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.