First Person: Closed Dustin Hoffman Haunt on Teley Was a "Hippy Jewelry Store"

By Ted Friedman
Friday October 22, 2010 - 09:25:00 AM

We will always have our Sather Gate Jewelers, on Telegraph if only in the celebrated late sixties film, "The Graduate." 

Closed recently, the old store--founded 55 years ago--on Telegraph at Channing, lives forever on film. 

Cause of demise, was a family illness, according to sources close to the owners. 

Sather Gate is survived by such elder businesses as Blakes, 1940, the Med,'56, Moe's,'56, the Print Mint,'65,Lhasa Karnak,'70, Bill's Clothes,'61,Annapurnna,'67, and Jim the Tailor, 62. 

Now an empty shell, Sather Gate will always be the jewelry store where Benjamin buys that wedding ring for Elaine Robinson. 

Former co-owner Betty Ann Aman (with her business partner Stephen E. Morine) presided over the historic store that was un-changed for half a century. Its wooden edged, thick glass display counters remained popular with the Graduates' grandchildren. 

If you looked real hard, under certain circumstances, you might see Benjamin and Elaine, now handsome elders, on a return visit to the origins of their marriage, if, indeed, they bothered to make it official (although after flouting the conventions of the church, why would they have bothered?) 

Betty Ann was always ready to tell the story (with sparkle), of Mike Nichols and his crew as they established their beachhead on Teley--in their store. 

The script confirms Betty's story. 

From the script: "EXT. BERKELEY Street - DAY Through the window of a hippy jewelry store we see a sales-woman modeling a ring for Ben. He nods; she takes it off, puts it in a box and gives it to him. He pays for it and exits PAST CAMERA, WHISTLING." 

It was a wedding ring. Was the sales woman Betty Ann? 

According to Betty, the film company rented the entire store for a year while operating out of the back room of the jewelry store and a nearby apartment. 

The Graduate was Nichol's second film. It followed "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," and was followed by "Catch 22."Nichols was on a roll and Hoffman was propelled into international stardom.  

According to Betty Ann, the whole crew soon departed for Los Angeles after whirling-dervish, pan-handling hippies overwhelmed them. But the entire crew left with crucial scenes of the Med, 

Moe's, the Print Mint, and a bus ride down Teley, "in the can." 

In one of those classic head-scratchers, the definitive American Film Institute catalogue of American Film, lists only Los Angeles as the location; but Wiki gets it right. 

Stephen E. Morine, an antique watchmaker's telescope mounted on his forehead, was an impressive feature at his watchman's bench, eager to ply his craft in a Timex era. 

Betty Ann presided patiently over the counters, which often displayed local, one of a kind jewelry, pendants, and ear rings. 

She was quick with anecdote or observation on the Avenue scene. 

Somehow, "they will be missed," falls way short. As for "end of an era," that also fails (trite, now that America has had decades to adjust to the loss of mom and pop businesses).We can only wish them well, thank them for their service to the community, and pledge to keep them in our hearts and minds.