By Chris Roberts
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
By Mike Billings
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Sherbert
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
EASTWOOD: Was I still mayor of Carmel then? That was a really weird period for me.
VINNY JONES, Burger Island manager, 1991-1996: Yeah, when we bought the place we had no idea. It was an endless parade of jackasses coming in and asking, "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" Look, I liked Dirty Harry, too, especially the one with Tyne Daly, but there comes a point when enough is enough. Of course, it was always great when an actual movie star came in. Nic Cage swung by when he was shooting The Rock on Alcatraz -- he's a nice kid. The cast of Suddenly Susan practically lived here. Just paying their respects to history, I guess. And drinking out of paper bags.
STEVEN SPIELBERG, director: I first heard about Third and Townsend when I was executive-producing An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West. I was searching during that time period, just searching. I thought a trip to the scene of "make my day" would recharge my spiritual batteries, which are immense, and I couldn't have been more right. I cried. I mean, that line is such a piece of Americana, such an indelible imprint on our collective consciousness, and to stand as close to that spot as my limo and security detail would allow ... it changed me. I know there was quite a bit of hand-wringing among my fellow Dirty Harrydevotees when the restaurant changed from Burger Island to McDonald's in 1996, but I, for one, was ecstatic. I respect anyone who knows how to manipulate their customers into thinking brainless, unsophisticated, mass-produced crap is somehow good for them.
EASTWOOD: How many people did I kill in that movie? That's the only way I can keep 'em straight.
MARTIN SCORSESE, legendary director: Great, great moment in movie history. Now there's a McDonald's there. Whatisthat? Crass commercialism. Crasscrasscrass. Dirty Harrystood for Everyman. McDonald's stands for what? Grease. Speaking of grease, what a movie. Travolta's never been better.
PHIL SCHWARTZ, McDonald's employee, September 2001 - November 2001: I guess it was really controversial when the McDonald's came in. But I think the neighborhood has warmed to us over the years. One of the things I was proudest of was our tradition of putting signs in the windows that reflect our thoughts on world politics. After 9/11, a lot of people in the neighborhood were watching us very closely. It was a sensitive time, a very troubled time, so as employees, we thought about the various issues, debated them long and hard, and within a few days we put up a sign that spoke to all the controversy and confusion. It said, "America: Open for Business."
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, local filmmaker: They shot Dirty Harry 4 here? Shit, I just come for the Quarter Pounder.
HERM, panhandler at Third and Townsend, 1981-present: Jesus, I just got through telling this to the Chronicle.Yes, I have a long white beard, I ride around town on a bike, and I like to get high and write bad poetry. But I have nothing to do with City Lights. Do you see any honorary streets named after me? ... Oh. You want to talk about Dirty Harry? Yeah, I know him. He works Sixth Street.
GEORGE PLIMPTON, veteran oral historian: The intersection of Third and Townsend is really an intersection of the American soul. In front of you, magnificently, lies the sidewalk, long and vast and flat, blindingly gray after the stark red and white of the McDonald's. Against the looming buildings the fine symphony of honking cabs and screaming bums is disturbed only here and there by the occasional passer-by who comes to bask in history. How so, how so. Everything great about the American Dream, the very foundation of its power, is encompassed in this one corner, in the magic that once happened here, in the symbolic intonation of manifest destiny, "Go ahead," and the simple plea in a world gone mad, "make my day." When I return to this spot, as I often do after a summer sojourn abroad, I am reminded of many of my books, which include Out of My League, Paper Lion, The Bogey Man, Mad Ducks and Bears, The Best of George Plimpton, Shadow Box, and The Curious Case of Sidd Finch. I have also appeared in numerous films, such as When We Were Kings, Good Will Hunting, Little Man Tate, Pumping Iron II: The Women, L.A. Story, and the television miniseries Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. Did I mention The Paris Review yet? We're also having an anniversary.
EASTWOOD: 1983 is a long time ago. You've got to realize, in some of my movies I co-starred with monkeys. I can't be expected to remember every goddamn cop picture I made. -- Matt Palmquist
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