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Posts Tagged ‘Dandies’

Local Royalty

Melvin Belli

Melvin “Bellicose” Belli, aka the King of Torts. One of the law’s original ambulance chasers, he was on the side of the little guy, as long as that little guy was suing some deep pockets. He is credited with laying groundwork for future consumer rights cases. All that is nice to know but the most San Francisco part of his wiki reads:

“After winning a court case, Belli would raise a Jolly Roger flag over his Montgomery Street office building in the Barbary Coast district of San Francisco (which Belli claimed had been a Gold Rush-era brothel) and fire a cannon, mounted on his office roof, to announce the victory and the impending party.

San Francisco still has it’s share of flamboyant showmen, though few so dapper as Mr Belli here, and who of them, in our day, would show such boldness by topping their outfit with a with a pipe. And I am unaware of any current local dandies with a cannon. Note the coat tree in the background with vest and 2 hats, and the bottles of hooch on the shelf. Those liquid details never escape my attention.

Belli pictured in his San Francisco office, from the April 1961 issue of Holiday magazine.

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