archive for September, 2008
Monday, September 29th, 2008
A weekly handful of weird, wonderful and wacky happenings dredged up from the kaleidoscopic depths of San Francisco history.
October 1, 1938
On a foggy Saturday in 1938, a swaybacked, 12-year-old horse named Blackie swam — dog-paddled, really — completely across the choppy waters of the Golden Gate. The horse not only made aquatic history with that trip, but he soundly defeated two human challengers from the Olympic Club, and won a $1000 bet for his trainer Shorty Roberts too.
It took the horse only 23 minutes, 15 seconds to make the nearly mile-long trip, and the short film made of the adventure shows that Blackie wasn’t even breathing hard as he emerged from the waters at Crissy Field.
His trainer Shorty couldn’t swim, but he made the trip, too — and this was part of the bet — by hanging onto Blackie’s tail. A rowboat led the way, with Shorty’s brother offering a handful of sugar cubes from the stern to keep the sweets-lovin’ horse on track.
6 Comments » - Posted in San Francisco history blog,San Francisco history podcasts by richard - sparkletack
Monday, September 22nd, 2008
September 24, 1855
The preserved head of Joaquin Murieta and the hand of Three-Fingered Jack were sold at auction today to settle their owner’s legal problems. Joaquin Murieta was a notorious and romantic figure in the early history of California.
With Jack, his right-hand man, Murieta led a gang of Mexican bandits through the countryside on a three-year rampage, brutally “liberating” more than $100,000 in gold, killing 22 people (including three lawmen), and outrunning three separate posses. After posse #4 tracked him down and chopped off his head — or at least the head of someone who might possibly have maybe looked like him — Murieta’s story entered California folklore.
7 Comments » - Posted in San Francisco history blog,San Francisco history podcasts by richard - sparkletack
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
A little explanation is in order
So. The schedule of Sparkletack production has fallen off a bit during the past year, and for that I apologize. I miss the show myself, so I’ve decided to tweak the format a bit.
Here’s my new plan. I started to think about the fact that every time the planet spins around its axis, it’s the anniversary of some interesting, odd, or somehow notable happening in the history of our fair city.
I’m going to select a handful of these every week, and put together a short piece just to remind you — and myself — of the marvelous and wacky things that have taken place all around us during the past 170 years or so.
The format is far from settled yet — this is officially an experiment, and I’m open to suggestions.
The longer, more in-depth shows won’t disappear — the plan is to keep producing them as well, at a more comfortable pace. They’ll just appear when they appear. The Sparkletack blog won’t change at all, and I should mention here that I really love the tips and info that you constantly send me, dear listeners … thanks, and keep ‘em coming.
10 Comments » - Posted in San Francisco history blog,San Francisco history podcasts by richard - sparkletack
Monday, September 15th, 2008
Yet another one for the “there’s always a San Francisco angle” files …
Years before the discovery of the platinum haired Lana Turner at a Hollywood cafe propelled her into a life of glamour and super-stardom, her lifeline intersected San Francisco — and with tragedy.
I suppose we could begin the tale in Oklahoma, 1920.