Throwback Thursday: San Francisco Headline Edition: Nov. 4-10

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LIFE Magazine
Bill Graham, legendary San Francisco music promoter gets honored this week in history after his death.

This week in Throwback Thursday read across the pages of San Francisco publications like the opening lines of Charles Dickens' famous novel A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."

From pinching pennies to a monumental SFPD historical first, this week we have the good, the bad, and just plain odd. Take a look.

The 1920s

Publication: The San Francisco Chronicle

Date: Nov. 5, 1922

Headline: "U.S. Upholds Tax on Ouija Boards: Manufacturers Must Stand Federal Tariff."

While this story may not be local, San Francisco publications lead with odd news briefs on the cover this week in 1922; this story was wedged between "Woman Found in Street; Her Skull Broken In" and "Man Nabbed for Slashing Purses." Here we have reproduced the article in all its eerie glory:

"No matter how small a ouija board may be it's still a game and not a toy. Therefore a 10 per cent gross sales tax must be paid by the manufacturer, the Internal Revenue Bureau has decided. There is no such tax on toys and the manufacturer, the BaltimoreTalking Board Company, protested to the Treasury Department against a tax on the Ouija board on the ground that because the type questioned measure only five by eight inches it was merely a toy and tax free. In furthering its contention that the ouija board is a game and not a toy the Government describes it as a 'device for making our muscles leaky and liable to escape from control.'"

I'm just surprised that the makers of the Ouija boards didn't see this tax coming.

The 1940s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 4, 1941

Headline: "Illegal Mint Set Up Under Bridge Ramp"

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A Penny Made is a Penny Earned?

For those who love Jeopardy, memorize this fun fact about San Francisco: While quarters are minted in the U.S. cities of Denver and Philadelphia, all other coins are minted in West Point, New York and San Francisco. In 1941, the State of California had to embarrassingly admit that there were fake coins circulating in the United States economy, produced under the Bay Bridge:

"The 'mint' was located in a cavern-like recess under the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and included living quarters for the operator of the plant. Not de luxe living quarters, just dry ones."

Irwin LeRoy Wakefield, 59, a former machinist was caught producing counterfeit coins when federal agents saw him go under a ramp with a candle to enter his workspace. It seems that pinching pennies doesn't really pay off in this case.

The 1970s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 6, 1975

Headline: "Melinda goes out on the Prowl"

For a city as progressive and modern as San Francisco, prior to 1975, the police force was truly a man's world. This week, Melinda "Mindy" Pengel along with two other women became the first women to join the San Francisco Police Department at the age of 21.

According to the article, out of a class 30 women at the police academy, 27 flunked. Of the 41 male recruits, only two failed final examinations.

The article closes with the following quote from Pengel:

"I don't miss the handbag," she said. "It would only get in the way."

The 1990s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 4, 1991

Headline: "Bill's Last Waltz in the Park"

Legendary San Francisco music promoter Bill Graham died in a helicopter crash Oct. 15, 1991; to honor his memory and contributions to the local music scene, a large tribute concert was held in Golden Gate Park. The massive crowd of 300,000 individuals came to watch local acts such as Santana, Robin Williams, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, and a reunited Journey paid tribute to the man the popularized the Fillmore and the Fox Theatre in Oakland as venues for rock 'n' roll superstars. Rock on!

The 2000s

Publication: The San Francisco Examiner

Date: Nov. 7, 2004

Headline: "City to Cut 300 Jobs"

Usually, we like to have happy endings but the last few years of this past decade haven't been the best of times. In 2004, then mayor Gavin Newsom announced that with the state and city budget crisis that year, the city was forced to eliminate 300 people from the municipal payroll.

Worse yet?

Approximately 1,200 people suffered layoffs from the City of San Francisco that year, according to the article.

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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