San Francisco Express Times

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Cover of the March 21, 1968 issue
Cover of Good Times (April 9, 1971)

San Francisco Express Times was a counterculture tabloid underground newspaper edited by Marvin Garson and published weekly in San Francisco, California from January 24, 1968 to March 25, 1969, for a total of 62 issues, covering and promoting radical politics, rock music, arts and progressive culture in the Bay Area.[1] It was a member of the Underground Press Syndicate, and sold for 15 cents.

Marvin Garson was a graduate of the University of California and veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, where he edited an FSM newsletter, Wooden Shoe, along with his wife Barbara Garson. He started the Express Times with co-founder Bob Novick[2] and participation by David Lance Goines, Alice Waters and others. Regular contributors included Todd Gitlin, Greil Marcus, Paul Williams, Sandy Darlington, and Marjorie Heins.[3] Staff photographers were Jeffrey Blankfort followed by Nacio Jan Brown and Robert Altman. Artwork was provided by Jaxon, along with the syndicated editorial cartoons of Ron Cobb. During the year of its existence highlights included extensive on-the-scene coverage of student rioting and the prolonged strike at San Francisco State University, and Lenny Heller's serialized novel of guerrilla warfare in the USA, Berkeley Guns.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Express Times was one of a number of underground newspapers successfully infiltrated by the FBI, which had a paid informant on the staff.[4]

In December 1968 editor Marvin Garson spent 20 days in jail in Chicago as a result of his participation as a journalist in the street-fighting outside the Democratic National Convention in August.

Good Times[edit]

Starting in April 1969 the San Francisco Express Times changed its name to Good Times, publishing under that title, with a substantially different editorial policy, until August 1972.[5] In the post SF State climate the paper's contents were a good deal more relaxed.

One member of the editorial collective of Good Times, a resident of the Good Times Commune named Richard Gaikowski (1936–2004), has been identified by the History Channel's 2009 television program MysteryQuest as a possible suspect in the unsolved San Francisco Zodiac Killer case, although there is only circumstantial evidence (including alleged clues planted in Good Times) tying him to the case.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ About this newspaper: San Francisco Express Times, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, retrieved March 29, 2010
  2. ^ Glessing, Robert. The Underground Press in America (University Press, 1971), p. 32.
  3. ^ Applegate, Edd. Literary Journalism: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors (Greenwood, 1996), p. 160.
  4. ^ Armstrong, David. A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America (South End Press, 1981), p. 145.
  5. ^ About this newspaper: Good Times, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, retrieved March 29, 2010.