Silver Screen: The Birds

 

By Carla Charter

BODEGA/BODEGA BAY, CA.- Everyone loves a good scare once in a while.  Those who are in charge of creating the best scares in books and film are well known in history. Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley Stephen King and others.  Then there is Hitchcock. From Psycho to Rear Window, if Hitchcock’s name is associated with a project, viewers know, there is going to be a scare involved.    This included his movie The Birds, where he soon had fans eyeing this innocent creature a little differently when they went out the door in the morning. “More than 50 years later people are still crazy about that film, according to Robin Rudderow, Archivist of the Rancho Bodega Historical Society

Among his movies is The Birds which was actually filmed in two different towns, Bodega and Bodega Bay.  “Hitchcock had done a movie in Santa Rosa quite some time before and he was familiar with the area. He sent scouts out to investigate potential locations looking for a coastal village and settled on this one.    People agreed to the filming providing real name of the town was used, which Hitchcock agreed to, she said.

Several locations from the film can still be seen today in the area.  The schoolhouse depicted in the film, which is now a private residence, is located in Bodega Bay.  Suzanne Pleshette’s house next to the school was never a house but only a façade. The church is also still in existence nearby.

The hill the children run down however is Taylor Street, which is located in Bodega.  Rudderow said that to this day people reenact that scene on that hill.

The children in the schoolhouse scene were all local children. The clothes they wore were purchased by the movie studio. This was so if the studio need to get extra shots of the children they could put them in the same clothes they were wearing.

Among the properties used in the film was one which belonged to of Rose Gaffney.  “When the representatives told her Alfred Hitchcock wanted to use her land to film a movie she reportedly replied “Who is Alfred Hitchcock?” Rudderow said.

The Tide Restaurant shown in the movie, still exists, although it has been rebuilt several times due to fires.  The nearby dock too, although with a different decking, can still be walked on as well..

Bodega Bay is formed by a finger of land that curves and it is known as Bodega head, the farmhouse depicted out on the head was also a façade. The gazebo near this house in the movie is now at a wedding and event place called the Secret Gardens. The actual road from the farmhouse was constructed for the movie.

This location is now the Marine Biology Lab for the University of California. Next to the housing and conference facility on the right-hand side you can see the same Cypress Trees that you see near the farmhouse in the movie.

When Tippi Hedren is driving and you see an overview of the bay that is actually Bay Hill Road, which is an actual road that bypasses the town, Rudderow said. More information on The Birds and Bodeaga Bay can be found at http://www.bodegabay.com/the-birds/  Photographs related to The Birds can be found through the  Sonoma County Library’s Heritage Collections http://heritage.sonomalibrary.org/digital/ Simply type in The Birds as your search subject.

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