From another Geezer re: the obit on photographer Tom Vano

I did some work with Tom on a brochure for the Olympic Club. I had worked with him before, but this was just a few years ago. It was then just to past some time he was telling me about a band he had back east. I think he was in high school. Any way, the band was unhappy with the singer they had. His voice was a little too high. And not to hot, so they fired him. His name was Antoio Benedetti at the time. He later became Tony Bennet.

Thought you might like that true story.
Your friend SAL VERGARA

Steam Beer, Spice, Ships and a 58’ Classic Fantail Yacht

As posted in June, I showed the first label for Anchor Steam Beer, bottled in San Fran­cisco. Not long after its orig­inal debut, the label was redesigned by Jim Stitt who has designed all of the labels for the brewing company, to date. Even more than these! Jim has said that there is soon to be released, still another of his design and illus­tra­tion (that he executes totally by hand, (no use of computer enhance­ments).

Anchor Brewery

To view a 2012 video (Click this link) https://​www​.anchor​brewing​.com/​m​o​b​i​l​e​/​v​i​d​e​o​s​/​j​i​m​_​s​t​itt

Anchor Brewing Videos



Drawing on History: Anchor Brewing Label Artist Jim Stitt Jim has a long history in San Fran­cisco adver­tising and corpo­rate design. Tech­nical illus­tra­tion while employed at Boeing in Seattle, Jim says, was intense training. Tom Gleason was there also, and they both moved on to study at in Los Angeles. Back in San Fran­cisco and connecting with Hal Riney, Jim got a job at SF’s BBD&O as Art Director. Tom also located as A.D. at McCann-Erickson, Inc. of San Fran­cisco.

Jim was offered the Spice Islands account at Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample. Jim was to design a package that held many Spice Island cook­books, each offering recipes of different cultures. Great ideas can pop-up at any time…so it was as Jim was riding across the Golden Gate Bridge on his way home – -he remem­bered his intro­duc­tion to Sister Mary Corita while he was at The Art Center. (Corita Kent 1918 – 1986) Visu­al­izing her beau­tiful seri­graphs, Jim contacted her and together they built a campaign as a boxed set of Spice Island cook­books with the seri­graph art on the front and back covers.

Spice Islands

Inter­na­tional Dining With Spice Islands.” This direct mail produc­tion won many design awards. Artist: Sister Mary Corita,IHM – Designer Jim Stitt Art Director: Jim Stitt — Copy­writer: Susan Plummer — Printer: Pacific Lith­o­graph Co. — Agency Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample — Client: Spice Islands.

Jim moved to the Camp­bell Ewald Adver­tising & Marketing agency on Pacific Avenue (with the Spice Island account following him there). Jim was assigned the Matson Corp. account. He created a full line of corpo­rate iden­tity for the ship­ping line. When Dailey & Asso­ciates replaced Camp­bell Ewald, Jack Keeler was Head Art Director and when Jack moved on — Jim became Head Art Director of Dailey & Asso­ciates.


From then until now, Jim Stitt has had his own marketing busi­ness. He has worked and lived on the “White Heron” that has just been sold. Now he lives on dry land and prob­ably sleeps on a water bed.

Apolo­gies to photog­ra­phers and all for usurping the images without permis­sion, if you want photo credit, please contact this site and we will give credit.

All Working ”Commercially”

Maynard Dixon was known for his paint­ings. In 1999, PBS Antique Road­show showed a Maynard Dixon painting appraised at up to $30,000. And on a recent update of that tele­cast (6302014) it was valued up to $250,000!
Norm Nicholson alerted me to the fact that Mr. Dixon worked commer­cially, while in San Fran­cisco — even illus­trating Hopa­long Cassidy books.

Many maga­zines in the early 1900s had covers illus­trated by Mr. Dixon. (Click this link) ”Maynard Dixon Museum” it shows a very good selec­tion.
I asked Norm if he had a couple of exam­ples of his work when he was in the 728 Mont­gomery Street loca­tion.
1 These first four illus­tra­tions were a part of a Crown-Zellerbach promo­tional piece- — a joint effort — Bill Hyde, designer and Norm, illus­trator.
2 They are followed by an ad for Consol­i­dated Freight­ways for Burger Adver­tising Agency (which took the Butte Herrero & Hyde studio space).
3 Next, we show one of a series of ads for World Air Center — Agency: Richardson, Siegel, Rolfs & McCoy — ADs: Bob Penné and Barbara Judson. Norm: “I Think Barbara Judson was mainly a produc­tion person who worked for several agen­cies during her career. For some reason she acted as an art director along with Bob Pinné on that series of ads I did for World Air.
4 Illus­tra­tion for Chevron Corp.Publication “Bulletin.” Norm: “I believe the machine in the painting for Chevron was a road paving machine that used Stan­dard Oil prod­ucts.” – AD: Max Land­phere.
5 Illus­tra­tions for Princess Cruises (at that time, there were only two ships). —Agency: Gross, Pera & Rocky — AD: Jerry Huff
Nicholson illus­tra­tions — 1 through 5A-5D

Others that I haven’t already mentioned that were in the Belli Building at that time were, Bob Bausch, Janet Jones, Paul Rupert, Richard L. Burns and Charles Matheny, and later, taking the Matheny loca­tion — Thom LaPerle was there designing annual reports.

Janet designed annual reports for Hexcel Corpo­ra­tion and Cali­fornia Dental Society, and collat­eral for Fire­man’s Fund and Wells Fargo Bank, among others. She also created the iden­tity, signage, bill­boards and brochures for Southampton builders in Benicia.

Paul Rupert had a one-room studio on the top floor of 728. One of his big assign­ments was a lot of promo­tional produc­tions for Peggy Fleming — after she won the US Figure Skating Ladies’ Singles gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.

Richard L. Burns was a partner in an adver­tising firm. During my first years of free-lancing from 1965 to 1968, Richard gave me a wide variety of assign­ments. Charles Matheny Adver­tising was also my other source of work — also so very conve­nient being in the same loca­tion.
Ann Thompson

Studios: Cold, wet and noisy

Studios: Cold, wet, noisy — with history and warm memo­ries.

The building at 728 Mont­gomery was, in 1849, the First Freema­sonry in Cali­fornia. At the time of the ‘49 Gold Rush, Mont­gomery Street, like all of the streets, were sand or mud or worse. Wind, fog and rain and all the extra influ­ences — and no side­walk surfaces — one can hardly even imagine just getting from a building to your mode of trans­port. 722 and 728 were once a cigar ware­house, a theatre, and a public bath­house. There were gas lamps at the street (that could still be lit in the 1960s).

Starting before the 1920s, the build­ings, from 728 Mont­gomery Street — south to the huge Mont­gomery Block building, were loca­tions adopted by a surprising great number of great writers and great artists — (there is no need for me to repeat this infor­ma­tion from the web — it is all there in full). I am zeroing in on just one artist of that time, Maynard Dixon, who had his studio at 728 Mont­gomery Street from 1913 to 1938.

And here he is carrying (a painting?) south on Mont­gomery Street.


He had a twenty-by-twenty foot room at the back of the build­ings top floor of 728 with north light from a skylight. There is a docu­men­tary video, narrated by Diane Keaton — selec­tions from (click this link) “Maynard Dixon Art and Spirit.“ It shows the view above and also this one of Mr. Dixons in his studio with his collec­tion of western arti­facts.


There is another video, (click this link) “Arizona’s Artist: Maynard Dixon” narrated by Mark Sublette, that shows a drawing of how Mr. Dixon carried all of his collected trea­sures to safety the day after the 1906 earth­quake.
In those years — and through the years, the build­ings must have been cold, wet and some­times noisy!

The build­ings had a lot of charm, but I can’t say that the renters in the 1960s and 70s — were warm or dry in the winter. The artists there at the Belli Build­ings knew that Mr. Belli would take only lowest bids for repairs.

Not so lucky, for Janet Jones (who had her studio over­looking the court­yard) as she describes: I defi­nitely can tell you the Belli Building was leaky. The story was that Belli was too cheap to put on a new roof and kept patching, then refusing to pay when the roof leaked again. My little office was flooded when water leaked into the outside wall and ceiling, and soaked all my books and filled the flat file with water, ruining all my papers.

Now, should we hear about the heating system in the build­ings? There wasn’t one. Most renters kept elec­tric heaters at their feet. Bill Hyde had rented the third floor front space when the part­ner­ship had dissolved — and there was an area with a drawing board, chair and side cabinet that I could rent. Bill had put in a Franklin stove, but with the size of the room and the very high ceiling, five single glass high windows and a large skylight above…we were “commer­cial” artists freezing in a garret. We wore heavy wool clothing and even mittens (except when actu­ally working on artwork).

Bill, then having become a single free-lance artist, was able to produce creations that were his alone. He was creating huge Op-Art (popular at that time) back-drops for Chevro­lets that were photographed in studios back east. Here are three of Bill’s clients. The United States Post Office (Contact, Norman Todhunter), Anchor Steam Beer (Owner: Fritz Maytag), and an adver­tising agency — Baker, Johnson & Dick­inson, of Milwaukee (Art Director, Will Johnson) The bronze casting by Tom Martin Browne.

Three-US-Postage-StampsAnchor_Steam_Label BJ&D bronze-casting

Norm Nicholson took over my loca­tion in Bill’s studio when I moved on in 1969. He prob­ably used Bill’s great drawing board that lifted easily by the shift of a handle below. I did a lot of work standing up…large pieces where I’d have to walk around the board. Norm wrote: I remember Bill Hyde’s potbelly stove that seemed to be the heat source for that room. If I got there in the morning before Bill, I would fire it up.

Janet: There was no heat in my office, but I had a little space heater. Noise? Also, you may remember that when­ever Belli won a case they fired a cannon in the court­yard, and it was ruinous if I was ruling a line or doing fine work at the drawing table. I remember that when he won he also would fly the “Jolly Roger” on the flag­pole on the roof, (also in disre­pair) so it came crashing down. One more jolt to live through.

Thom LaPerle had his studio on the second floor of 722 (right above the Belli offices) — he wrote: I was in the Belli building from February 1970 through mid-1979. Mel wanted my space to expand and offered to buy-out my lease for $10k, which I even­tu­ally pushed to $40k and moved the office to the third floor above Swiss Ski Sports on Commer­cial Street. Others in the Belli build­ings, during my tenure, where Charles Felix, Janet Jones, Charles Matheny, Dan Ramano and Paul Rupert. Sure had some fun and memo­rable times there.

Each year, there was the Christmas Party!
Norm: Did you ever attend Melvin Belli’s Christmas parties? They were some­thing else. He made his famous Pisco Punch that he served. Herb Caen mentions it in one of his columns.
Me: I remember being to a least one Christmas party there in the deep under­ground rooms of 728. Had some Pisco Punch, too. The only time that I spoke with Melvin Belli was then as he handed out the drinks. I knew that he had repre­sented many famous and infa­mous persons. He repre­sented Corpo­ra­tions, Hotels, and (to name a few) persons: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mae West, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Muhammad Ali, Jack Ruby, Sirhan Sirhan, Alex Haley, Nick Nolte, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Tony Curtis, Mickey Cohen, Lenny Bruce, Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker — and MY GRANDFATHER (!) who had (as my mother told me) an OSHA type claim for an injury to his hand (or arm) — this may have been in the ‘30s while my grand­fa­ther worked as a winch driver on lumber ships at the San Fran­cisco docks — and Belli was with the National Recovery Admin­is­tra­tion (that NRA created a migrant worker relief program). Mr. Belli later claimed that he devel­oped a deep sympathy for the underdog during that time.
Also being in “touristy” North Beach (the previous “Barbary Coast” area), one evening when I was watering the Gera­niums in the window boxes of 722’s second story windows, “Three Caballeros” sere­naded me (with guitars and voices) from the street below. Nice.

Ann Thompson

Meanwhile, Next door at 728

At the same time, 1964 – 1965 there was another studio in the other of the two Belli Build­ings that was pouring out a lot of creativity.

The second floor, front, of 728 Mont­gomery Street was the work­space for Charles Felix, Dan Romano, Roy Gover and Sven Lindman.

Charles Felix
I knew that Charles was from the UK, but I have read, more recently, that Charles Felix was from Bath, in Somerset, South West England. In the early 1960s he was in public rela­tions and on his was to Hong Kong. He stopped here to explore the San Fran­cisco Bay Area and this became his home.

In 1964 he was in the Belli Building and word was that he was pursuing the rights to build an English pub on the pris­tine and protected site of Muir Beach, Marin County. The author­i­ties of the area were afraid that he was to create an “eyesore”. Charles had to battle long and hard to get approval and create the authentic 7‑room road­house that stands there today. His creative talent was his vision and ability to find a very old pub in the UK that was to be demol­ished. Charles had it totally disas­sem­bled, put in containers and shipped to San Fran­cisco. He also found a 70-year-old San Rafael hotel that was to be razed and he salvaged all of the antique beams and much of other wood. The Pelican Inn opened in 1978.

Dan Romano
Dan Romano painted the sign for the Pelican Inn.
I saw the orig­inal painting in the dining room of the Romano house on Christmas night in 2012.
Dan Romano’s art was seldom in color. He was a master of pen and ink line work. If color was needed, he would convert his black line art to a film posi­tive and then paint color on the illus­tra­tion board attached behind the film-pos. Dan’s style was in great demand in publi­ca­tions before the halftone process was perfected for news­paper ads and edito­rial art. In those days, Norm Nicholson was teaching at San Francisco’s Academy of Art. Norm said that he showed Dan Romano’s fine lines and cross­hatch style to his students so that they could aspire to such clean and very precise work. Norm: “Dan was a beau­tiful designer in all his work. He certainly inspired me! What talent came out of S.F. in those days. Espe­cially the black and white art.”

A lot of the SF artists social­ized in the city, but Dan worked steadily at his drawing board through the day and then was home with his wife, Riva. They had had their home in Marin County designed and built by Joseph Esherick. The Romanos enjoyed a long-time friend­ship with Stan and Frances Galli who also lived in the same area.
Here, first, is line art for a winery (the names of client, agency, art director are unavail­able). Scanned directly from Dan’s art, I could find no correc­tions on the 12” x 6” illus­tra­tion.

Another orig­inal is this line and full color illus­tra­tion of a truck. The exam­ples that follow have been found at small size in ADASF 19636465 Annuals where the halftone has blurred the clarity of the “Romano” line.

Roy Gover
Roy Gover came to San Fran­cisco from London by way of Toronto. He had worked in London and he had a strong commer­cial art back­ground before arriving in the SF Bay Area.

Bob Bausch wrote recently, “Roy Gover and Sven Lindman were both good friends of mine, who I met when we all worked at “Patterson and Hall” (an art studio estab­lished in 1921 that promoted many artists new to San Fran­cisco).

Roy had the valu­able drawing talent to provide layouts (comps or compre­hen­sives) for San Fran­cisco adver­tising agen­cies such as Bonfield Asso­ciates. Because the agen­cies held his work, I never saw that side of his talent — but in 728 Mont­gomery St., between assign­ments, he was always painting. I have one of his paint­ings from that time. Later, he had shows at the SFMOMA and many fine galleries. Roy was “theatrical” and his creative talents were also presented in his record­ings and humorous illus­tra­tions.

Sven Lindman
Sven Lindman was born in Hults­fred, Sweden and went to design school in Stock­holm. He and his class­mate, Lars Melander, were chosen by visiting “scouts” from Hall­mark Cards to come to the states and share their talents with designers at Hall­mark in Kansas City.

He stayed at Hall­mark for a few years and then moved on to San Fran­cisco where he worked at Patterson and Hall and did some free­lancing at 728 Mont­gomery Street.

After five years there, he moved to New York City where he again free-lanced and later joined Sudler & Hennessey, Div. of Y&R as an art director. In 1985, he went on to Klemtner Adver­tising where he became Creative Director until his retire­ment in 2001.

Sven and his wife, Jean Davidson spent some time in Hawaii and then settled perma­nently in Menlo Park, CA.

Although the collec­tion of his art is much larger, I am showing his work from the publi­ca­tions of the 1965 and 1966 ADASF Annual Exhi­bi­tions of Adver­tising and Edito­rial Arts and also the Sven’s promo folder when he was at the Patterson and Hall.