The San Francisco Story

With Bud Heyde

KNBR (680 AM and 99.7 FM)
San Francisco

Circa 1968-1969 

Tales of San Francisco (Cover Image)

One of the most endearing, and enduring, programs on Bay Area radio was “The San Francisco Story,” presented for many years by Bud Heyde on KNBR (680 AM and 99.7 FM).

The 25-minute vignettes on the lesser-known moments in the city’s history, and portraits of the people who helped create that history, were broadcast on Sunday mornings, generally from 9:05 (after the NBC Monitor news at the top of the hour) until 9:30 a.m.

Budd Heyde at KPO (Photo)
Bud Heyde

To the accompaniment of stirring music, Bud Heyde (who was often billed as Budd Heyde, his last name pronounced “Hy-Dee”) delivered the stories in his best dramatic style. The stories themselves were researched, written and produced by longtime NBC-San Francisco staffer Samuel Dickson.

Heyde, as narrator, and Dickson, as writer-director, had worked together on “This Is Your Home,” the predecessor to “The San Francisco Story,” which began airing on KNBC – the predecessor to KNBR – in the late 1940s.

Dickson began his radio career in 1924 with a children’s serial that was broadcast live from the stage at Burlingame High School on Saturday afternoons. He became a fulltime member of KYA’s staff in 1927, then joined NBC in San Francisco as a writer-producer in 1931.

Through his years at NBC, Dickson worked on numerous programs, including “Hawthorne House,” “Tales of California,” “The Golden Hour,” and “Winning The West.”

Samuel Dickson (Photo, Circa 1954)
Samuel Dickson (NBC Photo, circa 1954)

Known affectionately as “Sad Sam,” Dickson’s stories about the Golden Gate City’s fabled past were spun into three much-beloved works, “San Francisco Is Your Home,” “San Francisco Kaleidoscope” and “The Streets of San Francisco.” All three were later gathered into a single compendium, “Tales of San Francisco.”

According to an article about “This Is Your Home” in the January 1954 edition of NBC Chimes – the network’s in-house magazine – “So widespread has been public interest in the series that it has been the basis for two published collections of the tales by Dickson.” He retired after nearly 24 years with NBC in February 1954 under the company’s mandatory policy, but remained as the author and director of the program, which was, at that time, known as “Rickey’s San Francisco Hour,” sponsored by the popular local restaurant.

Samuel Dickson passed away in February 1974, a month after he turned 85 years old.

“The San Francisco Story” on KNBR at the time of these recordings was sponsored by Jenkel-Davidson Optical Company.

The recordings heard here were part of a series of 27 reel-to-reel tapes of the program, spanning the years 1968 and 1969, contributed by Don Husing of KSCO Radio (1080 AM) in Santa Cruz. Mr. Husing recorded the programs over the air from KNBR onto reel-to-reel tape at his home near Santa Cruz, about forty miles straight-line distance over the hills from the station’s Belmont transmitter.

The tapes vary in quality from near-perfect to fair, and some of the recordings include extended excerpts of the preceding NBC newscast and the “Voice of Prophecy” broadcast that followed.

Bud Heyde was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.

On The Air Sign (Image)

The San Francisco Story
with Bud Heyde

San Francisco Story – Leonard Kip (April 7, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Jane Lathrop Stanford (May 12, 1968):
San Francisco Story – New York Volunteers (May 19, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Ernestine Schumann Heink (June 9, 1968):
San Francisco Story – James Bidwell (June 16, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Mechanics’ Institute Library (June 23, 1968):
San Francisco Story – John C. Fremont (Part 1*; June 30, 1968):
San Francisco Story – John C. Fremont (Part 2; July 7, 1968):
San Francisco Story – John C. Fremont (Part 3; July 14, 1968):
San Francisco Story – David O’Brien (July 28, 1968):
San Francisco Story – The Rose of Sharon (August 4, 1968):
San Francisco Story – John McLaren (August 11, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Asians (August 18, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Gold, Guns and Ghost Towns (August 25, 1968):
San Francisco Story – St. Mary’s Square (September 8, 1968):
San Francisco Story – Emperor Norton (February 16, 1969):

* – Partial recording only.

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