Imagine riding on a roller coaster, ferris wheel, and carousel in San Francisco.  Too, imagine bumper cars, a dark house, a fun house, and the “Diving Bell,” a metal chamber that took people under water and then returned them to the surface with a resounding splash.  All this and more was found at Playland (or Playland at the Beach), the largest amusement park in the city.  Resembling Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Playland was located at the city’s western edge, next to Ocean Beach.  Continue Reading »


The sight of a huge red doggie head, with large drooping eyes, and a somewhat bemused expression, floating in the sky, never failed to captivate me as a kid.  This was of course the iconic logo of the Doggie Diner restaurant chain.  I’m fairly certain there were others in the city, but the one I remember going to was across from the SF Zoo, on Sloat Boulevard.  Besides eating a hot dog and French fries, part of the fun of going to Doggie Diner was seeing the big Dachshund head.  It had a kind of magical effect, transporting me to a world where giants, trolls, and tiny people existed.

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