For Patrick

These are some then and nows from pictures my little brother Pat was in. We lost Pat in 1995 at age 32. Life would be a lot nicer now if he was still with me.

It crossed my mind the other day,

how many years you’ve been away.

Those kids you loved, they don’t forget.

They all have kids you’ve never met.

We posed in places from the past,

in spots where you belong.

It crossed my mind the other day,

we still took you along.

cliffhouse2017 The old Cliff House in 1989: Pat is in the black sweater and jeans on the right with his nieces Beverly, Christie, Carrie Ann, Stacy, and our sister Julie. Two of his nieces walking with him, Stacy and Beverly, are in the picture I took last Sunday along with my brother Kevin.

patfantasylandbloguse I seem to spend more time in Disneyland than San Francisco, lately. This was in 1989 and last Friday, January 20th. Doesn’t anybody else notice that witch from Sleeping Beauty peeking out the window behind the castle in Fantasyland?

patfrontierlanduse At New Orleans Square in 1987:

patcarnationuse Friday’s picture was at Carnation Plaza on Main Street; The 1987 one with Stacy and Carrie Ann was in what is now called Riverside Terrace. You still can’t get Stacy to pose normal!

patggbridgeuse Pat, with Carrie Ann and me in 1994, and Beverly and Stacy last Sunday:

26 The previous photo of Beverly and Stacy was taken inside the old Round House Restaurant, recently reopened as a snack bar. They serve good hot chocolate for cold January days like when we visited there.

3rd, Kearny, and Market Streets

“Now, I’m standing on the corner of Third and Market. I’m looking around. I’m figuring it out. There it is, right in front of me. The whole city. The whole world. People going by. They’re going somewhere. I don’t know where, but they’re going. I ain’t going anywhere.” – From ‘The Time of Your Life’ by William Saroyan.

I ain’t going anywhere, either; especially when there’s a Ghirardelli Chocolate Store right down the street. San Francisco has many popular intersections; Grant Avenue and California Street, the heart of Chinatown, Broadway and Kearny, where more movie scenes have been filmed than any other crossroads in San Francisco, and Haight-Ashbury. The intersection at 3rd , Kearny, and Market Streets holds its place in history and photography along with Market and Powell, and Market and the Embarcadero where the Ferry Building is as being THE place on Market Street to meet up with someone.


The most historic thing about this intersection is Lotta’s Fountain, seen here around 1909: Survivors of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire met at this fountain every April 18th, the anniversary of the disaster, for over one hundred years!


Lotta’s Fountain from across Market Street at 3rd in 1956: The fountain was extended in height in 1916. Behind Lotta’s Fountain is the old Chronicle Building. The two photos are were taken from where the old Call Building is. Just across 3rd from here is the Hearst Building. The Chronicle, Examiner, and Call Bulletin newspapers printed here once led to this corner being known as “Newspaper row”.

3rdcushmanuse Looking east on Market Street toward the Hobart Building in the 1940’s from a photo from the Cushman Collection at the Indiana State University:


I can’t find too much information about this tower shown in a photo from OpenSFHistory. It was known as the Liberty Tower and stood six stories high. Erected in 1918, it blocked out the view of Lotta’s Fountain from here. It may have even been erected over Lotta’s Fountain, I’m not sure. The clock at the top didn’t show the time, but showed the number of millions raised in contributions toward helping America’s involvement during World War One. There is a little piece written about it in Glen David Gold’s fictional book about the life of Charlie Chaplin called ‘Sunnyside’.

3rdlottacopuse Another one of my favorite San Francisco pictures: It was taken before the 1906 Earthquake and has so much going on in it; from the family hand in hand stepping up to the sidewalk, to the cop bawling out the pretty girl, or giving her directions, or just flirting with her. I hope he was doing all three! In 1999 Lotta’s Fountain was restored, lowered back to its original height, and moved back to the fountain’s original location where it was dedicated in 1875.

A ride along on the California Street Cable Car Line


With a clanging of his bell that would rival Quasimodo of Notre Dame, the conductor slams his cable car into gear as if he was in the Indianapolis 500. With a whirling roar the underground cable line grabs onto the car like an octopus, and the historic San Francisco monument screams out of  the California and Market Street terminal at a thunderous two  miles an hour. When they invite me to accept the Nobel Prize for literature like that, I’m certainly not going to snub them like Bob Dylan did.


“France has lost the battle, but France has not lost the war!”

A parade for World War Two general Charles de Gaulle just past California and Battery Streets in April of 1960. He may have been controversial during the war, but they don’t make them like that anymore!


We’re passing Saint Mary’s Square, seen in the vintage photo from 1959. My photo is a little blurry because we were going at full speed past the square. (That’s right, Tim, blame a lousy shot on something that only travels at the top speed of nine miles an hour!)


This one at California St. and Grant Avenue isn’t a bad comparison considering it’s a picture I had taken on a previous California cable car ride before I saw the old photo.


Climbing up Nob Hill we approach Stockton Street. These two pictures, the one in 1945 and the one today, are cable cars coming back down the hill. “Come on, cable car conductor, do a Steve McQueen airborne jump over the hill like in ‘Bullitt’!

califfairmontuseI got off the cable car ride for awhile to relax in the Fairmont Hotel lobby.

califfairlobbyuse I don’t know who she is, but I didn’t get that much attention when I was in the Fairmont today!


At the top of Nob Hill looking west at an unfinished Grace Cathedral in 1952: They were behind time on the church in 1952; about twenty four years! The present Grace Cathedral was started in 1928 and completed in 1964.


The western end of the California Street cable car line is here at Van Ness Ave. This caravan in September of 1959 was for Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev, another World War Two figure who fought against Hitler at Stalingrad; although, he was as ruthless with his own men as he was with the Germans. A little over three years after this picture was taken he would be squaring off with President John Kennedy in the “Cuban Missile Crisis”.

‘My Favorite Brunette’ revisited

I’ve done posts in the past on this scene from an old grainy version of the film that I have on DVD, but I decided to redo these with a newer and clearer print that’s now available on DVD. The Trafalgar Building was where the parking garage for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Stockton Street is now. This is on the south side of California Street near Grant Avenue. A pretty lady named DeAnna from Security at the hotel allowed me to go upstairs with her to try to get comparison pictures with the scenes of Bob Hope looking down to California Street from the Trafalgar Building, but trees block the view now. Still, it was a nice thing to do, and this is for her. Personally, I think ‘My Favorite Brunette’ from 1947 is Bob Hope’s funniest film and it holds up pretty well today. You also have Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney Jr., Alan Ladd, and even Bing Crosby thrown in for good measure, and they’re all great in this film. Here’s a recap up to the point of this scene filmed in and around the old Trafalgar Building on California Street between Grant Avenue and Stockton Street. Bob Hope is about to be executed at San Quentin for a murder he didn’t commit. (Bob Hope committing murder! The only things he ever murdered were film scripts with his ad-libs!) He explains to reporters how he got into this situation while working as a baby photographer in the Trafalgar Building, and the scene switches to California Street coming down from Stockton in a flashback.

brunetteoneuse The flashback opens up with the camera moving down California Street toward Chinatown from Stockton Street. Below, is this stretch of California today.

brunettethreeuse The camera turns and moves in toward the Trafalgar Building. An early postcard below shows the Trafalgar Building just behind the cable car on the right.

43 This Redwood Empire Association photo offers a clearer view of the Trafalgar Building at the right center.


brunettethreeuse A 1950’s photo shows where the Trafalgar Building stood; apparently, recently demolished:  The building was behind where the HD Supply truck is in the modern picture.

brunettefouruse The camera moves up to the top floor to the Ronnie (Bob Hope) Baby Photography shop. In the bottom picture, Ronnie is going down the hall to ask private eye Sam McCloud if he can become his detective partner. “It only took brains, courage, and a gun, and I have the gun!” he says.

brunettefiveuse Ronnie approaches Sam McCloud who is sweet talking on the telephone to a dame. McCloud turns around and it’s tough guy Alan Ladd! Sam pours himself a shot, and tells Ronnie, “Stick to “Watch the birdie.”, and you’ll die of old age.”

redo After McCloud leaves, Ronnie sits at his desk and fantasies about being a detective. In walks mysterious Carlotta Montay, (Dorothy Lamour) who mistakes Ronnie for Sam McCloud. She goes around behind the desk and begs him for his help. This happens to me all of the time in the tax office.

brunettesevenuse Ronnie learns to his disappointment that Carlotta is married. She tells him her husband has been kidnapped. “I’m in deep, deep trouble!” she says to him, and shows him a picture of her husband. When he asks about the wheel chair, she replies, “My husband is an invalid, he hasn’t been out of that chair in seven years.” “You’re in trouble!” Ronnie agrees. That line alone is worth the price of the movie.

brunetteeightuse Always wanting to be a detective, Ronnie keeps up the charade and agrees to help Carlotta. All the while a creep named Kismet (Peter Lorre) is listening outside the door. She tells Ronnie where he can meet her later on.

brunettenineuse When she leaves, Ronnie goes to the window of his photography shop and looks down to California Street.

brunettetenuse A frightened Carlotta looks around, enters a taxi cab, and drives down California Street followed by Kismet.

brunetteelevenuse Ronnie watches from the Trafalgar Building as they turn left onto Grant Avenue past Old Saint Mary’s. The convertible still parked on California Street is Ronnie’s.

brunettetwelveuse Our hero, and I use that expression lightly, leaves the Trafalgar Building and jumps in his car to follow.

brunettethirteenuse Ronnie pulls away onto California Street. I never let the next day’s garbage pick up or a tour bus stand in the way of a comparison picture. Notice the white framed entrance to the Sing Fat Building on the right in both images.

brunettefourteenuse Ronnie Jackson, Private Eye, turns left onto Grant Avenue and for the rest of the movie gets himself into a world of trouble! Notice the Cathay House Restaurant sign on the left; I think they’re still in business.

My Spanish is a little rusty.

One of the advantages of commuting to San Francisco is riding on BART. Although often criticized, it’s really an effective way to get to San Francisco. When you combine the trip with MUNI, which is another effective way to get around town, you can save a lot of money. Last Monday, as I was coming back from another trip “out in the field” to San Francisco, I was randomly interviewed by a television crew about my opinion of the parking lot fee increase that went in to effect on New Year’s Day. The interview was conducted in English and I didn’t realize until I watched the newscast later that evening that it was for a Spanish television network. I can’t quiet make out what the newscaster is saying in his report, but I seem to have heard the word “loco” frequently in his recap. That’s me walking and driving away in the film too. My “15 minutes” of fame, and I can’t understand a word of it!

Closing out 2016 in the City of Saint Francis

yearendstarwarsuse I may have been in that line! When Star Wars opened in 1977, the only place to see it was the Coronet Theater on Geary Blvd. and the line was blocks long! The trick was to find the nerdish looking guys who wouldn’t fight back, and cut in front of them. Alright, we did it, but we were pretty nerdy looking too so somebody probably did it to us right after! As if I didn’t feel old enough already, the Coronet Theater was demolished in 2007 and is now the Institute on Aging!

yeardendfwharfuse The Fisherman’s Wharf boat lagoon: Castagnola’s Restaurant takes credit for being the oldest restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf, (1916). Their current building was built after the vintage photo.


A bicycle race at the north end of the Polo Field at Golden Gate Park in 1945:
“Hey, what’s the matter with you guys? I said Ready! Set! Go! Didn’t you hear me?”
Actually, I don’t think they had any problem hearing him at all with that foghorn he’s got!

yearendfbuildinguse The south wing of the Ferry Building in the early 1940’s:

yearendccarfairmontuse The Fairmont Hotel and part of the exclusive (like the sign on Dennis the Menace’s tree house “no gurls allowed”) Pacific-Union Club on Nob Hill:

yearendghighwayuse Ah, Playland-at-the-Beach! It always fascinates me that you can see the entire western side of San Francisco from Sutro Heights!

yearendbufanouse Benjamino Bufano’s statue of Saint Francis near Fisherman’s Wharf in the 1970’s: It’s probably my imagination, but that fellow on the left looks like Jesus!