Monday, February 15, 2010

February 15, 2010
The holy grail of early film photography is to find an Old West icon in grainy old footage. The Oklahoma Outlaws, circa 1905, features Bill Tilghman, Quanah Parker, Al Jennings and other notable Oklahomans moving, riding horses and firing guns. One old newsreel allegedly shows Bat Masterson in the ring before a boxing match, although I haven't seen it.

Here's a seven minute segment of film taken on Market Street in San Francisco in 1905 or 1906, just prior to the earthquake. The camera appears to be mounted on the front of a trolly, and as it moves down the street towards Embarcadero I had several thoughts: notice how many horse drawn vehicles there are sharing the road with electric trollys and cars, and also notice how they cut in front of each other like crazy, with no road rage. Amazing. Lots of bicycles too. Kids selling newspapers.

No lanes, no traffic lights, or no apparent right of way and yet they seem to be doing just fine, don't they?

But check out the gents walking across the street, standing along the curb. What are the odds that one of them is a man who was no stranger to the Bay Area. Could one of those tall gents on the right side of the street be Wyatt Earp?

Wyatt Earp in San Fran?

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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