JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

The Big Shot: 1957

The Big Shot: 1957

I never did get the full skinny on how it all went down that day. All I know is that it was my brother and his pal, this guy. A couple of ex-Catholic high school boys; you know the type - four years in, walk out with a fancy piece of paper, the whole nine yards. Then two years later they're back in town, cruising the mean streets, past all the usual joints - Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney, F.W. Woolworth, Thom McAn, The Cottage Bookshop. That's right: San Rafael, California.

When it happened, it happened fast. First his pal pulls up and parks, lights himself a cig, happy as a clam, not a worry in the world. Then my brother hauls off and shoots him with his Lordox, a German 35mm job loaded with Kodak Tri-X. For years afterwards my brother keeps this pic pasted in a book or something. What a crazy guy. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Before getting his first car

I think this fellow stole Pee Wee Herman's bicycle.

Mean Streets? San Rafael ?!?

Not only the year I was born, but my home town and referencing the high school I attended.

I think the meanest things down on 4th was the courthouse fire - remember looking at it the next morning on my way over the hill to St. Raphaels and it looked just like a bag of burned McDonalds fries.

After the movie came out, the biggest crime was taking 10 minutes to go a block, given all the cruisers. Mean streets?

[As noted below, "mean streets" is a continuation of the Raymond Chandler literary trope employed by tterrace in his post. - Dave]

A hidden truth

Thank you, GlenJay, for invoking the immortal lines by Raymond Chandler. I sent that entire quote to my son once. I thought it worthwhile that he should read it.

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

"He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

"The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in."

1947 or 1948

Plymouth convertible from what little I can see of the steering wheel hub.

[Buick Roadmaster seems to be the current consensus. - Dave]

Evidence missing from this "Big Shot" case.

Found Leidolf Lordox 24x36 German made camera!

Down those mean streets ...

... a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. ... Must be a complete man and a common man, yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor."

Which X?

It looks more like Plus-X grain. Tri-X is a bit coarser.

[From the evidence locker. - tterrace]

I Feel A Song Coming On

I can't help but be reminded, by both the setting and description, of the words to "My Hometown," however, I offer a more peaceful version than the original.
"Saturday night, two cars at a light, in the backseat there was some film;
Words were passed, didn't use a flash, picture time had come ... to my hometown."

Very well, I'll see myself out ...

Que j'en ne sais quoi

It's a shame cigarettes are so unilaterally bad for your health. As every lover of film noir knows -- they're great at helping set the mood and represent feelings not spoken.

The way I read this scene: he's counting the dough in his wallet, you can see his hands reflected in the side panel, figuring out how much he can blow on his babe. The photographer is wondering how soon the ash is gonna fall off the cig.

Narration by Joe Friday

This could only get better by being read by Jack Webb.

A mysterious caper alright

Forget it, Jake, it's San Rafael.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2022 Shorpy Inc.