Getting Lucky

Like most of his cases, Pierre Merkl's story has several surprises -- not only is he a crafty private-eye who knows the ins and out of the city, but he’s also an eccentric lounge singer who has been thrilling audiences with his Mr. Lucky act for decades. To protect his professional persona as a Private Detective, Pierre has always kept his various identities secret but now for the first time, driving around the city in his 1961 New Yorker, Pierre recalls the strange 20 year trip that it took to become Mr. Lucky, performing everywhere from Burning Man to Lincoln Center in a silk tie and fedora with martini in hand. As the high cost of living in San Francisco escalates, he’s forced to say goodbye to the City by the Bay as he leaves from private-eye work to follow his heart wherever his act takes him. A love song to San Francisco and its artists, Mr. Lucky's departure is also a sign of the times-- a bittersweet warning that the great city is slowly losing its most eccentric characters, and with it, its bohemian soul. But 'Getting Lucky” isn’t about luck-- it’s about the hard work, unrelenting confidence, and idiosyncratic creativity that it takes for an offbeat character like Lucky to exist at all.

  • Oscar Bucher
    Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story
  • Oscar Bucher
    Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story
  • Tommy Maples
    Prep School, Imaginary Friends
  • Oscar Bucher
    Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story
  • Pierre Merk III ("Mr. Lucky")
    Key Cast
    The Californians, Bartleby
  • Tom Byrne
    Associate Producers
  • Annie Southworth
    Associate Producers
  • Amanda Jacobsen
    Associate Producers
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    biography, musical, comedy, documentary, music, arts, painting
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 12, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    22,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    RED 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fine Arts Film Festival
    United States
    May 12, 2018
    World Premiere
    Audience Award
  • San Francisco Documentary Festival (Docfest)
    San Francisco
    United States
    June 3, 2018
    San Francisco
Director Biography - Oscar Bucher

Oscar Bucher’s heartfelt documentary, "Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story" has screened in over 50 film festivals worldwide winning 11 awards, including a Crystal Heart from the Heartland Film festival, and the David L. Wolper Award from the International Documentary Association. For the past 13 years he has assisted and collaborated with screenwriter Barry Gifford, author of the David Lynch films "Wild at Heart" and "Lost Highway”. His most recent directorial efforts include "Too Much Horror Business", a documentary produced for Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, the "Without a Scalpel" TV series, and "Nelson Algren LIve", a feature length performance of the works of Nelson Algren starring Willem Dafoe.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Like a lot of directors, I get most of my best ideas from bartenders, and in particular Annie Southworth, the music promoter/bartender at the San Francisco watering hole, The Rite Spot, located on the corner of Folsom and 17th. I've always taken great delight in capturing the city's unique personalities on film and in 2010, Annie turned me on to Toshio Hirano with whom I collaborated in making "Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story" which told the tale of a Japanese emigrant who fell in love with American Bluegrass in Tokyo and followed his passion for 30 years, to Appalachia, Texas, and beyond. The fi lm went on to screen in the San Francisco International Film festival along with 50 other festivals, eventually winning 10 awards. After a few years running around with other projects I returned to Annie and inquired if she had anything else up her sleeve. She asked me if I ever heard of Mr. Lucky, a lounge singer at the Rite Spot who also happened to be a Private Investigator. Already I knew we were on to something. I met with Lucky, we had a martini, Evolve Media jumped in as producing partner and the rest took care of itself. Another film about a San Francisco eccentric was begun.

Getting Lucky follows Pierre Merkl, a.k.a. Mr. Lucky, a private-eye who fights crime during the day and croons Sinatra at night, as he recounts his great artistic journey living between three distinct identities - the investigator, the performer, and a contemporary oil painter. His musical odyssey takes him through bohemian San Francisco in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond, through punk rock, new wave and ska bands until he ultimately transforms himself into the martini-mixing, sharkskin suit wearing, remixing lounge singer known as Mr. Lucky.

In many ways, this film is also a love song to San Francisco, a true artist’s city that ironically Mr. Lucky is ultimately forced to leave in order to afford to retire as an artist. As a one time San Francisco artist who rents a home myself, I've always lived on the edge, always pursuing my dream in this great city of dreamers, while at the same time getting further locked out of any chance of ever owning a home and settling down permanent roots as an artist. Recently, after 25 years in the city, I moved back to my hometown in Southern California, mostly due to the high cost of living in SF. So as much as this film celebrates San Francisco and the great run that Mr. Lucky had for 30 years, it is also a eulogy to a city gone by, the bohemian artist home that now for many, including myself, only exists in memory. This film is dedicated to Annie Southworth, who passed away too young in the winter of 2018. She was the ultimate Rite Spot Bartender, a Creative Music Promoter, a Friend to all Artists, and one of San Francisco’s great characters. Even as the facades change and people come and go, for many of us, the city will always be filled with the echoes of our past, the unique folks like Toshio Hirano, Pierre Merkl, and Annie Southworth, who made San Francisco a place where you could not only find yourself but find others to help you chase your dreams.