Saturday, October 29, 2016

“Birds” Watching

So recently I spent some time in the small towns of Bodega and Bodega Bay. The weather was rainy due to a small storm sliding down California, so there weren't a lot of outdoor activities that could really be enjoyed. I did some photography of the waves crashing into the beach. (Even a small storm can make some pretty dramatic waves.) And I did a little bird watching.

Which was kind of ironic. Bodega and Bodega Bay is where, in 1963, Alfred Hitchcock filmed the movie The Birds. In that film birds begin to attack people without any explanation. And in many ways the unsettling part was that lack of explanation. And the fact that the movie ended without definitively letting us know if the attacks were over.

Well for the town of Bodega, the movie is still a big event. There's a small diner (The Birds Diner) on the water in Bodega Bay. And the Bodega Country Store in Bodega houses a small museum dedicated to Alfred Hitchcock and the movie. And apparently Tippi Hedron, the female lead in the film, has come there in the past.

Despite this there is little remaining recognizable of the locations used in the film. Though one exception is the “Potter School” which was used as the school in the movie. Which again is somewhat ironic, since when Hitchcock went there to scout locations the school had been abandoned and was actually scheduled to be demolished. He asked to use the school and the rest is history. The building is now a private residence and has been used by three generations of the same family.

They remain reasonably tolerant of the large numbers of people that stop by for a look. (The folks at the Bodega Country Store direct people to go and see it.) Though of course they don't want people actually coming up to the house and looking in. The shades were all closed when we were there.

 Even though it seems that this might be one of the biggest draws for tourists, they don't seem to make too big a deal about it wherever you go. They seem to be prouder of the natural beauty of the area. But even so, they do acknowledge the film in sometimes subtle ways. One of the houses we visited had small black crow decorations stuck unobtrusively in corners and on ledges.

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