“One helluva town”

That’s another quote from Herb Caen. He often referred to San Francisco as a “town”. To me a town is more like Mayberry, Bedford Falls, Midwich Village or something like that. Still, when I went over to the City, I mean the Town, to take these pictures today, I thought about how easy it is to get around San Francisco…… if you’re not driving. Most of the locations here are an easy walk or short Muni ride from each other.

April2018FostersuseWe’ll start on the southwest corner of Mission at 1st Streets. Across from where I’m standing a Walgreen’s Drug Store now occupies the spot in the building where a Foster’s Restaurant once was located.

April2018JoiceuseA short ride on the #1 Muni Line from the previous picture will take you up Sacramento Street to Joice Alley between Powell and Stockton streets in Chinatown. Cable cars don’t climb Nob Hill up Sacramento Street anymore like in the vintage picture from the early 1900’s, but Muni # 1 does, and is about the easiest way to get up Nob Hill.

April2018PineuseHalf a block up Sacramento from Joice and two blocks left down Powell and you’re at the intersection of Powell and Pine Streets where this picture from the 1950’s was taken. It’s a lot easier walking DOWN Nob Hill! (Americathebeautiful.com)

April2018SutterusetwoPowell Street heading south down Nob Hill flattens out at Sutter Street where this 1951 picture looking west along Sutter from Powell was taken. The Hotel Cartwright is still there. (SF Chronicle, SF Gate)

April2018MissionuseIf Bonnie and Clyde would have reached retirement age: (They were jaywalking) This picture is looking west along Mission Street toward 5th Street. The building with the clock in the background is the San Francisco Chronicle Building on the southwest corner of Mission and 5th Streets. (SF Chronicle, SF Gate)

PariFWharfuseA block and a half back to Powell and you can catch a cable car for a late afternoon lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, although I took this picture in March. The cable car line at Powell and Market Streets wasn’t long at all on this “helluva” nice spring day today!

“Tax Day”

April2018iseWell, the 2018 tax season ends today. I’m thinking of dying my hair to cover up the additional gray that developed since January. The computer system of the Internal Revenue Service Department crashed yesterday, so the tax season was extended to today, April 18th, the one hundred and twelfth anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco. There’s probably significance here, the IRS shakes up a lot of people too. Now I can get back to doing something that’s more fun than telling people, “I’m sorry, you’re not going to get a refund this year!” and that’s blogging. In honor of the occasion, I headed over to Market Street to do a couple of 1906 Earthquake pictures.

April2018BatteryuseThis photo is at Market and Battery Streets looking west. The damaged Call Building and the destroyed Palace Hotel are at the left center. You can still see the rebuilt Palace Hotel and the remodeled Call Building, now called the Central Tower, from here today. (Vintage photo, SF Chronicle)

April185th&MarketuseThis is looking east on Market Street near 5th. The Flood Building at Powell and Market Streets is at left center. The Call Building on the right, prominent in the vintage photo, is behind the domed Humboldt Building built after the earthquake. The Ferry Building, seen in the old picture, is blocked out by the white freight truck in my photo. (SF Chronicle)

San Francisco in 1974

Map1974useRecently, I unrolled an old poster that I’ve kept in various closets since Gerald Ford was President. I remember when I bought it long ago I was impressed by the novelty of how all of the buildings in the Downtown San Francisco area had been drawn into it. If you can zoom in on it close there’s a lot of interesting things to see on the difference between San Francisco today and in 1974. At the lower right near the Ferry Building is the Vaillancourt Fountain in Justin Herman Plaza. Notice that only two buildings of the Embarcadero Center had been built then. The Embarcadero Freeway can be seen. Moving along Market Street from the Ferry Building so many new buildings have gone up in Downtown San Francisco since then. The Bank of America Building and the Transamerica Pyramid, the two tallest buildings back then, can be seen. Union Square was mostly covered by grass. The old Belt Line railroad still ran along the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Major tourist attractions like Coit Tower and Lombard Street are easily found, and to the right of Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 43 with the Balclutha docked to it was still there. Pier 39 had not been turned into a tourist attraction yet.

More Photoshopping in the City

PSTurkuseTurk, Mason and Market Streets after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire:

PSSutteruseSutter Street between Powell and Stockton Streets in the early 1950’s:

PSCtownWWuseGrant Avenue at California Street during World War Two with Old St. Mary’s Church on the right:

PS1906useDowntown San Francisco during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire:

PSNightoutuseIt always amazes me that Charlie Chaplin stumbled down these exact steps on Alice Street in Oakland one hundred and three years ago in his movie short ‘A Night Out’ from 1915.

PSCalifPowelluseCalifornia and Powell Streets during the 1950’s:

PSSniperuseGrant Avenue at Filbert Street in the 1952 movie ‘The Sniper’:

PSBogartuseHumphrey Bogart on Hyde Street at Greenwich in the 1947 film ‘Dark Passage’:

PSChouseuseThe Cliff House from Sutro Heights in 1949: Actually, you can barely see the famous restaurant from here anymore because of the overgrown trees.

PSPowellusePowell Street at O’Farrell Street during the 1950’s:

Dong Kingman

DongopenuseDong Kingman was a Chinese American artist who first gained recognition as a Works Progress Administration painter during the 1930’s. Wikipedia writes of him as “one of America’s leading watercolor masters.” In 1967, “Kingman”, as he preferred to be called, co-created a book about San Francisco along with columnist Herb Caen entitled ‘San Francisco – City on Golden Hills’. In the preface Caen writes, “It is entirely appropriate that Don Kingman should be my collaborator on this book, for San Francisco – the city of his heart and mine – has been spiced and enriched by the strong flavor of China ever since it came of age as a world metropolis.” The text by Herb Caen is accompanied by paintings from Dong of a modern San Francisco, many that now seem nostalgic. Dong Kingman died in May of 2000. These are then and nows of some of his paintings from the book.

DongSTMaryuseCalifornia Street, looking down toward Chinatown and Old St. Mary’s Church before the skyscraper boom of the late 1960’s:

DongMaidenLanetwouseMaiden Lane, looking toward Stockton Street and the St. Francis Hotel: Dong has the Dewey Monument in Union Square a little closer to the south side of Maiden Lane than reality, but that’s art.

DongEnsiguseMarket Street at the Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building looking south: Some of the structures in the background are the Bay Bridge, the Embarcadero Freeway, and the YMCA Building. The block of buildings where the Ensign Café was at were demolished at the end of the 60’s.

DongSinatrauseYou can see the Ensign Café in a scene from the 1957 film ‘Pal Joey’ where Frank Sinatra dodges from the police across the street at the Ferry Building.

Dongcandlestick1useCandlestick Park before it was enclosed in 1971 to accommodate the San Francisco 49ers football team moving in:

GE DIGITAL CAMERAAnother view of Candlestick Park from the hill behind it taken during the year it was demolished in 2015. Ah, what fun we had at that place, family and friends!

DongHydeuseWhen you stand on Hyde Street between Chestnut and Bay Streets looking toward the Bay and Alcatraz Island, you’re looking at one of the most beautiful views in San Francisco.

DongOBeachuseOcean Beach at the Great Highway, looking toward the Cliff House and the long gone Playland-at-the-Beach: Playland was where the condominiums on the tight are today.

DongBroadwayuseThe eastern side of the now remodeled Broadway Tunnel on the edge of Chinatown: That’s a Mason Street cable car, a line that still exists, passing by on the right in Kingman’s painting.

Flat Stella takes a San Francisco then and now tour

StellaCHouseuseFlat Stella at the Cliff House: She got kind of messed up when I threw her in the Pacific Ocean, but she was better later on after she stopped coughing.

StellaCTownuseStella in Chinatown: I told her that the Chinese are very big on paper ornaments so if she didn’t behave herself, I’d sell her into paper slavery.

StellaPalaceuseStella and her grandma at the Palace of Fine Arts:

StellaMissionuseStella at the oldest church in San Francisco, Mission Dolores: Stella asked me who Dolores was. I didn’t want to try to explain to her about Senora de los Dolores and “Our Lady of Sorrows” Creek, so I just told it that she was Father Junipero Serra’s big sister.  StellsbridgeredoStella at the Golden Gate Bridge: Stella was really impressed with the bridge, and she asked me if it was real. Everybody started laughing at her, and I, kind of, felt sorry for her!

A ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ tour

‘The Streets of San Francisco’ was often corny and pat, but just as often realistic and exciting. However, one thing it always had going for it was great San Francisco location shooting. Probably, no television show will ever again have as many on location scenes. Yesterday was a perfect day to take a Buddy Boy” and “Papa Cop” tour of San Francisco.

StreetsbridgeuseKarl Malden played Inspector Michael Stone and Michael Douglas played Inspector Steve Keller. They got along just as well with each other as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin did in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and saved each other’s life about as often. Here they are at the old Rustic Bridge at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. In the dialog at this point Malden is saying, “It’s so peaceful, we should come here more often.” This is about one of the most peaceful spots in San Francisco. The path is different and there are more trees here now.

StreetsStowLakeuseThey walk along Stow Lake past the bridge for awhile.

“Alright, Buddy Boy, I’ll pull them over and you plant the dope next time. Okay?”

Actually, they were pretty honest and fair.

StreetsPalcaeone In one episode Steve Keller actually sleeps with one of the costars. That was a rarity! However, they didn’t live happily ever after. The girl he’s sleeping with,  Brenda Vaccaro, turns out to be a hit lady for the mob who’s killed at least ten people. Somehow, that’s not a turn off to me! Maybe, it’s a “guy thing”. At the end of the episode, she goes to the Palace of Fine Arts to make another “whack”.

StreetsPalacetwouseThis was about where she was sitting.

StreetspalacethreeuseKeller confronts her after the killing at the Palace, and finds out who she is. He hesitates shooting her. Well, that’s love!

SytrrtsPalacefouruseShe’s not as sweet, and is about to silence him with a silencer.

StreetsPalacefiveusePapa Cop, Stone, pulls up here on Baker Street just in the nick of time.

StreetsPalacesixuseStone prevents her from spoiling every good memory Keller had of her, and she’s off to jail.

StreetsEmbarcaderoneuseNow, off to Mission Street and the Embacadero under the old Embarcdero Freeway where there’s Salvation Army Band playing music to the winos in the area. This may have been one of the corny moments I was telling you about.

StreetsEmbarcaderotwouseA miserable drunk stumbles across the Embarcadero. Oh, wait, that’s not polite! I mean, an intoxicated homeless person finds comfort in the bottle while living on the streets.

StreetsembarcaderothreeuseWhy, it’s Leslie “Don’t call me Shirley” Nielsen! Nielsen plays an alcoholic cop who accidentally gets his partner killed while drunk on the job.

Streetsembarcaderofiveuse“Well, time for a little R&R!” They sure tidied this spot up today. That’s the old YMCA Building in the background.

StreetsBrockleuseHot on the scene of another murder, the boys pull into the old Brocklebank Apartments on the northeast corner of Mason and Sacramento Streets, Nob Hill. The entrance to the Brocklebank is very similar to the entrance of the Mark Hopkins Hotel.

StreetsMHopkinsuseKeller heads across California Street from the Mark Hopkins Hotel to a telephone booth.

Streetsone“Welcome to Tenderloin Travel.”

Now, this one throws me! At the close of one episode Stone and Keller drop Stefanie Powers off at an airport at O’Farrell and Taylor Streets in the Tenderloin. There never has been an airport in the Tenderloin! Look at the old UHF Channel 44 Building in the background.

StreetstwoThere was some type of busy terminal here once but it couldn’t have been an airport. The “Airlines Terminal” sign may have been doctored for the episode. There’s a Hilton Hotel here now.

StreetscloseuseAs the boys say goodbye to Stefanie, we’ll say goodbye to the boys. Karl Malden is dead now, and I don’t read much about Michael Douglas’s health nowadays. I hope he lives as long as his dad has.