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Re-live the days of S.F.'s thrilling Playland at the Beach in show today at Pleasanton Library

Author, photos capture scenes, memories of famous amusement park

Those who remember Playland at the San Francisco beach can refresh their memories and possible retrace their steps in a special free public presentation on the long-gone amusement park at the Pleasanton Public Library at 2 p.m. today.

Playland was lost to the developers' wrecking ball long ago, but its history and spirit live again in a slide show and commentary by San Francisco historian James R. Smith, author of "San Francisco's Playland at the Beach: The Early Years."

In his book, he traces the origins and development of the park and provides a vivid portrait of Playland at its height from the 1920s through the 1940s, showing rare photos—many never-before-seen—from the history of this great park.

Smith said: "Once upon a time, San Francisco was the home of one of the greatest amusement parks ever: Playland at the Beach. A magical place, revered in the hearts of San Franciscans, Playland encompassed socializing, dining, playing, strolling and sight-seeing. From the 1920s to the 1970s, Playland enthralled generations."

Towne Center Books will sell Playland at the Beach at the event.

The presentation will start at 2 p.m. Sunday in the main meeting room of the Pleasanton library, which is located at 400 Old Bernal Ave. For more information, call senior librarian Penny Johnson at 925-931-3405.

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