Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chinatown, San Francisco - 1950's

Ol' Major Pepperidge has been letting things slide on this blog (perhaps a touch of burnout is to blame)… I realized last night that I didn't have a post ready for Saturday. Yikes. So today's "Anything Goes Saturday" edition is kind of a last minute rush job. Hopefully still worth a look, though!

The images are from a group of stereo slides from the 1950's, featuring San Francisco's Chinatown.  Established in 1848, this area has the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Wikipedia sez: "Chinatown is an enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity". I love this first picture of a busy street, with the wonderful signs, lanterns, and fabulous vehicles.

Ding ding! A lovable li'l cable car makes its way up (or maybe down) one of the hilly streets of Sam Fran's Disco. Did you know that Chinatown receives more visitors each year than the Golden Gate Bridge? Also, it has the most dense population of any place west of Manhattan, 7 times that of the rest of San Francisco. I love factoids.

"Say honey, howsabout we go out tonight and see a movie?"

"Sure, what's playing?"

"Chinese pictures. What else."

"As long as there's car chases and 'splosions, I'll be happy."

Now that's a sign! Neon up the wazoo (as Shakespeare would say). After seeing the Chinese pictures, I will go and buy some goods, and maybe even some sundries if they have them. Is that a bitchin' station wagon, or maybe even a bitchin' hearse? Either way, I love it. 

Sorry for this half-assed post, everybody!


Nanook said...


Half-assed-??!! My ass-!

Any day is a good day for Chinatown-!
After all, as they say (said)...

A western street with eastern manners,
Tall pagodas and golden banners.
Throw their shadows through the lantern glow.
You can shop for precious jade, or
teakwood tables or silk brocade, or
see a bold and brassy night club show.
On the most exciting thoroughfare I know.
We call it...
Grant Avenue, San Francisco,
California, U.S.A.
Looks down from Chinatown
Over a foggy bay.
♪ etc., etc.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Dave -
Sorry you're feeling the burnout blues, but please know that we love any post you put up here, and to quote Major Shakespeare - we always love us some GDB out the wazoo!

Chinatown never looked better...thanks for posting!

Bill in Denver

K. Martinez said...

Major -

Your half-assed posts are more fun than most put out on their best day. These are great! I'm going up to San Francisco next week for an appointment and now these images make me want to stop over in Chinatown for lunch while I'm up there. Thanks for posting.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, that's a song that I don't recognize, so I can't sing along. Which is just as well.

Bill in Denver, thanks! Hopefully tomorrow I will spend a nice long day scanning and preparing stuff for a bunch of future posts. Thank goodness for K. Martinez and Chuck who have been bailing me out!

K. Martinez, very fun, you should definitely stop and dine while in Chinatown! I haven't been to SF for years. And L.A.'s Chinatown is a mere shadow of the one in San Francisco.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

No apologies needed. The song is from Flower Drum Song, a rather inauspicious offering from Rodgers & Hammerstein. Both a Broadway show (1958) and then an over-blown, tacky film musical from Universal - yes-! - of all people, (1961), and whose only real claim to fame was having Alfred Newman as musical director.

If you wish to feel better about having to spend time scanning, you could always peruse YouTube for Flower Drum Song - "Grant Avenue", and then pick one which looks like a high school production. Oh, come on-! You know you want to hear the song not sung/performed at its best-! Or if you insist on seeing/hearing the film version, well...

Melissa said...

I forgot it, Jake!

Anonymous said...

The only change to the present-day is the car styles. Most buildings still look just like this.

L do love Chinatown, it's very much like Disneyland in some indefinable way.