1979 Patty Hearst Film Was Shot on Location in Bernal Heights

Did Patty Hearst Sleep Here?

While we’re on the subject of the area around Folsom and Precita streets, I am reminded of a fascinating video that was forwarded to me recently by Bernalwood contributor David Gallagher.

As some of you may recall, Bernal was a hotbed of of leftist radicalism during the 1970s, and for a time the home at 288 Precita was used as a safehouse by the Symbianese Liberation Army, at the time of the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

Moreover, the sequence of events that lead to Patty Hearst’s rescue began here, in 1975, when FBI agents raided the house on Precita and arrested some of the SLA leadership.

David calls our attention to this video, which was taken from “The Ordeal of Patty Hearst,” a made-for-TV movie from 1979. Most interesting of all, however, is the fact the the movie was filmed on location, here in Bernal Heights, in the very homes and businesses where the events unfolded. Talk about verisimilitude…

So it’s a twofer: A video history lesson about the capture of the SLA leadership in Bernal Heights, and a window on what the neighborhood looked like in the late 1970s. Bonus: My house used to be… turquoise?!

Here’s the video:

PHOTO: Top, 288 Precita Ave. in 2010, by Telstar Logistics

4 thoughts on “1979 Patty Hearst Film Was Shot on Location in Bernal Heights

  1. I am reluctant to admit it, but I watched the whole thing on YouTube. I was hoping for more Bernal, but there were other highlights. In part 6, at 3:25, a 19-year-old Rosanna Arquette plays the FBI agent’s daughter. In part 7, at 13:42 We learn that Mike, Gus’s heavy from Breaking Bad, used to be in the SLA! (Okay, the actor’s name is Jonathan Banks.)

    And finally, in part 9, at 4:15 “Anything of record, let’s check it out again!” Hollerith card montage! With bleepy bloopy synth accompaniment! This needs to be used anytime a computer search is represented on screen.

  2. Very cool about your house being in the movie! I just watched the movie on YouTube as well just to see Jonathan Banks’ knees. He’s actually in the film from the kidnapping scene right on through. Love those ’70’s track shorts!!

  3. I lived in the back cottage 286 1/2 Precita with my parents in 1975 when this happen. My mom is in the movie. Clip #10 in the begining, she’s the lady in the front of the house talking with another lady at the gate.

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