Some more of my favorites

These are a few more of my favorite then and nows from postings in the past. Some of them are a favorite because I liked the way they turned out, some of them because they were fun to do, and some of them because they were an adventure.

Favoritehippieuse“Hippie Hill” in Golden Gate Park in 1967: “Save up all of your bread, and fly Trans Love Airways to San Francisco U.S.A.”  George Harrison and Pattie Boyd sat on this hill while George played a few songs with a borrowed guitar in 1967.

FavoriteHallJusticeuseThe old Hall of Justice on Kearney Street in 1958 from a Charles Cushman photo: Both pictures were taken from Portsmouth Square. This building appeared regularly in television shows such as ‘Lineup’ and ‘Ironside’, and many crime pictures like ‘Impact’. ‘The Man Who Cheated Himself’ and ‘The Lady from Shanghai’. The old hall was demolished in 1967.

FavoriteKearnyuseKearny Street at Fresno Alley as it climbs Telegraph Hill in the 1940’s from a Fred Lyon picture: It’s still quiet around here today, but kids don’t slide down the street anymore and the view that fellow is enjoying is a lot different today.

FavoriteEmbarcaderouseTwo aerial views of Market Street from the Ferry Building at the end of the 1960’s: The bottom picture is from a postcard I bought when I was in high school.

FavoritesKezaruseA football game between the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers at Kezar Stadium in 1957: I hope that was just wholesome fun and not a mugging that I failed to report in my picture. (SF Chronicle)

FavoriteB&CuseTwo members of the posse that shot Bonnie and Clyde to death at this spot earlier that day pose for a picture: This is on a lonely road outside Gibsland, Louisiana. The road winding away behind them is where Bonnie and Clyde drove up the hill to this spot here where they were ambushed.

FavoriteDPlazauseStunned and confused people at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd 1963, shortly after President John Kennedy was shot passing through here: This November will be the 55th anniversary of that day.

FavoriteHarolduseA one armed officer from the army tries to recruit Harold into joining while shell shocked, crippled and blind veterans pass by  up on Sutro Heights in the black comedy from 1971, ‘Harold and Maude’.

FavoriteoctopususeWell, that’s just rude! Ray Harryhausen’s giant octopus gobbles up the Golden Gate Bridge in the movie ‘It Came from Beneath the Sea’ from 1955.

FavoriteCStickuseCandlestick Park in the 1960’s, and on two visits that I made to the old stadium in 2014 and in 2015, shortly after it was demolished.

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

FavoriteYosemiteuseGlacier Point in Yosemite National Park: I went out on that rock in July of 2016, but I didn’t go all the way to the edge like this fellow. I like to say that it was because there was no one there to take my picture, but I think it was more than that. As of this writing, Yosemite is being evacuated now due to a major fire.

FavoriteDoloresusePolice question Roman Rodriguez after he murdered Hilda Pagan in Dolores Park in 1952, from Hannah Clayborn’s collection of historic San Francisco pictures. A top portion was added to the building where the murder occurred and was a restroom and snack bar when I took my picture. The building was demolished in 2015. I’ve always wondered if the lady with her hands to her face was Hilda’s mother.

FavoriteGGBridgeusePeople lining the walkways of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch ships returning home at the end of World War Two in 1945: I was lucky enough to catch a similar looking fog when I took my picture. (Images of America Series)

FavoriteIowauseThe USS Tennessee sails into the Bay under an unfinished Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930’s, and the battleship USS Iowa sails out to the Pacific Ocean under the bridge in May of 2012: This was almost certainly the last time a battleship will sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Divisaderoredo I always liked this bustling picture taken at Divisadero and California Streets in the early 1900’s from the San Francisco History Room collection. They spelled Divisadero wrong, or maybe they spell it wrong today.

FavoritequakeuseDowntown San Francisco burning during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire: My picture was taken from the St. Francis Hotel.

FavoriteDannyuseMy best friend ‘Danny’ picking up the scent of Buffalo Bill’s horse at Ocean Beach near the Cliff House: (William F. Cody Archive)

A Cushman tour (For Marcus)

Charles W. Cushman was an amateur color photographer who took color slides around the United States and Europe from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. Although his travels were worldwide, he kept coming back to San Francisco during his life to take photos. Class is where you find it. Many of his San Francisco pictures were taken at ordinary places in the City that weren’t necessarily scenic locations, although he took many pictures at more popular spots, as well. The Indiana University has a collection of his slides on the internet. The pictures in this post are from that collection. Although I’ve posted a number of his pictures on my blog in the past, I’m not able to find a lot of information about Charles Cushman. He had a stormy marriage to his wife Jean who appears in some of his pictures, and at one time, she shot herself and him in a suicide attempt. They both survived. Cushman died in 1972. Let’s travel around San Francisco a little to some of the places Cushman captured with his camera long ago.

CushmanMarketuseWe’ll start out on Market Street near 3rd Street in 1957 looking toward the Ferry Building. The two dominant buildings on the right, the Southern Pacific Building and the PG&E Building, can be seen in my picture peeking out behind the newer Market Street buildings. Like most of Cushman’s photos, there’s a lot to look at, like the long gone Mobile Gas Structure and an old Greyhound Station.

CushmanPUnionuseWe’ll head up Nob Hill to the Pacific Union Club on California at Mason Streets in 1952. Sometimes, I think the old cars are the best thing about Cushman’s pictures.

CushmanccaruseWe move down Nob Hill to a cable car festival passing Sutter at Powell Street in 1955. It’s not likely that cable cars will ever be decorated like this again.

CushmanPowellPostuseOne block south from the previous picture and we’re on the corner of Powell and Post Streets during the Republican Presidential Convention that was held at the Cow Palace in 1964. We’re probably a long way from another Republican Convention hosted in San Francisco, as well.

CushmanJonesuseNow we’ll go to a couple of those odd spots Cushman selected. This is on Jones Street looking toward Pacific Avenue and the valley between Nob and Russian Hills in 1952. Notice that the ‘New Russian Hills Market’, which hasn’t been “new” in a long time, was there on the northeast corner of Pacific and Jones in 1952, and still is.

CushmanTayloruseWe’ve moved over one block east from the previous picture to Taylor Street looking toward Pacific Avenue in 1952. The 76 Gas Station is gone and a tree hides where Taylor makes its climb up Russian Hill.

CushmanWhittieruseWe’re meandering westward now. This is on the northeast corner of Laguna and Jackson Streets in 1952. I did a post on December 5th 2015 that covered the Whittier Mansion seen here. It was the German consulate before the Pearl Harbor attack. After war was declared between USA and Germany, government agents broke in and discovered that they had been spying on shipping movements through a telescope. Also, in 1958, Eli Wallach, “Dancer” killed his second victim in this mansion in the movie ‘Lineup’. PS, it’s also haunted! Well, of course; it would have to be! A building on the southeast corner of the intersection that wasn’t here when Cushman took his picture caused me to move out a little into Laguna Street to get the whole mansion in my picture.

CushmanPHeightsuseCushman traveled up to Pacific Heights for this shot looking east along Broadway from Baker Street in 1952. That Colonial looking mansion on the left was where Lana Turner supposedly lived in the 1960 thriller film ‘Portrait in Black’.

CushmansutrouseThat’s all that’s left of the little cluster of buildings below Sutro Heights along the Great Highway between Balboa Street and the Cliff House. Charles Cushman took this picture in 1952. If you can zoom in on the vintage photo, you’ll see that the last building on the left housed the arcade attractions from the Musée Mécanique. When the buildings were demolished in the 1960’s, the attractions, many of them originally from Sutro’s Bathhouse, were displayed in a small room at the back of the Cliff House. When the restaurant was renovated in the new millennium, the items were moved to Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf, their current home.

CushmanOBeachredo Ocean Beach in 1961: He’s saying, “Don’t be shy, honey. You look great in your scandalously shocking 1961 swimsuit!” The vintage picture was taken looking toward Balboa Street and Playland-at-the-Beach at the Great Highway near where Fulton Street ends. I put the family somewhere around here; that looks like the the seawall ramp behind them. You can just see what looks like the top of a Playland sign peeking out over the seawall on the right. The building with the hoops on the top in the the upper right center of the 1961 picture was where the Playland Merry-Go-Round was. On the far left of the vintage photo picture is ‘Skateland’ in the building that was originally called ‘Topsy’s Roost’. The sitting steps of the seawall were removed by the 1980’s.

Charlie Chaplin Days – 2018

This weekend is the annual Charlie Chaplin Festival in Niles. They get better and better at this each year. I stopped by Saturday to watch some of the movies they were showing, take the walking tour, and do a little exploring of my own.

ChaplinopenereuseThe walking tour group met at 11:00 AM in front of the Niles Museum. This was the same building that Chaplin premiered the five movies he made in Niles in 1915.

Chaplinandmeuse There were plenty of Charlie Chaplins around to take selfies with. Charlie is the one on the right.

ChaplincorneruseThe group headed over to the corner of G Street and Niles Blvd. where the old Essanay Studio used to be. Chaplin filmed a confrontation scene with a cop on this same corner one hundred and three years ago in his silent short ‘The Champion’.

ChaplinstudioThis is an aerial view of the old studio. The houses behind the studio were bungalows built for the stars filming there.

ChaplinbungalosuseThe group stopped on the corner of G and Second Streets where the vintage picture was taken as the tour guide explained the history of the bungalows. Although remodeled, they’re all still there. The two on the far right in both pictures were taken over by “Broncho Billy” Anderson for his office when he was making westerns in Niles.

BroncoBillyuseLong before there was John Wayne or Gary Cooper, there was Gilbert “Bronco Billy” Anderson, the movie’s first cowboy star. Anderson made his westerns in Niles from 1911 until 1915.

BroncowesttownuseA western street was constructed behind the studio to film outdoor scenes like this one in the top photo from ‘Broncho Billy’s Narrow Escape’ from 1912. The bottom picture was where the western street was located.

BroncobarnuseBronco Billy’s barn survived until 1980 when it was demolished. A lot of gunfights in his films took place here. The barn was across the alley from the other old barn on the left that’s still there. Broncho Billy’s barn was on the right behind the fence where the violets are.

ChaplincourthouseBesides movie locations the tour visited other sites like the old Niles Court House and the convenient Niles Jail next door to it at I and Second Streets.

ChaplinCanyonuseThe iconic scene where the brokenhearted little tramp wanders off into Niles Canyon at the end of ‘The Tramp’ from 1915 was filmed 1.8 miles into Niles Canyon from Mission Blvd. or so I was told by the historians on hand. It’s too dangerous to stop on the road, so I took my picture from the car. It looks like the same spot to me.

A summer day at the Wharf

Mark Twain should have said “The most crowded Saturday I ever  spent was on a summer’s day at Fisherman’s Wharf.” It definitely was crowded yesterday, but not too crowded to have fun or to update some more terrific pictures from, many of them from long ago summers.

WharfGrottooneuseThe #9 Fishermen’s Grotto Restaurant certainly looks different than it did here in 1935. The cars looked better back then but I think the building is an improvement today.

WharflagoonSeastuseThe Fisherman’s Wharf boat lagoon in the 1940’s, looking toward Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower: Every time I see pictures of that enormous gas tank that used to be near Fisherman’s Wharf, it reminds me of what a different era we live in now.

WharfAlioto'suseWhat a great Picture of Alioto’s Restaurant, circa 1949!

WharfLagoonnwestuseLooking toward Pier 45 where the SS Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship and the USS Pampanito submarine, both World War Two survivors, are docked, circa 1950: A little fishermen’s chapel has replaced the older building in the center of the vintage picture.

WharfRHilluseLooking toward Russian from the boat lagoon circa 1950: All of the buildings on Russian Hill in the vintage photo can be seen in the modern one:

WharfStandarduseLooking across a parking lot toward Russian Hill in 1952: The Standard Station on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Taylor Street, designed like a ship, was there from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, although, by the 70’s it had been remodeled. Two buildings built since 1952 make an exact line up impossible now, but the gas station was just in front of where the ships wheel Fisherman’s Wharf sign is now. The Sabella/La Torre Restaurant is on the right in both photos.

WharfFranciscanuseLooking northeast from Taylor Street in August of 1959 toward the Franciscan Restaurant: Those are the masts of the sailing ship Balclutha that was docked at Pier 43 back then.

WharfGrottouseAnother view of Fishermen’s Grotto Restaurant, (Yes, they spell if different from Fisherman’s Wharf) in July of 1960.

WharfTaylorjefferson2useTaylor and Jefferson Streets looking north in August of 1964:

WharfTaylorJefferson1useLooking toward Russian Hill on the opposite corner of Jefferson and Taylor in 1965: I was able to find a table for lunch at the Jack in the Box restaurant, about where the Alpine looking building was in the vintage shot. Sometimes a Breakfast Jack and a couple of tacos are all you need to get through the day.

WharfJuly1useLooking back along Taylor Street toward the eastern wing of Pier 45, circa 1965:


‘Down Periscope’ (For Dave of the Jeremiah O’Brien crew)

MCDDOPE FE009 ‘Down Periscope’, starring Kelsey Grammer and Lauren Holly, was filmed in 1995 and released in 1996. It’s a silly thing about a World War Two era submarine involved in war games with the modern 1990’s United States Navy, but it’s fun to watch, and it was filmed in part at Fort Mason and on board the submarine the USS Pampanito, now at Fisherman’s Wharf.

PampanitobriefinguseThe crew, along with Lauren Holly, line up alongside the Pampanito for inspection:

“Is that regulation cleavage, sailor?”

PampgunuseThat’s the Pampanito’s aft deck gun behind her. (IMDb)

PampPirateuse“Fifteen Men and Lauren Holly’s chest; Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.”

That’s the top of the conning tower, but my view’s from the opposite side (

PampsleekuseThere she is; sleek and fast, built to kill, a real beauty forward and aft.  Hey, I’m talking about the Pampanito! (

PampFMasontwouseThe submarine was towed over to Fort Mason for the closing scenes. (

PampanitoMason2useRegulation high heels and a salute: (

PompFMasonfouruseI walked around Fort Mason early in the morning on July 4th. It felt both spooky and sad. Being one of the largest embarkation centers for the Pacific Theater during World War Two, the amount of activity that took place here back then is hard to imagine, and many, many, people left from here and never returned. I was singing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ to myself as I thought about that generation.

PompFMason1985useThe top photo is a slide I took above Fort Mason around 1985. I remember that they had a World War Two exhibit in one of the pier buildings and it was filled with World War Two veterans talking about their experiences. Sadly, it’s not likely many of them are still around now.

PampopenuseHere’s the USS Pampanito all decked out for the 4th of July. The film crew, in no way, showed any disrespect for the landmark, and took good care of her during filming. Pampanito took six war patrols during World War Two, sank at least as many ships, and was heavily damaged from depth charges on one of the patrols. Sadly, in one of the attacks Pampanito was involved in, the ship sunk was carrying Allied prisoners, unknown to the crew. Over 1100 POW’s died in the sinking. The torpedo was not fired from the Pampanito, however, but from a sister sub involved in the attack, the USS Sealion. Seventy three of the survivors were rescued from the sea by the Pampanito. Let’s take a tour, aft to forward, through the submarine.

PampaftuseYou cross this passage and enter the sub through this hatch on the aft side.That’s the Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship behind her.

PompafttorpuseThe aft torpedo room:

PampaftengineuseThe aft engine room:

PampfengineuseThe forward engine room:

PampofficeuseThat looks like Charles de Gaulle on the cover of that Time Magazine.

PampgalleyuseThe Crew’s Mess:

PampcroomuseThis room with the eerie red light is the control room where all attacks were planned.

PampperiscopeuseLooking up through the conning tower, that’s the periscope.

Pampheaduse I would have been the first person heading here after a depth charge attack!

Pompftorpedo1use The forward torpedo room:

Pompftopedouse2Those are the forward torpedo tubes. The left one has a torpedo in it.

Pampforeuse You break to the surface here in the fore of the ship, and you don’t have to worry about enemy destroyers or airplanes watching for you like the incredibly brave and heroic men of the “Silent Service” did.

Down among the people

Celebrations, protests, problems and celebrity sightings around San Francisco; just like nowadays: Oh well, one thing is certain; on Wednesday, for one day, the left-right in the City will put aside their differences and celebrate just being free. Right?

AmongGGTheateruseIt would be just as dangerous climbing up on a streetcar with its power lines today as it was in August of 1945 for these goofballs celebrating the end of World War Two on Market Street in front of the Golden Gate Theater.

Among5thandMarketuseLook at all those great and long gone shops on Market Street near 5th Street in the 1950’s; Grayson’s, Zukor’s, the Diamond Palace, Mannings and Hales! (Pinterest)

Among1stStuseDown among the soggy people! Most of the buildings on this block of on 1st Street between Market and Mission streets, seen here during a flood in 1958, are gone now, but the building with the Examiner advertisement on it today is still there. That’s part of the old Trans Bay Bus Terminal in the background of the vintage picture. (SF Gate)

AmongCToweruseI imagine that brat who doesn’t want her picture taken up at the Coit Tower parking lot in the 1960’s had brats of her own who have grown up by now, and have had brats of their own.

AmongQuinnuseThat’s Anthony Quinn on Stockton Street near Geary Blvd. looking down toward O’Farrell in 1960. Obviously, this picture was taken during the filming of the movie ‘Portrait in Black’ where Anthony Quinn co-stars with Lana Turner. A key scene in the film was shot at the I. Magnin department store here, now part of Macy’s. Quinn would have been standing somewhere around here. (Hollywoodpaper2)

AmongPowelluseWhat a terrific picture from the Shorpy Archive of the western side of Union Square on Powell Street in the 1950’s! The Union Square Parking Garage was established as a go-to air raid shelter during the Cold War.

AmongCCaruseClimbing aboard a cable car on Powell Street in front of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in the 1950’s and in 2018:

AmongUnionGrantuseThe southeast corner of Grant Avenue and Union Street in North Beach during the 1960’s: This is where North Beach Pizza, that used to be on the corner across Grant Avenue, is today. I closed down a lot of Saturday nights in North Beach in the 80’s and 90’s gobbling up a North Beach Pizza. (Gene Wright)

AmongprotestuseA protest march on Market Street in 1966: Boy, I’d like to have seen ‘Weird, Wicked World’. Actually, my picture cuts a little farther across Market Street on the right than the vintage picture; there was some civic scenery on the far right that I didn’t want to cut out. (Shorpy Archive)