Not Your Century

On hiatus as of March 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis. Get unlimited access to the Chronicle. | A daily celebration of the news — and the news media — of years gone by. King Kaufman takes you on a quick tour of the Bay Area and the world as it used to be, which often colors the world of your century.

1975: Patty Hearst Arrested
A tip leads police to knock on a door in the Outer Mission. When Patty Hearst answers, it ends a 19-month odyssey that saw her go from kidnapped newspaper heiress to dangerous fugitive, wanted for bank robbery.
5 min
1920: The NFL Is Born
It all starts in a car dealership showroom in Canton, Ohio. Reprentatives of teams from the Midwest and Northeast sit on running boards as they hammer out the details of a league that, a half century later, will come to rule American sports.
5 min
1963: Birmingham Church Bombing
Even by the standards of "Bombingham," the explosion that ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church was shocking. It was the 21st racist bombing in eight years, but the first fatal one, killing four girls as they got ready for Youth Day services.
5 min
1993: Oslo Accords Signed
Not long before Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin accepted the handshake offer of Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat during a White House ceremony, it had been illegal for an Israeli to talk to a PLO member.
5 min
1940: Lascaux Cave Paintings Discovered
Some teenage boys out for a walk in the woods stumble upon a living museum of prehistoric times, "a cavalcade of animals larger than life," the stunning colors of the drawings preserved by the cave's geology.
5 min
1998: The Starr Report
The case for impeachment against Bill Clinton is also a salacious page turner outlining the president's White House affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. The independent counsel says the titillating details are necessary.
4 min
1963: Integration War in Alabama
President John F. Kennedy federalizes the National Guard in response to Gov. George Wallace using guardsmen to block black students from enrolling in schools after he'd pledged "Segregation forever."
4 min
1986: The First National Oprah Show!
She hadn't worked out as a TV reporter in Baltimore, but when Oprah Winfrey turned a low-rated local talk show in Chicago into a hit, she was on her way to building an empire. Going national was the next big step.
5 min
1978: The Top Female Cop in the World
SFPD Officer Dorothy Jorgensen has some wild stories from the mean streets of the Tenderloin after she's named Officer of the Year by an international women's police organization for her work as a decoy.
4 min
1975: Squeaky Fromme, Would-be Assassin
The Charles Manson follower has a clear shot at President Gerald Ford as he walks through a park in Sacramento, but her gun doesn't fire. It's the first of two Northern California attempts on the president's life in three weeks.
5 min
1977: The Golden Dragon Massacre
Three gang members walk into a crowded Chinatown restaurant in the wee hours with long guns. The worst mass shooting in San Francisco history to date kills 5 and wounds 11 — none of them the intended targets.
5 min
1976: Crisis on the Viking 2
The spacecraft has lost radio contact with earth and it's plunging through 1,000 miles of the martian atmosphere. This is not how the mission was planned. Will NASA's Hail Mary work?
4 min
Best of NYC: Labor
A collection of episodes with stories about work, workers and organized labor for your Labor Day listening. From the original March on Washington to Jimmy Hoffa's last lunch meeting.
22 min
Live! San Francisco History Trivia, Part 2
It’s the rest of the story as King Kaufman regales a live audience at the Betabrand Podcast Theatre in San Francisco with tales of a murderous editor and an animal activist on a moral crusade.
27 min
The “Vertigo” Mansion — Live!
That strange rooming house that Kim Novak slips into and disappears from in the movie? It had a strange story in real life. “Cool Gray City of Love” author and Portals of the Past columnist Gary Kamiya tells it to a San Francisco audience.
15 min
Reliving the Dotcom ’90s — Live!
Return to those VC-fueled days of yesteryear with Owen Thomas, who pestered his way onto the staff at and then became a chronicler of Silicon Valley at Valleywag, Red Herring and, now, the San Francisco Chronicle. Recorded live.
14 min
Live! San Francisco History Trivia, Part 1
Join King Kaufman and a living, breathing audience at the Betabrand Podcast Theatre in San Francisco for strange tales of murderous editors and naked mayors. First of four live episodes.
15 min
1920: The 19th Amendment
The women's suffrage amendment is quietly certified, a week after the deciding vote was cast in Tennessee by a young legislator who listened to his mom.
5 min
1879: San Francisco's Political Gunfight
S.F. Chronicle founder and editor Charles de Young's political beef with Baptist minister and mayoral candidate Isaac Smith Kalloch culminates in a shooting. But that's not where it ends.
6 min
1991: Gorbachev Survives Coup Flu
The Soviet president was held prisoner in his vacation home by hardliners who announced he was sick and threatened to remove him — maybe kill him — if he didn't back off his glasnost and perestroika reforms. He didn't.
6 min
1911: Mona Lisa Stolen
The Mona Lisa was famous among art lovers when Vincenzo Peruggia walked out of the Louvre with it under his arm. Since that moment, it's been the most famous painting in the world.
6 min
1968: Prague Spring Crushed
The Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invade the capital of Czechoslovakia, bringing a violent end to the eight months of liberalization and reform under Alexander Dubček.
5 min
1957: The Giants Are Coming
The board of directors of the New York baseball Giants makes official something the Chronicle had reported three months earlier: The most successful team in National League history was moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season.
4 min
1965: A Tense Peace in Watts
The neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles has been wracked by six days of violence in the wake of a traffic stop of a black man by a white cop. Was the fighting a riot? Or was it a community rising up against its oppressors?
4 min
1969: Woodstock, Day 1
We know it as an iconic "three days of peace and music." Early media reports made it sound like a natural disaster had hit Max Yasgur's farm, and barely mentioned what happened onstage.
5 min