Page 484 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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464                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Wally Wallace: The film representative came into the Mineshaft
                 maybe six months before filming. He wanted to do still pho-
                 tographs, but he said the ceilings were not high enough for a
                 movie. I refused because we had a rule at the beginning about
                 no photographs. We only let friends like Mapplethorpe take
                 some. . .And then a couple of my staff got involved with the
                 movie. Others on the staff didn’t want anything to do with it
                 because it portrayed gays as murderers. . . .
               Jack Fritscher: So, to end the rumor: it was not filmed at the
                 Mineshaft.
               Wally Wallace:  Cruising  was not filmed at the Mine-
                 shaft — although to this day people think it was. The bar
                 scenes were done at a place now known as the Cell Block, but
                 at that time it was — before it was Hellfire — another after-
                 hours place in the basement of the Triangle Building at 14
                                                                th
                 Street and Ninth Avenue. It is a unique space that is under the
                 street and not under the building.
               Jack Fritscher: It was always a more hetero mix there. My friend
                 Frank Vickers, the Colt model who was also a model for Map-
                 plethorpe, liked to play there. [Having photographed Frank
                 Vickers on video in 1981, I asked him to appear on the cover
                 of the first edition of my erotic fiction anthology, Stand by
                 Your Man (1987).]
               Wally Wallace: They continued to want to shoot stills in the
                 Mineshaft, but I refused. [In a much longer and compli-
                 cated dialog, Wally Wallace alleged to me, the film company
                 purposely “set up” the first police bust of the Mineshaft by
                 bribing the cops who had helped Friedkin direct The French
                 Connection in Manhattan a few years earlier. During the raid,
                 while Wally Wallace and his staff were arrested and]. . .taken
                 downtown in a paddy wagon. . . .a crew from the movie com-
                 pany came into the Mineshaft and photographed everything
                 [ostensibly to build a similar set on a sound stage]. . .Friedkin
                 had this obsession to re-create the Mineshaft interior and
                 exterior.
               Jack Fritscher: It certainly looks real on film.
               Wally Wallace: In order to create the exterior, he hired the meat
                 company which is right next door to the Mineshaft, where he
                 filmed all his entrances and exits to the bar in the bar scenes.
                 In the movie, people go downstairs after entering, whereas
                 in the Mineshaft, you had to go upstairs. Otherwise, it looks
                 the same.

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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