Fascinating memorabilia from 132 years of the Bay Area’s film history comes to the Old Mint this week in “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: San Francisco and the Movies.”
The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society made great efforts to pull together reels, photographs, posters, vintage cameras and props — many from private collections — for a brief exhibit period, just nine days.
The show is titled after a collection of paintings by Kim Novak, who will receive the San Francisco Cinematic Icon Award on Thursday at “Standing Ovations,” a historical society gala fundraiser.
The Bay Area attracted filmmakers as early as the end of the 19th century, for its weather, scenery and homegrown industry; it also was a destination for Hollywood people, according to silent film historian David Kiehn.
By 1912, Essanay Studio came to Niles in the East Bay to produce Broncho Billy Westerns and Charlie Chaplin comedies. The exhibit includes Essanay memorabilia as well as the Miles Brothers’ 1906 “A Trip Down Market Street.”
The City’s appearance in hundreds of films is covered, from the 1935 “Barbary Coast” to the 2010 “My Name Is Khan,” and including Hitchcock thrillers, the Dirty Harry series, “The Conversation” and 1941’s “Maltese Falcon,” which has a room of its own in the show.
Also on view are photographs taken on the sets of “Take the Money and Run,” “Petulia” and other films by Morton Beebe. Photographs by R.A. McBride showcase the S.F.’s old movie palaces, and original posters from the collection of Eddie Muller explore the noir era.
Among century-old documents are photos of Chaplin and Edna Purviance on location in Golden Gate Park, shooting “A Jitney Elopement.”
The retrospective celebrates both tradition and innovation, moving from D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett (who was active in San Rafael) to the modern-day Dream Factories gallery that includes sketches from Pixar animation studios.
IF YOU GO
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Presented by San Francisco Museum and Historical Society
Where: Old Mint, 88 Fifth St. (at Mission Street), S.F.
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through June 24
Contact: (415) 775-1111, www.sfhistory.org/events/exhibits
Note: A benefit gala with Kim Novak begins with a 5 p.m. reception Thursday. Tickets start at $500; call (415) 710-7332 or email email@example.com for details.