Herb Caen

Herb Caen (/kæn/; 1916–1997) was a San Francisco journalist whose daily column of local goings-on and insider gossip, social and political happenings, painful puns and offbeat anecdotes—"a continuous love letter to San Francisco"[1]—appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost sixty years (excepting a relatively brief defection to The San Francisco Examiner) and made him a household name throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

"The secret of Caen's success", wrote the editor of a rival publication, was

his outstanding ability to take a wisp of fog, a chance phrase overheard in an elevator, a happy child on a cable car, a deb in a tizzy over a social reversal, a family in distress and give each circumstance the magic touch that makes a reader an understanding eyewitness of the day's happenings.[1]

A special Pulitzer Prize called him the "voice and conscience" of San Francisco."[2]

Herb Caen
Herb Caen, SF
"Mr. San Francisco" in his Chronicle office early in the 1990s
Herbert Eugene Caen

April 3, 1916
DiedFebruary 1, 1997 (aged 80)
San Francisco, California


Herb Caen column header with Transamerica Pyramid
This San Francisco skyline (featuring a "flaccid" Transamerica Pyramid) headed Caen's columns from 1976 until his death.[3]

Herbert Eugene Caen was born April 3, 1916, in Sacramento, California, although he liked to point out that his parents‍—‌pool hall operator Lucien Caen and Augusta (Gross) Caen[4]‍—‌had spent the summer nine months previous at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.[5] After high school (where he wrote a column, "Corridor Gossip") he covered sports for The Sacramento Union.[6]

In 1936 Caen began writing a radio programming column for the San Francisco Chronicle.[7] When that column was discontinued in 1938, Caen proposed a daily column on the city itself; "It's News to Me" first appeared July 5. Excepting Caen's four years in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and a 1950–1958 stint at The San Francisco Examiner, his column appeared every day except Saturday until 1990, when it dropped to five times per week[8][9]‍—‌"more than 16,000 columns of 1,000 words each ... an astounding and unduplicated feat, by far the longest-running newspaper column in the country." [10]:9

Caen playing drums at the 1993 celebration of The Paris Review's 40th anniversary

A colleague wrote in 1996:

What makes him unique is that on good days his column offers everything you expect from an entire newspaper‍—‌in just 25 or so items, 1,000 or so words ... Readers who turned to Herb on Feb. 14, 1966, learned that Willie Mays' home was on the market for $110,000. The Bank of America now owned the block where it wanted to build its headquarters. Dr. Zhivago director David Lean was in town. Meanwhile, "Mike Connolly is ready to concede that the situation in Vietnam is complex: 'Even my cab driver can't come up with a solution.'"[11]

Caen had considerable influence on popular culture, particularly its language. He coined the term beatnik in 1958[12] and popularized hippie during San Francisco's 1967 Summer of Love.[13] He popularized obscure‍—‌often playful‍—‌terms such as Frisbeetarianism, and ribbed nearby Berkeley as Berserkeley for its often-radical politics.[5] His many recurring if irregular features included "Namephreaks"‍—‌people with names (aptronyms) peculiarly appropriate or inappropriate to their vocations or avocations, such as substitute teacher Mr. Fillin, hospital spokesman Pam Talkington, periodontist Dr. Rott, piano teacher Patience Scales, orthopedic specialist Dr. Kneebone, and the Vatican's spokesman on the evils of rock 'n roll, Cardinal Rapsong.[10]:16-17

Among the colorful personalities making periodic appearances in Caen's columns was Edsel Ford Fung, whose local reputation as "the world's rudest waiter" was due in no small part to Caen, who lamented his death in 1984:

SOME WOE around Sam Wo, the skinny three-story restaurant on Washington near Grant. Waiter (and one-time part owner) Edsel Ford Fung, who became famous for berating and insulting the customers, all with tongue in cheek, died Tuesday at age 55, and the skinny old eating place is in mourning. The wondrously named and actually quite charming Edsel was the son of Fung Lok, a former owner of Sam Wo, who named his sons Edsel, Edmund and Edwin‍—‌after the first names of the Caucasian doctors who delivered them. Edsel, always a fellow with a flair, added the Ford and hinted broadly that he was related to the auto family; an amused Henry Ford II made a special trip to Sam Wo to check out the rumor... By the way, there is no Sam Wo at Sam Wo. The name means something analogous to "Three Happiness," but there is only sadness there this week.[14]

Although Caen relied on "an army of reliable tipsters", all items were fact-checked.[15]

Herb Caen, black white file
With his "Loyal Royal" in 1994

Now and then an item (usually a joke or pun) was credited to a mysterious "Strange de Jim", whose first contribution ("Since I didn't believe in reincarnation in any of my other lives, why should I have to believe in it in this one?") appeared in 1972.[16] Sometimes suspected to be a Caen alter ego, de Jim (whose letters bore no return address, and who met Caen only once‍—‌by chance) was revealed after Caen's death to be a Castro District writer who, despite several coy interviews with the press, remains publicly anonymous.[17][18][19]

Caen took special pleasure in "seeing what he could sneak by his editors‍—‌his 'naughties'", such as this item about a shopper looking for a Barbie doll: "'Does Barbie come with Ken?' he asked the perky saleswoman. 'Actually no,' she answered slyly. 'Barbie comes with G.I. Joe‍—‌she fakes it with Ken.'" [10]:15

On Sundays,[8] current items were set aside in favor of "Mr. San Francisco's"[5] reflections on his unconditional love for his adopted city, musing on (for example):

The crowded garages and the empty old buildings above them, the half-filled nightclubs and the overfilled apartment houses, the saloons and the skies and the families huddled in the basements, the Third Street panhandlers begging for handouts in front of pawn shops filled with treasured trinkets, the great bridges and the rattle-trap street cars, the traffic that keeps moving although it has no place to go, thousands of newcomers glorying in the sights and sounds of a city they suddenly decided to love instead of leave."[20]

An occasional column was given over to serious matters, such as a May 1, 1960 piece on the upcoming execution of Caryl Chessman, which included Caen's recollection of witnessing a hanging as a young reporter:

Suddenly the door behind the scaffold swung open and the nightmare scene was enacted in a flash. The murderer, his arms bound, was hustled roughly onto the trapdoor, the noose was slammed around his neck, a black mask dropped over his unbelieving face, the trapdoor clanged open, the body shot through and stopped with a sickening crack. For an eternity, the victim twitched in spasm after spasm, and one by one the witnesses began fainting around me. "Doesn't hurt a bit," the warden had said.

And from that day on, having been made properly aware of the State's awful vengeance, no holdup man ever again killed a shopkeeper? You bet.[10]:94

On December 12, 1960, Caen wrote,

While you're making out your Christmas cards, you might remember to send one to Francis Gary Powers, c/o American Embassy, Moscow, USSR. Let him know that U-2 haven't forgotten.

Powers received almost a hundred cards, most from the San Francisco Bay Area.[21]

A collection of essays, Baghdad-by-the-Bay (a term he'd coined to reflect San Francisco's exotic multiculturalism) was published in 1949, and Don't Call It Frisco‍—‌after a local judge's 1918 rebuke to an out-of-town petitioner ("No one refers to San Francisco by that title except people from Los Angeles")‍—‌appeared in 1953.[a] The Cable Car and the Dragon, a children's picture book, was published in 1972.

In 1993 he told an interviewer that he declined to retire because "my name wouldn't be in the paper and I wouldn't know if I was dead or alive," adding that his obituary would be his last column: "It will trail off at the end, where I fall face down on the old Royal with my nose on the 'I' key."[24]


In April 1996 Caen received a special Pulitzer Prize (which he called his Pullet Surprise) for "extraordinary and continuing contribution as a voice and conscience of his city".[2][26] (Fellow Chronicle columnist Art Hoppe, who had sworn an oath with Caen twenty-five years earlier not to accept a Pulitzer, released him from the oath without being asked.)[27] The following month doctors treating him for pneumonia discovered he had inoperable lung cancer.[28] He told his readers: "In a lightning flash I passed from the world of the well to the world of the unwell, where I hope to dwell for what I hope is a long time. The point is not to be maudlin or Pollyanna cheerful. This is serious stuff." [10]:9

June 14, 1996, was officially celebrated in San Francisco as Herb Caen Day. After a motorcade and parade ending at the Ferry Building, Caen was honored by "a pantheon of the city's movers, shakers, celebrities and historical figures" including television news legend Walter Cronkite. Noting that several San Francisco mayors (sitting or retired) were at liberty to attend, Caen quipped, "Obviously, the Grand Jury hasn't been doing its job."[29]

HerbCaenWay StreetSign SanFrancisco

Among other honors a promenade along the city's historic bayfront Embarcadero was christened "Herb Caen Way..."[30]—a reference to what Caen called his "three-dot journalism" for the ellipses separating his column's short items.[31] This was particularly appropriate given the recent demolition of an eyesore against which Caen had long campaigned: the elevated Embarcadero Freeway, built astride the Embarcadero forty years earlier and derided by Caen as "The Dambarcadero."[32] A tribute was inserted in the Congressional Record.[33]

Caen continued to write, though less frequently.[9] He died February 1, 1997.[5] His funeral‍—‌held at Grace Cathedral despite his Jewish heritage[34] ("the damndest saddest, most wonderful funeral anyone ever had, but the only man who could properly describe it isn't here", said Enrico Banducci)[10]:20‍—‌ was followed by a candlelight procession[35] to Aquatic Park, where his will had provided for a fireworks display—climaxed by a pyrotechnic image of the manual typewriter he had long called his "Loyal Royal".

"No other newspaper columnist ever has been so long synonymous with a specific place ... Part of his appeal seemed to lie in the endless bonhomie he projected," said his New York Times obituary, comparing him to Walter Winchell "but with the malice shorn off."[5]

The Chronicle projected a one-fifth decline in subscriptions—surveys had shown that Caen was better-read than the front page.[5] Reprints of his columns remain a periodic feature of the Chronicle.[36]


Loyal royal
One of Caen's four "Loyal Royals" on display at the Chronicle offices
  • The San Francisco Book, Photographs by Max Yavno, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston/The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1948.
  • Baghdad by the Bay, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1949.
  • Baghdad: 1951, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y., 1950.
  • Don't Call It Frisco, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1953.
  • Herb Caen's Guide to San Francisco, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1957.
  • Only in San Francisco, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y., 1960.
  • San Francisco: City on Golden Hills, illustrated by Dong Kingman, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1967.
  • The Cable Car and the Dragon, illustrated by Barbara Ninde Byfield. Doubleday (1972), reprinted by Chronicle Books (1986) (children's picture book)
  • Above San Francisco, with Robert Cameron. Aerial photographs of historic and contemporary San Francisco, with text by Caen. (1986)


  1. ^ [22] In 1995 two escapees from a Utah prison were arrested by police in Berkeley, California after telling officers they were "from Frisco". "It made our officers suspicious", said a police official. "No one from [the San Francisco area] ever says that." [23]


  1. ^ a b "The 1996 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Special Awards and Citations. Biography.". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The 1996 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Special Awards and Citations. Citation.". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "Herb Caen. Sunday May 2, 1976" (reprint). Steve Mad, Mad Studios (stevemad.com).
  4. ^ American national biography - American Council of Learned Societies - Google Books. Books.google.ca. 1999-01-01.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ybarra, Michael J. (February 2, 1997). "Herb Caen, 80, San Francisco Voice, Dies". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Herb'S Milestones". SFGate. March 31, 1996.
  7. ^ View a 1997 film about Herb Caen's life made by KRON-TV, which reviews his personal history and career: https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/227861
  8. ^ a b "After 52 Years, Herb Caen Is Folding His Sunday Column". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. June 18, 1990.
  9. ^ a b "Cool gray city found its voice in Herb Caen / Man about town with a poet's eye". SFGate. April 2, 2002.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Conrad, Barnaby (1999). The World of Herb Caen: San Francisco 1938-1997. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-2575-7.
  11. ^ John King (June 14, 1996). "Caenfident Through the Years". SFGate.
  12. ^ SFGate.com. Archive. Herb Caen, April 2, 1958. Pocketful of Notes. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  13. ^ SFGate.com. Archive. Herb Caen, June 25, 1967. Small thoughts at large. Retrieved June 4, 2009;
  14. ^ "Inside Scoop SF – Memories, anecdotes and snippets through time of Sam Wo". Insidescoopsf.sfgate.com. April 20, 2012.
  15. ^ Kevin., Starr, (2009). Golden dreams : California in an age of abundance, 1950-1963. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 90. ISBN 9780195153774. OCLC 261177770.
  16. ^ "Herb Caen's Strangest Items". Strangebillions.com. September 21, 1990. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  17. ^ Lynch, April (February 8, 1997). "The Mystery Tipster, Strange de Jim, Tips His Hand at Last". San Francisco Chronicle.
  18. ^ Ford, Dave (January 23, 2004). "Strange but true: A character from Caen's column captures the character of the Castro". San Francisco Chronicle.
  19. ^ Whiting, Sam (January 13, 2011). "Strange de Jim: Older, stranger, just as wonderful". San Francisco Chronicle.
  20. ^ "Robin Williams". SFGate. February 8, 1997.. "Excerpts from the eulogy delivered by entertainer Robin Williams."
  21. ^ Powers, Francis (2004). Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident. Potomac Books, Inc. pp. 203–4. ISBN 9781574884227.
  22. ^ "Judge Mogan Rebukes Angeleno for Using Slang in His Petition for Divorce". The San Francisco Examiner. April 3, 1918. p. 6.
  23. ^ Jim Herron Zamora (September 5, 1995). ""Frisco"? You're under arrest". SFgate.
  24. ^ Gross, Jane (May 26, 1993). "At Lunch With: Herb Caen; Romancing San Francisco In 1,000 Words or Less". The New York Times.
  25. ^ "Words from the heart". USA Today. February 16, 2001. p. D4.
  26. ^ Lynch, April; Epstein, Edward (June 23, 2011). "Herb Caen Wins Pulitzer Prize / Columnist cited as 'voice and conscience' of S.F. for 58 years". San Francisco Chronicle.
  27. ^ Caen column, SF Chronicle/SFGate, 10 April 1996
  28. ^ James Risser (April 9, 2006). "The inside story of how The City's Herb Caen won a Pulitzer Prize after just 58 years / Columnist didn't abandon his wise-cracking, story telling or humility in accepting award". SFGate.
  29. ^ Jay Ellar (June 14, 1996). "Herb Caen's Big Day / San Francisco Gets Down to Party". SFGate.
  30. ^ Kauschen, Eric (April 22, 2013). "Three Dot Journalism". Baghdad By The Bay (baghdadbythebaysf.com). Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  31. ^ April Lynch (April 10, 1996). "Herb Caen Wins Pulitzer Prize / Columnist cited as 'voice and conscience' of S.F. for 58 years". SFGate.
  32. ^ [1] Archived December 10, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Congressional Record : Extensions of Remarks : Celebrating Tuftonia' Week" (PDF). Gpo.gov. April 16, 1996.
  34. ^ Kay, Jane (February 3, 1997). "Herb Caen public memorial, party Friday". San Francisco Examoner.
  35. ^ "San Francisco Raises a Day's Worth of Toasts to Honor Herb Caen". The New York Times. February 10, 1997.
  36. ^ "Media Watch: San Francisco's Herb Caen was one of the best "bloggers"... he called it three-dot journalism". Silicon Valley Watcher.

External links

Art Hoppe

Arthur Watterson Hoppe (April 23, 1925 - February 1, 2000) was a popular columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for more than 40 years. He was known for satirical and allegorical columns that skewered the self-important. Many columns featured whimsical characters such as expert-in-all-things Homer T. Pettibone and a presidential candidate named Nobody. Occasionally, Hoppe reined in his humor for poignant columns on serious topics, such as "To Root Against Your Country," a noted 1971 column against the Vietnam War. Hoppe began at the Chronicle as a copy boy in 1949 and was promoted to reporter before beginning his own column. At the peak of its popularity, Hoppe's column appeared in the Chronicle five days a week and was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers nationwide. His close friends included fellow columnists Russell Baker and Art Buchwald.

Hoppe received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 1996. On his own initiative, he released fellow Chronicle columnist Herb Caen from a mutual vow to accept a special 1996 Pulitzer Prize. He died from complications of lung cancer in February 2000, aged 74, survived by his wife Gloria and four children.

Barnaby Conrad

Barnaby Conrad, Jr. (March 27, 1922 – February 12, 2013) was an American artist, author, nightclub proprietor, bullfighter and boxer.Born in San Francisco, California to an affluent family, Conrad was raised in Hillsborough. He spent a year at the Cate School in Carpinteria, California before being sent east and graduating from the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut in the class of 1940.He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was captain of the freshman boxing team. He also studied painting at the University of Mexico, where he also became interested in bullfighting. After being injured in the bullring, he returned to college and graduated from Yale University in 1943. He wanted to join the Navy after Yale, but his bullfighting injury prevented that.Conrad was American Vice Consul to Seville, Málaga, and Barcelona from 1943-46. While in Spain, he studied bullfighting with Juan Belmonte, Manolete, and Carlos Arruza. In 1945 he appeared on the same program with Belmonte and was awarded the ears of the bull. He is the only American male to have fought in Spain, Mexico and Peru. After his stint in Spain, he moved for a time to Lima, Peru. He was known as "El Niño de California" ("The California Kid").In 1947, he worked as secretary to famed novelist Sinclair Lewis. Conrad published his first novel, The Innocent Villa, in 1948. It largely went unnoticed, but his second novel, Matador, sold 3,000,000 copies.John Steinbeck selected Conrad's Matador as his favorite book of the year, and the novel has been translated into 28 languages. Royalties from Matador provided Conrad with the capital to open El Matador nightclub in San Francisco in 1953. Herb Caen, noting that Matador was the publisher's suggested alternative to the original title Conrad had given his second novel, commented on Conrad naming his nightclub after his first best seller: "Who'd ever go eat at a restaurant called Day of Fear?" In 1997 Conrad wrote Name Dropping: Tales From My San Francisco Nightclub, "a jaunty account" about the 10 years he ran El Matador.In 1958, Conrad was gored, almost fatally in a bullfight that was part of a charity event. After learning of the incident, Eva Gabor is said to have run into Noël Coward at Sardi's in New York and asked him, "Did you hear about poor Barnaby? He was terribly gored in Spain." Coward replied, "Oh, thank heavens. I thought you said he was bored."Conrad served as a Golden Gate Awards juror at the 1959 San Francisco Film Festival. In 1965 he joined the Festival board and served for five years.Conrad started the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in 1973 at the Cate School, inviting such well-known authors as Eudora Welty, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion and Ross Macdonald. He and his wife Mary directed the literary gathering until Conrad sold the conference in 2004. His son, Barnaby Conrad III, is also a San Francisco-based writer.

Conrad's charcoal portraits of Truman Capote and James Michener hang in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. In 2006, the Spanish writer Salvador Gutiérrez Solís published his biography, Barnaby Conrad, A Spanish Passion (Fundación José Manuel Lara), which tells the story of Conrad's life in Spain and his connection with the world of bullfighting.


Beatnik was a media stereotype prevalent throughout the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s. Elements of the beatnik trope included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people along with the spiritual quest of Jack Kerouac's autobiographical fiction.

Edsel Ford Fong

Edsel Ford Fung (often spelled Fong) was an American restaurant server from San Francisco, California. He was called the "world's rudest, worst, most insulting waiter" and worked at Sam Wo restaurant.


A hippie (sometimes spelled hippy) is a member of the counterculture of the 1960s, originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word hippie came from hipster and used to describe beatniks who moved into New York City's Greenwich Village and San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The term hippie first found popularity in San Francisco with Herb Caen, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The origins of the terms hip and hep are uncertain. By the 1940s, both had become part of African American jive slang and meant "sophisticated; currently fashionable; fully up-to-date". The Beats adopted the term hip, and early hippies inherited the language and countercultural values of the Beat Generation. Hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and many used drugs such as marijuana, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness.

In 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and Monterey Pop Festival

popularized hippie culture, leading to the Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda and gathered at Avándaro, while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa. In the United Kingdom in 1970, many gathered at the gigantic Isle of Wight Festival with a crowd of around 400,000 people. In later years, mobile "peace convoys" of New Age travelers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge and elsewhere. In Australia, hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass. "Piedra Roja Festival", a major hippie event in Chile, was held in 1970. Hippie and psychedelic culture influenced 1960s and early 1970s young culture in Iron Curtain countries in Eastern Europe (see Mánička).Hippie fashion and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, mainstream society has assimilated many aspects of hippie culture. The religious and cultural diversity the hippies espoused has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a larger audience.

List of nicknames for San Francisco

San Francisco, California in the United States has seen many nicknames over the years. Some are nicknames which have faded in use, while others have evolved over time. The following is a list of notable nicknames:

415 - referring to the area code that serves the city of San Francisco (as well as most of Marin County).

Baghdad by the Bay - title of a book of essays by Herb Caen, and a nickname he used for the city because of the cosmopolitan cultural diversity it shares with the medieval city of Baghdad

Fog City - in reference to San Francisco's famous fog

Frisco - also the nickname of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, disparaged by Herb Caen and disliked by most but not all locals

Golden Gate City - in reference to the Golden Gate Bridge

San Fran - a truncated term, disparaged by locals

SF - the initialism and the term most common among locals

The City - sometimes used by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California

The City by the Bay, or Bay City - refers to San Francisco Bay

The City of Brotherly Love (not to be confused with Philadelphia)

Sucka Free City, in reference to Sucker Free City, a Spike Lee film.

The City that Knows How

The Golden City - in reference to the California Gold Rush and golden brown grass on hillsides in the dry season

The Paris of the West - popular in the early 1900s, but no longer in common use

Magnolia Thunderpussy

Magnolia Thunderpussy (30 October 1939 – 15 May 1996), born Patricia Donna Mallon was a San Francisco burlesque performer, radio personality, filmmaker and restaurateur. Thunderpussy operated two San Francisco restaurants in the 1960s: the one at 1398 Haight Street (at the corner of Haight and Masonic), which bore her name, featured a late-night delivery service and erotic desserts such as "The Montana Banana", which was an unsplit banana, representing a phallus, served "erect" in a food service "boat" with two scoops of ice cream, representing the other components of male genitalia, with shredded coconut, representing pubic hair, and a small dollop of whipped cream at the end of the banana. She created a host of other such delectables that, at the time, seemed incredibly scandalous.

San Francisco columnist Herb Caen was an ardent fan of "Magnolia" and wrote about her often in his daily column for the San Francisco Chronicle. She was also very much appreciated by a legion of rock musicians and bands who came to San Francisco to record at Wally Heider's studio. Her catering operation would deliver her signature food items to any location in San Francisco at any hour of the night or early morning, which was hugely popular with the bands and their followers. She was also a big hit with the local "Cannabis Culture".

Loved for her razor sharp wit, sense of daring and flamboyant imagination, she carved for herself a reputation of fun and free-spirit at a time in the Bay Area when all things seemed possible. She was a third generation San Franciscan who could trace her San Francisco roots back to before the earthquake of 1906.

Friends and employees would often be given "Thunderpussy" names befitting some aspect of their personality or appearance.

Her younger brother, Jimmy Mallon, also known as "Kid Thunderpussy", was instrumental, albeit in a behind-the-scene capacity, with much of the logistical operation of her food service enterprises.

Since 1997, publican David McLean has operated the Magnolia Pub and Brewery at the corner of Haight and Masonic. In addition to naming the pub in honor of Magnolia, he annually brews a barley wine named Old Thunderpussy.In the mid-1980s, a mixed-influence rock band in Los Angeles took the name Magnolia Thunderpussy. They disbanded in 1986, but reformed in the mid-2000s.

In 1971, an entrepreneur named Chuck Kubat opened a record store in Columbus, Ohio, near the Ohio State University campus named Magnolia Thunderpussy. Though it has changed location over the years, it is still in business and now offers online sales.In 1970, Arizona rockclimbers named a route in the Granite Mountain Wilderness (located in Prescott, Arizona) Magnolia Thunderpussy. Rated a 5.8 on the Yosemite Decimal System, it has a reputation for being difficult for the grade.

Marina Green

The Marina Green in San Francisco, California, is a 74-acre (300,000 m2) expanse of grass between Fort Mason and the Presidio. It is adjacent to San Francisco Bay, and this location provides good views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and parts of Marin County. Houses built mostly in the 1920s and 1930s line Marina Boulevard, the southern boundary of the Marina Green. Many of these houses have large bay windows, and Herb Caen, the late San Francisco newspaper columnist, often made references to the immaculate furnishings behind these windows. In the past, a railroad track along the southern edge of the Marina Green allowed the San Francisco Belt Railroad to serve the Presidio. Adjacent to the Marina Green is a marina, home to the St. Francis Yacht Club and the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The San Francisco Bay Trail runs through the green.

Prior to the 1906 earthquake, this area was a tidal marsh. After the earthquake, much of the resulting rubble was dumped here. Later, to provide land for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, this site and the adjacent neighborhood (now the present day Marina District) was filled in. A nearby remnant of the Exposition is the restored Palace of Fine Arts.

For a short time beginning September 9, 1920 through 1944, Marina Green served as Montgomery Airfield named in honor of pioneer aviator John J. Montgomery and also as Marina Airfield and was the first terminus of the United States Post Office Department Transcontinental Air Mail Service coast to coast air mail route.

The Marina Green also served as the location for the first flights of the Hiller XH-44 helicopter, the first coaxial helicopter to fly in America, an aircraft currently in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.The San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department currently administers the Marina Green.

Mid-Market, San Francisco

Mid-Market (or Central Market) is a neighborhood and development area in San Francisco, California.

Oliver Rousseau

Oliver M. Rousseau (born 1891, San Francisco - d. 1977, San Francisco) was a home builder, developer, contractor, and architect, who worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, in particular the Sunset District of San Francisco, as well as Hayward. Homes he built are commonly referred to as "Rousseaus", and were a departure from the cookie-cutter homes prevalent in the Sunset at the time. Herb Caen wrote, upon his death, "Another Memorial Day death: Oliver Rousseau, who built good houses while all about him, the pure schlock was rising."

Pulitzer Prize Special Citations and Awards

The Pulitzer Prize jury has the option of awarding special citations and awards where they consider necessary. Since 1918, forty-four such special citations and awards have been given. The awards are sixteen journalism awards, twelve letters awards, fourteen music awards, and five service awards. Prizes for the award vary. The Pulitzer Foundation has stated that the Special Citations given to George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington were in response to criticism for the failure of the Foundation to cite the four.

Revolution (1968 film)

Revolution is a documentary film by Jack O'Connell made in San Francisco in 1967. It was subsequently revived with added reminiscences.

Although most interviewees are not named some of them have been identified, such as Kurt Hirschhorn, Frank Jordan, Cecil Williams and Herb Caen. Daria Halprin appears in the film as herself. Also appearing in the film are the Ace of Cups, Country Joe and the Fish, and Dan Hicks.

Stanton Delaplane

Stanton Hill ("Stan") Delaplane (12 October 1907 – 18 April 1988) was a travel writer, credited with introducing Irish coffee to the United States. Called "last of the old irreplaceables" by fellow-columnist Herb Caen, he worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for 53 years, winning a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 1942.

The San Francisco Examiner

The San Francisco Examiner is a daily newspaper distributed in and around San Francisco, California, published since 1863.

The longtime "Monarch of the Dailies" and flagship of the Hearst Corporation chain, the Examiner converted to free distribution early in the 21st century and is owned by the San Francisco Media Company LLC. The San Francisco Examiner was sold to Black Press Group, a Canadian media publisher, in 2011. As of 2014, The San Francisco Media Company LLC is held under Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press Group Ltd.

The Tenderloin Times

The Tenderloin Times was a free monthly newspaper serving the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, published from the 1970s to the 1990s, with a circulation of 15,000. Its pages were filled with news on homelessness, social programs affecting the area's residents, immigration, neighborhood history and other topics. Its investigative reports on issues such as the death of homeless people on San Francisco streets and the high rate of pedestrians hit by cars in the neighborhood were often picked up by mainstream media. Founded by homeless people and the directors of Hospitality House's drop-in center, one of the paper's core policies was to distribute information about medical, financial, housing, and job-seeking services for people who lived in the neighborhood.One page was devoted to poetry written by Tenderloin residents and participants in a weekly writing workshop held at Hospitality House in the neighborhood. The writing in the paper was praised by Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle, and was profiled positively in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner and Columbia Journalism Review.

Starting in 1985, the paper was published in four languages: English, Lao, Khmer and Vietnamese - reflecting the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood's residents. Rob Waters, later a freelance journalist and a reporter for Bloomberg News, and Sara Colm, now a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, worked as editors.

Washington Square Bar and Grill

The Washington Square Bar & Grill was a landmark restaurant adjoining Washington Square in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood (Powell at Union streets). Known widely as the Washbag, so named by columnist Herb Caen as a play on words, it was a favorite gathering place for a generation of writers, politicians, musicians, and social elite.The restaurant was opened in 1973 by local Ed Moose, a former dispatcher and reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his wife Mary Etta, and partner Sam Dietsch. Moose organized a softball team, the Lapins Sauvages, composed of famous and influential people who were regular restaurant patrons. Caen often wrote of the team's exploits in his newspaper columns, describing its travels to play in major stadiums in various locations around the world. In 1989 author Ron Fimrite, another of the softball team members, wrote The Square: the Story of a Saloon, describing the restaurant's place in San Francisco's cocktail culture.In 1990 the partners sold the restaurant. Ed and Mary Etta, with Sam Dietsch as a silent partner, opened a larger restaurant, Moose's, on the opposite side of the square. The new restaurant soon took on the same local cultural significance for San Francisco.The Washbag was sold to new partners in 2000, closed on January 1, 2008, then reopened from March 2, 2009 under new owners, closing in August 2010, the week of Ed Moose's death.

Yerba Buena Jazz Band

Lu Watters & the Yerba Buena Jazz Band is the name of the Traditional Jazz revival band founded by Lu Watters. Notable members include singer and banjoist Clancy Hayes (from 1938 to 1940); clarinetist Bob Helm; trumpeter Bob Scobey; trombonist Turk Murphy; tubist/bassist Dick Lammi; and Watters himself. The band broke up in 1950.

In the late 1930s, cornetist Lu Watters was playing commercial dance gigs in the San Francisco area. Not satisfied with this music, he assembled a group of musicians to play traditional jazz music. His rehearsal spot was the Big Bear Lodge on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills. Rehearsing with him were trombonist Turk Murphy, trumpeter Bob Scobey, clarinetist Bob Helm, and pianist Wally Rose. His break came when the group landed a job playing at the Dawn Club on Annie Street in San Francisco. When San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote a slightly disparaging piece about the band, supporters sent in many letters, creating publicity that boosted the band's popularity.

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