Cyril

Bartol Street
North Beach
Saturday afternoon

***

Born and raised in San Francisco, I know it well. Certain streets have very clear memories for me. Moments locked in time, and triggered into view when I pass those streets. For instance, Masonic and Oak Street, Summer of ’67: seeing and meeting Mitch, Noel, and Jimi Hendrix. And that was a free gig. Or take Geneva Avenue, which is where the Cow Palace is, which is where I saw the Beatles.

Or on Van Ness Avenue where long ago I would see Captain Fortune walking down the street. He had the best and first kid show in town in the 50s on Channel 5, KPIX. When I was a kid, San Francisco was on the map. If a movie opened, the star of the film would be there at the opening. This is how I was able to meet William Castle.

I think it was the movie House on Haunted Hill, which opened at the Golden Gate Theatre, was the first time I met Mr. Castle. He was in the box office behind the ticket girl, counting the money with a cigar in his mouth. And I had recognized Mr. Castle from Famous Monsters Magazine and called out his name: “Mr. Castle!” He looked over at me and said “what’s your name?” and I told him it was Cyril. And he said, “Oh, I’ll call you Cy.” Overjoyed, I went back to school later that week and bragged to my friends that Mr. Castle knew me. And of course none of them believed me.

Anyway, when Mr. Castle’s next movie came out, 13 Ghosts, I took a couple of my friends to the opening and lo and behold, Mr. Castle went “Lo, Cy!”

My friends never gave me any trouble after that.

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