The earthquake was the basis of the 1936 MGM film San Francisco, which starred Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy, who received an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination for this film. In 1938, a Warner Brothers movie entitled The Sisters, starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, featured a sequence portraying the earthquake, partly using footage from the 1927 Warners film Old San Francisco.
In the 1991 Tony Kushner play Angels in America, the Angel tells the main character that the San Francisco earthquake occurred on the day that God left heaven. Heaven itself is portrayed as San Fransisco in the wake of the earthquake's devastation.
An Epic Warner Brothers film entitled 1906 and directed by Brad Bird is currently in production. Based on the earthquake, it is an adaptation of the best-selling James Dalessandro novel of the same name.
The National Film Registry added a documentary of the footage of the earthquake, entitled San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, April 18, 1906 to its list of American films for preservation. The film was selected along with 24 other films in 2005, and is currently one of 500 films recognized by the Registry.
Rita Hayworth sang "Put the Blame on Mame" in Gilda (1946). The second verse starts with the line: "When they had the quake back in nineteen-six/They said Mother Nature was up to her old tricks" and "When she did the shimmy-shake/That brought on the Frisco quake". In keeping with the film character Gilda being "the ultimate femme fatale", the song sung by her in two scenes facetiously credits the amorous activities of a woman named "Mame" (the name evidently chosen to rhyme with "blame") as the true cause of three well-known cataclysmic events in American history – The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Great Blizzard of 1888 in New York City, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The 1906 earthquake is used as a backdrop in the climatic chapters of the novel "The Chase" by author Clive Cussler.
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