Blackie the Wonder Horse Swims the San Francisco Bay

  |   History, Urban Wildlife, Video   |   5 Comments

Why on God’s green earth did anyone dream up this 1938 stunt? To quote the narrator, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

This poor horse chased a handful of sugar and towed a fat, useless human named “Shorty Roberts,” as it swam the Golden Gate just to settle a bet about whether horses can swim:

The swim took 23 minutes and 15 seconds—an hour less than it had taken an Olympic swimmer. When Blackie and Shorty arrived in SF, the SPCA was waiting, but admitted that Shorty looked much worse than the horse and didn’t cite him. Shorty always insisted that the horse loved swimming in the bay.

Sure he did, and why not?


Recommended book: Historic Photos of San Francisco

  • charinsky | Dec 3, 2009 at 9:30 am

    stupid people! they wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it if the horse got tired and started to drown.

  • olde nasty | Dec 3, 2009 at 11:13 am

    pffft, big deal – tell it to jack la lanne!

  • links for 2009-12-03 | Dec 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    […] Blackie the Wonder Horse Swims the San Francisco Bay (Spots Unknown) […]

  • Orin | Dec 20, 2009 at 4:14 am

    They had a boat nearby the whole time — for the man’s sake as much as the horse’s — and the horse had swam similar distances before. I’ve been defending the Wikipedia article for a long time from people who claim that this isn’t the same horse that has a statue in Tiburon, CA, but it is.

  • Drifter | Apr 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I don’t think so… The sites on the Tiburon Blackie have a lot of that horse’s history, which is completely different ( owners, places, background) and mention nothing about swimming the Golden Gate.