- Westerly Winds: Early Aviation in the Outside Lands
Robert G. Fowler/s flight from the Polo Fields to cross the country in 1911. - by John Freeman
- How Water Shaped Development of the Outside Lands
Initial development of the Richmond and Sunset Districts was predicated on the availability of water. - by John Freeman
- Ostriches at San Francisco's Ocean Beach?
The story of Golden Gate Ostrich Farm at Ocean Beach in San Francisco's Richmond District. - by John Freeman
- Sleuthing in the Digital Age
Unraveling the Mystery of Two 1890s Richmond District Houses - by John Freeman
- The Odyssey of the Original Beach Chalet
The drama and travels of San Francisco's first Beach Chalet. - by John Freeman
- The Trading Post
1930s market at 2450 Judah Street. - by John Freeman
- 708 Clement Street
From the Pioneer Potato Market in the 1910s to the Clement Street Bar & Grill in the 2010s. - by John Freeman
- Golden Gate Park---Oasis and Obstacle
The Legacy of the Fight for a Cross-Park Streetcar Route - by John Freeman
- Gracie Allen
The famous comedienne was schooled in the Richmond District. - by John Freeman
- Father of the Richmond District
Builder Fernando Nelson's Richmond District work. - by John Freeman
The Comics Crusade of 1954
(Originally appeared in the WNP member newsletter, Spring 2005)
by John Freeman
This photograph shows the seventh grade class at Star of the Sea Grammar School engaged in a campaign to condemn the evils of comic books. In the spring of 1954, our class gathered comics, speakers prepared talks about their evils, and an assembly was held for the upper grades of the school. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Cahill (center), the daughter of Police Chief Thomas Cahill. The students in the bleachers are seen tearing up the evil comics, which today are prized collectibles!
The comics crusade was a nationwide movement driven by churches, the PTA, and the comic book industry. Marvel Comics and DC Comics were worried about EC Comics taking over market share with its horror line that included titles like Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror and Weird Fantasy. A second successful EC line during the Korean War was its combat series with titles like Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales. (Although EC was the first producer of Mad, that was not the object of our purge in '54.
The success of the EC horror comics led its rivals, DC and Marvel, to look for ways to cut EC market share. They proposed the Comics Code, limiting vampires, werewolves and other underworld creatures, as well as minimizing the glory of killing in combat. In 1954, Congress was threatening to pass some kind of anti-comics legislation, so the industry got the PTAs and churches to fight their fight. (This was the era of Joseph McCarthy and his anticommunism crusade. Our education had been peppered with questions of what we would do if the classroom door swung open and a commie with a gun asked us to choose between God or Communism.) We students at Star of the Sea were witnessing for morality, having no idea of the larger commercial implications of the crusade.
Little did we realize that we were limiting the stock of certain comics and raising their value to future collectors.
Images: Courtesy of John Freeman.
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