Birds is loosely based on a 1952 novella by Daphne du Maurier. Bodega Bay, suddenly becomes a magnet for thousands of ordinary birds who begin a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days. The film features the screen debut of Tippi Hedren, a former model. Hitchcock originally wanted Grace Kelly to play the lead but she had retired from acting when she married Prince Rainier in 1956. It also starred Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, and Veronica Cartwright.
Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a young socialite, meets lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco bird shop. He wants to purchase a pair of lovebirds for his sister's eleventh birthday, but the shop has none. She finds a pair of lovebirds, and drives to Bodega Bay to deliver them to him. She secretly deposits the birdcage inside his mother's house, with a note but Mitch spots her and manages to talk to her after she is attacked and injured by a seagull. He invites her to dinner, and she agrees. As the birds begin to gather and more attacks happen, Melanie develops relationships with Mitch, his sister, mother, and ex-lover. Bodega Bay is filled with an onslaught of seemingly unexplained, arbitrary and chaotic attacks of ordinary birds - not birds of prey. The main inspiration for the film's bird attacks came from mysterious, real-life avian deaths that occurred in 1961. Thousands of disoriented seagulls suicidally flew into houses along the Monterey Bay coast line. Scientists at LSU finally decided the deaths happened because the birds had been poisoned by a nerve-damaging toxin called domoic acid. They discovered that toxin-making algae was present in 79% of the plankton that they ate. The acid caused brain damage causing confusion, dizzyness and seizures. The acid had possibly come from leaky domestic septic tanks or from farm fertilizers. Paralleling the bird mania is the three needy women (literally 'birds') and a fourth girl. The women and girl are flocking around and vying for attention and affection from the sole, emotionally-cold male. The fragile tensions, anxieties and unpredictable relations between them are reflected in the action of the birds. The attacks also mysteriously relate to the mother/son relationship - anger, fears of abandonment, lonely, jealousy initially comes from the hostile mother when her single son introduces an attractive young woman into the household and into their lives.
The Tides Wharf Restaurant and parking lot in Bodega Bay were used for the gas station, cafe and boat dock scenes. (The gas station was blown up on a studio lot.) The Tides complex has been expanded and remodeled several times since then. When the 1960's owner of The Tides, Mitch Zankich, allowed Hitchcock to use the restaurant in “The Birds” he made three stipulations: the town in the movie would be called “Bodega Bay;” the male lead played by Rod Taylor would be named “Mitch;” and Zankich would receive a “speaking part.” If you're listening at the right moment, you can here him say those immortal words: “What happened, Mitch?”
We had lunch at The Tides Restaurant on our third day in California.
We went and parked at the parking lot. To the right of the parking lot is the trail down to the beach. But we took the trail to the left first and went up on the cliffs.
A sea lion frolicking in the bay.
Then we headed down to the beach to let the children run and play for awhile before we started back.
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