One of my favorite Chinatown sequences is when Jake Gittes follows Hollis Mulray to some kind of seaside cliff area at dusk. Settled vibes, quiet street. Bunny Berrrigan‘s “I Can’t Get Started” can be heard from inside a small curbside cafe. Gittes watches Mulwray climb down to the rocky beach area and wait. Sitting atop the bluff and next to a large metal water pipe, Gittes waits also.
Night falls, and then the approach of surging water, whooshing out of the pipe…”runoff.”
I’ve been a Los Angeles resident since ’83. I don’t know why I waited 37 and 1/2 years to visit this fabled location, but at least I finally did. The Bunny Berrigan place is still there — a ramshackle joint called Walker’s Cafe, more or less a biker haunt. The address is 706 West Paseo del Mar in San Pedro — just off South Gaffey Street and right next to Point Fermin.
The isolated cul-de-sac vibe is gone, of course — partially destroyed by a large metal fence. But when you look down to the sea from the edge of the bluff it’s definitely the same spot that Gittes spied on Mulwray from. Before we left I ordered two root beers from Walker’s.
Gittes: “Jeez, he was there all night.”
Walsh: “I had to go back three times to pick up the watches.”