Pure escapism (For Brad)

That’s what I needed to recover from the results of the first round of the 2021 baseball playoffs, pure escapism therapy. The Shorpy Photo Archive has a stunning collection of high density vintage pictures, many taken in San Francisco, that are a lot of fun to browse through, or if you’re like me, to visit the locations and update some of the photographs. (Thumbnail images)

Market Street at Street ay 6th, looking east in 1963: Many of the buildings from the vintage picture can still be seen today. The building on the right being remodeled is the old David Hughes Building that housed the Western States Life Insurance Company for many years. The building, with a completely different look today, was built in 1908.

The California Street Stairs to Huntington Park on Nob Hill in 1923: The late October shadows were sort of haunting me in this one, but it’s a reasonable facsimile. The Pacific Union Club Building is on the right in both pictures.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothing yet!” And so Al Jolson effectively made silent movies obsolete in the first talkie, ‘The Jazz Singer’ from 1927. Much maligned today for his many black face routines, Al Jolson was still an important part of film history. Jolson is the one with the hat next to the car in the 1927 picture on Powell Street in front of the St. Francis Hotel. Ironically, Jolson died of a heart attack at the St, Francis Hotel in 1950, twenty three years after this picture was taken.

Jones Street, between California and Pine Streets in 1923: This is one of the steepest and scariest streets to drive down in San Francisco; for a brief moment as you head down from California Street, it looks like you’re going over a cliff! The apartment building in the vintage picture is still there behind the trees.

608 Commercial Street, site of the first U.S. Mint in San Francisco: When they decided to put up an office building here, in respect to the historic building they built the skyscraper on top of it. They vintage picture is from 1940.

There’s a large collection of 1906 Earthquake pictures in the Shorpy Archives, as well; this one on Market Street at Kearny looking toward the old Palace Hotel. The Palace Hotel was completely destroyed by the earthquake and fire, and was rebuilt in 1909. The old Chronicle Building survived the earthquake and is on the left in both pictures.

Market and 1st Street in 1947: I wonder how this old photo survived. True, it’s an interesting vintage location shot taken from inside an auto, and as such, it turned out well, but I don’t think it can be considered as a good picture. Now, my goal was to try to take a picture that was equally as bad as the 1947 picture, and I think I pulled it off. Note, FIRST ST. then and 1ST ST now.

A little controversy (Thumbnail images)

No, that’s not yesterday’s SF Chronicle’s sport page; it’s from October 1, 1962. At the end of the 1962 baseball season the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers ended up in a dead tie for first place; so, a three game series was held to determine which team would win the National League Pennant and advance to the World Series. The Giants beat the Dodgers three games to two, and went on to lose the World Series to the New York Yankees. The Giants and Dodgers met again last night in a best of five game championship playoff that everybody  in the Bay Area, including the media, has been saying and reporting  is the first time that the SF Giants and LA Dodgers have faced each other in post season history. I contend that the three games played after regular season in 1962 was the first time these two teams met in post season play, and I said so on social media. Most agreed with me, but some argued that this was not ‘Post Season’ play, but an extension of the regular season. I rebutted that the 1962 Playoffs could not be considered an extension of the regular season games because the season stats would not be fair if only two Major League teams had a 165 game season and all of the rest had 162 games. Also I contended that the only reason that the 1962 Playoffs are not considered as ‘Post Season’ is because that expression had not been invented yet back then. At any rate, the SF Giants and LA Dodgers met again last night at Oracle Park and I was out there. It was crowded and I was out in the bleachers, but it was wonderful fun, depending on who you were rooting for. Like the October 1, 1962 game, the Giants blanked the Dodgers, this time 4 to 0; they won the first game of 1962 out at Candlestick Park 8 to 0. Game two will be tonight at 6:07 PST. (SF Chronicle)

Willie Mays hits a home run off Sandy Koufax in the first inning. (SF Chronicle)

Last night’s game began with a huge flag unfurling during the National Anthem.

Always fun to see McCovey Cove crowded again.

1962 fans at Candlestick Park and 2021 fans at Oracle Park: I think the 1962 fans had a little more creativity. (SF Chronicle)

The last out

Even the witch was happy!

#sfatnight

I’ve never used a hashtag for a title before; I kind of like it. These warm early fall nights we’ve been having this week make it especially pleasant to walk around San Francisco after dark. It still feels like summer, but there’s a little spookiness in the gentle wind and fog that reminds me that Halloween isn’t far away. (Thumbnail images)

 

I got to the Powell and Market Streets cable car turnaround at twlight, seen here in the 1960s, but it didn’t take long for the sun to disappear.

That’s a spooky looking vintage picture of Chinatown at the intersection of Grant Avenue and California Street in the 1950s. I believe the photographer was Fred Lyon. The view is next to old St. Mary’s Church looking down to Sacramento Street.

The intersection of Grant Avenue and California Street is also a good place to catch a cable car heading up Nob Hill, as seen in the vintage picture from the 1950s. (Phil Palmer)

I got off the cable car at the Mark Hopkins Hotel to update another one of Fred Lyon’s wonderful black and white photos, this one from the 1950s.

I doubled back down Nob Hill into Chinatown, seen here at Grant Avenue looking north from Clay Street. They don’t light Chinatown up as much at night as they did in the 1960s picture. (Vintage Everyday)

I ended up my nocturnal knock around back down on Market Street and Kearny, seen in the 1960s in the vintage picture. That’s the Palace Hotel on the right. (Vintage Everyday)

Wishing them luck, part two

This weekend will be the final three games of the San Francisco Giants 2021 season, so I took a bag lunch out to Oracle Park yesterday to take a few pictures, and wish them luck. They’re already in the Playoffs for the first time since 2016, but this weekend, they’ve got a chance to end up with the best record in baseball for the 2021 season, and that doesn’t happen very often. (Thumbnail images)

A three mast ship in China Basin, now called McCovey Cove, in 1922: Behind the ship is now where Oracle Park is. (opensfhistory.org)

Looking east on Berry Street to 3rd Street in 1925: Pope &Talbot Lumber was where Giants Stadium is today. (opensfhistory.org)

Lefty O’Doul Bridge in 1933, then known as Butcher Town Bridge because of all the slaughter houses in the area back then: Those two little white buildings on each side of the bridge are still there. (opensfhistory.org)

McCovey Cove in September of 2012 and September of 2021: Eh, at least the ballpark is aging well. The following October after the 2012 picture was taken the Giants won their second World Series. So, maybe……

 

Before it was filled in to become the small strip of water originally called China Basin, the area was called Mission Rock Bay, seen here in an 1859 Coastal Survey Map. (Foundsf.org)

A Thomas Brothers map shows the filled-in area in 1937.

 

An aerial photo from Davis Rumsey Historical Map Collection shows a view looking directly down toward China Basin in 1938. Lefty O’Doul Bridge and the area where Oracle Park is today are in the upper center of the photograph. The now gone Piers 44 and 46 are in the upper right.

 

A 1987 map plan from founds.org shows how they envisioned the future for the China Basin Area then. Well, they did include a smaller ball park on the left back then.

Diego Rivera’s mural, Pan American Unity (Thumbnail images)

One of the most prominent Mexican painters of all time, Diego Rivera, was commissioned by San Francisco Architect, Timothy Pflueger, to paint a mural for the 1939 / 1040 Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island for the 1940 season of the fair. Fair visitors were allowed to watch Rivera as he painted the mural.  The painting is on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art until the summer of 2023. Split up into five panels, I’ll highlight a few of the enormous amount of people and places Rivera included in the mural, identified in the free brochure of the exhibit provided by SFMOMA.

Panel number one depicts images of people and places of Rivera’s native Mexico, real and folklore, some of which I’m not familiar with. #1 are the volcanoes IxtaccihuatI  and PopocatepetI to the east of Mexico City. #2 is the Aztec deity, Quetzalcoatl. #3 is the Temples of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec Capital which is now Mexico City.

San Francisco starts to appear in panel number two. #12 is the 450 Sutter Building designed by Timothy Pflueger. #13 is the Bay Bridge. #15 is another Timothy Pflueger San Francisco building, the Pacific Telephone Building on New Montgomery Street. Among other notable historic figures in this panel are #23, George Washington, #24, Thomas Jefferson, and #25, Abraham Lincoln.

At the top right of panel number three is #28, the Golden Gate Bridge. #31 is Frida Kahlo, a beautiful Mexican artist who married Diego Rivera in 1929, was divorced from him in 1939, and remarried Diego in December of 1940, just after completion the mural. #33 is film actress Paulette Goddard helping Diego Rivera himself plant the tree shown in #2. I don’t know if Diego ever actually met Paulette Goddard. Timothy Pflueger gets an honorable appearance in #36.

Panel number four is the most interesting one to me, complete with film stars, villains and San Francisco. Up at the top you’ll see #37, Alcatraz Island, and #38, Treasure Island.  In #44 are Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Even though Rivera was a Communist, Stalin was an ally of Hitler when Diego did the painting. In #45 are Jack Oakie and Charlie Chaplin as they appeared in Chaplin’s satire about Hitler, ‘The Great Dictator’. Edward G. Robinson is seen in # 47. Robinson was starring in the 1940 movie ‘Confessions of a Nazi Spy’ at the time of the painting. The evil monster, Heinrich Himmler is in #48. Charlie Chaplin appears again in #49.

Diego Rivera leaves San Francisco in panel number five. Mounts Lassen and Shasta in Northern California are seen in #50. There’s an interesting collection of inventors and industrialists in the closing panel; Henry Ford in #54, Thomas Edison in #55, Samuel Morse in #57, and Robert Fulton in #58

‘I Spy’

One of the best looks you’ll get of 1968 San Francisco are from three episodes from Season 3 of the television Show ‘I Spy’; ‘Tag, You’re It’, ‘Anyplace I Hang Myself Is Home’ and ‘An American Princess’. ‘I Spy’ was a television drama show filmed on location in exotic places like Hong Kong, Athens, and Mexico City, to name a few. The producers of the show wisely realized San Francisco was just as exciting of a place and filmed these three episodes entirely in San Francisco with scenes at the Presidio, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, City Hall, the Opera House, Coit Tower, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, among some of the locations. Robert Culp and Bill Cosby portray spies Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott. Bill Cosby has come a long way up and a long way back down since ‘I Spy’, but this was a groundbreaking show for an African American, and these two guys are fun to watch together. (Thumbnail images)

In the opening scene of ‘Tag, You’re It’, there’s a great panning shot of 1968 San Francisco from atop the Fairmont Hotel.

The Steinhart Aquarium Whale Sculpture scene in ‘Tag, You’re It’ is priceless! I think that dingy hippie girl went on to be a regular on the Smothers Brothers Show. (SF Gate, from the film ‘The Lineup’)

‘An American Empress’ opens up with a live shot of Chinatown, on Grant Avenue looking north toward Sacramento Street.

There’s an extended scene from on top of the old Ghirardelli Omnibus from Pier 43 through Fisherman’s Wharf in ‘An American Princess’.

There’s also a scene from ‘ An American Princess’ filmed at Coit Tower when you could still see San Francisco from the parking lot. Those telescopes are a joke now!

In ‘Anyplace I Hang Myself is Home’, Kelly is brainwashed by an undercover traitor into trying to kill himself by jumping from the top of Coit Tower.

“Scotty”, who had also been brainwashed, climbs up to the top of the tower to talk Kelly down.

San Francisco TV doesn’t get any better than this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disneyland in the 1960s

I got a chance to visit Disneyland in the new decade of the 2020s, so I thought I’d update some old pictures taken during the first decade I ever visited Disneyland, the 1960s. Of course, I was so young back then, I can barely remember it. “Yeah, right, Tim!” (Thumbnail images)

 

The first place I always head for is Adventureland because it’s the quickest way to get to the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square. (Travel&Leisure)

Not only has the Sleeping Beauty Castle been remodeled since the 60s, but look at that anorexic Minnie Mouse! I don’t know what that tree is blocking part of the view of the castle now? My friend, Tony, will know. (insider.com)

There isn’t that much “Wild West” in Frontierland anymore. (pendletonUSA.com)

The entrance to Tomorrowland: No, That’s not me in the old photo; even I didn’t dress like that back then. You can still see the People Mover tracks behind that rocket thing today. (CNN)

The Tomorrowland Terrace: Wow, the New Establishment! Just what you’d expect a band from the 1960s to be called. I’ll bet they were terrible! Behind them is the old Carousel of Progress, America Sings Pavilion. (Worthpoint)

Ah, a typical 1962 family at the main entrance to Disneyland. Grandma has gone to that big Disneyland in the sky by now, no doubt. (thisfairytalelife.com)

A labor of love for the Labor Day Weekend

It’s not always as easy as it looks, but it’s not always as hard as it looks either. (Thumbnail images)

825 Clay Street at Waverly Place in the 1950s: I don’t know if that little guy on the left was imitating a cop or Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One’. (Phil Palmer)

 

They have bronze maps of the alleys of Chinatown in many of the alleys, and I spent some of the time exploring most of them. Just follow the bronze footprints. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley was business as usual.

A couple of old clunkers on Market Street where Sutter Street comes into it: Well, three old clunkers if you count me. The old picture is from the 1970s. (San Francisco Municipal Railway)

 

Looking toward what is now the Nordstrom portion of Westfield Centre in the 1960s: There used to be collection of popular stores here long ago. I wonder what Record Ecords was like? (Pinterest)

 

Anson Place and Powell Street in the 1940s:  I had to wait for a cable car, try do get it at about the same spot as the old one, and I got a lucky break with the girl in the Giants jacket walking by when I took my picture. The Giants and Dodgers were locked in a showdown at Giants Stadium over the weekend. The Giants came out on top. (Max Yavno)

 

Looking toward the old Emporium Department Store in the 1960s:  I really enjoy seeing the old F Line Streetcars up and running along Market Street again, and it makes for a better comparison picture. (Vintage Everyday)

‘Hot Summer Day’

“Hot summer day (Hot Summer Day), carry me along, to its end, where I begin”

That’s me, quoting lyrics from a song that nobody born after 1970 has ever heard of. Well, I remember that song by ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’. Anyway, it was also a hot summer day in San Francisco last Saturday. (I’ve got to work on these lead-ins.) These are updates I did last weekend of pictures I took in late March and Early April of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. Much of Downtown San Francisco was boarded up, lonely and depressing then. (Thumbnail images)

The intersection of Market and Powell Streets:

 

The cable car turnaround at Powell and Market Streets:

“If you run them, they will come.”

 

The Westfield Center, in the old Emporium Building, is open again and was crowded Saturday. The food services downstairs are roped off with security checking vaccine cards, but I saw a few people sneaking in under the rope.

Stockton and O’Farrell Streets, looking north toward the Stockton Tunnel: The #30 Muni lines had been temporarily discontinued back then.

 

Union Square: There was no sound of cable car bells, no traffic noise, and no murmur of voices around the near empty square. It felt too strange and I didn’t want to stay there very long that day.

 

Geary Blvd. and Powell Street: Cable cars were rattling past, with people enjoying the freebie rides for one last weekend before the fares come back.

Minor White

“My own place in this thing called photography? Lately it has come to my attention that perhaps I have a place in it, not entirely held by others.” (Minor White; Wikipedia)

This post is a collection of updates of Minor White photographs taken in San Francisco in the late 1940s and early 1950s. When you look at my updated pictures, it’s easy to see who the master is and who’s the imitator. Still, San Francisco has changed a lot since the vintage pictures were taken, and my pictures are only geographical comparisons of a few of Minor White’s images from a long ago San Francisco. The source pictures are from the digital library of the California Historical Society page on the internet. (Thumbnail images)

An ambulance on Market Street, between First and Second Streets, in 1951: The Hunter-Dulin Building on Montgomery and Sutter Streets where Sam Spade had his fictional office in the ‘Maltese Falcon’ is almost completely blocked out from the view here by the Wells Fargo Building, built in the 1960s.

Montgomery and California Streets, the heart of white-collar San Francisco, looking south along Montgomery Street in 1950

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Looking across the Embarcadero toward the old Hills Bros. Coffee Building in 1949:

A lot of Minor White’s San Francisco photos were taken along the Embarcadero. This view is looking toward Telegraph Hill, between Union and Filbert Streets, in 1949.

This is one of White’s most famous pictures, taken on the northeast corner of Pine and Sansome Streets in 1949. I’m not sure if the 49 – 52 at the bottom of his picture represents the number of his pictures he took in San Francisco.

Where Lombard Street comes in to the Embarcadero in 1949: This is a great shot of a Belt Line Railroad engine.

Where Filbert Street used to merge with the Embarcadero in 1949: This is the view today from Levi Strauss Plaza about where the vintage picture was taken: Although the Levi Strauss Plaza, built in the early 1980s, is a great spot for catching some sun or having a bag lunch, there’s a lot to be said for the New Deal Restaurant. Like ‘Alice’s Restaurant’, you could have probably gotten anything you want.

 

In front of the Pacific Union Club in 1949: Grace Cathedral is in the background. Construction on Grace Cathedral had been halted by 1949 and the remaining work, along with the south spire, was not completed until 1964.