In 1942 my mother, Anne Klausen, in an effort to please her father, Elmer Klausen, quit the S.F. Ballet and Opera Company and joined the equestrian unit of the Red Cross, riding Spencer Tracy’s polo pony. Her days were filled with routine excursions out in the Sunset and Richmond dunes, reminding the hobo “towns” to not start any fires at night. One day she discovered an abandoned minisub on Ocean Beach. It was later identified as belonging to the I-25, a Japanese submarine aircraft carrier. But where did its operators go? Records did not list them as being captured. Did they hook up with San Francisco’s Japantown? Or was it with the Black Dragon Society of espionage insurgents?
On my mother’s days off, she pretended to volunteer as a Block Warden. She even borrowed a uniform. But what she was secretly doing with this time was dancing at Sally Rand’s Music Box down on O’Farrell Street (same building as the present day Great American Music Hall). Sally Rand had a bit of a reputation. The inventor of the fan dance was arrested for riding naked on horseback down the main corridor of the ’33 Chicago World’s Fair. She also organized Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch at the Golden Gate International Expo in ’39 on Treasure Island. Anne’s father, Elmer, would not have approved, but his daughter was desperate to seek any venue in which to further her dancing career. She added a little class to the club, incorporating her ballet moves into the more risque skits of burlesque. But her ambitious schedule would get very interesting when Elmer started visiting the Music Box to woo the affections of Sally Rand herself.
Next Monday, Nov. 7th, we’ll take a peek at the first aerial bombardment of North America. Until then, keep turning those pages, my friends.