Norman Bust

All the News That Fits Into a Size Seven and a Quarter Hat


Conventional Wisdom?

1984 Politics in San Francisco.

Since it’s political convention time, I thought I’d reshare this four year old posting…

I am a political junkie. I love the debates, the pundits yelling at each other on the tube and the conventions every four years. Politics is the sport I follow more than actual athletic team sports. Since we are in an election year and in the midst of the two big political conventions, it seems an appropriate time to jump into the WABAC machine and return to a time when the circus came to my town. The 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

I was working for a company called McCune Audio Video at the time, who was contracted by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) to do all the sound and video projection for the convention. My office was in-house at the Moscone Center where the event was held, so I witnessed the entire convention center’s transformation over four weeks from a huge column-free empty space into a political theater and major media center. From July 16 to July 19, I walked the halls and corridors with my camera, taking photographs of the event, capturing the politicians, the press and the delegates in all their amped up glory. (I want to thank Top People like Mike Neal,  who brought me in to work at McCunes’ Moscone Center office in 1984).

It was a great time in San Francisco. A rare, warm, sunny, summer week, with the streets, restaurants and bars packed with every major player from the Democratic Party and American news media. I spent many nights that week in the bars of North Beach, which seemed to be the epicenter of the nightly action. Tosca, Specs’ and Vesuvio’s were packed each night with conventioneers, celebrities and locals, pontificating about politics. The congregation of people from every state of the union visiting San Francisco that week felt just perfect

San Francisco was spiffed up in every way and the city had just completed the restoration of it’s historic Cable Car lines with all new tracks and restored vehicles. The city was in fine form. The city was beautiful. The city was exciting. San Francisco was electric.

Cable Cars in Politics from the San Francisco Chronicle Archive:

The 1984 convention was historic. Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson also ran that year, but the successor to the throne, former Vice President Walter Mondale, was the party’s nominee. But of course, it was the choice of Geraldine Ferraro that was the big new story. It was the year that she would be the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party. Being in that room when Ferraro gave her speech, accepting the nomination of vice president of the United States, was one of the coolest moments ever (watch that speech at the end of this blog post).

And now on to my photographs: Aside from nominees Mondale and Ferraro, political junkies may recognize many other players like Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neil, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkins, Alan Cranston, Bella Abzug, Fritz Hollings and Lyn Nofziger. And you media whores will spot Jane Pauly, Connie Chung, Chris Wallace, John Hartman, Sam Donaldson and Ken Bode.

In November 1984 Walter Mondale & Geraldine Ferraro lost to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in a landslide.

And lastly me and my friends; Jennifer Tofflemire, Jenny Abbe and Brooks Frank on the shuttle bus leaving Moscone center after the convention (photo by John Winet)….


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MANHATTMAN is hosted by Norman Maslov, whose Agence Internationale, represents a small group of wonderful photographers. This blog showcases images from these artists along with scribes about music, films, food, gin martinis and hats. Pontifications from a native San Franciscan and his extended family and friends. So it goes.

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