Katsuhiro Takemoto watched the man who was watching the woman. Voyeurism wasn’t unusual for Kats. As a private detective, he spent too much time quietly observing the lives of others. Today was different. Today he knew the man he was watching.
Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge, was where tourists, lovers, and even the locals came for the spectacular view of the bridge and the bay. It was unusually empty today, but Kats wasn’t looking at the scenery. The tall man in the dapper gray suit and brown hat kept his distance as he watched the woman walk toward the embankment’s edge. He didn’t need to conceal himself, as the woman was focused on the bouquet of flowers she held in her white, gloved hands. Even at this distance, Kats knew she was beautiful. Her hair was platinum blond and swept up, and she wore a dark blue dress that flattered her high-heeled walk.
She stopped at the elevated edge and began to slowly pick apart her bouquet, throwing the flowers one at a time into the cold water below. The gray-suited man shifted back and forth as if he was trying to puzzle out the meaning of this gesture. As the last of the flowers fell from the woman’s hands, she purposefully turned toward the bay and jumped into the water.
The man stood stunned for a moment but then rushed forward to where she had stood. Throwing off his coat and hat, he approached the water and prepared to leap.
“Cut!” came the voice over Kats’s shoulder. Instantly the empty park was filled with activity. Production assistants rushed forward, the stuntmen and stunt women crawled back up the embankment, and costumers grabbed the coat and hat as the park transformed into a Hollywood movie set.
Kats turned his attention to the gray-suited man who had turned and was walking back toward the camera and the large presence sitting there. Alfred Hitchcock, the acclaimed film director, sat talking with his cameraman and his assistants. “That was fine, James. I believe we have what we need,” Hitchcock said in his unmistakable voice. Never one to lavish praise on even the finest actors, everyone knew that was Hitch’s way, especially the man in the gray suit who was an old hand at dealing with the demanding director.
Jimmy Stewart, America’s favorite male actor for over a decade, smiled as he approached the director. Even though the reshoot of this scene could probably have been done with a stand-in, Stewart was happy to reprise the scene and the character he had inhabited since late summer. “How about some b-roll of me swimming in the bay?” quipped the actor with a smile.
Hitch elongated his already elongated face, “Thank you, James. We are quite done with San Francisco.” Production delays and these reshoots had put Hitchcock behind schedule, and everyone knew he was feeling pressure from the studio. He was anxious to return to the controlled confines of Paramount Studios in Hollywood to finish his film.
Kats quietly stood back as several folks approached the actor and attended to various bits of business. Eventually Stewart broke away and, turning to Kats, smiled and said, “What do you think?”
“I thought I was going to have to jump in after you.” Stewart laughed, and Kats smiled at the face familiar to everyone in America. Kats was still amazed that he and this American icon had become friends over the past several months. The movie had brought them together.