Touring San Francisco — A San Francisco FAQ
Memories

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This Site's CONTENTS

SAN FRANCISCO MEMORIES
HISTORIES
Golden Gate BridgeMary Ellen Pleasant
Summer of LoveTales of San Francisco

Norton IJOSHUA ABRAHAM NORTONNorton I
Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

BiographyChronologyExplanationHighlightsPublic Broadcasting System
Patricia E. CarrJoel GAzis-SAx
Morgan Johnson [Emperor Norton's edict against “that abominable word”]
«should be implemented today, but with a $50dollar fine....»

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You know you grew up in San Francisco when...

The BeachBirthplaceChangesChineseClothingCoastersComments on Chronicle blog
Concerts/FillmoreDance PartyDancingDon't call it F*****DrivingFishingFog
Food and RestaurantsGarbageGhosts/Devils/HauntsJitneysHallowe'enIce Cream
MafiaMake-out SpotsMiscellanyNight ClubsPlaygrounds/PlaylandRace and Racism
RadioSchoolsStores and ShoppingSwim PoolsTeachersTeleVision and Movies
TheatersTransportationZoo
There have been a few additions and some minor editing.

Another site you might like: San Francisco Memories


CHANGES: Five things made big changes for The City
The razing of the Big Dipper on October 11, 1955.

The construction of the Wells Fargo Building in 1967, the first to be taller than the Russ Building.

The construction of skyscrapers South o'Th'Slot.

The inception of condominia.

The Hippies. Before that era, tourists marvelled at the cleanliness here. The Hippies changed that, dammit!

Please see Casa Chiquita


COASTERS: «You rode Flexy-Racers»
Nope. We made our own coasters. At our $¢ class reünion, a neighbor reminded me that I rode mine down the middle of Roosevelt Way from Levant to Castro. She said her mother said “That kid's crazy!”
   As far as I know, I'm the only one who ever went down Saturn Street, no brakes, on both a bicycle and a coaster. No, I wasn't stupid: I had kids at Temple and Lower Terrace to stop traffic.
   That particular coaster was made of an iron board that scraped the street at Temple from the G-force. Coasted almost to Lower Terrace. The bicycle ride was much faster; I dare not guess what the speed was but I think part of the trip was on the wheels' rims.

Barbara Ann Jones «My brothers used rollerskate wheels.»
   Gary Green «lakeview boys used ball barrings as wheels, we used to get them from the muni yards off the bus parts, they were super fast and durable.»
   Alfred Santiago Hansson «Made this THING but with Skate board polyurathane wheels»
   After my time. First one I made was with roller-skates then, as Gary, ball bear­ings and finally with large metal, rubber rim'd wheels with ball bearings.

We also rubbed boards with parafin to slide down Douglass Street toward Seventeenth Street. I never could confirm the rumor that one kid lost a finger doing that.

DANCE PARTY: on KOFY with Jim Gabbert — I was there!
   Because I'm usually out of town on holidays, I don't see the reruns but, when I get home, many say “Saw you on television!”
   A fascinating thing about that program is that it was watched by all strata of soci­ety. People at the opera, bums on the street, cashiers, and just about any stratum, social, ethnic, or economic you can name, total strangers passing on the street, rec­og­nized me with “Saw you on television!”.
   I told that to David Louie who said “You've learned the power of the medium”.

Walking into an Anaheim hotel the day after attending Dancing With The Stars a total stranger said “Saw you on television!”. That was the first I heard of being on screen but many have told me since. I've never seen that episode but it's obvious I was recognizable.

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DON'T CALL IT F*****:
«I share the opinion that calling The City F***** is disrespectful … I used to get mail from relatives who wrote “The City”»
   That was quite common.

Sn Thurm To «I hate to say that the san francisco ppl now are not going for [insisting on our proper name]» Simply not true!!!
  «ppl from out of state call it f*****»
   They're ignorant. It's incumbent upon us to educate them.
  «its in songs from bay area artist.»
   So what? Bay areas are places I visit out in California and Oregon. My home is here, not there!

Td Camp «we call this wonderful city whatever we like.» We do?!?
  «We're arguing over an issue from 1872.»
   And 1972; I hope it's settled by 2012.
  «There are more cities named San Francisco» Click to see where some are.
   I've travelled to at least a score of countries and hundreds of cities. Not one per­son, ever, failed to understand that I'm from San Francisco.

Eva Swanson «… every other native I know has never called it "f*****".»

Teri Hu «Ppl from out of state ain't got no right to call us anything we don't want to be called. And as a San Franciscan, I absolutely refuse to answer to F***** or any variation thereof.»
   You tell it, Sister!

«telling people they're old and out of touch» I'm old (betcha y'knew that!). Watch this video! Then tell me I'm out of touch. Most of those on stage are people with whom I hang.

Joe Baxter «San Fran & F***** is a name i always used … “The Sco”»
   Disgusting! Please click here.
Sn Thurm «Calling SF..F***** is totally diff from using the N word..»
   Neither has ever passed my lips.
«Saying F***** does not equal having bad manners»
   Most here disagree with you.
   Then you contradict yourself sayng «I understand perfectly that you feel uncom­fortable and its bad manners say F*****» indicating that you're deliberately being rude.

FOG: When I lived in Eureka Valley, with a view of Twin Peaks, I'd sit in the win­dow and watch the fog roll down over Greystone Terrace but seldom getting down to Clayton Street.
One clear moonless night, coming up the Junípero Serra Freeway at about 75mph, we hit a wall of fog unlike any I'd ever seen. Slowed to about 30mph and stuck m'head out the window to follow the white line. The fog was so thick that I doubt I could see farther than about six feet in front of the bumper. That patch of fog lasted only a mile or two 'til we emerged into the clear moonless night.
Going down the Central Valley Freeway, we hit Tule fog. Really scared me. I got on the bumper of a truck who was going much faster than I would have without it but even that was too scary so I let it go; pulled off onto an on-ramp, parked under a light, and waited for the fog to become less dense. While there, we saw cars whizzing by at 50+mph, abso­lute insanity considering the visibility yet there were no accidents because of it that night.

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FOOD and RESTAURANTS:
¡¡¡THE BEST BREAD IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE!!!
A loaf of extra sour Larraburu, a cube of butter, a bottle of claret. Ahhhh.
   It's rumored that the Japanese spent ¥illions failing to duplicate it. They gave up con­clud­ing that “it must be something in the air”.

June 9, 1996: I frequently ate at the New Yorker at 120 Powell Street but too few others did for it to stay in business.
   The site was taken over by Tad's that opened serving New York Cut steaks with salad, baked potato, and bread for $1.09.
   They no longer state the cut of meat and the price has risen to $6.39, but it's still a good value.
   This evening I had the half-chicken dinner. There's little to praise but the value, little to criticize at all. I'll continue visiting Tad's as long as it remains as good as it is, as good as it's been for many decades.
The former owner made it a point to visit every table. Although we didn't know each other, we did recognize each other.
   The new owners have made changes that I don't like.

«Izzy's Steak house» I never knew Izzy but m'mother did.

Tommy O'Hara «House of Prime Rib»
The original owners were family friends. M'father's last restaurant meal was there.

«Gold Mirror» My late girlfriend's favorite. I liked it, too.

Heidi Cabrera Kennedy «Pacific Cafe» Gimme dat wine!

Aaron Shen «vinyl red seating» Reminiscent of Ernie's.

«Doggie Diner» Loved the Doggie's pastrami sandwich!

Original Joe's is still boarded.
   I had countless meals there when a child. I frequented it for lunch usually ordering a side order of spaghetti. They all knew my name.
   It was one of the best service jobs in town as evidenced by the fact that virtually anyone who ever got hired there never left. Same people for decades including one who looked like César Romero.
Troy Uribe «brunos in the mission»
Bruno's Pizza & Restaurant is on Fillmore, across from Yoshi's. It's OK.
   Bruno's was a good Italian restaurant when the employees were in Local 2.
   It was an even better restaurant when Chris Pastena was the chef. He sold out and it became a hamburger joint. Chris was one of the owners of Coda, now the Brick & Mortar Music Hall. He sold his share and opened the Chop Bar in Oakland near Jack London Square. He has a movable Third Sunday Pig Roast.

One night I saw “El Camino ChaCha Orchestra” on Bruno's marquee. Well the Rhumba Bums rarely play a Rumba so I parked, crossed the street to listen at the window, and ran back to the car screaming: “Get OUT! NOW!!! Bring your dance shoes!”
   One of the musicians was a co-worker. The band was smokin'; we burned the floor.

A recent Monday at Café Cocomo, the DJ played a ChaCha. I grabbed the hottest dancer there that night. What a dance we had! Drew an audience and got applause. I love it when that happens! My name ain't SwingCha fer nuttin'!

For almost ten years, Bruno's on Mission was home of the Jazz Mafia. I was there more than once a month. Jazz Mafia put together a major jam at the 2011 Burning Man.
«Blum's» Ahhh. Blum's in the Fairmont was nice but the original one, on Polk Street, was beautiful.
   I was taking Katherine Dunham there and, on the way, she corrected me with «Bloom's». Well, she was a doctor of anthropology so who was I, at age seventeen, to argue? But we know our colloquial pronunciation.
   And let's not overlook the Ukraine Bakery.

I floated my boat in Ott's pond on Bay Street at Columbus Avenue. It was the first place here to get “broasted chicken” using a secret recipe created by Colonel Sauders.

Tiki Bob's ain't no more but the tiki is still there. It was a book store for a while. I think it's now a chicken place.

Trader Vic's is now Le Colonial. Victor Bergeron is the creator of the Mai Tai.

Oscar Paul Guzman Joseph «the owners where Peruvian/chinese»
   That's the Eight Immortals in the Parkside.
   My then-girlfriend could recognize only two languages: English and Foreign. When we went there, I knew they were from Perú because I'd eaten at their place near the Museo Lorca in Lima where they told me of their place here.
   So, having heard me speak smatterings of French, German, and Portuguese, when I spoke with the servers in Spanish she exclaimed “You speak Chinese?!?”


Best hole in the wall for cheap eats?
Icono Clast, November 12, 2001
CASA CHIQUITA was on Geary near Jones, a tiny place.
   When I first started eating there, the highest price on the menu was 75¢ for the Com­bina­tion Plate: Enchilada, Taco, shredded lettuce/cabbage, Frijoles Re­fri­tos, Arroz, and all the tortillas you could eat.
   If you wanted Guacamole, you were sent across the street to the grocery store to get the ingredients; they'd make it for you.
   Grandma did the cooking and it was excellent. When she retired, her son took over the kitchen and made some tiny improvements to the recipes (yummy!).
   When he retired, his son took over and eventually sold the business. It immediately went to hell and closed shortly thereafter. The last time I ate there, the Combination Plate was $7.95 and included an Enchilada, Taco, shredded lettuce/cabbage, Frijoles Refritos OR Arroz and you had to beg for tortillas.
   Through all those years, except after the sale, waitress Polly took care of us. And, year after year, I saw the same customers there. We'd probably still be going there were it as it was.

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GHOSTS, DEVILS, HAUNTS:
DEVIL: “Can you come over; I want to show you some pictures.”
   My butch friend, who was a bit too shy to go to men's rooms unaccompanied and who married the friend with whom I changed clothes on Hallowe'en (the Washoe County clerk had no idea she was a woman), presented me with a suite of B/W photographs of a beautiful woman, nude, her girlfriend had taken.
  “Who is she?”
  “That's ME!” Here's this good-looking guy sitting next to me who's also the gor­geous woman in the photographs! Wow! I knew he was good-looking but I'd've never thought she was such a knockout.

……“In one of those photographs, she's reclined, nude, on Anton LaVey's mantel.

She eventually killed, and cut up, her girlfriend. I would never have guessed she could have done such a thing. No, not my friend, her former wife. She's living overseas in a lux­uri­ous building overlooking Lake Merritt.


HALLOWE'EN: TripAdvisor©, July 11, 2006
You can have your particular religion's New Year, your particular god's birthdate, your country's Independence/National Day, etc.! They all pale when compared to Hallo­we'en in San Francisco! It's our biggest party of the year; there's no more-fun time to be here!
   In 2006, Hallowe'en itself is a Tuesday. That means we're likely to be carry­ing on from Friday 'til 01:00 November 1.
   Don't even THINK of going to Eureka Valley, particularly the 4 and 5 hun­dred blocks of Castro Street, Tourist, without a camera. Perhaps, visiting from Sydney, your tales might be believed, but pictures help.
   If you're faint of heart or have odd ideas of public propriety, go to Columbus and Broad­way or Polk Gulch or, from about 16:00 on, any neighborhood's primary com­mercial blocks.
   Wherever you go, if you're not bi or try, take care who you kiss.
   Congratulate yourself for selecting such a great time t'be here! I salute and wel­come you. ¡Bravo!
   I will not tell you where the best decorations are as they're at a lovely three tree-lined blocks of a seven block street where all the neighbors present elaborate decorations. Many have garages open with displays and magical things to see. It's designed for children but it's great for adults, too. It's too crowded to publicize. You're extremely unlikely to come accross it but, if you see a blocked off street somewhere 'tween 16:00 and 22:00, investigate why.
TripAdvisor©: Halloween in S[an] F[rancisco] August 23, 2007
jimmy boyOZ «The Castro Halloween celebration sounds interesting.»
Oh, yes. Quite!
  «I read something about a parade … I imagined people in costumes on floats, that sort of thing. As an aussie we don't really acknwoledge halloween, it's seen as "an american thing"»
   It's really a San Francisco thing. It's been our biggest annual party for at least sixty years, perhaps longer.

«thought it would be something worth participating in»
   Y'thunk good but it's not for the reticent, modest, or faint of heart.

«my wife and I will be SF on October 31.»
   Be careful whom else you kiss.

sean420 noted «…celebration is canceled, at least officially this year.»
The key word in that sentence is “officially”. I have no idea how they'll be able to prevent anything. Every bar in town will be having a Hallowe'en party! But, let's suppose they somehow succeed: Go to Polk Gulch. No good? Broadway near Columbus.
   The fact is, every neighborhood shopping street will have much going on. Whither thou goest on October 31, people will be in costume or made up, whether a checker at a store, a clerk in court, a teller at a bank, a Municipal Railway operator, or just bums like me. As I said, it's our biggest annual bash. Enjoy!
   I will not reveal the lovely street that gets completely blocked off so that children may wander it. Almost every house, and tree lining the street, is highly decorated, some with shadow displays in the living room windows, at least one garage with a very magical display, many windows with silhouetted people acting out various things, etc. It's abso­lutely wonderful for children of all ages.

I was fifteen when I first went out in drag on Castro Street. A girl friend, who lived on Collingwood, and I were, and still are, the same size so we wore each others' clothes. Five or six years later, after she'd come out and was living with me on Adelaide Place, from time to time we'd go to the 585 Club (a gay bar/restaurant on Post Street) in drag to have dinner.

SwingCha at TripAdvisor©, November 1, 1996
Co-worker: Why do you look like that?
   SC: Like what?
   CW: With all that stuff on your face and in your hair.
   SC: It's Hallowe'en.
   CW: Hallowe'en's for children.
   SC: Maybe it is in Manhattan but you're in The City now. Our culture's different.
   CW: Yeah. It's for the gay set in Eureka Valley.
   SC: No. It's been for us San Franciscans since long before the gay set even lived in
……«SC:   Polk Gulch.
   CW: Well, you look ridiculous.
¡¡¡THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR TO BE IN SAN FRANCISCO IS HALLOWE'EN!!!

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NIGHT CLUBS: For a while it was Bea and Ray Goman's Gay ’90s [on Broadway with a dancer in an elevated glass cage] but the real Gay ’90s was in that lovely Inter­na­tional Settlement building at 555 Pacific Avenue.
   I recently saw Pat Yankee who was the featured singer there. She's still at it.

I went to Bimbo's 365 Club when it was at 365 Market Street and the 'phone number was GArfield 0365 that it remained, with an additional digit, until recently.
   Where it is now was the Bal Tabarin where I saw Ted Lewis, Cyd Charisse, and Gypsy Rose Lee among others.
   I visited Gypsy in her dressing room and was enthralled by all the elegant furs and stuff. She auto­graphed an 8"x10" photo for me but it's disappeared.
   The Girl In The Fishbowl was created by Steve Shephard. He was one of those who baby­sat, and performed for, me. One of those fishbowl girls ended up in my bed 'though it was many years after her gig. She'd also been the coat check girl at the Gay 90s.

James R Smith «Top of the Mark - it was originally a private 11-room penthouse occu­pied by copper baron Daniel Jackling.»
   Didn't know dat.
   There's probably still a large apartment in The Mark where Cyril Magnin used to live. One of his lovers, years later, became one of mine. She also says she attended a party at an apart­ment atop the Hearst Building, probably built for W.R. Yes, she was gor­geous!
   A MidWesterner, among her first jobs here was as a ticket seller at the Fox.

I was in line for a free ice cream in Huntington Park when Cyril saw me and quickly wheel'd over to say “Hello!” thus impressing everyone in sight. Me, too! That was so nice of him.

Pedantic Curmudgeon «Sylvia Valdez said “My Father (manager) opened the Top of The Mark in 1963.”» The Top o'Th'Mark opened May 11, 1939. It was a favorite place for military people to go during The War before going to Fort Mason to board ships.
The bar was kind of oblong approximately where the dance floor is now. I'll take your word that the post-remodel reöpening was in '63.
Angela Tsang mentioned the Jolly Friar on Clement (at Ninth?).
I'm furious at me for not going there because that's where the Swing dancers were. I've since met all the Swing dancers who went there but I regret having not being one of them.
   I did dance at the New Yorker/Li'l Bo Peep that's now El Tapatio.
Bob Glynn mentioned the 181 Club.
What a dump! A true dive! And the floor was simply undanceable. Was last there for a movie shoot. Another shoot was at the Rockit Room. Don't know whether they were ever released or I was on screen if they were.
Doris M. Goodwin mentioned The Penthouse at the Playboy Club.
I never understood why Hugh Hefner thought that would work here. And, sure enough, it failed here. I was taken there for dinner. The food was good, the service was excellent. Overall quite pleasant. But I never returned.
Q: What was your favorite Night Club?
The Sinaloa! I spent a lot of time at 1416 Powell Street, eating and dancing and enjoying the shows.
   I also went the to The 365 (both locations), the Forbidden City, the Music Box, the Bal Tabarin, the Macumba, Bea and Ray Goman's Gay ’90s (both locations), the Venetian Room, Club Downbeat at 90 Market Street where I saw Machito with Mario Bauza, and La Fiesta, where the public housing is on Columbus Avenue.
   I used to hang around with Swedish sisters. When we showed up at Bop City, Jimbo ushered us in as if we were celebrities.
Joan Rash Roldan «North Beach Shiloettes»
Alex Fox «Rockin Robins and Shilouettes @ the wharf!»
   Silhouettes at The Wharf was among NiteCry's first gigs, when Tommy Castro was the lead singer!
   Saw drummer Kevin Coggin at the Monterey Blues Festival in 2011. And pianist/­composer Richard Palmer there in 2010.
   Leader and lead guitarist Renée Solis died of liver cancer a couple of years ago.
   NiteCry's “All Night Long” is still fequently played at Swing dances.
   Silhouettes' owner closed it and opened That's Ritch on Ritch Street that's since changed hands many times (it had a pretty-good floor).

Oh my! The Farm. Saw Bob Dorough and Bill Takas there.
   So far unmentioned is Basin Street West where I saw Count Basie, Lenny Bruce, and others; the Jazz Workshop where I saw the Nat and Cannonball Adderly among others; Broadway Studios (with lovely décor, a large stage, and excellent floor); the Copacabana where Benny Velarde worked that became the Beige Room (or vice versa), a gay place; Savoy Tivoli where Queen Ida held court; the Outer Limits where Jules Broussard blew the house down (in addition to his own group, he's one of Lavay Smith's Red Hot Skillet Lickers); the Old Spaghetti Factory & Excelsior Coffee House when it presented Spanish/Flamenco dancers; The Committee, our pre-Second City developer of satirists; Monaco's; the HiBall Lounge; the hungry i where I saw Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, Barbra Streisand, and many others (bassist Dean Reilley worked intermissions with pianist Vince Guaraldi [he wrote the Peanuts score; died at age 44] is still active); the Purple Onion where the Smothers Brothers spent quite a long time, and just a few years ago, where the Collective West Jazz Orchestra gigged when Foley's Irish House was being refurbished; or Césars Latin Palace* when it was on Vallejo Street (or was it Green) and subsequently where Rocapulco is now.
   The Blackhawk, at Turk and Hyde, “Jazz Corner of The West”. Inside was a chicken wire fence that separated us minors from the legal drinkers. Outside, there were always fans listening. I saw the Dave Brubeck Octette, with Cal Tjader, there.
   Barnaby Conrad's El Matador was very popular with those who could afford it. Today it's Enrico's.
   Arguably the most important club this city's ever seen was Ann's 440 at 440 Broad­way. It was responsible for being the first venue where some of the top performers in the country got their start. But when Lou Gillespie had Lou's Pier 47, she did the same for Blues musicians who worship her.

Arguably the best bar this planet has ever seen was the Black Cat, near Melvin Belli's office. I don't know of any bar, anywhere, that had such a diverse clientéle. Gay/straight, Black/White/Asian, extremely rich, incredibly poor, you name it. I loved it!
   One day in Santa Cruz, a woman came up to us to ask him “Didn't you used to be Mel Young?” “I still am!” He was one of the Black Cat's feature performers. Earlier in his career, he worked at Charlie Low's Forbidden City. Charlie changed Mel's Filipino appellation to sound Chinese as all of his performers were “The Chinese [name]”. Mel is in his eighties and suffering greatly from diabetes. But he's still funny!

*César Ascarrunz, from Bolivia, has degrees in political science and economics (I hope I'm correct) earned at Berkeley and has run for mayor several times as a Republican. Last time I saw him he said he was going to take over the 23 Cub in Brisbane but, when last there, it hadn't happened.

VARIETY
Oh my! The Farm. Saw Bob Dorough and Bill Takas there.
   The Committee, our pre-Second City developer of satirists; Monaco's; the hungry i where I saw Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, Barbra Streisand, and many others (bassist Dean Reilley worked intermissions with pianist Vince Guaraldi [he wrote the Peanuts score; died at age 44] is still active); the Purple Onion where the Smothers Brothers spent quite a long time, and just a few years ago, where the Collective West Jazz Orchestra gigged when Foley's Irish House was being refurbished.
   Arguably the most important club this city's ever seen was Ann's 440 at 440 Broad­way. It was responsible for being the first venue where some of the top performers in the country got their start. But when Lou Gillespie had Lou's Pier 47, she did the same for Blues musicians who worship her.

BARS
Barnaby Conrad's El Matador was very popular with those who could afford it. It became Enrico's but is now closed; the Owl on Haight Street, Fin Alley on Irving Street, and Pat's on Geary Street were gay girls' bars.

Arguably the best bar this planet has ever seen was the Black Cat, near Melvin Belli's office. I don't know of any bar, anywhere, that had such a diverse clientéle. Gay/straight, Black/White/Asian, extremely rich, incredibly poor, you name it. I loved it!
   One day in Santa Cruz, a woman came up to us to ask him “Didn't you used to be Mel Young?” “I still am!” He was one of the Black Cat's feature performers. Earlier in his career, he worked at Charlie Low's Forbidden City. Charlie changed Mel's Filipino appellation to sound Chinese as all of his performers were “The Chinese [name]”. Mel is in his eighties and suffering greatly from diabetes. But he's still funny!

JAZZ
Basin Street West where I saw Count Basie, Lenny Bruce, and others; the Jazz Workshop where I saw Nat and Cannonball Adderly among others; the Outer Limits where Jules Broussard blew the house down (in addition to his own group, he's one of Lavay Smith's Red Hot Skillet Lickers); The Blackhawk, at Turk and Hyde, “Jazz Corner of The West”. Inside was a chicken wire fence that separated us minors from the legal drinkers. Outside, there were always fans listening. I saw the Dave Brubeck Octette, with Cal Tjader, there.

DANCE and DANCING
The HiBall Lounge is where modern Hipsters hung out affecting the dress and style of the '40s; Lee Presson & The Nails, Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, and others played there. Broadway Studios (with lovely décor, a large stage, and excellent floor); the Copacabana where Benny Velarde worked that became the Beige Room (or vice versa), a gay place; Savoy Tivoli where Queen Ida held court; the Old Spaghetti Factory & Excelsior Coffee House when it presented Spanish/Flamenco dancers; César's Latin Palace* when it was on Vallejo Street (or was it Green) and subsequently where Rocapulco is now.

*César Ascarrunz, from Bolivia, has degrees in political science and economics (I hope I'm correct) earned at Berkeley and has run for mayor several times as a Republican. Last time I saw him he said he was going to take over the 23 Cub in Brisbane but, when last there, it hadn't happened.

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PLAY: Dianne Isaak said [remember riding the] «cement slides at golden gate park»?
Remember? They weren't even there in my youth but they are now and I go down 'em every chance I get!
   Those aren't the only cement slides in town.
   The world's largest slides were in the Fun House at PlayLand! Beautiful hardwood thingies.
   We had something unique, in my experience, at Children's Playground. Facing the carrousel, on the hill at the back, there was a gravity-driven train of three-wheel carts that we could ride down the hill for a penny or few. They're long gone but much-missed.

The Big Dipper made me a roller-coaster freak. I did not know, did not appreciate, how good it was until I'd ridden about 120 others most of which couldn't compare.
   Shoot the 'Chutes was everybody's favorite ride! It had a very long, cave-dark under­ground tunnel that I could never figure out. When PlayLand was being torn up, I went there often hoping to see remnants of that tunnel but never did.
   When I showed an old co-worker a picture of the Grizzly, he said “That was the mean one!”

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MUNI/TRANSPORTATION:
Kaitrin appears to have asked me «How'd you know» all the cable car routes?
   I was born here. I've always lived here. I intend to die here.
   There was a time when I knew just about every bus, street-, and cable -car route in town. Before I was sixteen (probably thirteen), I'd ridden just about every line in town. Before I had a car, I knew this city quite well. Now, there are probably few who know it as well as I. When I participated in drawing the first District Elections map, I met quite a few who did.
Of course I remember when bus drivers gave change. I also remember when streetcars had conductors. It was the norm to enter at the rear to pay the fare.
   Ah, yes, that was on the Iron Monsters that had cow catchers that we rode through the Sunset Tunnel.

GARBAGE: Barry Kurpinsky said «Sunset Scavenger garbage man came to your house to collect the monthly charges»
   Deborah Kors added: «Yup, and they came up our back steps, picked up the can, brought it to the truck to empty and then brought it back up the stairs. Wasn't any putting the can out to the curb. Now that was service!»
   Both companies did that. Sunset's workers were primarily of Italian ancestry. One used to shout at me from the big green truck “Eh, Bambino!”
   Scavengers Protective Association workers were primarily Black. Now the com­pan­ies have merged into Recology. I don't know who works there.
   The new containers cannot fit where the old ones, that we never saw, did. Now The City's been uglified by the ever-present sight of garbage containers. Yuck!


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SHOPPING: Grandmother had an Emporium Charge-A-Plate, a metal tag with raised letters.
   How about the X-Ray machine you put your foot in and could wiggle your toes seeing the bones move at Summer & Kauffman?

JITNEYS: They were a leftover from PPIE. Went all the way from Spear Street to the City Limits.
   They were seven-passenger deSotos in my youth; a few Cadillacs and Lincolns before they used the greater capacity vans.

FLEISHHACKER ZOO:
The train was a real steam engine before it was con­verted to whatever it is now.

FLEISHHACKER POOL: From TripAdvisor©, March 12, 2006 at 04:48
At one time, San Francisco had the world's largest outdoor pool, the 20 million-plus gallon Fleishhacker, and indoor, at Sutro Baths, pool. You can see the Sutro pool. You can also see the Fleishhacker bath house on the Great Highway just past Sloat Boulevard. The pool is still there but it's been filled with dirt and paved. Part of it is where the gorillas live. I often wonder what some archæologist will think when the enormous tile bath is found long hence.
   For an idea of its enormity, the pool started about fifty feet from where the sidewalk is. The bath house was just about the middle of it.
   Gary Green The pool went from 3 ft to 15 ft. The pool closed in 1971.
   Gary Renard I don't remember that being heated. I remember it being cold as hell.
   Gary Green Yes, I did too feel it was cold, but it did have a heating system that heated the pool to 72°F.

The Tenderloin Hilton used to have, and probably still has, a pool on the Fourteenth (if I remember correctly) floor. The hotel goes higher on the four sides so it's fairly shel­tered from the zephyrs. Many is the time we'd go there for a dip after the bars closed. Called room service for coffee and paid cash.

I'm one of the few people alive who did actually swim in the Fairmont's pool. The Press Club at 555 Post Street used to have a pool the feed pipe for which you could see at The Beach, a steam bath, and a sauna. The Olympic Club, across the street, also has a pool. I've not swum in that one but I have visited it.
   Another popular pool was Crystal Plunge. You can see what's left of it from Taylor Street just above Lombard Street.

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RACE and RACISM:
I remember being angered and embarrassed when Doctor Sing Lee's purchase of a home in Saint Francis Woods drew protests and, a few years later, when Willie Mays drew pro­tests when he tried to move in to West Portal.
   Whites thought that there was little racism here, and there was certainly less than elsewhere, but Blacks knew that if they went to Fisherman's Grotto No. 9, for example, they'd be seated near the kitchen and that service would be extremely slow.

Barbara Ann Jones «No way is the city more diverse now!»
Probably not if you group all Asians together but if you recognize them for their par­tic­ular ancestries, we're much more diverse than we were.
   Our Black population is lesser than it was but our Asian, Latino, and Middle East­ern populations have grown considerably.

Dave Masucci «I would mostly agree with that comment, but these growing ethnic groups/transplants have replaced some of the other immigrant groups that have been mov­ing out (i.e. African-American, Irish, Italian, Croatian, Russian, Polish, Greek, etc.)»

Silvana Padilla «growing up in the 60's was very different.. Alot of prejudice... you were judged on what you looked like not for who you were...same as today but believe me was very different...I love all People no matter what race and color you are!!!...

Lori Gonzales «Moved to Vallejo & San Mateo but not for long .... Vallejo was very strange back 30+ years ago. Very prejudice.»

Alexa Dvorson «I guess truth is more useful than the innocence that leads many of us to think San Franciscans long since transcended prejudice and racist comments.»

CHINESE: Calvin Cheung mentioned «Chinese school at the Cameron House»
Every school day, around three-thirty, Powell and Market had a throng of Chinese kids on their way to Chinese school. I think every Chinese kid of my generation has a smattering of reading and speaking Cantonese and a good knowledge of Chinese history.
   Not only did they have Chinese school from 4-6 on school days, they spent all day Saturday there.
   I'm saddened that subsequent generations have not paid as much attention to their heritage. I know many Chinese, and Latinos, who can't speak their grandparents' language and don't know their ancestral history or culture any better than the rest of us.

RADIO:
Jumpin' George! He was on KWBR, an overseas station with a signal that reached here. I think the transmitter was next to the toll plaza.
   I don't know that he was my favorite but he was sure memorable. He sounded Black but wasn't. When touting his sponsor, you could hear him pounding his desk and imagine him jumpin' up and down. “The Thirtieth and San Pablo Furniture Warehouse!”
   When KYA was in the Fairmont, I'd visit Don Pitts during his broadcasts.
      ♫ Don Pitts is on the air ♪
      ♫ Sit right back in a comfortable chair ♪
   Pat Henry was on KROW in the afternoons. He bought the station and changed its call to KJAZ. DJs who worked there can still be heard on KCSM, Dr. Herb Wong and Bob Par­lo­cha come to mind.
   I didn't know Pat in those days but did for a few years before he died. Nice man.

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SCHOOLS:
Doris M. Goodwin «Most HS back in the day were particular to certain neighborhoods»
   All were with exceptions for the three City-wide schools, Polytechnic, Lowell, and Commerce née Girls' High; four if you want to in­clude Continuation/John O'Connell.
  «with specific ethnicities» When at Poly, the kids said that Lowell closed on the Jewish holidays. ‘Fuckin' racist anti-Semites’ thought I.
   One day, after getting kicked out of Poly and into Lowell, I had to ask “Where is everybody?” “Jewish holiday.” “Seeya tomorrow!”
   Same thing happened at a place I worked: all of the top exec­u­tives were Jews, two of whom had escaped the Germans. It always amused me that, when the three of us were together, they spoke in their heavily-accented English rather than their comfortable German. I was just an office boy; their conversations had no relevance to me or my job.

Both Poly and Lowell were quite diverse. Poly had more Blacks than Lowell and Lowell had more Chinese and Japanese than Poly but each had a good mix except that there weren't many Latinos (Mission) or Filipinos (Balboa) at either.
   The non-Chinese/Japanese/Filipino Asians were too few to notice. Times have changed.
   My first girlfriend of another race was at Poly. I cannot remember anyone making a negative comment, including our parents.

Alex Elchinoff «Lowell diverse? That must've been a LONG LONG time ago.»
   Well, yes, of course. Isn't this about memories?
  «It was 96% asian when I went.»
   And you probably went to the new one, on Sunset Boulevard. I went to the one with the entrance on Hayes near Ashbury. I can only guess that the school was about ¾ Jewish, certainly at least 2/3. Many of them were White Russians from Shanghai.
  «And it wasn't so much “segregated” by jocks, preps, punks»
   We were. There were the contemptible White Shoe Boys and us, the Barts (not BARTs). No, I don't know what “Bart” meant but we were the bad-asses.
  «us whities, blacks and latinos kinda all fell into motley crews. Odd. And dys­func­tional. Don't miss it at all :-/ »
   I've been hearing stories about the horrors of the high school years ever since I grad­u­ated. Sure not my experience: I had a great time, as much fun as I've ever had.

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TELEVISION and MOVIES:
I had a television set with a three-inch screen before KRON's first broadcast, 7-10 of November 15, 1949.
Had a television remote control when living at the corner of Leavenworth and Union. The electric bus shoes often made a noise that caused the television set to do something always, it seemed, during a critical scene or bit of dialogue.

Newspaper Of The Air debuted on KQED when The Chronicle went on strike. It's the program that's the basis for every news program in the world today. Before then, reporters were not ques­tioned: they just reported.

STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO: They actually used my house. Stained glass window collector Karl Malden wanted to buy mine. And it's in the movie Mag­num Force, too.
One foggy night, oh-so-many years ago, I was creeping along Clarendon when I noticed a narrow road on which I'd not been. Barely able to see, I got to the end to find a mysterious mansion that looked as if it'd been there a hundred years.
   Proved to be where KGO had some of its transmission equipment. Last I tried to go there, it was fenced off.

Bridget Karuza Jones: «Dial M for Murder» I love the opening sequence of a convertible coming here on the James "Sunny Jim" Rolph Bridge.

«my ex's brother was an extra in the film»
   Was he the guy sitting behind the protagonists eating popped corn at Candlestick? If so, I knew him. He once asked me “How'd I do? Did I look natural?”

DRIVING:
«we used to catch some serious air...» Best spot for that was Noe crossing Army but no more; it's been rounded. Now I like Gough around Ellis.
Getting a fast start on Seventeenth before Douglass in order to get all the way to Rossevelt Way in top gear. Can't do dat now because there's a STOP sign. 'Sides, auto­matic transmission.
«Can park a stick shift on [a] hill.»
I used to take money offa people who told me I couldn't start on a hill without using the hand brake. We'd put a paper cup a few inches behind a wheel and I'd take off, never touching the cup. Gimme d'money!
«It's a manual transmission. Is that OK?» “Are you kidding? Who d'y think drove sticks when automatic transmission were an expensive extra?”

EMBARCADERO FREEWAY:
Before it was built, the Chronicle pub­lished my letter in oppo­si­tion with a suggestion to do pretty-much what we see today. Wish I had a copy.
   I used it more than seven thousand times but haven't missed it for an instant.

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MAFIA: Bouquet Cohen (shop at Mason and O'Farrell, maybe Ellis) was rumored to be a made man. I didn't know him.
   But I did know Benny Barrish; used to play the nickel slot machine he had in his home's garage. I have a picture of him with my father and Herb Caen. I presume bail bondsman Jerry is Benny's son who I knew when we were children.

FILLMORE AUDITORIUM:
Roller skated at the Fillmore. Saw Janis Joplin, and Little Richard, there, too.

TEACHERS:
“What's his name?” my mother asked when I told her the drama teacher had grabbed me to be in a play. “He was MY drama teacher! It was his first job; he was hardly any older than we.”
   I asked him and his reply made it a certainty that he did remember her.

ICE CREAM:
Yaoska MartCamp «Mitchell's Ice Cream!!!» Huge crowds when it's hot. I don't get it: Ice cream has a lotta calories, the last thing one wants to cool off.
   On the other hand, there are huge crowds there when it's not hot.
Shaw's Ice Cream was Gertie Guernsey (now a Mexican-style restaurant) when I sold fireworks there. Took orders from the kids, got half their money, went to Chinatown to fill the orders, got the rest of their money on delivery.
   That ended when some kid came to my house and told my mother he wanted to buy some fireworks. She confiscated my stock, dammit (well, it was illegal). Had to return some kids' money.

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FISHING: Shephard said «When transporting fish»
   A friend and I, probably 11 or 12 years old, went to The Wharf with safety pins and string with which to fish. An old Italian guy helped us and we caught quite a few perch. Put them in a paper bag, with some ice, and took a streetcar home to the dismay of everyone we neared.

CLOTHING:
I never even heard of a seasonal wardrobe 'til after I graduated from high school. We have Spring and Autumn but have only to cross a bridge, or go a few miles South of The Border to find what they call Summer and/or Winter.
   I was recently in Las Vegas and Phoenix. They have Summer there. It ain't nice!

THE BEACH:
The cave under the Cliff House — I almost died in there when the tide came in. Got out f-a-s-t when I realized what was happening.

BIRTHPLACE: My late girlfriend was born in Saint Luke's. I was born in Mount Zion. Our mothers had the same gynecologist for our births.

MAKE-OUT SPOTS:
There was a building on Buena Vista with an easy-to-jimmy front door. In the basement boiler room there was a mattress and …
On Cityview Street before the housing was built. One night a cop illu­min­ated us (there was plenty to see) and told us to leave because not everyone was as nice as he. She was younger than fifteen, I just seventeen.
Letter to the editor: “I took my friend from Kansas City to the Dore Alley Fair. There was a fellator sitting on a box taking care of a line of men. A cop standing nearby didn't do anything.”
   A day or two later, another letter: “I'm the cop. It was the Dore Alley Fair. What the hell did you expect?”

What old movie theatre was your favorite?
Michael Dineen «the Fox was awesome»
   It surpassed by far any and every other theater or movie pal­ace in town, perhaps even in the USA. I used to tell tourists, “Pay no atten­tion to what's playing: Pay the admis­sion just to see the magnificence”.
   Although it had only 4,651 seats, we liked to say it had five thousand. My father insisted I know that it cost more than $5 mil­lion to build in 1929. The screen was postage-stamp size from the top-most row. There were many czarist antiques.
   Architect Thomas W. Lamb regarded it as his masterpiece.
   I always said that my marriage would be at the landing of the lobby stairs. Didn't hap­pen. Second choice was the landing of the City Hall stairs.
   The only newspaper clipping I was sent when in Europe was of the announce­ment to raze it. My then-girlfriend knew how I loved it.
Bridget Karuza Jones «San Bruno Avenue with the pipe organs»
   I think that was the Avenue.
   Regarding pipe organs, though, some genius went running around town, perhaps beyond, gathering up pipes and other parts to install them in a theater on Connecticut just above Eighteenth. While there, my witty girl­friend sexily quipt “First time I've been inside an organ”.
   I wonder what happened to it or maybe it's still there.
   The organ at the Fox was enormous. It was said that were the lowest note to be played too long, the building would collapse. I believe it!
   Before it was razed, there were a few concerts to show it off. Abso­lutely wondrous. The organs at the Castro, Orpheum, Golden Gate, and War­field are mere suggestions of the Fox's power.
The TeleNews was a good place to go. The lower level had a huge globe of Earth and was like a library's reading room except that it was smoke-filled.

The Haight Theater, opposite Cole, became the Straight and then was razed. It's the loca­tion neighborhood arsonists prevented a Target store from unglifying.

The Saint Francis was a third of the group that advertised together: Paramount-Saint Francis-State. The State Theater was on the SouthEast corner of Market at Fourth. It was reputed to be the first theater on Earth to not have visible support for the balcony. I've never confirmed the veracity of that statement.

The Harding, on Divisadero, became the home of the Lamplighters' presen­tations of Gilbert & Sullivan.
Joan Marshall Kane said «Saint Francis … You could smoke inside»
   You could smoke in any theater before 1984, maybe even earlier. Some had ash trays on the backs of the seats.
DOUBLE BILLS were common in the nabes and sometimes true at the first-run theaters.
   Going to a first-run movie usually included a short (often documentaries), a cartoon, a newsreel, and the feature. Sometimes a “B movie”, too. I vividly remember one, at the Golden Gate, the name of which I've never been able to recall, about a guy having a heart attack and how he was treated.
   During the waning of the vaudeville days, we got a show, a movie, and a cartoon. It was in those days that I first saw Lionel Hampton.
   My first hearing of “Love For Sale” was at the Golden Gate. Lucille Ball, in a green sequin dress with matching beaded purse, standing off-center stage under a lamp post, sang it. Except for a spot on her, and the lamp, the stage was dark. Stunning!
About local cinemas, capacity, architect, opening, closing, etc.

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MISCELLANY:
BENNY BUFANO «was a true S.F. icon.»
……«He and I had a nodding acquaintance. Seems that, whenver he was in town, we'd be in the same places at the same time, last at the Golden Dragon.
……«I knew who he was, of course, but it wasn't 'til after his death did I learn he might've known who I am, too, as my father used to give Benny his old clothes.

TENDERLOIN: I'm often there. I don't worry. I know two guys who've been robbed at gunpoint. I've lived in two, arguably three, places there for a total of about ten years.

SPORTS: «Saw the 49ers play at Kezar.»
A friend of the family took me to the only professional football game I've ever been. Yelbert Albertson Tittle was the 49ers' quarterback at Kezar Stadium.

The only time I was taken to Seals Stadium was to see midget auto races.

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COMMENTS ON: The San Francisco Chronicle's blog
You know you’re a real San Franciscan if you…
Ate at the Doggie Diner … Zim's.
   Bardelli's; The Golden Pheasant; Blum's; Ernies; The Owl & Turtle; Oreste;
   The Blue Fox; the Fly Trap; Bernstein's; the Trocadero.
Eat French bread, never call it sourdough.
   Someone calls French bread “sourdough”?!?
Know who Don Sherwood was.
   I knew several underage girls who described his penis as pickle-like.
Miss helping turn the cable cars at [the turntables].
Rode the … rides on the roof at the Emporium.
Have never been to Alcatraz.

   I have and recommend it! But haven't been to Angel Island.
Know the beach is at the ocean…
   Never modified “the Beach” with “Ocean”.
Never plan to move anyplace else – except, finally, to Colma.
   Nor Colma. My body will be donated to the University of Calilfornia.
Think it's not worth getting under your desk for any earthquake under 6.0.
   Stupid. You don't know it's going to be that strong until it is!
Don’t even react when you see a naked person walking on the street.
   Hyperbolic but not untrue.
Don’t own a pair of shorts … Never leave the house without a jacket …
An excerpt from the Sights page
Seacliff, where the idle rich live, has the worst; Dogpatch, where the working poor live, has the best. We NEVER go out without carrying a sweater or jacket and you shouldn't. Those you see covered in goose pimples shivering in their shorts are those at whom we laugh not for their misery but for their arro­gance in rejecting the advice we know they, and you, received.
Avoid Fisherman’s Wharf.
   And not go to Lou's Pier 47?!?
Still say Army Street.
   People on the other side of Yerba Buena Island still call
   Avenue of The Americas “Sixth Avenue”.
Have a shortcut through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge.
   Not always a good idea.
Were surprised to learn Chinese New Year isn’t a federal holiday.
   It isn't?!?
Get lost when you go to Oakland.
Take visiting relatives to the San Francisco Art Institute
   to see the Diego Rivera mural.
Have known Italians who really lived in North Beach.


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