Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the Cow Palace in 1964

In remembrance of the legendary Martin Luther King Jr., we’ve found an article and great photo of Dr. King speaking at the Cow Palace in 1964.

” This black-and-white photograph shows Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at an interfaith rally at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in May 1964.

A beam of light illuminates King at the podium, as if conferring a celestial blessing. George Conklin ’53 remembers the scene well. He took the photo.


[The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at an interfaith rally at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on June 30, 1964. (Photograph by George Conklin ’53)]

In 2013, Conklin and his photograph received a DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Award from the Religion Communicators Council, a national interfaith association.

The award recognizes the photo’s installation at San Francisco’s McLaren Park, overlooking the Cow Palace. Engraved on a stone, the photo is part of a “musing station” on the park’s new Philosopher’s Way.

In 1964, Conklin, an ordained United Church of Christ minister, was communications director for the Northern California Council of Churches.

He was photographing King’s appearance using Kodak Tri-X, the go-to film of the day for photojournalists who prized its high speed — meaning they could shoot in difficult, low-light conditions without a flash.

And that’s what Conklin was doing on the night of May 30, 1964. “The long evening wore on, the humidity in the vast hall increased and I could see the beam appearing. I got up and took the last frames of a 36-frame roll.”

Conklin has also photographed such notables as Cesar Chavez, theologian Karl Barth, Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah bunker and then-Sen. Barack Obama.

“I often say, ‘Join the church and see the world.’”

In a sense, Conklin’s photography is part of his ministry. “I have expressed the ideas of action for justice and social change through my avocation of photography.” “

* via Bates College


San Jose Sharks

With hockey season upon us, let’s travel back in time to when the SJ Sharks played their first season right here at the Cow Palace!

Here is the 1991-1992 team (and you can see the Cow Palace seats in the background) and an old advertisement for the first season.




Flashback Friday: 1960s Steer Show

Let’s flashback to the Grand National Rodeo, Horse and Livestock Show Steer Show back in the 60’s.

Gus Settrini exhibited the grand champion feeder calf pen.

Stop by the GNR at the Cow Palace and see how cattle have changed.

Opening night is tonight!


Flashback Friday : Beatlemania



SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Beatlemania was in full flower on this date in 1964, and for Bay Area Beatles fans, it was D-Day – as well as the day an intrepid KCBS reporter scored an exclusive interview with the Fab Four

“All of my girlfriends. We all lived on the same street. All we did, you know,we we’re the Beatle’ girlfriends every single chance we had,” Denise McKevitt Rasmussen, who was celebrating her ninth birthday, said.

Her dad let her pick two friends to take to the Beatles show at the Cow Palace. One of them was Terry O’Brien.

“I remember I wore my pink pants dress with my John Lennon boots. Everyone had them then—the little white boots,” O’Brien said.

Terry’s mom Gina was not so thrilled.

“I just thought, she’s too young; she’ll get eaten alive down there but, oh, she wanted to go so bad,” she said. “They were so excited.”

While youthful fans were primping, a KCBS reporter named Hilly Rose was trying to figure out an angle on what was obviously the story of the day.

“The Beatles were big but really with teenagers—young people. And so guys our age, who in that time where in their 30s and 40s working at KCBS, we didn’t know a lot about them,” Rose said.

Rose had covered the chaotic arrival at San Francisco International Airport the day before, and had cooked up a plan. He called the Hilton Hotel and asked for the Beatles’ road manager. He name-dropped Ed Sullivan, and strongly suggested that CBS brass wanted to know about the threat of hysteria at the concert.

And then he waited while the Beatles were consulted.

“So five minutes went by. And then minutes went by. And then 30 minutes went by. And then 40 minutes went by and I thought to myself, I can’t lose this.”

After that 40-minute wait, Rose struck pay dirt. He was told to get over to the Hilton, and given a secret knock. The whole band was in the room, and while Paul and George agreed to talk and Ringo wandered off, the fourth Beatle made his displeasure evident.

Listen to the full interview here.

“John went into the bathroom and he began flushing the toilet, He flushed the toilet continuously during the interview.

It didn’t work. Rose had a directional microphone that blocked the attempted interference, and he got his interview.

Rose also asked what the Beatles thought about the idea of kids dropping out of school to chase fame and fortune, and George gave a tongue-in-cheek answer.

Rose got the Beatles to autograph a sheet of paper and scooted back to the KCBS studios with his prize: an eight-minute long exclusive.

That evening, more than 17,000 people packed the Cow Palace. To a nine-year-old birthday girl, it was the greatest gift possible.

“There was just so much coming at you, it was just spectacular,” she said.

By the time the band opened with “Twist and Shout”, it’s amazing anyone had a voice left.

“Once the music started, it was so loud. I mean the music and screaming,” she said. “I was watching them all but I was screaming, ‘John!’ Like he could hear anybody.”

Journalist Larry Kane covered the ’64 Beatles tour.

“There were very great parents who came with their kids and were sitting with them, watching them go berserk and look like, ‘what is going on here?’” he said.

One of those parents was Rasmussen’s policeman father.

“He kept telling us, ‘If I tell you to, you need you get under those seats and you stay there,” she said.

The Beatles played twelve songs in 29 minutes, including interruptions while audience members threw jellybeans at the stage.

“They got on the cars and the planes the first time I really had to chat with them after the first visit and they were scared,” Kane said.

But their fans went away on a different emotional plane.

“When we left, everyone was kind of half-deaf and everybody was worn out and couldn’t talk. Everybody’s ears were ringing and we were just like, ‘Oh my God, this big lifetime event. We saw the Beatles!” O’Brien said.

“We were the cool kids in school,” Rasmussen said.

And even Terry O’Brien’s fretful mom came to realize the memories built that night 50 years ago were something very special.

The Beatles are everything, and still kind of are,” she said.

* via CBS San Francisco

Seven Moments That The Cow Palace Made Music History

The Cow Palace has been host to many historic moments since it opened its doors in 1941.

The venue has hosted rock legends and seen some of the greatest musicians to ever live play on its stage, from the Beatles to Elvis. Some moments, however, a pretty special. Here are seven moments that concerts at the Cow Palace made music history.

The Beatles


1. The Runaways

The Runaways played their last show here on New Years Eve, 1978, though they didn’t announce their break-up until the following April. The statement read:

Sandy, Lita, Laurie, and I have talked it over and we have decided to try our own things for a while. With five albums and two world tours and what seems like a lifetime of experiences behind us, we felt it was time to getr out there and try a few things that we could not do as a group…We’re still great friends and we hope you’ll join us in wishing each other the best and brightest ahead.

2. Neil Diamond

Diamond collapsed onstage at his 1979 Cow Palace show. Less than two days later he was treated for a benign tumor. “I knew there was a good chance I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair,” he told People in 1982. “I am lucky to have survived. As it was, I had to learn to walk again.”

3. Prince

Prince played a few nights at the Cow Palace in 1985. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “Some in the audience had paid $100 for a ticket marked $17.50 to see the current king of rock-and-raunch – not including what they paid for purple shoes, purple pants, purple nylons and purple whatevers. Purple, it seems, is Prince’s favorite color.”

Not only was it his favorite color, that night it was everyone else’s—the tickets asked the the audience “wear purple.”

4. The Who

The Who’s Keith Moon passed out on stage after consuming too much horse tranquilizer. Pete Townshend then announces he’s done for the night and asks if anyone in the crowd can play drums in his place—a lucky concert-goer named Scott Halprin got the thrill of his life and took a seat behind the drumset. As he told NPR a few years ago , he was plucked from the crowd by none other than the Bill Graham.


KISS dedicated their August 1977 show to Elvis Presley, who died that day.

6. Nirvana

Nirvana played a Benefit for the Bosnian Rape Victims in 1993. According to Entertainment Weekly, this wasn’t the sort of thing they did often, but the cause struck a chord with bassist Chris Novoselic.

Knowing that many in the Cow Palace’s audience couldn’t find Yugoslavia on a map, Nirvana was realistic about the fund-raiser’s goal: ”There’s probably a lot of people who don’t care,” said Novoselic. ”But that’s okay. If they come, we’ll still get their money. And if people do care, there are information booths directing them on what they can do.”

The benefit ended up raising $60,000 (which equates to just under $100,000 today).

7. The Beatles

Last but certainly not least, The Beatles played the first show of their first U.S [Tour] here on August 19, 1964. The crowd allegedly tossed jelly beans at them after a comment Harrison made about those being the group’s favorite candies.

* via Radio Alice @ 97.3

As Sir Paul Plays Candlestick on Thursday, Beatles’ Fans Still Believe in Yesterday

71230866-510x640Later this week, Sir Paul McCartney will play Candlestick Park at the last public event at the old stadium before it’s demolished. {Thursday, August 14th, 2014}

The concert has brought back memories of the Beatles’ previous visits to the Bay Area, including the kickoff for their first American tour, an event that took place at the Cow Palace 50 years ago, on Aug. 19, 1964.

The Beatles had been on “The Ed Sullivan Show” earlier in the year, an appearance that helped fuel the frenzy for John, Paul, George and Ringo in the U.S.

“I was like a kid in a candy store. I’m going to a Beatles concert,” says Jim Lucas, who teaches English at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville. In 1964, he was a 12-year-old surf-rock fan and budding guitarist. “My best friend Bernard Gilpin’s dad got the tickets.”

Lucas had to lie to his parents about where he’d be the night of the concert.

“Oh, these long-haired freaks. ‘No, you’re not going to see something like that.’ So I had to tell my parents I was spending the night at Bernard’s house,” Lucas recalls.

Jay Dodson writes, “We sat in the very back row and the Beatles were so far away and the screaming was so loud it was really hard to hear. But nevertheless, we were really excited to be there. Everyone I knew, especially myself, we so taken aback by their sound and look and creativity.”

The screams drowning out the music was a common complaint. Janis Bosenko writes she was at the concert in the seventh row, “When the crowd surged forward we were crushed against the SFPD barricades. Couldn’t hear the Beatles singing. Screams were so loud. My ears rang for days.”

* via KQED News

Flashback Friday: San Francisco Warriors Guy Rogers & Alvin Attles

Flashback Friday : Both Guy Rogers and Alvin Attles played with the San Francisco Warriors during the years that they played some of their games here at the Cow Palace. Read the following from the Warriors about the 2014 Hall of Fame :

Four Warriors legends will be honored at the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, August 8. Former Golden State Warriors Mitch Richmond, Sarunas Marciulionis and Guy Rodgers will be inducted and Alvin Attles will receive the 2014 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. [1]


Attles, an 11-year NBA veteran, was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in the fifth round of the 1960 NBA Draft. Spending his entire playing career with the Warriors as the franchise moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco, he finished with career averages of 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 711 regular season games. Named player-coach of the Warriors midway through the 1969-70 season, Attles went on to coach the Warriors through the 1983 season, the longest coaching stint (13 seasons) in the franchise’s history. The North Carolina A&T graduate became the second African-American coach to win an NBA title after leading the San Francisco Warriors to its first and only West Coast NBA championship in 1975. Currently in his 54th year with the Warriors organization, Attles’s current stint with the same team represents the longest active streak in the NBA. [2]


RogersRodgers, a four-time NBA All-Star, was originally a territorial selection by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1958 NBA Draft. In eight seasons (1958-66) with the Warriors (four in both Philadelphia and San Francisco), Rodgers averaged 12.8 points, 8.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds over 587 regular season games with the franchise, earning All-Star honors three times (1962-63, 1966). A Temple University product, Rodgers played 13 seasons (1958-1970) in the NBA with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks, finishing with career averages of 11.7 points, 7.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 892 regular season games, leading the NBA in assists two times (1963, 1967). [2]


* via Golden State Warriors