Molinari, Jim: Friends treated like Family
Jim Molinari: The story that – is in my mind – points all of this out was his (George) close friend Roland [Galley]. His buddy from the neighborhood who started out as a butcher at the old Grant Market on Market Street, and then went into television and was this big time salesperson for KGO for years and years and years. Well, he had a 50th birthday and had a surprise party for him down at the New Pisa on Green Street. And so George had a whole bunch of stuff going that needed to be shifted. He said, “The only place I’m goin’ tonight is to Roland’s birthday party. We’re not gonna miss that. The other stuff, we’ll reschedule it; we’re goin’ there.” We went to this party, and here’s a big crowd – a couple hundred people at least – and the Mayor walks in and he gets a standing ovation from everybody in the room. A lot of people in the room weren’t exactly Moscone friends, but this was the Mayor of San Francisco; this is a big deal. So he walks in, gets a great reception and to have the Mayor of San Francisco come to your birthday party – even though Roland knows the guy inside and out for all kinds of reasons – it was still a big deal. We spent the whole night there. This would have been, normally, we’d drop in, say hello, say a few words, present something, out the door, onto the next event. No, no, we’re stayin’ here; we closed the place down. I mean it was just totally family-like because he was all about his friends. Jon Rubin: Did you ever hang out with George and Cappy? Jim Molinari: I did. Another great San Franciscan. Cappy Lavin was this great basketball player from University of San Francisco. His son, Steve, is now the head basketball coach at St. John’s University. They used to call Cappy the Bob Cousie of the West Coast. A small little wiry guy, and English teacher at Sir Francis Drake High School in [ ] for years and years and years, but one of George’s best friends. Even though George went to the College of the Pacific and Cappy was at the University of San Francisco, they remained pals their whole lives, and to this day still close friends with the family. And just a very very bright guy. He’d talk above everybody because he was just this guy. And then he’d know everything. And he’d know the statistics and who was there. The other guy that was like this was John Burton, another close pal. And John would be talkin’, “Do you remember who was the guard in 1945, he went to [ ].” It was constant banter and back-and-forth. It was banter when they were all together; I mean it was really something special to see because there was so much love for San Francisco and so much history between them that they had just a great time shootin’ the breeze. All of them together. The other guy was Kenny Flower. “How do we know Kenny Flower? Ah well he was a guard who played at [ ], then he was at USC.” And then there was “The Glove”, Dallas Brock. “Well, why do they call him The Glove? Because he was all over you when you’re playing defense.” It was just stories like that time and time again. It had to be a great generation to be part of that mix with these guys when, ya know, sports were kinda like everything. There’s no television; it’s radio, ya gotta make your own stuff, and here were these guys doin’ this like all the time together from the neighborhood. It was a great experience for me to just kinda watch this unfold in front of me.
The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.
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Rubin, Jon and Molinari, Jim, "Molinari, Jim: Friends treated like Family" (2011). Moscone Oral Histories. 109.