On a recent long weekend in Northern California, my partner and I drove out to Bodega Bay, a place in which each of us has spent time during our lives in California. The smell of the sea, cool and moist environs, and great fresh fish were our inspirations. And we got them all this day in September, 2013.
What begins as a foggy morning clears to birth a day of gorgeous blue skies, bright sunshine, and nippy air. After a delicious lunch at Lucas Wharf restaurant — Petrale Sole Doré for me, Sea Scallops for Kathryn, both entrees served with crisp and tender French Fries and the freshest, sweetest, homegrown yellow squash that is perfectly cooked and lightly coated with butter — we stroll the wharf and, coming off a long hot Arizona summer, savor the chill.
No visit to Bodega Bay for me is possible without memories of that film popping up. You know, the one that was shot here in 1963? Loosely based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, acclaimed author of the novel Rebecca? Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Suzanne Pleshette? Yeah, you've got it, The Birds.
When this film opened in Marin County, where I grew up, a bunch of my high school girl friends and I made a beeline for the Rafael Theater to see it. Well, I don't think any one of us was prepared for Alfred Hitchcock's rendering of these creatures! We had lived through Godzilla, Rodan, Dracula, and Night of the Living Dead, but these Birds were scarier than all those others put together! Why? I don't know. But I personally spent most of the movie with my fingers plugging my ears and my body hunched down behind the seat in front of me dodging those merciless Birds!
Kathryn and I decide to visit some of the sites in Bodega where Hitchcock shot scenes: the church, the school and its yard, and the telephone booth — they bring it all right back! I catch myself searching the sky and the telephone lines for flocks of big black Birds! Fifty-year-old fear apparently dies hard...if at all.
Into the very small commercial area of Bodega, we park the car on a residential street and head for the gift shop and country store. We get a terrific surprise: Hitchcock lives! Tippi is here! And The Birds abound! We dive right in — to the ambience, the lore, and the memorabilia. What fun to be shot back in time to 1963 and this cult-classic film that burned itself into our collective memory. Love it!