Fisherman John Koep


I interviewed John Koep in 1980 for the documentary, “Mystery of Half Moon Bay”–here’s some of what he told me then.

John’s father came to the Coastside in the early 1940s. “Came for the shark business. There was a big boom during the war.” The government “wanted shark livers for the Vitamin A. Big boom. Made good money.”

He said that the fish was caught in front of the harbor. “Those days were the good ones.”

Also good was the albacore until it dropped in price. Salmon remained “consistent and the sardine business was good int he 1940s. The town of Princeton was bigger with two canneries, three piers. Everybody worked at the canneries. There was a small cannery row. Nerli’s restaurant, Patroni’s, rooms upstairs. You get anything you wanted in Princeton.”‘

…more to come..

I’m having old 8m film transferred on dvds and putting snips of it here:

Looks like I can only do one little snip of movie at a time so this will be a changing site. What’s the content? It will vary from late 1960s footage of friends enjoying being young–but I’ve viewed some war protests in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, too. Some of it will show the Coastside in the 1970s.

I have already uploaded two film snips to youtube and they are the first ones at my new site. The rest will be brand new–but remember this is old, faded stuff.

I Saw “The Departed” In Reno

Did you watch the Academy Awards last night? That was the best Oscars show I’ve seen in a very long time. Wasn’t Ellen great? She’s so cool; I wonder if she’s like that in “real life.”

There were so many great things to see and hear in the show–the lithe dancers behind the screen, their silhouettes creating physical representations of the nominated films. How did they manage the bullet shooting out of the gun for “The Departed?” Was it a person? What was it? Huh?

The glorious volume of the voices of Hudson & Beyonce–and the sublime control of Celine Dion.

My favorite part of the Oscars: When Alan Arkin won best supporting actor for “Little Miss Sunshine.” If you’ve been reading “me”, you know that “Sunshine” was the movie I was rooting for, all the way. But you also know (see below) that I’m very happy “The Departed” won the top prize. Classy picture. Great script, direction, dialogue. Knowing all the actors made it all more enjoyable. Good to see an East Coast director win.

Did you notice that the “wins” were distributed all around. Not just clustered in the hands of one or two or three. The Germans, the Chinese, the Mexicans, East Coast, West Coast, environmentalists, on and on….a United Nations Oscar show, you think?

Some critics say that the Oscars was too long, painfully long…but we are high tech people, don’t they know that? We multi-task while watching; we don’t just sit and stare at the screen. For me the Oscars were just a backdrop. Looked at what I wanted to see while reading the news and writing stories on my laptop. The tv screen is just one of my multi-dimensional life.

In Reno, in a brand-new movie theater overlooking the beautiful Truckee River, we saw “The Departedâ€?–starring “Jackâ€? Nicholson-Matt Damon-Leonardo Dicaprio—Mark Wahlberg & Alec Baldwin.

All juicy roles—and very, very–even ridiculously funny.

I can’t spoil the terrific script by revealing anything—you must see it. “Jack’sâ€? interpretation of Frank Costello, a Massachusetts mafia chieftain, who specializes in political connections to protect his crime interests- -well,the scene with blood on his hands, is worth the price of the ticket…

At times, the fast-moving dialogue made me think of the brilliant Aaron Sorkin’s witty work (of West Wing fame, now Studio 60)– gone utterly mad and off the map.

And speaking of “West Wingâ€?, Martin Sheen, who played the president in that riveting series, also appears in “The Departedâ€? as the head of an undercover law enforcement office. He’s a civil, soft spoken avuncular type–but I couldn’t help thinking his alter ego was portrayed by actor Mark Wahlberg who stood at Sheen’s left side spewing gutter language.

(This movie’s not for the kiddies).

Is innovative director Martin Scorsese telling us that, these days, in real life, no one is loyal, no one is committed to real ideals and “everybody’s a rat”?

Produced by Brad Pitt and Brad Grey, a fascinating combination of Hollywood & HBO talent.

My Search For “Let Women Alone”, The Lost Silent Shot On The Coastside

In the 1977 letter to me, the American Film Institute (AFI) enclosed a pamphlet: “FILM PRESERVATION: WHY NITRATE WON’T WAIT”

Here’s the introduction:

“When the American Film Institute was established in 1967 as a private, non-profit organization, its first priority was the preservation of American films. At the time that The American Film Institute archives program was started, it was estimate that over half of the feature films produced in the United States had been lost. Thousands of early American motion pictures, regarded by the film industry as unprofitable, were destroyed or left to crumble in their cans. What remained was in serious danger…..”

“Let Women Alone” was filmed on nitrate tape which is highly volatile, and when not stored properly, has an extremely short lifespan. “Let Women Alone” is considered a missing film.

Maybe you know where it is. The film–or even prints– could be in someone’s attic or garage, long forgotten.

If you have information on the whereabouts of the 1925 silent film “Let Women Alone”–please email me and/or contact the AFI.