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.


Witness of Creativity — February ’64 to April ’65.

I was only employed with Butte Herrero &Hyde for this short time before they dissolved their part­ner­ship, but I was able to see the creation of a great number of their jobs. At, that same time, I was able to create my very first bits of commer­cial art — a rose for a “shelf-talker” (very small, but my first printed piece of commer­cial art.)

And also, I executed my first “mechan­i­cals”, in other words: “paste-ups”— the Shell note pads, match­books and match­boxes. These were the client’s promo­tional give­aways. I was learning, all the time: what supplies are needed — how to keep the petty cash box “in the black” — where to research (like the SF Mechanic’s Insti­tute Library, located at 57 Post Street. It was founded in 1854 to serve the voca­tional needs of out-of-work gold miners)— how to package and mail finished art (to say, Chicago.) — and how to protect large trans­paren­cies of BH&H’s artwork. This last task required cleaning the trans­parency and its protec­tive acetate sleeve from lint, then framing it with clean black heavy stock at a uniform size to fit with the hundreds of their other samples kept in three file drawers. No digital files of samples in those days.

I met type-reps, paper-reps and printer-reps. I also had a last-minute lesson from BH&H’s book­keeper on invoicing, record keeping, etc. All of this I could never have learned at a school. It all prepared me for my life as a free-lance artist — which came sooner than I had expected.

Ann Thompson

BH&H Creativity as shown in the 1964 and1965 ADASF Annual Shows’ Publi­ca­tions

This “GOODYEAR” ad is in color because I saved a copy torn from Life maga­zine. More about its creation can be found at Our Favorite Places-Community of Creatives. See “How It Happened”.

The following B&W scans are from the annuals.

This completes my nearly complete collec­tion of the exten­sive accom­plish­ments of Butte, Herrero and Hyde from their last year as a part­ner­ship:

Self-inventive “Gofer” Duties — After Heavy Rain.

Above the recep­tion area of Butte, Herrero and Hyde’s second floor studio, there was a small storage space on the roof, with windows for light and shelves for storage. This is where a lot of finished art from past jobs was kept. One very rainy after­noon, when the part­ners had headed out for lunch (was it Venessi’s or New Joe’s or Enrico’s — up the street on Broadway, or lunch with Hal Halber­stadt at ChoCho’s, or the Owl ‘n’ Turtle, or the Iron Pot or Gino’s) — I locked the front door, put a chair on the recep­tion desk and climbed up to push up the trap door in the ceiling. I pulled myself up and into the storage space. As I had guessed, with the heavy rain, there were many areas getting wet.

I moved a lot of illus­tra­tions that were still dry. The water seemed to flow down estab­lished chan­nels, so when I left, every­thing was in a dry loca­tion. By the time BH&H had returned, I was back at my drawing board and they never knew that I protected (maybe what they no longer even wanted).


When I was there, the part­ners had a yearly produc­tion — the Shell Chem­ical Calendar.

Shell Chemical’s office was in San Fran­cisco. When it was time for the calendar to move through the studio, there was much activity. Confer­ences were many on the style and details of the new calendar. One of the little addi­tions — barely notice­able — was the graphic deco­ra­tion that was added on each of the special days of the month. These were authentic images taken from flour sacks of the past — so plen­tiful in early Amer­ican bulk supplies of flour. Each image was sized and muted, so they were seen on the date — but still subtle. Phases of the moon were styled and placed. The refer­ence for the dates of the moon’s changes came from the predic­tion records that I picked up at the US Federal Building at 30 Sansome Street.


My special assign­ment at the last phase, close to the dead­line for all to be completed, was answering the phone calls from Shell’s David Davies. I was to tell him that he could not see the ongoing devel­op­ment of the paint­ings — and that Lowell was at his cabin in the Sierras and would deliver the finished art when it was completed.

Ann Thompson

Click on an image for a larger view and the collec­tion.

My One Year And One Month.

There are many sites and stories to be found about Melvin Belli and the two build­ings that he bought and reno­vated at 722 and 728 Mont­gomery Street in San Fran­cisco.

I recently found this booklet, written by Mr. Belli, with even more details on the purchase of the prop­erty from the previous owners to the recon­struc­tion, which noted very iffy under­pin­nings and standing water found when exca­vating for the place­ment of an elevator.

Click on an image for a full view

Cover of booklet and Walkway

You can see, here, the gas street lamps from Denmark. 722 was a two story building and older than the three story 728 loca­tion. The entry walkway was placed along the adjoining walls of the two build­ings. After this row of mail­boxes, the walkway opened at the left, to the elevator and stair­case and if one walked farther, toward the Belli recep­tion office at the back of the prop­erty, one would be in a daily refreshed flower court­yard with a splashing foun­tain. This opened to the sky and gave light to all of the internal rented offices above.

Every weekday morning from March 1964 to April 1965, I would arrive early to turn my key that released the heavy latch on this New Orleans Iron Gate. I was on my way to the second floor front studio of my wonderful job, working for Butte, Herrero and Hyde, nation­ally known commer­cial artists (each with fine-art talents, they would be even more creative at home if they had any leisure time). I have posted photos of BH&H in my earlier posts of 10-14-2013 and 1 – 52014.

My lucky day, 2-10-1964, brought me to this loca­tion with the big black port­folio that would-be artist carried. Taught to work up ideas and show ones best samples — clean and flapped for a nice presen­ta­tion — my port­folio was packed with a wide variety with the hope that one or two pieces would get me a job. Here is one that I had created in my base­ment room — copy and a humorous illus­tra­tion for Fore­most Milk (which no longer exists).

Click on the image for a full view

I don’t know which part of my port­folio did it, but my job started on 3 – 11964. To my surprise, Fore­most Milk was one of the part­ners’ steady clients. In the one-year that I was with them, there were three Fore­most assign­ments that I watched them create. Their Fore­most Christmas “event calendar,” I have shown on my previous post on 121214.

The collec­tions shown, below, show the talents of Bruce Butte (designer / art director), Lowell Herrero (humorous illus­trator) and Bill Hyde (lettering and type designer).
I am making a collec­tion of the exten­sive work that BH&H produced in just the last year of their part­ner­ship.

All of this group, I regret, are without credits to the Agen­cies, Art Direc­tors, Copy­writers Engravers or Printers because they are from my collec­tion of printed pieces of that time.

Ann Thompson

Click on an image for a full view

A Block That Changed To A Pyramid!

In 1963, when I was hired by Butte, Herrero and Hyde who were located in the Belli Building, the Mont­gomery Block building that had been at the nearby corner had already been razed. There was a fenced, large, open lot at that loca­tion.
It was still a vacant lot through the late 1960s.
Then news­paper arti­cles and an uproar emerged about the plans to build a very tall “pyramid” which was designed in 1969 to tower 1,040 feet on that lot at the corner of Wash­ington and Mont­gomery streets.

Alvin Duskin at that time was running for the office of San Fran­cisco Super­visor. He was known for selling women’s clothing, a product from his father’s knit­ting mill. Some of his knitted fash­ions had long skirts — but when he began making a sweater, a little longer— that was a mini-dress! That was during the 1960s! His busi­ness grew with a factory at 520 Third Street. He had 250 employees.
In oppo­si­tion of the mayor’s stand on the “high-rise” issue, Mr. Duskin campaigned for Propo­si­tion T to keeping San Fran­cisco as the small and charming city of the past. Why let it grow high with the cold, dark, windy streets? Big grey build­ings will bring in commuters, more traffic, and fewer jobs for the SF citi­zens. How safe are tall build­ings in an earth­quake area? The Transamerica Pyramid was to be on land­fill that was above the mud of the bay! (Later, during construc­tion, work was temporarily stopped when the remains of a ship was discov­ered.)

Here is an ad (too much to read, here) but the photos and head­line give a clue to his argu­ment for Propo­si­tion T that was to limit the height of new construc­tion.


The topic of the day was this issue. The San Fran­cisco Chron­icle called it “…a pyramid so unusual it might have drawn a wink or a gasp from the Sphinx.” There were praises and crit­i­cisms from far and wide.

Sixteen local artists created an Alvin Duskin campaign “coloring book”. At that time, Bob Pease was the pres­i­dent of our commu­ni­cating arts club. Recently, I emailed and asked him about the coloring book, he wrote: We had our monthly meet­ings at Gino’s on Spring St. where Alvin was invited to talk about Prop.T — we got excited and did the coloring book all with donated art from our friends, ended up printing 100K in two print­ings! It almost worked! That was our major promo at the time. Glad to see Alvin never giving up!

The results of early polling started plans for height restric­tions in many districts, but on Elec­tion Day, Propo­si­tion T failed. Alvin Duskin went on to cham­pion the anti-nuclear move­ment in the mid-1970s. He also became a pioneer in renew­able energy and carbon capture.

As it turned out, the plans for William Pereira’s Transamerica Pyramid were changed. The height was trimmed down to 853 feet, which neces­si­tated “ears” on the pyramid — the ears were the loca­tions of the two eleva­tors. The construc­tion was completed in1972.

If built today, with the extreme heights of the new build­ings in San Fran­cisco, The Pyramid would be its orig­inal planned height and all four sides would be smooth and flat. I was able to visit the top floor of the Transamerica Pyramid, when I was a part of the design group who created the Transamerica Annual Report. That top floor was small, but the views were, and still must be, amazing from that unique loca­tion.
The Belli Building, did not survive the Loma Prieta Earth­quake of 1989. Unsup­ported bricks don’t make it. Melvin Belli’s widow, although a person repre­senting the San Fran­cisco Land­marks Preser­va­tion Advi­sory Board, was not able to save the land­mark building. In this view, it is under wraps to protect pedes­trians.

View of today’s Mont­gomery Street, Belli Building to T. Pyramid.