There were plenty of surprises in store for the 50,000 revelers who flocked to Fisherman's Wharf to see flamboyant California Democrat Willie Brown sworn in as San Francisco's first black mayor.
But it wasn't the elaborate firework display, the 10,000 meals dished out to the homeless, nor the gushing congratulatory phone call from President Bill Clinton broadcast live over the public address system that piqued the Bay City's scribblers.
The press has expected the maverick politician to parade his attractive young girlfriend, Kamala Harris, an ambitious deputy district attorney 31 years Brown's junior and his 'constant companion' on the campaign trail.
To their puzzlement, he was instead joined on stage for the 1996 inauguration by his estranged wife Blanche, despite announcing years earlier that the two had amicably split.
Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris dated San Francisco's first black mayor Wilile Brown in the 1990s, while he was still married but separated from his wife. Pictured together a dinner in 1995
Brown is 31 years Harris' senior and she was his 'constant companion' on the campaign trail. They met while he was 60 and Harris was 29
Brown was State Assembly Speaker for 15 years and appointed Harris to unemployment insurance appeals board and California medical assistance commission, both lucrative positions. The pair are pictured in 2005
When columnist Herb Caen declared 'It's all over!' the next day he was referring to Brown and Harris, whom Caen had tipped to wed.
'This news came as a shock to many, including those who found Kamala Harris attractive, intelligent and charming,' Caen wrote in his 'Willie Watch' column for the San Francisco Chronicle.
'Also flabbergasted: the brain-trusters who found Kamala the perfect antidote to whatever playboy tendencies still reside in the mayor-elect's jaunty persona.'
The fling may have fizzled long ago, but in the decades since, Harris has struggled to shirk her association with Brown, whom she has described as 'an albatross hanging around my neck'.
When DailyMail.com reached out to Brown's wife Blanche Vitero (pictured) this week to ask what she thought of Harris being named as Biden's presidential running mate she broke into laughter
Scrutiny of their relationship and suspicions that her career benefited from his political patronage, are likely to intensify now she has been unveiled as Joe Biden's running mate.
When they met around 1993, Brown, a noted lawyer and civil rights leader, was the speaker of the California assembly and regarded as one of the State's most influential legislators.
He had turned 60 while Harris was 29.
Brown was notorious for his love of Jaguar sports cars, flash designer suits – a look he dubbed 'bold conservative' despite his liberal leanings – and for being named one of the world's ten sexiest men by Playgirl magazine.
He had also been seen with a 'succession' of beautiful women despite having been married for decades. No wonder then that Clinton once dubbed Brown 'the real Slick Willy.'
'The measure of his flamboyance is he'll go to a party with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other,' James Richardson, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee told People Magazine in 1996.
Brown insisted that his dates should 'absolutely be the best-dressed woman in the room,' added Richardson, who published his own biography of Brown later that year.
Harris, meanwhile, was regarded as a diligent and able prosecutor 'on the way up' at the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, where she had worked for the previous three years.
Brown had been publicly dating Harris for some time, but when Brown was inaugurated in 1996, his estranged wife Blanche was by his side after 'splitting' two years prior
Both Kamala and Brown's wife Blanche were front row as Brown spoke in 2014 at the dedication of Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge at Treasure Island
President Bill Clinton dubbed Brown the 'real Slick Willy'. The pair are pictured together in 2000 in San Francisco
As Brown's 'new steady' she soon found herself rubbing shoulders with many of California's political movers and shakers.
As well as gifting his young squeeze a BMW car, the relationship reaped even more tangible benefits when Brown handed Harris two influential positions.
'Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, continuing his rush to hand out patronage jobs while he retains his powerful post, has given high-paying appointments to his former law associate and a former Alameda County prosecutor who is Brown's frequent companion,' the Los Angeles Times noted in 1994.
'Brown, exercising his power even as his speakership seems near an end, named attorney Kamala Harris to the California Medical Assistance Commission, a job that pays $72,000 a year.
'Harris, a former deputy district attorney in Alameda County, was described by several people at the Capitol as Brown's girlfriend.'
Brown also appointed Harris to the state's Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a lucrative position worth a further $97,088 a year, according to the same article.
She took a leave of absence from her prosecutor duties to serve in the positions.
Press reports unearthed by DailyMail.com confirm that by the time he hooked up with Harris, Texas-born Brown had for years been openly separated from Blanche, a dance teacher whom he married in 1958 and had three children with.
According to an archived 1984 profile in the New York Times the couple went their separate ways in 1982.
Richardson's book says the union ended a decade earlier,