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San Francisco's Official Songs

In San Francisco, Clark Gable, as Blackie Norton, "makes with the sweet talk" to Jeanette MacDonald, as Mary Blake, in the Barbary Coast's mythical Paradise Saloon.

This 1936 M-G-M disaster musical introduced the the famed song "San Francisco," which became one of two official city songs on May 15, 1984.

During the movie's 1936 San Francisco premiere some 1906 survivors became ill during the extraordinary earthquake sequence, and left the theater.

The motion picture's title song, "San Francisco," was written by Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurman, with lyrics by Gus Kahn. The motion picture is shown each April 18th at the Castro Theatre in commemoration of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco," Tony Bennett's 1962 signature song, became the official city song October 6, 1969. Composers Douglass Cross and George Cory were present when the Board of Supervisors adopted the resolution.

Mr. Cross told the supervisors and spectators, "This is a very proud moment for George Cory and me. If our song is success, it is because it reflects in some small measure, perhaps, the history, the legend, the magic of this beautiful city that has fascinated the imagination of the world."

So, San Francisco has two city songs; one a lovely ballad, and the other a rowdy, robust tune that reflects the city's turbulent past - and possibly its future.

- Gladys Hansen

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