"Shake it, shake it mama,Shake it Cali."- California Love, 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre
Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of blockbuster movie season and this year there are plenty of popcorn flicks that put San Francisco on the big screen.
You might say the first "big one" gets The City off to a "shaky" cinematic start, since San Andreas depicts the ultimate big earthquake along the titular fault-line that runs the length of California. It is a quake in which "the Earth will literally crack and you will feel it on the East Coast," according to the movie's seismologist portrayed by Paul Giamatti. The star of the picture is Hayward-born Dwayne Johnson whose character, Ray, is a rescue-chopper pilot in Los Angeles. Ray heads north after the big quake to rescue his daughter in San Francisco. Many exciting scenes of destruction and heroism ensue.
While there still isn't any way to predict when, where, or how strong the next earthquake will be in California, it's an easy guess that there are plenty of materials on earthquakes at the San Francisco History Center.
For information on the San Andreas and other California faults, take a look at: A Land In Motion: California's San Andreas Fault by Michael Collier and The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake Of October 17, 1989 : Tectonic Processes And Models by Robert W. Simpson. Or view the San Francisco and California ephemera files in the San Francisco History Center.
On the left: "Housing development along the San Andreas fault near San Francisco, California (photo by Robert E. Wallace)" from the pamphlet The San Andreas Fault by Sandra S. Schultz and Robert E. Wallace. USGS. 1990.
[CA. EARTHQUAKES. FAULT MAPS.]
On the right: Page 1 of the pamphlet The San Andreas Fault by U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey. 1969. [SF. EARTHQUAKES. FAULTS.]
We found these real life heroes in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection:
"Heroes of the Great Calamity" L. Murat photographer (1907)
[A list of their names can be found in: SF. EARTHQUAKES. 1906. HEROES.]
More Earthquake Stories:
The San Francisco History Center ephemera files include personal accounts of the 1906 earthquake and fire, ask for SF. EARTHQUAKES. 1906. PERSONAL ACCOUNTS. or check out Earthquake, Fire and Epidemic: Personal Accounts of the 1906 Disaster by Gladys C. Hansen.
If fiction is more your thing, use the subject heading: San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906 -- Fiction in the SFPL catalog. For films, try: Earthquakes -- California -- San Francisco -- Drama
And just for fun, check out how Hollywood destroyed San Francisco for San Andreas on the SF Film Commission's tumblr page: How to Make a Disaster Movie in San Francisco
Previous "Cinematic San Francisco" posts: At the Oscars, Noir City, Big Eyes
Coming soon: Inside Out