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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: San Francisco Headline Edition: Nov. 11-17

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM

click to enlarge Just another Muni controversy. We're used to this now, right? - KEITHHAMILTON.COM
  • Just another Muni controversy. We're used to this now, right?

This week in historical San Francisco headlines is bleak -- morbidly bleak.

Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly displays data year after year that January is the deadliest month of the year, San Francisco publications are seriously bringing this statistic into question. Out of the five randomly selected decades this week, three of them had headliners of the famous (and obscure) crossing over to the other side.

And then there's scandal, which is a staple in the historical San Francisco news scene.

So here's your weekly dose of nostalgia of times long gone:

The 1920s

Publication: The San Francisco Chronicle

Date: November 14, 1924

Headline: "Woman Suicide at Altar Unidentified"

This article was the front pager of the day and here is the article in its entirety -- typos and all:

Efforts failed yesterday to identify the frail little woman who shot and killed herself at 6 o'clock Wednesday evening, at the altar of Saint Joseph's Church, tenth and Howard streets. Father Patrick E. Mulligan could learn nothing of her in his parish and police had little to work on.

"H.T.F." - the initials on a mourning handkerchief found beside the body, is the one lone clew to identify. She killed herself with a revolver, the kind formerly used by policemen and cowboys of the old frontier. The gun has a large wooden stock, decorated with designs that recall the "six-shooter" days. It bears the number "101-521."

Entering the church at the supper hour when no one else was present, the unhappy woman knelt and prayed at the altar. She was seen by the sexton, Edward Lucett, to feverishly pace the aisles, wringing her hands in anguish. He left the church, to return in half an hourto find her body on the altar.

The 1940s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 14, 1940

Headline: "Mrs. Dupuy Ordered to Traffic School"

It's the middle of World War II and there were plenty of top names on this particular cover of The Examiner: FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and Mrs. Dupuy.

  • SF Examiner Archives
  • "Traffic Jam"

San Francisco socialite, Dorothy Spreckles Dupuy, found herself in a bit of a traffic jam because she was ordered by a judge to attend traffic school with a police escort to the campus for the crime of speeding twice and refusing to pay the $10 fine, which she found "humiliating."

Dupuy just "didn't understand" why she was sentenced to this and later editions of the paper reported that she didn't atone her crime of going fast and furious because of "failing health."

Here's the picture that ran in the paper and it's even on sale on ebay for $20, the same amount of her fine, coincidentally.

On the left is her personal maid, Bertha Oswald, who was held in prison for contempt to the court for lecturing and scolding the judge. Those were the days!

The 1960s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 15, 1960

Headline: "SF-Born Comic Catlett Dies"

click to enlarge WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia

Walter Catlett, a onetime San Franciscan and vetreran to more than 50 years in show business, died today at the age of 71. According to the article, Catlett was a prominent figure in the San Francisco arts and theater scene during the 1910s before he left to go "crash Broadway hard and San Francisco critics led off their stories with pride: 'Local boy makes good in great metropolis.'"

He was best know for being a pioneer in the "talkies," especially in Disney's Pinocchio. Mr. Deed's Goes to Town, Bringing Up Baby, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Catlett was a beloved public figure in San Francisco when he turned down a return engagement in London for Baby Bunting, which got him rave reviews, to "come back to San Francisco and see the folks:"

He never let his fans forget he was born "at Eight and Tehama streets, right here in San Francisco, south of the Sloth."

The 1980s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 14, 1984

Headline: "Superstar Chef Masa Slain: Building Manager finds Body in Bloody Apartment"

Famed San Francscio chef, Masataka Kobayashi, founder of the of his namesake restaurant, Masa's, was bludgeoned to death in the head in his Nob Hill apartment this week a year after this fine dining establishment opened.

An instant success, Kobayashi was so popular that gourmets traveled cross country to dine at Masa's, which was famed for visually dazzling dishes with explosions of intense flavor, according to the news piece:

"Dinner at Masa's was less a meal than an artistic happening, a food tasting on the highest level, with diners exchanging plates so that everyone could share Masa's creativity. Caviar dotted hs dishes like punctuation marks and guest frequently greeted his appearance with applause."

To this day, Masa's remains open to the public and the murder has notoriously became a San Francisco cold case.

The 1990s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 11, 1991

Headline: "Tide of Fake Fast Passes Floods Muni"

Now to end with a bit of a comical note, more than 20 years ago, Muni decided to debut the Fast Passes but without any holographic authentication.

San Francisco was awash in counterfeit Muni passes worth $30 a piece, thanks to the new generation of color copying machines that made fare evasion so much easier. These fake passes we being sold on the street by dealers for $5- 10 a piece.

Most ironic bit of news though was the fact that Muni invested more than $1 million to install currency machines on buses and other vehicles to detect fake dollar bills but nothing for an unlimited public transportation pass.

Enough said.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?


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