Relaxin’ awhile

RelaxMechanicsuse San Franciscans relaxing at the Mechanics Monument on Market Street in 1960: The two buildings in the background are the Southern Pacific Building, with the largest advertising sign in San Francisco at the time, and the PG&E Building. The statue has been shifted from it’s location in the vintage picture, so you have to stand across Battery Street to get those two buildings and the monument in the same picture today. Dedicated in 1901, the city was destroyed around Mechanics Monument in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech here in 1911, Ten people were killed when a bomb exploded several blocks away in 1916 in an unsolved crime that is the worst terrorist attack in San Francisco to date, and an abundance of parades have passed by it on Market Street.  (Phil Palmer)

relaxunionsquareuse People relaxing on Union Square lawn in the 1950’s: There is little lawn left on Union Square today. Most of the buildings on Post street in the background are gone today, but you can still see two, the one on the far right, and the Williams-Sonoma Building in the center (

relaxunionsquare2use (

Relaxzellabrachuse How they relaxed in the 1970’s

“What do you think about this Watergate investigation stuff?”

“It’s copacetic, dude!” It’s copacetic!”

“Yeah, that’s what I think too. What does that mean?”

This was at the Crown-Zellerbach Plaza.  (Paul C Johnson and Richard Reinhardt)

RelaxWharfuse No artists painting the boats in the Fisherman’s Wharf Lagoon today when I was there:  (Barnaby Conrad and Bay Area Photographers Society)

Cargouse Don’t let the locals tell you that the Red and White Fleet boat rides on the Bay are for tourists; it’s a great way to relax, and the scenery is stunning! Here, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship makes a nice comparison to the old Philippine Transport cargo ship at dock in the 1950’s when passing by. The Jeremiah O’Brien is a true landmark. She was at Normandy Beach on June 6th 1944 for D Day, and sailed back to Normandy in 1994 from San Francisco for the 50th anniversary of the invasion. She was the only ship of hundreds and hundreds off Normandy that day to make it back on June 6th 1994. Even the Queen of England came aboard to show her respects. (Phil Palmer)

Relaxsayheyuse I’ve been lucky enough to relax at many San Francisco Giants games, going back to seeing the “Say Hey Kid” at Candlestick Park as a boy to today’s AT&T Park.  (Barnaby Conrad and Bay Area Photographers Society)

relaxBARTuse If you don’t go during rush hour, BART is a very relaxing way to travel to and from San Francisco, and you never know who you’ll run into. Wow, President and First Lady Richard and Patricia Nixon! Actually this was a visit from the First Couple to inaugurate the opening of BART in 1972. They traveled from the San Leandro station to the Lake Merritt station in Oakland.

“And one of these days, Mr. President, we’ll get these trains to stop where they’re supposed to!”

San Francisco Travel Posters

PosterCalifStuse California Street:

PosterChinatownredouse Grant Avenue and California Street: Only that’s the wrong kind of cable car for the California line. Still, a neat poster.

PosterAlamouse The Painted Ladies of Alamo Square:

Posterhydepieruse The Hyde Street Pier at Aquatic Park:

PostersGGBridgeuse Look at the Golden Gate Bridge! Who, the hell, painted that poster, Salvador Dali?

PostersHydeuse Wow, number 20 and number 21!  Hmm, they spelled Wharf wrong! I wonder how long it took before some astute travel agent noticed that?

underGGBredo What it’s supposed to look like when you sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, and what it looked like the last time I sailed under it:

Postercablecaruse The Bay Bridge from Nob Hill:

Postercliffhouseuse I know, this one’s a postcard, but I don’t want to leave it out.

Sunsetredouse Yeah, well if they can make a fake sunset, so can I.

The Gotham Club

Gotham At the Gotham Club today, AT&T’s answer to Disneyland’s Club 33, for an exciting 10th inning Giants win: The Giants were originally called the New York Gothams when they started in 1873.  Willieuse Willie had his own comic book! Coveuse  McCovey Cove and the Lefty O’Doul Bridge:  IMG_2130 “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack;

I don’t care if I never get back!”

I read somewhere that they were going to stop putting prizes in Cracker Jacks, might have already done so. Also, I never get tired of seeing the last out of the 2014 World Series. Click on the link below to see it.

More Disneyland

AliuseTry as hard as I could, I couldn’t line this one of Muhammad Ali in Tomorrowland up. Tomorrowland has been so reconfigured now this was as close as I could get. You can see the old Sky Tram to Fantasyland in the Ali shot. I think the girl on the phone was saying, “Mom, everyone is laughing at my hat!”

Tonyautopiause How Stony Curtis, I mean, Tony Curtis rides the Tomorrowland Autopia in ’40 Pounds of Trouble’ (1962): I didn’t try this myself because I think they throw you out for doing this today! That’s the Monorail track crossing above.

Tonydrawbridge Make way for Tony at the Sleeping Beauty Castle Drawbridge!

SplasMountainuse This is more of a then and during. Actually, Splash Mountain isn’t as scary as made out to be. (He said, stoically, long after the ride) Those mouse ears were on the girl behind me; men wearing mouse ears are not allowed on Splash Mountain.

CastleNightuse Sleeping Beauty Castle when they turn the lights out for the parade: I don’t believe in Fairy Tales, (well, maybe leprechauns) but when you look at that at night……….

Europe, Then and THEN

1987Openeruse In 1987, my friend Steve and I traveled through some of Europe. It was one of the highlights of my life, and I met some wonderful people in England, France, and Switzerland. Here we are at the Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace.

Buckinghamuse Buckingham Palace on VE Day:

Scotlandyarduse Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson wannabes at Scotland Yard on the trail of Professor Moriarty: I wish Ida was with us! (

Trafalgaruse “The British Lion”; Trafalgar Square in 1950, and in 1987: The front paws from one of the lions in the vintage picture had been removed for repair from bomb damage in 1941 during the London Blitz. (AFAR Magazine)

Royalexchangeuse Bomb damage from the Battle of Britain in front of the Royal Exchange Building:

Regentsuse Regent Street, looks like the 1930’s:

PiccadillyCircusBlogPiccadilly Circus in 1949 and 1987: We saw a play here starring David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin) called ‘Run for Your Wife’. (Vintage photo from Chalmers Butterfield)

AbbeyRoadredouse The crosswalk at Abbey Road: I don’t like to brag, but when I walked across the most famous crosswalk in the world in 1987, it wasn’t as populated as it is today!

10Downinguse Ah, there he is; Winston Churchill at Number 10 Downing Street. This is as close to 10 Downing Street as I got.

“Here now, and where do you think you’re going?”

“I wanted to say hello to Margaret!”

“Off with you now!”

Buckinghambombuse Bomb damage in front of Buckingham Palace during the Battle of Britain; “This was their finest hour.” Few things were better put. My grandmother was born in Liverpool, and I don’t think anything makes me more proud of my English blood than Churchill’s words.

archmetwouse The Arc de Triomphe after the liberation of Paris during World War Two, and some dummy standing in the middle of the Champs-Elysees being honked at:

Notredameuse Quasimodo’s hangout, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:

“The bells made me deaf, you know.” he tells Esmeralda. They didn’t do me any too good either; I was there on All Saints Day with a hangover from too much wine on the Champs-Elysees the night before! I had been looking for all the Halloween parties they must be having.

“Where are all the Halloween parties? Where are all the ghosts?”

“Le ghosts?”

I learned that they don’t celebrate Halloween in France; at least they didn’t in 1987.

MonaLisause This was” l’imbecile” who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris in 1911. It was recovered in 1913. You couldn’t use flash photography so this was the best image I could get with my 1980’s camera of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, probably, the most famous painting in history. Hmmm, she looks like she was checking me out! I guess, everybody thinks that.

RuedeuseCastiglioneuse Rue de Castiglione during the battle for the liberation of Paris in World War Two: The Time-Life Books caption from the two page picture says the sheets hanging from the hotel on the left were from German soldiers surrendering. (Time-Life Books World War ll Series)

Liberationuse Champs-Elysees and the liberation of Paris in 1944: Vive la France!

Zurichuse Beautiful Zurich from the Lindenhof Hill in my picture:

Pilatususe Mount Pilatus, in the Swiss Alps, from the bottom and the top: “Made it, Ma, top of the world!” Even Heidi didn’t make it this far up! (J. Cosmas)


Castleopenbloguse Opening day at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle:

Tomorrowlanduse The old Tomorrowland entrance:

Entrance1962use The Disneyland entrance in 1962:

Adventurelandblogusethis The Adventureland entrance:

CastleDedicatebloguse Walt Disney dedicating Sleeping Beauty’s Castle: He would have been sitting on these rocks. I don’t like the looks of those two culprits behind him!

Railroadbloguse Walt Disney engineering, with the help of Mickey Mouse, the inaugural run of the Disneyland Railroad (DLRR) in 1955:

1963use I wish the crowd was like this quiet day on Main Street in 1963 when I was there this time.

Kennedybloguse Disneyland closed and in mourning the day after Kennedy was assassinated: By a coincidence, the flags in Disneyland were at half staff for Police Officers Memorial Day when I took this picture last Sunday.

Autopiabloguse The Autopia in Tomorrowland: I like the way they all pulled over for me.

Audiebloguse The most decorated soldier of World War Two; Audie Murphy and his family, next to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in 1956. (

Beatlesuse The spot where this famous picture was taken, NOT!

Cinemabloguse The Bride of Frankenstein, (Elsa Lanchester) and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, (Charles Laughton) at the Main Street Cinema in the 1950’s:  (Disneyland the First Quarter Century)

Cindyburrouse In 2014, Disneyland hosted a Facebook contest to select the best pictures from each decade Disneyland has been open. My friend Cindy made runner up from the 1960’s with this picture of her and her mom on the Disneyland Pack Mule Ride, (An E Ticket ride, by the way). Alas, she didn’t get the big ticket! The Pack Mule Ride left from the old Nature’s Wonderland Town. The Thunder Mountain Railroad ride now occupies the location of the mule rides.

Where birds sing to flowers, and large mice still walk.
Where pirates still plunder and “dead men” don’t talk.
Where hinges still “creak” and doorknobs still rattle,
I throw my vote in for the kid in the saddle.

Where kids ride on freeways in small open cars.
Where some things are gone now, like rockets to Mars.
Where witches still poison, and fairies still rule,
I throw my vote in for the kid on the mule.

Where “Indy” still whips it, and hippos still charge,
you can ride to an island on Tom Sawyer’s barge.
Where horses don’t trample, or poop in the street,
I throw my vote in for the kid in the seat.

You can eat mouse head pancakes, or buy a straw hat.
You could spit off the Sky Tram, (and what’s wrong with that?)
Where beckoning ghosts still frighten this honky,
I throw my vote in for the kid on the donkey

Although, so many things that I like have been hurled,
when you run into friends there, it’s still a “small world”
Hold tight little toddler, now there’s a fine lass!
I throw my vote in for the kid on the ass.

Back across the Pond

Magninsuse 19th and Broadway in Oakland and the emerald green I Magnin Building. The Disney cartoon, ‘Melody Time’ on the Paramount Theater marquee in the vintage photo dates the picture from 1948. Notice the flat front of the marquee in the vintage picture.

Paramountuse Disney wasn’t so popular here two years earlier in 1946 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland as this protest over the movie ‘Song of the South’ indicates.

VanGoghuse Vincent Van Gogh visits the Camron-Stanford House on Lake Merritt in Oakland: Built in 1871, this was once where the Oakland Museum was housed, and it’s said to have been visited by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880, although, some reports say only the First Lady, Mrs. Hayes was there. And, no, Van Gogh never visited the Camron-Stanford house.  (Wingsdomain Art and Photography)

Loopuse I go back a ways, and I’ve seen Hayward change quite a bit through the years, and not always for the best. Take, for instance, the “Hayward Loop” downtown traffic plan that’s about as practical as an Elvira Day Care Center. Still, buildings like the modern City Hall show that Hayward can sometimes be, “The city that knows how,” too.

BStuse B Street from Foothill Blvd in Hayward: The brick Building on the right in both photos is the Masonic Lodge today.

Masonicuse B Street in Hayward: This is approximately where the crossing guard was in 1940. The children are coming from the old Markham Elementary School that was on First (Now Foothill Blvd.) and B St. The Borden’s Dairy Products is now the remodeled Masonic Temple. The Mel and Rudy and Studio Camera were where Buffalo Bill’s is located now. The Tower at the far right was the old Carnegie Library at First and B Streets.

CarnagieLibraryuse Foothill Blvd. at B Street and the notorious Hayward Loop; five lanes in search of a city: The Carnegie Library at the northeast corner of First and B Streets was demolished in 1948 to make way for the Foothill Strip. First Street to the left of the library was widened and renamed Foothill Boulevard. Notice the mural on the building at this location, and look at the close up in the next photo.

Muraluse A postcard of Downtown Hayward from the air in the 1960’s, and a painting of Downtown Hayward under a magnifying glass on the corner of B Street and Foothill Blvd. today. You can follow Foothill Blvd. as it sweeps past  D, C, B, and A Streets in both images. The Library Park is above the door in the mural, and on the left in the old postcard. The library is currently scheduled to be demolished for a new one being build across C Street next to the post office. Don’t ask me “Why?”.

Allsaintschurchuse The All Saints Church on the corner of D Street and Second: It is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful churches in the East Bay. That’s not a typo, Hayward was originally called “Haywards”. Don’t ask me, “Why?” about that, either!

AllSaintschooluse The All Saints Catholic School on Second Street in Hayward: Having once considered a career as an alter boy until I discovered that the job didn’t pay much, I have a soft spot for the parochial lifestyle.

AWinguse A friend of mine named Cyndy took this picture of some students sneaking a smoke break at Canyon High School in Castro Valley. At first I thought, “I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near those rowdies!”, but on closer look, I discovered that the rowdy in the middle is me! I still wouldn’t let my kids near me back then! That’s Chris W. with my arm on his shoulder, Dennis G. with his arm on mine, and Jeff B. behind us. We were smoking behind this wall at the A Wing of the campus, a favorite hangout for students who should have been in class.

Weekend Lollygagging (What does that word mean, anyway?)

lolyredo Fishing at Fort Point in the 1950’s: The Bay was a lot calmer for this fellow. (Phil Palmer)

lolydogbloguse Fishing with a bestie behind the St. Francis Yacht Harbor: (Barnaby Conrad)

MasonLolyuse “Don’t lollygag, Dear, I’m right behind you. I’ll catch you if you slip.”

Yeah, right! Like, he’s not going to push her!  (Fred Lyon)

LolySpreckeluse Lollygagging at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park: I’m beginning to hate that word!  (Phil Palmer)

lolyconsvuse The Conservatory in Golden Gate Park:

“Aw, Mom, do I have to wear this hat?”

Lolyturtleuse Hmmm, I’m not the only one lollygagging around! You and me, Mr. Turtle!

Two Beaches

BeachTaftuse President Taft’s motorcade moves along Ocean Beach to the Cliff House in 1911.

Beach20'suse Ocean Beach in the early 1920’s: No Playland-at-the-Beach, no sea wall, but the observatory of Adolph Sutro’s  mansion can still be seen on Sutro Heights, although, Sutro had died in 1898. (Vintage photo from

BeachPlaylanduse The old streetcar turnaround at Playland-at-the-Beach, and the same spot today.

BeachSaluse Laffin’ Sal at the Playland Funhouse and today: She hasn’t got any prettier over the years.

BeachCliffHouseuse One of the oldest pictures of the Cliff House I’ve seen. That’s the one that was built in 1858

BeachMarkeruse A neglected Historical Marker is about all that’s left of Playland-at-the-Beach.


North Beach; the other beach: That looks like a good book!

beachmapuse North Beach runs roughly along the western side of Telegraph Hill, and is centered around Columbus Avenue. It was more of a beach area once, as seen in this terrific 1880’s map before much of the Bay to the right of Telegraph Hill, seen at the bottom of the map, was filled in.

Beachkearnyuse A long ago father with children head up Kearny from Broadway early in the Twentieth Century. The intersection at the bottom of the hill, Broadway and Kearny, was once one of the main hangouts in North Beach frequented by the likes of Woody Allen and Bill Cosby, and many movies have filmed scenes in this intersection, such as ‘Bullitt’, ‘The Laughing Policeman’, ‘Kiss Them for Me’, ‘Play It Again, Sam’, ‘Butterflies Are Free’, and ‘The Enforcer’.

Beachpromouse One of the movies that used extensive North Beach locations was ‘The Sniper’ made in 1952.The film startled audiences with its frank subject matter, and dialogue when released. Using taboo expressions like “pervert” “registered sex offender”, and “voyeur,” this disturbing movie follows a maniac through San Francisco as he murders women victims with a telescopic rifle. The film tries to suggest a psychological understanding of what motivates the serial killer. This accounts for the film’s surprising ending.

Beachstalkeruse Beachkilluse What a stalker looks like: The “Sniper”, Arthur Franz, follows Marie Windsor to the Paper Doll Club on Union Street where she sings, shoots her with his rifle when she leaves after her performance causing her to crash back into her own marquee. The Paper Doll Club, popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s was known as the Silhouettes in the 1980’s, and I used to hang out there a lot myself. The building was closed and up for lease when I took the picture.

BeachSniperuse After a long day of shooting another innocent girl to death, the sniper legs it up Varennes Alley to his home, little realizing that the police are closing in on him.

BeachFilbertuse Police Officers Adolphe Menjou and Gerald Mohr rush up Filbert Street to the killer’s house. My Budget Rent a Car makes a nice fill in for the police car in the alley in the 1952 movie.

Beachgrantfilbertuse A crowd gathers at the corner of Grant Avenue and Filbert Street, including a KPIX news truck, as police move in on the sniper.

Beachsnipercrybloguse  The police, realizing that he’s mentally ill when they break into his house, show compassion and don’t kill him. The film closes on an image of the tearful psycho. To be honest, I’d have been happier if they would have shot the creep, but that’s the romantic in me.