Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter #6 -- March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, everyone. Here is a bunny for Easter. Disney lost control of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1928 and didn't get him back until 2006. The image is from the 07-March-1928 Film Daily.

Last night we went to Easter Vigil at Good Shepherd.  It was very dark when they turned off the lights.   Two adults got baptized and received first communion.  Three also got confirmed.  I organized the collection. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday #2 -- March 30, 2013

Yesterday was busy at work but I was able to get out during the noon hour. The new office is not near Saint Patrick's, so I walked up Bush to Notre Dame des Victoires.  It was not as crowded as Saint Patrick's.  I stayed for the readings, then had to head back.  The weather was warm and sunny. 

My wife met me downtown about 4pm and we took a leisurely walk over to the ballpark.  It felt funny going to a game on Good Friday, but a family at Good Shepherd School had gotten a luxury box, actually two boxes, and sold tickets to raise money for the school.  Kids and parents were happy to see my wife.

The weather was nice when we got there, but it cooled off rapidly.  The Giants had lost the first game of the Bay Bridge Series against the Athletics.  Barry Zito pitched well and gave up one run.  He left with a lead and relievers held it and Sergio Romo closed.  I took the photo of Romo's teammates coming out to celebrate the victory.

This morning we went to Mazzeti's Bakery to pick up some Easter goodies. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bridge News -- March 28, 2013

Yesterday the last toll takers left their booths on the Golden Gate Bridge.  Many drivers were confused and tried to stop and pay their tolls.  I'm sad to see all those people lose good union jobs.  

On the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, workers discovered broken bolts.  A large number of bolts appear to have been made with brittle steel and will have to be replaced or retrofitted.  This could delay the Labor Day opening.  

I took the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge on 30-December-2007. 

Robertson in 90-Horsepower Apperson -- March 28, 2013

In this image from the 20-September-1906 Motor Way, driver George Robertson poses with his 90-horsepower Apperson Jack Rabbit racer.  He crashed the car the next month in a Vanderbilt Cup Race practice, but went on to win the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup in a Locomobile. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clara Bow #3 -- March 27, 2013

Red haired Clara Bow was probably the most popular silent actress after Mary Pickford. This striking portrait is from the March, 1928 Photoplay.  The caption calls her "Hollywood's center of excitement" and wonders whether she is going to marry.  Click on the image to see a larger version. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dense Bay Fog Makes Trouble for Shipping -- March 26, 2013

North Pacific Coast ferry Sausalito rammed and sank ferry San Rafael on 30-November-1901.  Sausalito survives as a clubhouse in Antioch.  Southern Pacific ferry Berkeley was known as a bad luck boat.  She is preserved at a maritime museum in San Diego.  Philadelphia was probably the USS Philadelphia, a protected cruiser. 

From the 11-March-1900 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image to see a larger version. 


Sausalito and Tiburon Ferry Steamers Have Narrow Escapes.

The first of the March fogs put in its appearance on the bay this morning.  About 7 a. m. it was very thick and many of the ferryboats were from fifteen minutes to a half-hour late in making a landing. At one time the steam whaler William Baylies, German bark Paul Isenberg and British ships General Gordan and Cromdale, the ferry steamers Sausallto and Tiburon and the tug Sea Queen towing the bark Ferris S. Thompson, were all in a general mix-up. The ferryboats and the tug were dodging in and out among the outward-bound fleet for half an hour. Finally the tangle seemed to be straightened out, and the Sausalito was going full speed ahead for her slip when the tug and her tow loomed up.  All is well that ends well, and way was stopped on both vessels in time to avert a collision.

The steamer Berkeley while making her slip missed her landing owing to the fog and crashed into the dolphin. The damage was very slight.

About 10 a. m. the fog lifted, but only to settle down again about noon. All the transports at anchor in the bay were running their launches, while the Philadelphia and Marion had their boats in commission. When the fog set down again every one of them was in the bay, either bound for the shore or making for the transports. Finally, after a succession of whistling from the launches and ringing of bells on the transports, the launches made their landings and all was well.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Hard Work Being a Cat #69 -- March 25, 2013

I took the photo on 10-March-2013. 

Devil's Slide Bypass Tunnels Open -- March 25, 2013

The Ocean Shore Railroad was killed off by, among other things, Devil's Slide, a scenic stretch of coastline which keeps slipping down towards the ocean. The state took over the land to build Highway One. Highway One has fallen in many times during or shortly after the rainy season, often being closed for several months. This is very bad for the local economy. My dad was involved in drilling and studying the area in the 1950s.

 Today a bunch of politicians will cut the ribbon on the Devil's Slide bypass, only 16 years after the voters approved the project.  Better late than never.

This sign stood at the site office of one of the contractors, on the otherwise unused Oddstad School property. I took the photo on 10-October-2007. 

Other things that killed the Ocean Shore include the 1906 Earthquake and Fire and the automobile.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday -- March 24, 2013

Renaissance painter Giotto painted Christ entering Jerusalem in the 14th Century. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

1933 Packard 12 Coupe

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.

This 1933 Packard 12 Coupe was an example of Packard's Tenth Series. It had a V12 engine. V12s are naturally balanced and very smooth.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sherlock Holmes, The Most Thrilling Character in Literature -- March 22, 2013

In 1911-12 French studio Eclair produced a series of Sherlock Holmes two reelers with the blessing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Georges Tréville played the great detective.  Universal released the films in the United States.  The ad is from the 11-May-1912 Moving Picture World.The four caricatures look crude. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ghost Sign #17 -- March 21, 2013

Jack's Restaurant on Sacramento Street survived from 1863 to 2000, when it shut down because of skyrocketing real estate prices.  The upper floors contained private dining rooms, an old San Francisco tradition.  Chef Philippe Jeanty took over the location as Jeanty at Jack's, but had to give up in 2009.  The building is vacant and the sign remains. 

Alcatraz Closing -- 50 Years -- March 21, 2013

50 years ago today, 21-March-1963, the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island closed.  The last 27 inmates boarded the launch for a ride to the pier near Fort Mason.  My mother went to school with children of the guards. 

I took the photo on 15-October-2011. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 World Baseball Classic #2 -- March 20, 2013

The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico last  night at rainy Pac Bell Park to win the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  They never lost a game. 

Comic Book #22 -- March 20, 2013

The March, 1945 issue of Shadow Comics boasts that it includes "The Three Giants of the Comics: The Shadow, Nick Carter, Doc Savage."  All three characters came from Street and Smith's pulp magazines. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Protectors of One Another and of the Environment -- March 19, 2013

Pope Francis was installed today.  He spoke of we have a duty to "the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison."  He spoke about Saint Joseph as well.  We watched a repeat on EWTN.

I took this photo of the National Shrine of Saint Francis, formerly Saint Francis Church, on 20-August-2011. Saint Francis Church was San Francisco's first parish.

Ironically, it is also the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War.  

Happy Saint Joseph's Day #5 -- March 19, 2013

With his 200th birthday coming up on 10-October-2013, I thought it was appropriate to mention Giuseppe Verdi, the greatest operatic composer. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Grauman's Chinese #24 -- March 18, 2013

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.

Actor Monty Wooley left his hand and  beard prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 28-Mayh-1943. I love The Man Who Came to Dinner

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day #6 -- March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

This ad for actress Colleen Moore's first talkie, Smiling Irish Eyes, comes from the June, 1929 Moving Picture Magazine.  John McCormick was a famous Irish tenor. 

"Now at Last You Can Hear Colleen Talk."  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Clement Street and No Rain -- March 16, 2013

Today our daughter went to an event at Star of the Sea Church.  My wife and I wanted to walk around our old neighborhood.  We parked in the lot on Ninth Avenue.  We went to the Walgreens in the former Coliseum Theater and to get some supplies.  We walked past Pinelli's Flowerland, where I bought my wife flowers every ten days after we got married.  I had to slow down after we bought a house.  We walked past the doughnut place where I used to buy us treats.  We went to Schubert's Bakery and bought pastries.  Busvan's is still vacant.

On the way back, we stopped at See's Candy and bought some items for Easter. 

We went to Camelot Fish and Chips in Pacifica for lunch.

Pulp #41 -- March 16, 2013

Nick Carter was a detective who appeared in dime novels, pulp magazines, radio shows, movies and a television pilot. I remember seeing a Czech movie called Dinner for Adele at the Clay, which had Nick Carter in Prague. I wanted to make a Super-8 Nick Carter movie but could never get it organized. 
The image is from a wonderful site called Cover Browser:

Friday, March 15, 2013

He's Gonna Step Out in His New Suit -- March 15, 2013

After he left Mack Sennett, Harry Langdon's first feature on a lucrative First National contract was Tramp Tramp Tramp, the story of cross-country walking race.  First National started as a chain of independent theaters (note the chain in the logo). This ad is from the 01-March-1926 Film Daily

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nickname #24 -- March 14, 2013

This purports to be a photograph of Johnny Devine, an Irish immigrant who boxed in New York then came to San Francisco and became a crimp, a man who shanghaied sailors, for the master San Francsico crimp, Shanghai Kelly.  Devine became known as the Shanghai Chicken.  During a brawl in a drinking establishment, a man with a knife cut off the Chicken's hand.  Devine picked it up, walked to a nearby pharmacy, asked the pharmacist on duty to "Sew me fin back on" and collapsed.  The fin was replaced with a sharp metal hook, which made the Chicken a more terrible man.  Eventually, drink caught up with him. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam -- March 13, 2013

The conclave that formed to select a new Pope after Benedict XVI resigned the Papacy has chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. He has taken the name Francis I. There is some discussion about whether he is referring to Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier, or another Francis. Pope Francis has many unique aspects, he is the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere, the first Jesuit, the first Francis. His parents were Italian immigrants. I hope my cousins in Argentina are pleased.  He is known for living simply. 

I'm happy he chose Francis, especially if he was thinking about Francis of Assisi. I was sort of hoping for Sixtus VI, but I didn't think it was likely.

 I took this photo of the National Shrine of Saint Francis, formerly Saint Francis Church, on 20-August-2011. Saint Francis Church was San Francisco's first parish.

As Good As Money, Brains, Patience and Experience Can Make It -- March 13, 2013

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 08-August-1914 edition of Moving Picture World. It has a nice photo of Mr Baum, a nice drawing of Ozma of Oz, and a remarkably complete cast list. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ferry Santa Rosa -- March 12, 2013

Santa Rosa was built in 1927 for the Northwestern Pacific (my favorite railroad) as an auto ferry. She was later operated by the Southern Pacific/Golden Gate line. In 1940, displaced by the Golden Gate Bridge, she went to Puget Sound and was renamed Enetai.Puget Sound Navigation reengined her, replacing her diesel-electric drive with a with direct drive diesel engine and made her single-ended. She started on the Seattle-Bremerton run in 1941. Washington State Ferries retired Enetai in 1968 because she was single ended and expensive to operate.

Enetai returned to San Francisco, where she was restored to her original appearance and her original name. Santa Rosa is now docked at Pier 3 in San Francisco, and is leased out for parties and gatherings by Hornblower Yachts. I took the photo on 19-January-2013. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Meals that Tickle the Palate -- March 11, 2013

The Golden State Limited ran from Chicago to Los Angeles over the tracks of the Rock Island and the Southern Pacific's Sunset Route.  This ad, from the April, 1928 Photoplay touts the line's relatively low-altitude route and has a testimonial from western star Hoot Gibson. Hoot was a real cowboy, who won the steer roping championship at the Calgary Stampede and the all-around championship at the Pendleton Round-Up.  He had a long career as a star of silent and sound westerns.  Hoot was known for the humor in his movies.  "The wilder a horse bucks -- the more I like him.  But when it comes to railroad trains, yours truly insists on absolute comfort, restful appointments and meals that tickle the palate." 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2013 World Baseball Classic -- March 10, 2013

I have been enjoying the World Baseball Classic coverage on the MLB Network.  The US have moved on to the second round.  Giants players like Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Vogelsong have done well.  Italy is also going to the second round.  Mexico and Canada had a brawl yesterday, which devolved into fans throwing things on the field.  The finals will be held in San Francisco. 

The City on Film -- THX 1138 -- March 10, 2013

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters by artist Christina Empedocles honoring "the City’s rich history as an iconic cinematic backdrop."  This one depicts a poster for THX 1138, George Lucas' first feature film.  I remember that parts of it were shot on BART.  The pills represent medication that the science fiction film's future dystopia uses to suppress emotions. I took the photo on 01-February-2013.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Balboa Theater -- March 9, 2013

The Balboa opened in 1926.  It got split into two screens in the 1970s.  It still survives.  I took the photo on 18-February-2013.

Friday, March 8, 2013

No Need of a Missing Link -- March 8, 2013

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde wrote the series of articles which gave this blog its name. This item about a talk on Ernst Haeckel's evolutionary ideas is from the 05-December-1888 New-York Times. Haeckel is famous for his Theory of Recapitulation ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"). The image comes from the February, 1893 issue of Manufacturer and Builder


The New-York Academy of Anthropology, at its regular monthly meeting at the Cooper Union yesterday afternoon, listened to an interesting paper by Dr. P.H. Van der Weyde on Haeckel's "Theory of Evolution," illustrated with drawings of the 12 races of mankind in connection with those of 12 species of monkeys.  Haeckel and his disciples take the ground that man is evolved from the monkey and hence that there is no need for a missing link.  The necessity for a man with a tail is is done away with, since there are three or four species of monkeys without tails.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tom Mix #3 -- March 7, 2013

Tom Mix had been away from movies during the transition from silents to sound, but Universal was proud to announce, in the 26-June-1931 Moving Picture Daily, that they had signed him, and his horse Tony, to a six-film deal.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book: Castles of Steel -- March 6, 2013

Some years ago, I read Robert K Massie's Dreadnought, a history of politics and navies in Britain and the newly formed German Empire.  I learned many things I had not known about German history in the late 19th Century.  Castles of Steel is Massie's sequel, describing how the two navies faced each other during the First World War.  He takes the side of Admiral John Jellicoe in the Jellicoe/Beatty controversies about the Battle of Jutland.  Massie manages to tell exciting stories about battles while also explaining the political and economic background of events.  He gives the Royal Navy and its blockade of Germany credit for winning the war. 

Train Station #57 -- March 6, 2013

I scanned this photo of the Southern Pacific Sunol depot in 2006.  I don't remember when I took it.  The depot is now used by the Niles Canyon Railroad, for excursion trips to Niles. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bessie Love #3 -- March 5, 2013

I have always been fascinated by the career of actress Bessie Love.  She was born in Texas.  Her name was Juanita Horton.  Her family moved to Los Angeles and she went to Los Angeles High School.  Looking for work, she met director  DW Griffith and got a small part in Intolerance.  She appeared in movies with William S Hart and Douglas Fairbanks.  She was a 1922 WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star.  She played many leading roles, most famously in The Lost World, but never broke through until the talkies came, when she starred in The Broadway Melody.  Her career was hot for a few years, but then tailed off.  She continued to appear in small parts in movies until the early 1980s. 

This item, from the December, 1922 Photoplay shows Bessie made up as a Chinese woman in The Vermillion Pencil, which starred Sessue Hayakawa. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Firehouse #65 -- March 4, 2013

Station 33 on Capitol Street replaced old Station 33 (  I took the photo on 10-January-2011.  

John Garfield 100 -- March 4, 2013

John Garfield grew up in hard circumstances in New York, became a member of the Group Theatre in the 1930s, starred in friend Clifford Odets' Waiting for Lefty and Golden Boy, and then went to Hollywood.  He appeared in several movies, including an adaption of John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat, where he played Danny.   When World War II started, he tried to enlist, but was rejected because of a heart condition.  After the war he starred in many successful movies, including The Postman Always Rings Twice, Humoresque and Body and Soul.  During the Red Scare, he refused to name names.  He died at 39 from a heart attack. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Great Raymond -- March 3, 2013

Maurice Raymond had a long career in magic.  He was the subject of a book by William V Rauscher.This may be the only occurrence I have ever seen of the word "fantasiest."  His act ranged from conjuring to mind reading to the blindfolded street drive.  When this ad appeared in the February, 1903 New York Clipper, Raymond as "at liberty" (looking for work).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

San Francisco History Expo #3 -- March 2, 2013

Today I attended the third annual San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint. There was a good crowd. There were some new exhibitors this year, including ThinkWalks.  It was nice to meet with Joel Pomerantz in person.

At the Cable Car Museum display, I had nice chats with José Godoy and with Don Holmgren and Mike Phipps, co-authors of the excellent book Watermusic in the Track. I took this photo of Don and Mike posing in front of the world's largest cable car bell, created by José 's dad, Gilberto Godoy.  I heard Mike Phipps talk about "The Geary Street, Park and Ocean Cable Car Company, 1880-1912: The Premier Line of the New Municipal Railway."

At the Western Neighborhoods Project display, I talked to Woody LaBounty and got to meet David Gallagher.  I'm looking forward to Woody's new book about Ingleside Terrace.

The Market Street Railway had a huge exhibit where I met retired Muni inspector Art Curtis, whom I have corresponded with for years.

Wells Fargo, which sponsored the expo, had a nice exhibit.  

I met my wife, who had been proctoring at the Junior High Academic Decathalon, and we had sandwiches at Latte Express.  Good Shepherd placed fourth in the Super Quiz, missing third by one point, and one kid won the literature section. 

We went to 5 o'clock mass at Good Shepherd.  It was the teen mass.  A nice group helped take the collection. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lindbergh's Amazing New York-Paris Hop-Off -- March 1, 2013

This ad, from the 20-May-1927 Film Daily, offers Hearst International Newsreel's coverage of Colonel Charles Lindbergh's departure on  his solo flight to Paris.  20-May-1927 was the day that Lindbergh took off.