he idea of a “tennis club” doesn’t exactly fit the inner city image some have of Berkeley. But after you get past University Avenue…and Telegraph Avenue’s grit strip between about Blondie’s Pizza and Rasputin Records…you will find a lot of charming, shady, and not to mention, expensive neighborhoods…East and west of College Avenue between about Dwight Way and Ashby would typify…And speaking of Ashby Avenue…Don’t be fooled getting off Highway 80 at Ashby heading east
away from the bay…into thinking Berkeley is all light
industry…Keep driving across town until Ashby turns into Tunnel Road…You start getting the picture about Alta Bates Medical ER….And by the time you get to the Claremont Hotel you’ll see a whole different world than the
Sather Gate/Rasputin Records district…And in front of the Claremont you will see a small gray building….That’s the Berkeley Tennis club at 1 Tunnel Road …The courts were once part of the Claremont…The Claremont could be called the Claremint…as it’s one of the crown jewels of the Bay Area…and
one of the most picturesque hotel in all of California…like something out of Austria or Switzerland…It’s
and expansive silhouette is perched high on a hill overlooking Berkeley…with a sweeping view of San Francisco and the bay…And
so that...is the neighborhood where the event advertised
on this poster took place…Now let’s take a look at this
One of the most valuable attributes
this kind of poster can have is for it to specify the
year the event took place...Unfortunately, in the case of this
poster the year
wasn't given...The only date reference
is "Sunday June 9th"...However...I got a break...At bottom right is a
sticker announcing actor Robert Stack of "The
Untouchables" television series would be at the
event "in person"...Sooo...I looked up what years
The Untouchables aired...1959 to 1963...I then looked up
what year a Sunday June 9th fell on within those five
THE UNTOUCHABLES AIRED 1959-1963
9 ONLY FELL IN 1963 CONFIRMING THE YEAR OF THE POSTER
let's review the celebrity line up of players...Don
Budge of course the headliner...Then in order of
placement on the poster...tennis greats Alice Marbles,
and Ted Schroeder. Football greats Y.A. Tittle, Frankie
Albert, Matt Hazeltine, and Harvie Ward. More tennis
greats Anna Harper, Howard Kinsey, Clarisa Mitchell.
Business leader B.T. Rocca. Then competing newspaper
columnist Bill Hall of the San Francisco Examiner,
playing Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. Hollywood actor Robert Stack,
been the most recognizable because of his weekly
television crime drama then.
not listed on the poster, I came across a newspaper
clipping which indicates seven more celebrity
participants who were there. Hollywood actors Rosemarie
Stack (wife of actor Robert Stack) Joan Caufield, and
Jose Ferrer. Tennis star Frank Kovacs. Football stars
Clyde Conner, Bruce Bosely, and Ted Connelly.
MARBLE A REMARKABLE LIFE
Each of these celebrities
were profound in their fields. However I found Alice
Marbles, who I had not heard of until this poster, to be
the most fascinating. Along with her
accomplishments on the tennis court she led as glamorous
a life as anyone ever has...That photo of her with Carol
Lombard and Clark Gable at the bottom of the page...That
wasn't a happen chance photo...she was intimate friends
with them!...Moreover...after retiring from tennis she was
recruited by the government to be a spy during
WWII...Was shot in the back and survived...Obviously
well enough to play in this celebrity tournament.
& Film Star
NOT ON POSTER WHO ATTENDED
WIN-WIN FOR EVERYONE
kinds of "benefit" for charity celebrity tournaments are fun
fests; everyone has a good time...The public get the
thrill of seeing
celebrities play for fun without
the title and monetary demands...They see old friends
and mingle with adoring fans with the satisfaction of
knowing they are helping others...A win-win for
everyone! In the case of this event the money raised went to
the Youth Tennis Foundation of Northern California to
promote tennis and good sportsmanship to disadvantaged
CELEBRITY TENNIS TOURNAMENT - A FIRST?
subject of the celebrity tennis tournament is
and when was the first celebrity tennis tournament in
it originate in Southern
California... on the eastern seaboard? Westchester
NY?...Newport R.I.? Considering the year ours took
place 1963, it wouldn't surprise me if this were the
first celebrity tennis tournament, and a pioneering
model of it's kind. In thirty years collecting I don't recall ever
seeing reference to another. The closest would be a golf
one I have...a 1932
broadside poster I have for a Bobby Jones Champion's Day
golf benefit for "The Mayor's Official Committee
for the Relief of the Unemployed and Needy"...Held
on Long Island. (NYC mayor)...and that one was just
golfers, no movie stars..
happened to spot this poster in the inventory
of a New York City vintage poster dealer...It's not the
kind of poster that vintage poster dealers usually deal
in...These kinds of posters, often called a
have always been one of my favorite areas of collecting...They had a short
life span that only lasted till
the event started; afterwards intended to be
discarded...You couldn't buy them, they weren't sold as
souvenirs, so they were never intended to be
collectible. They were utilitarian...not necessarily meant to be
pretty...something real. I think that's why I like
them...they were a tool of commerce and you weren't
suppose to have it. Of the few
that were taken down and saved, the ones printed on
cardstock as opposed to paper are the most rare. Even
if saved, the cardstock ones lived a very
precarious life since
they were subject to getting creased or broken...thereby considered worthless and
tossed...So finding one that survived is rare;
especially a large 22"x 14" size like
this...Given all that...We're fortunate to get a
look this one...They're like a frozen piece of time you
can hang on the wall...bringing that time back into your
30 years collecting antique sports display pieces this
is my fourth
important tennis broadside, as they are not
easy to find. I have a Jack
Kramer vs. Bobby Riggs...Another Bill Tilden vs. Bruce
Barnes...and a Davis Cup one featuring USA vs. Spain.
This one though has the largest action image. The large
superimposed photo of Budge going for the ball seemingly in mid air takes up
almost 1/2 of the poster...such a great image...Possibly
the greatest Budge poster extant!
have a little personal connection to this poster in that
I've had brushes with two of the featured celebrities.
As a bellman at the top golf resort hotel in Napa Valley
the last 28 1/2 years I've assisted more
than I can recall...columnist Herb Caen 1916-1997,
listed on this poster, was a regular. He would drive
thru the circle in his Jag...and all the bellman knew
the drill...we'd all vie for him since he was a good
tipper...I helped him to his room many a time. If you
happened to be in front of the mansion when he drove up
you knew what to do...gave him the thumbs up
and went and met him in the parking lot before another
bellman got their! Along
with luggage he would usually have a couple
cardboard boxes of groceries that always seemed to be
from a Nob Hill market...One thing he always had was his
tennis racquet case...seems like it was blue and red
made of vinyl...kind of dated as I recall, looked twenty
or so years old but in real good condition.
other celebrity on the poster I had a brush with once
was Robert Stack 1919-2003...Hollywood producer
David Wolper, now passed away, used to put on The
Tournament of the Stars at our hotel...and the Celebes
would come by the bus load...literally...You'd see so many it
was boggling...And we'd escort them all to their rooms by
the cart load...One night I gave
Robert Stack a ride to his room and he was most
pleasant...At the time I couldn't remember who he was, I
just knew he was a celebrity...Afterwards I remembered
him from the TV. show Unsolved Mysteries that was
The event's headliner
Don Budge 1915 - 2000, grew up right
next door in Oakland. In the 1930's he was American tennis
"An excellent all-surface player, Don Budge sky-rocketed to fame in the late 1930s by winning the US Open doubles in 1936. He took the world by storm in the next two years by winning an unprecedented 13 Grand Slams (6 singles, 3 doubles, and 4 mixed doubles). He won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles of Wimbledon and the singles and mixed doubles of the US Open in 1937. In 1938, he defended all these titles and added the US Open doubles crown to his list of conquests. But his real claim to fame that year was the Grand Slam- winning all the four major tournaments in the same year. In 1939, Budge turned professional and celebrated in style by winning two majors- the Wembley Championship and the French Pro Championship. In the years to come, war curtailed tennis in the world but Budge added two more titles to his bag- the 1940 and 1942 US Pro Championships."
Let's hear what one of his peers had to say
Budge was the best of all. He owned the most perfect set of mechanics and he was the most consistent.... Don was so good that when he toured with
Sedgman, Gonzales, and Segura in 1954 at the age of thirty-eight, none of those guys could get to the net consistently off his serve—and Sedgman, as quick a man who ever played the game, was in his absolute prime then. Don could keep them pinned to the baseline with his backhand too. -Jack Kramer
Was a World No. 1 American tennis player who won 18 Grand Slam championships (1936–40): 5 in Singles, 6 in Women's Doubles, and 7 in Mixed Doubles.
Born in the small town of Beckwourth, Plumas County, California, Marble moved with her family at the age of five to San Francisco. A tomboy, she excelled in many sports, including baseball; but her brother persuaded her to try the more ladylike tennis. She quickly mastered the game, playing in Golden Gate Park. She suffered a setback at age fifteen when she was raped by a stranger, but she overcame the trauma and won several California junior tournaments.
The first woman to serve and volley, and noted for aggressive play called the "killer instinct" approach. This may account for her decisive and easy victories in challenge and early rounds. Marble being all business on the court, after defeating an opponent love and love, would go back to the locker room and chat-discussing the match as a friend and
confidant. The right-handed Marble was again challenged in 1934 after collapsing during a match at the French Championships. Doctors diagnosed her with pleurisy and tuberculosis, and she took an extended rest.
At the U.S. Championships, Marble won the Singles title (1936, 1938–40); the Women's Doubles title with Sarah Palfrey Cooke (1937–40); and the Mixed Doubles title with Gene Mako (1936), Don Budge (1938), Harry Hopman (1939), and Bobby Riggs (1940).
At Wimbledon, Marble won the Singles title (1939); the Women's Doubles title with Cooke (1938–39); and the Mixed Doubles title with Budge (1937–38) and Riggs (1939).
In Wightman Cup competition, Marble lost only one Singles and one Doubles match in the years she competed (1933, 1937–40).
According to Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Marble was ranked in the World Top Ten 1936–39 (no rankings issued 1940–45), reaching a career high in those rankings of World No. 1 in
1939. Marble was included in the year-end Top Ten rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association in 1932–33 and 1936–40. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1936-40.
Marble was the Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 1939 and 1940.
After capping a stellar amateur career in 1940, Marble turned professional and earned a great sum of
money, traveling around playing exhibition tournaments.
Through illness and victory, Marble had the support of her coach and mentor, Eleanor "Teach" Tennant, who changed her technique and influenced her life.
For a brief time after retirement, she worked on the Editorial Advisory Board of DC Comics and was credited as an Associate Editor on Wonder Woman. She created the "Wonder Women of History" feature for the comics, which told the stories of prominent women of history in comic form.
During World War II, Marble was married to Joe Crowley, a pilot, who was killed in action over Germany. Only days before his death, she miscarried their child following a car accident. After an attempt to kill herself, she recuperated and, in 1945, agreed to spy for U.S. intelligence. Her mission involved renewing contact with a former lover, a Swiss banker, and obtaining Nazi financial data. The operation ended when a Nazi agent shot her in the back, but she was extracted and recovered. Few details of the operation ever emerged. The story was told only after her death when Courting Danger ISBN 0-312-92813-0, a second autobiography, was published.
Marble greatly contributed to the desegregation of American tennis by writing an editorial in support of Althea Gibson for the July 1, 1950, issue of American Lawn Tennis Magazine. The article read, in part, "Miss Gibson is over a very cunningly wrought barrel, and I can only hope to loosen a few of its staves with one lone opinion. If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it's also time we acted a little more like gentle-people and less like sanctimonious hypocrites.... If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it's only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts." Marble said that, if Gibson were not given the opportunity to compete, "then there is an ineradicable mark against a game to which I have devoted most of my life, and I would be bitterly ashamed." Gibson, age 23, was given entry into the 1950 U.S. Championships, becoming the first African-American player, man or woman, to compete in a Grand Slam event.
In 1964, Marble was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She then settled in Palm Desert, California, where she taught tennis until her
Weakened by pernicious anaemia, Marble died at a hospital in Palm Springs, California.
Alice Marble Tennis Courts, providing a panoramic view of the Pacific ocean and the Golden Gate bridge from the top of Russian Hill in San Francisco, is named in honor of her.