SOCIAL HISTORY

Throwback Thursday – Mid-Century – 1950s “Psycho” Star Janet Leigh aboard the Santa Fe streamliner SUPER CHIEF

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Star of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, Janet Leigh is ready to board the famous SUPER CHIEF and Virginia Leith, star of A KISS BEFORE DYING shows us the all-Pullman train during the 1950s in a promotional film. Even the characters from TV’s MAD MEN may have been aboard the train all through the 1960s. A lot of executives would take the ... Read More »

Cary Grant’s other REX – The gambling boat off Santa Monica, California – Part 2

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Film star of stars Cary Grant sailed on the great liner German liner S.S. Rex when crossing the pond but gambled on board the “Rex” just off the Santa Monica pier. Besides the fabulous Italian ocean liner, S.S. REX launched in 1931; there was another S.S. REX. The far lesser (but profitable) SS REX was operated as a gambling ship ... Read More »

Anthony Cornero’s premier gambling ship off Santa Monica was the SS REX – Part 1

Aug. 1, 1939: Gambling ship TANGO off Long Beach during raids by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and District Attorney's investigators.

Anthony Cornero’s premier gambling ship was the SS Rex, which could accommodate over 2,000 gamblers who sailed in a shore boat from the Santa Monica, California pier. It carried a crew of 350, including waiters and waitresses, gourmet chefs, a full orchestra, and gunmen. Video clip of the Rex gambling ship anchored 3 miles off the Santa Monica coast in ... Read More »

Cruising on the SS Yale and the SS Harvard between San Francisco and Los Angeles during the “Roaring Twenties”!

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The SS Yale and SS Harvard became known as “white Flyers of the Pacific”! The sister ships each made four sailings a week, carrying 565 First Class passengers at an average speed of 23 knots between the two major California cities. The fast coastal ships provided an overnight cruise on the Pacific. They were a very popular way for traveling between ... Read More »

“Give ’em hell” Harry! President Truman aboard his 1948 campaign train heading to win re-election.

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Faced with the likely loss of the 1948 presidential elections, President Harry S. Truman set out from Washington on September 17 on a twelve-day cross-country political barnstorming trip aboard the “Truman Special” from Washington Union Station. The barnstorming “Truman Special” makes a whistle-stop. At the last minute, wealthy Democrats had come through with last-minute contributions to make sure the “Truman Special” ... Read More »

Ships and Liners of Messageries Maritimes

MS Caledonien in Sydney Harbor,  from the collection of Richard Francis (taken February 1970).

Messageries Maritimes was a French merchant shipping company. It was originally created in 1851 as Messageries Nationales, later called Messageries impériales, and from 1871, Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, casually known as “MesMar” or by its initials “MM”. Its rectangular house flag, with the letters MM on a white background and red corners, was famous in shipping circles, especially on the ... Read More »

SP’s Streamliner COAST DAYLIGHT – The most beautiful train in the world

Going first class on board the Southern Pacific's Coast Daylight in the Observation Parlor Car.

The Southern Pacific’s Streamliner Coast Daylight was the West’s finest train into the 1950s, linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in a glorious daylight trip, streaking along the edge of the Pacific Ocean for more than a hundred breathless miles. Chair car passengers had full access to the Coffee Shop, Diner, and Tavern cars. The two Parlor cars were restricted ... Read More »

History of Cruising… from the BRITANNIA to the LOVE BOAT…

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  The earliest ocean-going vessels were not primarily concerned with passengers, but rather with the cargo that they could carry. Black Ball Line in New York,?in 1818, was the first shipping company to offer regularly scheduled service from the United States to England and to be concerned with the comfort of their passengers. By the 1830s steamships were introduced and ... Read More »

“LUSCIOUS” LUCIUS BEEBE… first major celebrity to have a publicly open gay relationship and a lover of trains…

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San Francisco Chronicle columnist Lucius Beebe was probably the first gay men and major celebrity to have a publicly open relationship. An author, journalist, historian, raconteur, gourmet and bon vivant extraordinary – this extraordinary personality was world famous and a long time columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He loved trains and had his own private railway car. From the 1930s until ... Read More »

Gateway to San Francisco in the 1950s. Streamliners, the SP ferries and the Oakland Pier.

Passengers have just arrived on mid-1950s morning aboard the City of San Francisco from Chicago after a 39 1/2 hour trip (the fastest thing on wheels) and are heading to the ferry for a quick cruise across the bay to the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Southern Pacific Railroad’s OAKLAND PIER in the 1950s… Gateway to San Francisco… Southern Pacific was one of the nation’s major railroads with headquarters in San Francisco. It was taken over by the Union Pacific Railroad Afternoon commuters stream from SP ferry Sacramento at Oakland Pier in the early 1950s. At the peak of Service, SP’s Steamer Division handled over 26 ... Read More »