Friday, November 30, 2012

Knox Hats #4 -- November 30, 2012

 "Novel Straw Hats" An ad from the 10-December-1905 San Francisco Call. I like wearing hats. 

It stormed during the night.  The power went out about 3am.  I noticed the clock flashing about 5:20am.  

I had taken the day off, so I got some Christmas shopping done at Hillsdale.  Then I drove over 92 to Bay Books in Half Moon Bay and did more.  It rained the whole time.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Coupé -- November 28, 2012

San Francisco's Academy of Art University has a fine collection of classic cars available for study by its design students. They shared the collection at the 2010 San Francisco International Auto Show.

The 1935 Auburn 851 4.5 litre supercharged coupé was stlyed by Gordon Buehrig.  I'll bet it was a lot of fun to drive. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dismasted in a Hurricane -- November 27, 2012

From the 25-August-1897 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image to see a larger version. 


The British ship Pendeen left Cape Town for San Francisco via Newcastle, N. S. W., over a year ago and was only docked yesterday morning. Coulter's picture tells the whole story. It shows her rolling in the trough of the sea, with the masts all gone and the deck-houses almost a wreck. This is drawn from a sketch by Captain Cormack. The second picture shows her as she appeared under jury rig in Port Louis, Mauritius, and the third one shows the repaired ship under full sail. The jury-rigging of that dismantled ship was one of the cleverest pieces of seamanship that has been heard of on the high seas in many a long day.


The Ship Pendeen Nearly Wrecked Off Cape of Good Hope.
She Finally Reached Mauritius in Fifty-Four Days Under a Novel Jury Rig.
It Took Five Months to Make Repairs and Then She Proceeded on Her Way.

The British ship Pendeen, which docked at Green-street wharf, has just completed one of the most remarkable voyages during this last two years. She started from Cape Town for Newcastle to load coal for
San Francisco in the early part of 1896.  When 2800 miles off the Cape of Good Hope the good ship ran into a hurricane which completely dismasted her and left her at the mercy of wind and waves for three days. During that time the crew had nothing to eat but hardtack, and it was only occasionally that the men could get a drink of water from the water-tank.

In talking about the matter Captain Cormack said yesterday : ''It was one of the fiercest and most sudden blows I ever experienced. It blew the mainmast clean out of the keelson, and in its fall it tore up the deck amidships, bent and smashed a number of stanchions and carried away part of the rail. The foremast was carried away two feet from the deck, following the mainmast overboard, while the mizzenmast bent over the stern, smashing in the poop, bent the beams, smashed the poop-rails and skylight, but, strange to say, never smashed the glass in the sky-light windows. Everything was off the ship in half an hour, and for two days we lay powerless in the trough of the sea.

"It took us some time to get up jury masts and manufacture sails to fit them. Our jiggermast was made from planks nailed together and then lashed. We carried on it two sails belonging to the snip's boat.  The mizzenmast was made in the same manner as the jigger, and the sail on it was made from the forecastle awning.  The mainmast was made from one of the spare spars carried on deck, and on it we carried the main deck awning. The foremast was made from the other spare spar, and on it was set the crossjack. It was too large, and in order to make it fit we had to cut a considerable portion out of the center. Between tbe main and the fore we set the mizzen topgallant sail, but in order to make it fit a big knot had to be tied at tbe head of the sail. The foretopmast staysail was set in the same manner. Our yards were made from shifting boards and the rigging out of the wire hauling lines. These were fastened to sixty fathoms of mooring chains. The latter were made fast to the stanchions.

"From the time the jury masts were rigged it took us fifty-four days to get to Mauritius. The only way we could sail was with a fair wind. When the wind was contrary we had simply to drop all sail and drift. You can imagine what the damage was when it took five months to make repairs. From the time we left Mauritius until we got to Newcastle, N. S. W., and from the time we left that port until we reached San Francisco, we had nothing but fair weather."

During the gale the cabin, forecastle and galley were gutted and one of the ship's boats was washed away. When the Pendeen left Cape Town she was a painted port ship, but now she is painted a French gray. After discharging here she will load wheat for England.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ghost Sign #13 -- November 26, 2012

This restored ghost sign, for the Marine Electric Company (MECO), is on the side of the building at First and Fremont Streets, which now houses the Town Hall Restaurant. 

It was very foggy yesterday and this morning. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fall Colors -- November 24, 2012

I took yesterday off and we drove up to Sonoma.  The Fall colors were pretty, as we see here in a photo taken at the Buena Vista Winery.  The courtyard has been completely changed since we were there last.  We stayed over at the Best Western, in a room with a fireplace.  The weather was good. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Comic Book #18 -- November 23, 2012

After debuting in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, Batman shared his time with another book, under his own name.  He went on to appear in many other books. Robin the Boy Wonder, the subject of much mockery, made his debut in Batman Number 1 in April 1940. 

The image is from the wonderful site CoverBrowser (

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving #6 -- November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.

 The photograph shows actresses Jean Arthur and Lillian Roth playing Pilgrims.  It comes from the wonderful site LucyWho:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Number -- November 21, 2012

The original Life Magazine was a humorous weekly that was published from 1883 to 1936.  Here is the cover of their 24-November-1887 Thanksgiving Number.  Notice that the turkey appears to have a copy of Life tied to his neck.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

The image comes from ( 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Graumann's Chinese #20 -- November 20, 2012

In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

William Powell and Myrna Loy played together in many movies, including the Thin Man series.   They both left their hand and foot prints on 20-October-1936.  This was around the time of the release of Libeled Lady with Powell, Loy and Jean Harlow.

Powell's "Sid old boy, I am happy to put my foot into it for you" sounds very much like something he would say in a movie.  Loy's "To Sid who gave me my first job" remembers her time performing in live action prologues at Grauman's Egyptian up the street. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pulp #37 -- November 19, 2012

Raymond Chandler's "Killer in the Rain" became part of his first novel, The Big Sleep.  The short story was published in the January, 1935 issue of Black Mask

The image comes from ( 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Beating He Needed -- November 18, 2012

This year we mark the 100th anniversary of the Keystone company.  Here is an ad for an early Keystone  release, a split reel of "The Beating He Needed" and "Pedro's Dilemma," from the 05-October-1912 Moving Picture World. "The Beating He Needed" sounds very enlightening: "An amusing story of an effeminate college boy who was sent West to make a man of him.  The plan failed until his father gave him the beating he needed."  Notice the actor in sheepskin chaps.  This became an indicator of a greenhorn in a western film. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Congratulations SF Giants -- November 17, 2012

This sign is on the Market Street side of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  People like to have their picture taken in front of it. 

It rained today. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Muni Birthday Festival #3 -- November 16, 2012

As part of the celebration of its 100th birthday, the San Francisco Municipal Railway ran a number of special vehicles the last two Sundays. I rode recently restored double-ended PCC 1006 on a trip down Third Street to the new yard at 25th Street. Here motorette (I couldn't say motorman and operator seems too bland) Ronna Brown poses with a young railfan. Breda LRVs are lined up in the background.

It rained last night and on and off today.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nickname #20 -- November 15, 2012

Lewis "Chesty" Puller was the most-decorated member of the United States Marine Corps, with five Navy Crosses and many other awards.  He rose from Private to Lieutenant General during his long distinguished career.  He missed combat during World War One, but spent much of the inter-war period fighting in the Caribbean and Central America.  During World War II, he led Marines on Guadalcanal and other islands in the Pacific.  When the Korean War broke out, he was at Inchon. 

He earned his nickname because of his barrel chest and his aggressive posture.  Marines in boot camp end their day with a shout of "Good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are!"

A famous quote which General Puller may have said at the Chosin Reservoir:  "We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."


I was happy to learn that Buster Posey is the National League Most Valuable Player.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Muni Birthday Festival #2 -- November 14, 2012

As part of the celebration of its 100th birthday, the San Francisco Municipal Railway ran a number of special vehicles the last two Sundays. Here is a photo I took of Market Street Railway 1896 electric car 578 as it waited to turn into Don Chee Way from Steuart Street. The former headquarters of the Southern Pacific Railroad is in the background.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oz Films -- November 13, 2012

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, located in Los Angeles, was formed in 1914 to produce movies based on stories by L Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz. The company made some movies, but was not a financial success. The ad is from the 27-June-1914 edition of Moving Picture World. The images are by John R Neill.

"Magnificent Photo-Extravaganzas of L. Frank Baum."  This ad lists the company's first three productions, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, The Magic Cloak of Oz, and His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz.

The same issue of Moving Picture World carried a brief  article about L Frank Baum and his company. 

Be sure to click on the images to see larger versions.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Muni Birthday Festival -- November 12, 2012

As part of the celebration of its 100th birthday, the San Francisco Municipal Railway ran a number of special vehicles the last two Sundays. Here is a photo I took yesterday of California Street Cable Railway O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42. These weekends have been the first time Muni has run 42 for the general public.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans' Day #6 -- November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service to your country.

This is the 94th anniversary of Armistice Day. The last surviving World War One veteran, Florence Green of the RAF, died on 04-February-2012. The last combat veteran was Claude Choules of the Royal Navy, who died in May, 2011. The last US veteran was Frank Buckles, who died in February, 2011.

The poster, by Charles Buckles Falls, is from the site LearnNC (  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ferry Mendocino -- November 10, 2012

Golden Gate ferry Mendocino at the Ferry Building in August, 2001. 

It was very cold today. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lowest Fares Best Service -- November 9, 2012

This ad, from Railway Agent, February 1899, encourages people to "save money in the cost of your ticket" by taking the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which was known as the Black Diamond Route because it hauled a lot of anthracite coal. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Celebrated Aeolian Pianist -- November 8, 2012

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde wrote the series of articles which gave this blog its name. He was an accomplished keyboard player and composer. This may be the earliest item I have found that refers to him. It is from the 19-February-1851 New York Daily Tribune.

I have given some thought to ending this monthly series.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Train Station #53 -- November 7, 2012

Monorail Orange arrives at Downtown Disney Station, wrapped to celebrate the opening of Cars Land. I took this photo during our visit in July.

See more photos on my Park Trains page:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012 -- November 6, 2012

I worked from home today so I could leave at 4 and walk down to the polling place.  It was so warm that I didn't wear a jacket.  There was a good crowd, but I had to wait just a few minutes for a machine at my precinct.  

Update 9pm Pacific: It looks as if President Obama has been reelected.  I hope the Republicans don't pull some ugly trick as they did in 2000.  Governor Romney is slightly ahead in the popular vote, but that could change as more western states finish counting.  I hope racists and reactionaries don't take the popular vote as an excuse to make more trouble. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Firehouse #61 -- November 5, 2012

Engine 33 on Broad Street served as a firehouse from 1896 to 1974.  Note the hose drying tower.  Later it housed Fire Engine Tours ( 

I took the photo on 10-January-2011.

It was very warm today.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ching Ling Foo -- November 4, 2012

Ching Ling Foo (Chee Ling Qua) was a Chinese-born magician who toured the United States in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies.  Here he played around Labor Day at Keith's, one of the major vaudeville houses in New York.  Amelia Summerville and Francesca Redding were popular actresses, here appeared in a one act. 

From the 03-November-1899 New York Tribune.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Metreon, Target, Super Duper Burger, Macys -- November 3, 2012

Today we drove to Fifth and Mission.  The hole at Fourth and Howard is getting bigger.  The second floor of the garage was closed for refurbishing.  We parked and went to the new Target store in the Metreon.  It looked like every other Target store. 

We had lunch at Super Duper Burger.  The hamburger was good, but very juicy.  The fries were excellent. 

We walked up to Macys.  I was happy to see that they had not put up any Christmas decorations. 

We went to five o'clock mass, which was the monthly teen mass.  We welcomed a large group of kids who are in their second year of confirmation preparation.  We had dinner at L&L Hawaiian Barbeque.  We saw two houses with Christmas decorations on the way home.  Too early. 

I took the photo at the Metreon on 18-February-2012. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Abhorrence of Anything Fly-by-Night -- November 2, 2012

Actress Audrey Ferris was a WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star of 1928. She appeared in some silent and sound movies and then retired. Here she poses with what appears to be a Ford Trimotor. I make my guess because of the corrugated metal skin and the supports that appear to reach out to the outboard engines.Why is she up on a ladder?  Perhaps to christen a new plane or the first plane on a new airline route. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giants Victory Parade 2012 -- November 1, 2012

Yesterday I left work about 10:30 to attend the Giants' World Series Victory Parade.  I walked down to Spear Street, where the Giants players waited in convertibles interspersed with families and support people on motorized cable cars. Some of the players near us got out of the cars to do autographs. Here shortstop Brendan Crawford signs a jacket.

After a while I picked my way through the crowd to Market near Fremont to watch the main parade. After the 2010 parade, where all the players rode on cable cars, people complained that they could not see the players if they were on the other side of the cars. Unfortunately, with the players in convertibles, they were much lower than they had been in the motorized cable cars.

There were speakers playing loud music along the route. They started playing "Gangnam Style." I looked up at the windows of the building across the way. Gumby stood in the window doing the dance.

I had to leave for a 12:30 meeting, but I did get a glimpse of Pablo Sandoval holding his World Series MVP trophy.

See more photos on my cable car site: