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 Shorpy.com)

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.

Prowling around the Port (For Greg and Mary Sue. Thanks for checking out my Blog)

PortAcmeredo A perfect day to splash on some Old Spice and set sail to explore the Embarcadero. The Java House is about where Fritz and Fred’s Restaurant was. Pier 40 still exists, although the front part was removed in the 1970’s and the pier sits farther back now behind where the Java House is. Also, an Acme Beer would hit the spot right about now, but I doubt if it still exists anymore. (Vintage picture from Michael Corbett’s book ‘Port City)

O'Douluse The Lefty O’Doul Drawbridge next to AT&T Park seen in the 1934 movie ‘Fog Over Frisco’ with Bette Davis. The bridge is referred to as Butcher Town Bridge in the film, which was what it was known as then.The scene never looked convincing to me, so I don’t know if that was a special effects model of the bridge or another bridge standing in for The Lefty O’Doul Bridge, but the film’s climax appears to have been shot around the actual bridge.

Pier23use Pier 23 next to Pier 21 in the early 1920’s seen from Telegraph Hill: There is no Pier 21 anymore, but a remodeled Pier 23 next to the Pier 23 Café is still there.

windowsuse “Who picked this room?”

“Chalmers. Why?”

“Stay away from those windows! That’s why.”

Bullitt, (Steve McQueen) begins to smell a rat as he looks out the window of the Daniels Hotel where he’s guarding a witness. That’s the Embarcadero Freeway he’s looking at. The bad news is that the bad guys get to the witness and kill him at the hotel. The good news is that it leads to one of the best chase scenes in film history when Bullitt catches up to them! The Daniels Hotel was called the Seaboard Hotel when the Embarcadero Freeway passed by it when being built in the late 1950’s, as seen here in the exciting chase scene on the unfinished freeway at the end of the 1958 movie ‘The Lineup’. Why do these then and nows always make me thirsty for a beer!

danielsuse The Daniels Hotel was at Howard Street and the Embarcadero. The Embarcadero Freeway, most of the piers, and the Daniels Hotel are gone at this location now.

PortYMCAuse Eli Wallach crosses the Embarcadero to the Seaman’s Club, (Actually, the old YMCA Building) to make his first kill in ‘The Lineup’. Wallach crossed the Embarcadero here. The YMCA Building is still here behind all that scaffolding.

JackLondonuse A few blocks from the Embarcadero and a fitting spot for this fellow to have been born.

Bloodythuruse “Bloody Thursday”: On July 5th 1934, police fired on striking dock workers on Steuart Street, between Mission and Howard, killing two men, and causing the strikers to shut down the port for the entire month. A memorial was created at the spot where the men died, and the incident is remembered on the sidewalk in front of the Longshoreman’s Hall on North Point Street today. (The Picture This website)

Portvaletuse When the Three Stooges do valet parking!

PortHillsBrosuse Ah, the old Hills Brothers Coffee Factory; a great place too stop and rest with a cup of coffee, except, they don’t make coffee here anymore. I didn’t get the coffee or the Acme Beer!


Way back Wednesday

Nippingthefenderuse “Nipping the fender.” Charles’s Smallwood’s book ‘The White Front Cars of San Francisco’ is a wonderful source of vintage pictures of San Francisco, but this image here had me doing my homework! When I first saw it years ago, I thought it was a terrific period picture of San Francisco from the 1940’s, and I always wanted to see if the location had changed or still existed since 1943. The trouble was, Smallwood, who was usually an excellent locator, and often identified where the photos in his book were taken, was off here; 26th and Army, (Now Cesar Chavez Street) do not intersect, nor did they in 1943. From an old map located in his book, I was able to determine that the Number 30 Line ran down portions of both Army and 26th in 1943. I perused portions of Cesar Chavez on Google Maps, but much of this area is industrialized now, and the site may have been demolished when Highway 101, cut across Army when it was created.. I went back to 26th on Google Maps to follow the route #30 took and only had to go one block to South Van Ness and 26th, which is where the picture was taken. The intersection looks remarkably the same today including a small grocery store on the same corner.

Streetcarcrashuse “Have an accident?”

“No thanks, we’ve already had one!”

I knew I was going to use that one sooner or later! This dramatic streetcar accident took place on Fillmore between Green and Union Streets in November of 1921. I couldn’t learn if anyone was hurt, but I’ll bet phone service was out for quite awhile, although they’ve replaced the telephone pole since then. (Charles Smallwood)

LeftyOdouluse The Butcher Town Bridge opens in 1933: Renamed the Lefty O’Doul Bridge, it now sits next to AT&T Park, and has been seen in a number of movies including ‘Fog Over Frisco’ with Bette Davis (1934), ‘The Enforcer’ with Clint Eastwood’ (1976) and ‘A View to a Kill’ Roger Moore’s last role as James Bond. (1985)

ClockTowerupdate Eighty years later I would have ran over him! A worker puts on some finishing touches to the Bay Bridge before it opened in 1936 near where I was driving. A billboard and concrete addition to the Clock Tower Building in the background since the vintage picture was taken has blocked out most of the view of the tower, which can be seen below the street signs, from this spot today. Twin Peaks can be seen to the right of the Tower Building in both pictures. A long gone entrance to the bridge can be seen on the left.

Waybackggbuse Soldiers watch a ship pass through the Golden Gate as work on the Golden Gate Bridge begins in 1933.

Quotes and Misquotes

JaimeCliffHouseuse “Come on, who’s next? I’ll fight anybody who says anything bad about my hat!”

(The Cliff House Project website)  Cliffhouselegsredo “There are eight million stories in the half naked city; this has been one of them.”

This 1930’s picture might not have been as relaxed as it looks; that’s a long way down to the Pacific Ocean!

Pushmipullyuuse Wow, a “Pushmi-pullyu”!

The cable car turntable at Powell and Market Streets: (Fred Lyon)  Teagardenuse “Far East meets West.”

The Japanese Tea Garden from the 1894 Midwinter Fair in Golden Gate Park; one of the surviving attractions from that fair.  Sneakingsallybloguse “Sneaking Sister Sally through the Alley.”

Spofford Alley, Chinatown, in the 1950’s (Jimmie-Shein)

Back on my hobby-horse

taxdaybloguse Ah, the end of another tax season, and I’m glad that’s over! Now I can get back to the more important things! I’d like to thank all of the people who helped make it happen by name, but there’s too many of them, and some of them haven’t paid me yet! A special thanks to Will, whose computer skills got me through, Amber, who took over my desk when she was in, and also ate up every tasty thing in the office that I didn’t keep behind barbed wire, and Jaime, who left me all too soon for Steph Curry.

A cloudy Spring day in San Francisco

springplaylanduse Playland-at-the Beach from Point Lobos Avenue:

SpringChouseuse Just up the road where Point Lobos turns east was the strip of shops that ran between the Cliff House and the Sutro Bath House.

Springredbuguse Long before the Autopia at Disneyland was the Red Bug Raceway that ran on a wooden track behind Topsys’s Roost. Below, is where the course once was. (James R. Smith’s San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach – The Early Years)

SpringIt'suse Where the It’s It Ice Cream Sandwiches at Playland, (Still just as good today) were invented:

springmontgomeryuse Back downtown for a photo from the Cushman Collection of Montgomery Street in the 1960’s:

Springcablecaruse The cable car turntable at Powell and Market Streets:

SpringPowellStuse Looking down Powell Street from Nob Hill

springchinatownuse Another from the Cushman Collection of colorful Chinatown in the 1950’s:

Another Then & Now Tour, East to West

Cantileveruse We’ll begin on the old Cantilever Bridge portion of the Bay Bridge. Danny was with me on this visit in 2013, just before the eastern section here closed forever.

clipperuse A quick stop on Treasure Island at the China Clipper Lagoon, during the 1939 – 1940 World’s Fair:

GE DIGITAL CAMERANever mind the tour buses that take you to the Golden Gate Bridge or to the top of Twin Peaks, I’ll take you to Treasure Island where the cleverest outhouse humor is.

FMarketredo Next stop, the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building, which used to be at Duboce and Market Streets: “No Dogs Allowed”!!!

uniformuse I’ve heard that girls love a man in uniform, so, we’ll visit the historic Liberty Ship, the Jeremiah O’Brien.

cityhalluse City Hall; that’s always a good place to stop in and tell the big shots what they’re doing right, and what they’re doing wrong…….. One of these days, I will! The Pioneer Monument Statue was moved half a block north from this 1915 picture when the new San Francisco Main Library was built.

franklinuse Looking back down Sacramento Street towards Nob Hill from Franklin Street in 1915: The Old First Church at the bottom of the hill, built in 1911, is still there: Let’s see, we’re still heading west, aren’t we? Like the Beatles, I’ll follow the sun.

Alamouse Dazed earthquake survivors watching the destruction of San Francisco from Alamo Square, where the “Painted Ladies” are, in April of 1906: Lots of nice grass around here……. “Danny!”

Dannycliffhouseuse We end up at Ocean Beach; two old dogs at the Cliff House. That’s me and Danny in 1999, and in 2013. Danny wasn’t always that much impressed by the Cliff House, but he loved peeing in the Pacific Ocean. I lost Danny on September 9th 2015, and Ocean Beach has  been a little lonelier since. See the link below.


More celluloid settings in the City: (I know, these images are from after the celluloid film period, but I couldn’t find an expression that jingles with acetate)

ISpyuse Bill Cosby and Robert Culp at the Coit Tower parking lot in a 1968 episode of ‘I Spy’:

culpbrainwashuse At the same location in another episode while ‘I Spy’ was filming in San Francisco, Robert Culp is brainwashed by an enemy agent and ordered to kill himself by jumping from the top of Coit Tower.

kellyscottyuse ISpyadditionCulp is talked out of jumping at the top of the tower by his co-operative and friend, Bill Cosby. Cosby is in the news a lot lately, and he should be, but this was a groundbreaking role for an African American on television at the time, and the camaraderie between the two stars is still fun to watch today.

HOUSEUSE Valentina Cortese enjoys a moment with her pretend offspring (I have a couple of those myself) in her back yard, which is actually Pioneer Park behind Coit Tower, in the 1951 film ‘The House on Telegraph Hill’. Fifteen years earlier William Powell and Myrna Loy used the same location for the back yard of their home in the 1936 film ‘After the Thin Man’.

vertigouse James Stewart follows Kim Novak on the road to Fort Point where she will jump into the Bay, in the 1958 classic, ‘Vertigo’. See the You Tube link below.

Experterroruse Lee Remick catches a taxi at Jefferson and Taylor Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf  that will take her to Candlestick Park to deliver ransom money to Ross Martin, in the 1962 film ‘Experiment in Terror’. I’ve posted the following link before, but it’s a neat clip of the movie in a nutshell, and set to the soundtrack of the opening credits.

poolhouseoneuse In my opinion, the best television show set in San Francisco was ‘The Lineup’, also known as ‘San Francisco Beat’, that ran during the 1950’s Only a few grainy episodes are available, that I’ve been able to find, like this one with a scene filmed at Fleishhacker’s Pool. The pool and old Pool House can be seen behind the actors, as well as the diving structure at the far north end of the pool.  Poolhousemeuse The Pool House can be seen on the right in this photo of the pool taken from the diving platform. The Pool House was burned down in December of 2012 by homeless people occupying it, and only the front entrance seen below is left.  GGBonduse ‘A View to a Kill’ made in 1985, is considered one of the worst entries in the James Bond Series, but the fight scene on the Golden Gate Bridge at the end is still a grabber! Check out the You Tube link here.