Posts Tagged ‘Jack Galliano’

Woody Guthrie – Grand Coulee Dam troubadour

posted on June 22, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer


"Roll On Columbia," music and lyrics, published by Sing Out, 1991.

“Roll On Columbia” music and lyrics, published by Sing Out, 1991.

The completion of Grand Coulee Dam on the mighty Columbia River in Washington was a major accomplishment for Henry J. Kaiser. It was there that he hired Sidney Garfield, MD, to run the industrial care program, and it was also where he proved himself to be an industrialist who treated labor as a partner.

After the dam was finished in 1941, and Henry J. Kaiser had moved on to the pressing task of building ships for World War II, there was still work to be done. The Bonneville Power Administration had been created in 1937 as a federal agency to manage, sell, and promote the huge amount of electric power produced by the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams. As part of its campaign for public support, the BPA produced two documentary films —Hydro (released 1940), and The Columbia, which began production in early 1941.

At the suggestion of Smithsonian folklorist Alan Lomax, the BPA commissioned famed folk singer Woody Guthrie to write several songs.

Columbia - credits 1

Film credits for “The Columbia”

In 1941 Woody recorded a set of 26 songs as the “Columbia River Ballads,” (later called “The Columbia River Collection”) many of which were used in the second film. World War II had stalled the project, and it wasn’t released until 1949 as The Columbia: America’s Greatest Power Stream.

Anna Canoni, Guthrie’s granddaughter and a director at the Woody Guthrie Foundation, remarked: “I think that was probably the only time he was paid. And they may have just said, ‘Write about this project,’ and then he took that to mean whatever he wanted it to mean for himself. I think some of his most powerful work came from that time period, from those 30 days that he spent on the Columbia River.”

"Grand Coulee Dam," painting by Jack Galliano, 1976. [2118 Bayside, Ordway building, Ray Baxter's office]

“Grand Coulee Dam,” painting by Jack Galliano, 1976.Kaiser Permanente collection.

Among the songs Guthrie recorded for BPA were:
“Roll Columbia, Roll”
“Roll On, Columbia, Roll On”
(adopted as the official folk song of the State of Washington in 1987)

“The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done”
“Pastures of Plenty”
“Grand Coulee Dam”
“The Song of the Grand Coulee Dam”


Years later, the destinies of Henry J. Kaiser and Woody Guthrie would cross again. During World War II, Henry was the most prolific merchant ship builder in the world, and Guthrie served in the U.S. Merchant Marine – although never aboard a Kaiser-built vessel. (Kaiser was also an avid supporter of merchant mariners). Guthrie’s first tour was aboard the Liberty ship SS William B. Travis, followed by the Liberty ship SS William Floyd. His last ship was the C3-S-A2 cargo ship SS Sea Porpoise; Guthrie was aboard when a German submarine torpedoed (but did not sink) her off the coast of Normandy while engaged in the invasion of Europe on July 5, 1944.

One of the lyrics from “The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done” (listen to it here) is:

There was a man across the ocean, I guess you knew him well,
His name was Adolf Hitler, goddam his soul to hell;
We kicked him in the Panzers and put him on the run,
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Which is followed by:

The people are building a peaceful world, and when the job is done
That’ll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

 Woody Guthrie and Henry J. Kaiser – each building a peaceful world, in their own way.


Special thanks to David Keller for supplying the “Roll On Columbia” cover

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Two Things You Didn’t Know about the 1960 Winter Olympics

posted on December 15, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer


Poster for 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, by Jack Galliano. (Author's collection)

Poster for 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, by Jack Galliano. (Author’s collection)

It’s December. Drought-weary Californians are looking skyward in hopes that this year we’ll get rain, and more importantly, snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

55 years ago, Kaiser Industries played a role in a major Sierra snow event – the 1960 Eighth Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California. The official poster for that Olympics was designed by Jack Galliano, of Kaiser Graphic Arts.

Steve Gilford, a Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources colleague, interviewed Galliano in 2004 and wrote this:

Jack Galliano was Art Director of Kaiser Graphic Arts with an office in the Kaiser headquarters in Oakland, Calif. First Henry and then Edgar Kaiser had relied both on his graphic skills and on his taste to carry out assignments as varied as a “sky’s the limit” 80th birthday party for Henry Kaiser to producing annual reports for the Kaiser companies. In 1967, he designed the first Kaiser Health Plan Annual report. Because his work seemed to be everywhere in the Kaiser organization, he’d become known as “The Palace Artist.”

“Palace artist” Jack Galliano, photo by Steve Gilford

“Palace artist” Jack Galliano, photo by Steve Gilford

Galliano’s most famous work though was not done for a Kaiser company. Kaiser Graphic Arts was a division within the Kaiser companies and operating as a business, recharging for work done within the Kaiser family of organizations and also competing very successfully for outside business. One such competition was for the design of the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics poster, a prestigious assignment that was wanted by graphic designers everywhere. Galliano entered and won. His Olympic poster was produced in five languages and distributed around the world.

The poster was printed at Kaiser Graphic Arts’ union shop nearby in Oakland at 865 Isabella Street.


The selection of Squaw Valley was controversial. When resort owners Wayne Poulsen and Alexander Cushing (no relation) bid on the Games, it was a long shot. The resort had only one chairlift, two rope tows, and lodging for 50. To pay for the massive expansion necessary to properly host the Games, the federal government provided about a quarter of the $80 million required.

Dauphine Olympics car

Renault – official car of the 1960 Winter Olympics

There was another Kaiser connection. The official car of the 1960 Winter Olympics was the Renault Dauphine, a rear engine economy car (you know it’s an economy car when the advertising boasts of features such as a heater and defroster), and 75 of them were used to shuttle athletes around. (This little beast was not the same as Kaiser’s 1950 “Henry J,” also a practical and affordable car.)

The year before, Kaiser Motors’ joint venture with Industrias Kaiser Argentina S.A. contracted with Renault to produce the small car and badge it the IKA Dauphine. The Dauphine was also produced in Brazil under license by Willys-Overland (another Kaiser Motors company at the time) between 1959 and 1968.


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