Thursday, March 31, 2022

COVID-19, Vaccine, Masks, Church, Baseball and School -- March 31, 2022

A new TrumpVirus variant is spreading in other countries. Most California counties have lifted their mask mandates. At Good Shepherd Church, they removed the signs that limited people to every other pew. At the school, masks for students were made optional. 

The lockout was settled, but Spring Training began late and the season will begin one week later than planned. At Good Shepherd Church, they removed the signs that limited people to every other pew.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has lasted longer than a month. Russian advances have ceased, but war crimes have continued.

Army Tanks Used to Destroy Moonshine Stills -- March 31, 2022

Algiers Herald, 23-March-1922

I wonder if any of the soldiers watching this Renault M1917 tank crush moonshine stills were crying. I wonder why the turret is rotated. The government liked to put on big shows of dumping alcohol and destroying machinery during Prohibition.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bicycle With an Airplane Engine -- March 30, 2022

Algiers Herald, 23-March-1922

This could have been an early April Fools' Day joke, or the inventor may have been stretching the truth about going 90 miles per hour. An elderly uncle told me that after World War One, he and some Ohio buddies had put an airplane engine on a sledge and use it to skid around a frozen lake. He was amazed that they had not killed themselves.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Sunset Route -- March 29, 2022

San Francisco Examiner, 15-March-1922

The Sunset Limited was the premiere passenger train from New Orleans to Los Angeles on the Southern Pacific Railroad's Sunset Route. Southern Pacific operated it from 1894 to 1971. Since 1971, Amtrak has run it. This 1922 ad notes that passengers can connect with a Southern Pacific steamship from New Orleans to New York.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Coulter -- Lost in the Fog Off This Port for Nearly Five Days -- March 27, 2022

San Francisco Call, 08-September-1904

William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. Click on the image for a larger view. 


The British bark Poltalloch arrived yesterday, 168 days from Antwerp, via Flushing. She was detained in Flushing Roads for fifteen days by westerly gales. Heavy weather was encountered off Cape Horn and after rounding the storm battered headland light winds made slow calling for the rest of the passage. The Poltalloch was caught in the fog off Point Reyes Saturday afternoon and has been ever since trying to find the Golden Gate. The tug Relief found her outside and towed her to an anchorage off Meiggs wharf. Her cargo includes 950 tons of coke, 200 tons of iron girders, 2000 barrels of cement and 400 casks of wines, spirits and beer.

The French bark General Mellinet, 144 days from Swansea, also arrived yesterday. She brought 2558 tons of coal.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Elton John 75 -- March 25, 2022

Happy 75th birthday to Elton John, singer, composer and really good piano player. I always enjoyed his music when it played on KFRC, especially "Rocket Man." I admired his keyboard playing, and that he wore hats, caps and glasses. Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote a long string of hit songs. 

"Bennie and the Jets" got stuck in my head recently. 

A lot of his music turns up in movie soundtracks. 

He has raised a pot of money for AIDS-related charities. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Madeleine Albright RIP -- March 24, 2022

Madeleine Albright has died. She was born in Czechoslovakia but her family emigrated to the US in 1948, after the communists took power.

I remember when President Clinton appointed her to be the first woman in the US to serve as Secratery of State. She did much to try to settle the conflicts in the Balkans. 

King Pleasure 100 -- March 24, 2022

Vocalese pioneer King Pleasure (Clarence Beeks) was born 100 years ago today, on 24-March-1922. He became famous when he recorded "Moody's Mood For Love" with Eddie Jefferson's lyrics. 

Blossom Dearie sang with King Pleasure on this recording of "Moody's Mood For Love."

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Byte Magazine -- APL -- March 23, 2022

I used to subscribe to Byte Magazine: The Small Systems Journal. People might think that the cover of the August 1977 edition referred to Apple, the computer company, but Apple had just been founded. The cover referred to the cool programming language APL (A Programming Language).

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Bierstadt -- California Spring -- March 22, 2022

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Spring is here. I have always enjoyed the paintings of Albert Bierstadt. He painted "California Spring" in 1875. It is in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Monday, March 21, 2022

First Test of Examiner Radio Wins Huge Success -- March 21, 2022

San Francisco Examiner, 24-March-1922

KUO, the radio station of the San Francisco Examiner, officially went on the air on 01-April-1922, but this article describes a test broadcast. Like many early stations, KUO did not last long. By 1924, it had stopped entertainment broadcasts and by 1927, it was off the air. I found it interesting that the article explained that listeners did not have to pay for the service. Note the use of "broadcasted" instead of "broadcast."



Army of Fans Hears Results of
Efforts for Their Benefit
Achieve Goal; Program Soon



This one word spelled the first test of "The San Francisco Examiner's" radio broadcasting station last night.

Promptly at 9 o'clock, when the ether wave was stiled from hum drum of radio traffic, Charles Gaal, licensed radio operator at "The Examiner's" high powered station, threw in a switch and spoke out into space.

His voice carried to distant points and announced:

"Hello, hello, hello. This is 'The San Francisco Examiner's' broadcasting station. K. U. O. -- K. U. O. Receivers will kindly give us a check. Thank you. Thank you.

Then followed a short musical concert to test the radiation.

A corps of radio engineers of the California Electric Supply Company stood breathlessly by as Gaal made his test. Only the dull hum of the motor interrupted the stillness.

The moment was the crucial test of weeks of work and in the construction of the apparatus, and like all radio broadcasting apparatus, and like all radio broadcasting stations, nothing definite is known until the first test is made.

Within a few moments after Gaal's voice went crashing out over space telephone messages and wires came in a steady stream into the radio editor, offering congratulations and explaining the merits of the test.

First honors for reporting the test went to C. W. Caplinger, 560 Geary Street. Then came J. A. Shea at 22nd and Mission Street. Oakland added its report with ten phone calls and closely following came wires from distant points.

California and the whole coast is on the wave of a new epidemic.

It is scientifically termed Radio-itis and everybody seems determinedly bent on joining the rapidly growing army of radio fans as o participate fully in the extensive musical and news programs which will shortly be broadcasted daily by "The San Francisco Examiner" from its high powered radio station on top of the Hearst Building.

Constantly the radiophone brings into the home or office music, voices and information broadcasted out over the ether wave of space.

Weird, to be sure, is this new-born infant of science, but it is so simple in delivery and charm that no home or gathering will be complete without it.

A small wooden box, possibly two feet square, with the proper equipment inside makes it possible to capture out of space the mystifying electric currents bringing into the room or hall concert music and other broadcasted data.


Unlike other means of communication there is no cost for service. Like opening the window and inhaling the air this new means of entertainment fits any pocketbook and popularizes the family fireside.

You need not be a city dweller to participate fully in enjoying "The Examiner's" broadcasting program. receiving sets far flung in the mountain hamlets, on ranches down the valley or on ships at sea will all\ be in reach of the musical concerts and news programs which will be distributed broadcast from "The Examiner's" high powered station on the Hearst building.

Under government regulation the air is proportioned off into wave meters. Over one of these meters already assigned, "The Examiner" will broadcast its program. But all receiving sets can listen in. No government license if necessary for a receiving set and no fees are payable by the radio fan for the entertainment.

Station KUO broadcast from the roof of the Hearst Building at Third and Market Streets in San Francisco. I took the photo in 2010.

San Francisco Examiner, 24-March-1922

I keep telling people we need more women in technology. I wonder if I know any of Alice Daly's grandchildren. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Gas Prices -- March 19, 2022

I took this at the Union 76 on Oddstad on 11-March-2022. Since then, the price of the medium grade has risen over $6.00. 

I took this at the Union 76 on Oddstad on 01-December-2021.

I took this at the Chevron on Oceana on 21-April-2008.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Transit Driver Appreciation Day, 2022 -- March 18, 2022

I am grateful to the men and women who bravely face San Francisco traffic and San Francisco people every day. Thank you all, especially during this pandemic.

I am grateful to transit drivers/motormen/gripmen/engineers/conductors and all the people who keep the vehicles clean and running and the wires and tracks in good shape all over the world. Thank you all.

With an Autographic Kodak -- March 18, 2022

Maui News, 31-March-1922

The Autographic Kodak had a little hatch that allowed the photographer to write the date and time on each exposure.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 2022 -- March 17, 2022

Bismarck Tribune, 16-March-1922

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

This ad for Saint Patrick's Day flowers mentions that "The Emerald Isle/Is Free At Last." The War of Independence had ended in December with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pepsi-Cola -- Good! Good! Good! -- March 16, 2022

Roanoke Rapids Herald, 13-March-1947

I don't think I have seen a Pepsi ad with the caricatured cops before.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Ry Cooder 75 -- March 15, 2022

One-heck-of-a-guitarist Ry Cooder was born 75 years ago today, on 15-March-1947. He has been involved in much of the music that I enjoy for a significant part of my life. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Eighth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon -- March 14, 2021

Moving Picture World, 10-September-1921

This post is part of the Eighth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon, hosted by Lea at Silent-ology

For the first annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time in vaudeville: The 3-4-5 Keatons.
For the second annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton and the Passing Show of 1917, the show he signed for after leaving vaudeville. 
For the third annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster's transition from vaudeville to the movies, Buster Keaton: From Stage to Screen
For the fourth annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time in the US Army: Buster Keaton Goes to War
For the fifth annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time making short comedies with Roscoe Arbuckle, Comique: Roscoe, Buster, Al and Luke
For the sixth annual blogathon I wrote about Buster Keaton's First Feature: The Saphead 
For the seveth annual blogathon I wrote about Buster Keaton's Silent Shorts -- Reel One, a series of films produced during 1920-1921. Buster and his team had a very high batting average.

For the Eighth Annual Blogathon, I am writing about the Buster Keaton shorts produced for the second season, 1921-1923:

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Saint Patrick's Day 2022 -- March 13, 2022

Yesterday we went to the Saint Patrick's Day Parade for the first time in many years. Before my phone battery died, I caught this photo of a Model T Ford. It may have represented the Rebel Cork Benevolent Association. The weather was cold, but we were happy we went because we were able to see kids from Good Shepherd School in Pacifica who were performing in a drumming band. They were happy to see my wife and the principal. It was bitterly cold and windy, so we left after we saw the kids. 

Snack Time ... Have a Coke -- March 13, 2022

Marion, NC Progress, 13-March-1947

A Coke and a snack. Sounds good.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Jack Kerouac 100 -- March 12, 2022

Beat generation writer Jack Kerouac was born 100 years ago today on 12-March-1922. He served in the US Merchant Marine during World War Two. After his ship was torpedoed, he joined the Naval Reserve. He wrote his novel On the Road in an experimental manner which made it hard to find a publisher. Kerouac's Catholic upbringing had a strong effect on his work. Later in life he studied Buddhism.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Lynching -- Bullets Fail to Stop Him -- March 11, 2022

Salt Lake City Broad Ax, 27-March-1897

The Broad Ax was an African-American owned newspaper. I was surprised to learn that there was such a thing in Salt Lake City in 1897. In 1899, owner Julius F Taylor moved the newspaper to Chicago.

Dragged from Prison by a Mob, a
Negro, Wounded, Fights His Way
Through a Storm of Bullets.

Lynchburg, Va., March 15. -- William Clement, a negro in jail here on a charge of felonious assault, was dragged from his cell early today by a lynching party. He resisted desperately and his captors opened fire on him with the same revolvers which had cowed the Sheriff.

Although severely injured the negro fought on, and at the jail entrance shook himself free and bolted through the armed crowd. In a storm of bullets he scaled an eight foot fence and escaped.

The mob dispersed and later the Sheriff found Clement lying in a nearby house with six bullets in his body. He was taken back to the jail in a critical condition. In the fight he tore the masks from several of his adversaries, and warrants have been issued for the arrest of those whom he recognized. -- N. Y. World.

Richmond Planet, 21-August-1897

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Kellar, Magician, Dies in California -- March 10, 2022

Wilmington Evening Journal, 11-March-1922

Master magician Harry Kellar died 100 years ago today, on 10-March-1922.


LOS ANGELES, March 11 -- Harry Kellar, world-famous magician, died at his home here yesterday after two years' ill health and a severe illness of several weeks. He was 73 years old.

Kellar was born in Erie, Pa., July 11, 1849, and in boyhood was apprenticed to a chemist of his native town. Later he sold papers in New York. An English clergyman named Harcourt adopted him, and took him to Canandaigua, N. Y., where the boy began studying for the ministry.

His first professional engagement was as the assistant to the "Fakir of Ava." an Illusionist.

Kellar was master of a dozen languages and had arithmetic and algebra at instant command. He invented several mysterious illusions which defied investigation, retired from the stage May 17, 1908, his last performance being in Ford's Opera House. In Baltimore. Md.

I would love to see his Self Decapitation. 

From the Facebook Group Vintage Advertising and Poster Art

Salt Lake Herald, 29-November-1898

Kellar performed the Self Decapitation along with the Hindoo Clock and "Kellar's masterpiece, The Blue Room," at the Salt Lake Theater on 29-November-1898.  He was accompanied by Mrs Kellar

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

International Womens Day 2022 -- March 8, 2022

Happy International Women's Day, everyone. #InternationalWomensDay #BreakTheBias

Pulp -- All America Sports Magazine -- March 8, 2022

Negociations continue between the owners and the players' association, with no progress. Owners have cancelled the first two weeks of the season.

The cover of the June 1936 All America Sports Magazine has a nice picture of a play at the plate.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Keep Kool! -- March 7, 2022

Columbus Daily Advocate, 11-June-1896

Before mechanical refrigeration became common, people received ice deliveries at home and put them in an ice box. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Toonerville Trolley -- It Takes Him So Blame Long to Put the Trolley On... -- March 6, 2022

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 14-March-1922

I love Fontaine Fox's The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains. We need some rain like this in California.

Hanford, California Sentinel, 14-March-1922

Transit systems that were rickety, either physically or financially, were often compared to the Toonerville Trolley.

Washington Times, 30-June-1918

Saturday, March 5, 2022

United for Ukraine -- March 5, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. I hope the Ukranians can stay unified. I hope Putin knows that he has made a mistake.

Krazy Kat -- As It Was In The Beginning, Etc -- March 5, 2022

Washington Times, 08-March-1922

I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat.

Washington Times, 30-June-1918

Friday, March 4, 2022

Bert Williams 100 Years -- March 4, 2022

Chicago Whip, 11-March-1922

Bahamian-American comedian Bert Williams died 100 years ago today, on 04-March-1922. Williams broke racial barriers, appearing in mainstream vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies. He appeared in about three movies. One was apparently not completed. 


Whole Nation Mourns As
Curtain Rings Down On
Premier Entertainer

NEW YORK CITY, March 8. -- More than 7,000 persons jammed the streets leading to the church at Bert Williams’ funeral here Tuesday. Details of mounted policemen patrolled the streets to keep the crowds back.

NEW YORK CITY. March 11 -- Bert Williams, considered by many critics the foremost American comedian of all times, died at his home here Saturday night of pneumonia. He was 52 years of age.

He collapsed on the stage at Detroit Monday night in the midst of the second performance of "Under the Bamboo Tree," in which he was starring. He had been in ill health for more than a year, and shortly before his collapse was under the constant attendance of physicians, who remained with him at all times, even accompanying him to and from the theatre, and sleeping in adjoining rooms with him.

Immediately after his collapse in Detroit he was taken to New York City, where it was hoped a blood transfusion would restore his health. A relapse occurred Saturday from which he was unable to recover.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at St. Phillip's Church, with a second ceremony to be held Wednesday afternoon under auspices of St. Cecile Lodge of Masons. He was a member of Haverly Lodge, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scores of telephone and telegraph messages were received by his widow at their home, 135th Street and Lenox Avenue. All day Sunday and Monday Bert's admirers, both on the stage and off thronged the house and requested the opportunity personally to pay their respects to the memory of the great entertainer.

Went on Nerve

During his recent engagement at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago Wiliams is said to have gone through his ' performances on sheer nerve, expecting a collapse at any moment, although the audience was unaware oi the fact.

Born in West Indies

Williams was born in Nassau, British West Indies and came to this country when two years of age. He worked at odd jobs in New York, and after serving an enlistment in the army, went on the stage.

He began his stage career as a banjo player with a minstrel show. He then joined with George Walker in a variety show and made a name along the Pacific Coast.

Their first hit was at Jack Halahan's Midway Theatre in San Francisco. From variety the team went to "three a-day" in vaudeville. Success finally crowned their efforts in "Dahomey," and Williams & Walker became an American institution.

One of Williams' greatest shocks was the death of his partner, George Walker. He threatened to leave the stage at Walker s death, but was persuaded by his friends to remain. Williams & Walker appeared both in this country and abroad at private entertainments and at special showings before royalty and nobility.

Scored with Follies

Bert Williams reached the zenith of his career with the Ziegfeld Follies, being even a greater drawing card than Ziegteld's far-famed. shapely limbed chorus girls. Declining health compelled him to forsake the "Follies" for a production which taxed his strength less.

No figure on the American stage was impersonated more often than was Bert Williams. Every vaudeville impersonator of stage celebrities included Bert Williams in his repertoire. His pantomime of "the poker game" is familiar to thousands of theatre-goers who never even saw Bert.

He created a comedy method of his own, which has been imitated universally. The slow, shambling gait, the balanced intonation, the clear diction and the skillful pauses, are familiar to theatre-goers.

When the famous comedian broke down in Detroit, the play. "Under the Bamboo Tree," in which he was starring was immediately disbanded. No attempt was ever made to find an understudy for him. It is said that Shelton Brooks, noticing his failing health, applied for the position.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Lottie Williams, formerly of Chicago.

His best-known songs were "Constantly," "I Never Done Nothing to Nobody," "Woodman, Spare That Tree," "Nothing From Nothing Leaves Me," "When the Moonshine Shines Upon the Moonshine," "Save a Little Dram for Me," and "Puppy Dog."

Washington Herald, 11-May-1913

Bert Williams is listed last among the performers in the Ziegfeld Follies. Ching Ling Foo (Chee Ling Qua) was a Chinese-born magician who toured the United States in vaudeville and the Follies. Their fellow performers in this edition of the Follies included Australian Leon Errol, who later starred in short films and B features for RKO, Elizabeth (not Fanny) Brice. Williams and Errol performed as a team, and Errol was the only white pallbearer at Williams' funeral.

Moving Picture World, 19-August-1916

"America's Greatest Comedian."

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Alexander Graham Bell 175 -- March 3, 2022

Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the first usable telephone, was born 175 years ago today, on 03-March-1847.

When I was young, one of my favorite spots in the house was a big set of shelves in the basement that had every issue of National Geographic, in order by date, going back to the mid-1950s. One of my favorite issues had a long article about Alexander Graham Bell and his many discoveries and projects. I am trying to find the date of the issue. I loved the stuff about the Photophone, the Graphaphone (improved phonograph), the hydrofoil and especially his interest in aeronautics.

After my dad died, my uncle decided that he needed to clean up my mother's basement. He threw away all of the Geographics. I still get upset about that.

When I was young, some people still joked that Don Ameche invented the telephone.