It Looks Familiar

by Don Friedman on November 11, 2016

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Another touristy photo from San Antonio. That tower off in the distance, in the center of the shot. I know I’ve seen it before…

It’s a 1927 skyscraper, originally the Smith-Young Tower, and it’s 400 feet tall, which is quite respectable for that era. But I’d never heard of it before I visited San Antonio, so that’s not why it looks familiar.

Oh yeah…it’s the headquarters of the most powerful man in Metropolis.


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People talk about life imitating art and art imitating life. Sometimes it’s a feedback loop. Fritz Lang supposedly got the idea for Metropolis while riding the Fulton Ferry and looking at the lower Manhattan skyline in 1924.


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I swear there are buildings from 1928-1930 that were influenced by the movie. That doesn’t mean that the Smith-Young Tower was, but there’s a reason the word “zeitgeist” is used.

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