Hitchcocks Birds invade Disneyland

2014-11-17 18.14.22It was 4:47 p.m. I had secured a place on one of the park benches outside of the City Hall ostensibly waiting for the Disney holiday parade to come marching by.

2014-11-20 11.50.46My decision was only partly informed by that fact that this grandparent’s body is not quite up to ten full hours of finding excuses to not go on the rides my four-year-old granddaughter finds thrilling (especially Tower of Terror!) or tracking down any more large fuzzy characters for my two-year-old granddaughter to hug and be photographed with. I’d had my beignets at the Jazz Kitchen and my pancakes with ears at Goofy’s Kitchen. I’d seen Aladdin for the umpteenth time–and found it just as enjoyable as the first time.

disneyland_1955_420I’d even won the trivia contest conducted while we waited to gain entrance. What year was Disneyland founded? I not only knew the answer but I had been there in 1955 at age 11 and experienced that incredible new phenomenon called a theme park. Mom was into openings. She had taken my brother and me all the way up to Los Angeles from La Jolla for a ride on the first freeway built in California (or anywhere!) four years earlier in 1951. I remember sitting on my little seat-belt-less hassock in the back seat amazed that this big street had things call “exits”.

2014-11-19 17.04.29But I digress. What amazed me as I sat there nursing my sore joints on the bench was looking up and seeing a tree full of huge black birds, with more landing every minute, right next to the cupola of Disneyland’s City Hall. Very Hitchcock-esque. The only sign of evil in this land of overwhelming good.

Tippi Hedren and Hitchcock’s The Birds

The birds posterI can’t visit Bodega Bay without driving a few miles inland to the hamlet of Bodega, most famous for the filming of Hitchcock’s The Birds.

As usual at this time of year, Tippi Hedren, whose haunting face is shown in the background of the iconic movie poster on the left was at The Tides wharf to sign autographs. 2014-08-31 10.03.05Tippi signing

2014-08-31 10.02.27A mannequin of Tippi stands duty at the Bodega Country Store filled with Hitchcock memorabilia.

The walls of the store are covered with artwork, costume sketches, publicity photos from The Birds and from Marnie. An article in the New Yorker chronicles the hidden story behind Hitchcock’s inappropriate advances and retaliation againstTippi and her long-held silence.

I take advantage of a photo op with the man himself, now stuffed and harmless.2014-08-31 10.03.51

The Tides


The Tides restaurant as it appeared in the film. It has since been completely remodeled.

schoolhouse2014-08-31 09.50.15On the left, the schoolhouse as it appeared in the film, site of the memorable scene of the birds chasing the children. I went there several years back on a solitary winter day when suddenly a flock of a hundred or more blackbirds came swarming out of the sky and settled on the tall pines nearby. For a second, I thought I would have to run for my life! But today the schoolhouse in renovated and occupied by a family.