Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Select A Series
We are extremely proud of all the California's Gold shows we have produced over the past 20 years on our State's rich history, cultural diversity, natural wonders, and amazing people.
Our program is also endorsed by a number of organizations including: the California Teachers Association; the California Federation of Teachers; the California State Library Foundation; the California Library Association; the California School Boards Association; the California Council for the Social Studies; and the California Historical Society.
Thanks again for your support, and as always, you are invited to join the adventure as we continue our search together for California's Gold.
California's Gold #1001 - SALT
Many of us who have flown into San Francisco have noticed huge ponds filled with water that ranges in color from deep red to light pink. We decided that we just had to get to the bottom of this California mystery.
When we finally arrived at the "ponds" we found one of California's most unique agricultures. Salt and brine shrimp are what is responsible for our crimson ponds. 300,000 tons of salt a year to be exact. Salt has been harvested from these ponds since the Gold Rush and has been a very important part of our states history.
Cargill Salt has to be one of the strangest and most beautiful places we have been, and here are a few of the things we found: salt stacks 90 feet high and 880 feet long, hundreds of salt ponds called crystallizers that average 20 to 40 acres in size and one of the few private railroads in the U.S.
With over 14,000 different uses for salt, it is a treat to see where it all comes from. This is a tour that you don't want to miss.
California's Gold #1002 - HIDDEN ALCATRAZ
Most of us have seen one of the countless films based on Alcatraz, from theBirdman to Clint Eastwood and his Escape From Alcatraz. Over a million peopleevery year take the ferry through the thick San Francisco fog to walk the cellblocks that housed the likes of Machine Gun Kelley and Al Capone. As usual Huellwasn't satisfied with the regular tour and went in search of the "HiddenAlcatraz".
It got it's name from the Spanish word Alcatraces, or Bird Island and didn'tsee human inhabitants until the US Military took it over in the mid 1800s.During the Civil War it was used as a prison for Southern privateers. After themore modern prison was built in the 1930s , the old Civil War prison was coveredover and virtually forgotten.
Join Huell and Luis as they go under Alcatraz and discover the labyrinth oftunnels and caves that honeycomb "The Rock". The remnants of ourstate's rich history are finally uncovered in this very special tour. There ismuch more to Alcatraz than meets the eye.
California's Gold #1003 - KAISER SHIPYARD
Working around the clock and 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Kaiser shipyardin Richmond California built 747 ships for the war effort during W.W.II. Withfull medical care, housing, day care and 24 hour meals, it was the model ofefficiency and the forerunner of Kaiser Permanente.
In our March episode of California's Gold, Huell and Luis visit the site ofthe Kaiser Shipyard and talk with people who worked there throughout the war,including some "Rosie the Riveters" who took the place of the many menwho were overseas.
As a special treat we follow one of the original Victory ships that was builtat the shipyard as it returns home. The SS Red Oak Victory was saved by the cityof Richmond and towed out of the Naval Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay down to itsnew home where it will be restored and used as a museum. We'll tag along on thisexciting day as a piece of California's Gold comes home.
California's Gold #1004 - SAN ONOFRE BEACH
Huell and Luis hit the beach in our April episode of California's Gold. Surfing has played a major role in the "California" lifestyle and has a rich and colorful history up and down our coast. One of the most famous and historic is San Onofre Beach in San Diego County.
Surfing got it's start in Polynesia over three thousand years ago and Hawaiian's have been riding waves for over one thousand. Surfing arrived in California in 1907 and has been a passion of Californians ever since.
Many of our states early surfing pioneers cut their chops on the famous waves at San Onofre Beach. Huell meets and reminisces with several members of the San Onofre Surfing Club and gets an inside look at California surfing history and beach culture. We'll meet the old timers and the new breed who call San Onofre home. So grab your ukulele and your surf board and hop in your Woody for a trip to the beach with Huell.
California's Gold #1005 - THINGS THAT COME BACK
At one time Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the GreatLakes. In the 1930s farmers choked off the four major rivers that fed the lakeand it quickly dried up. Once the home to millions of birds and herds of tuleelk and antelope, the lake bed is now covered in agriculture. But like allthings great in California, the lake refuses to disappear completely. Duringvery heavy winters, the lake partially re-fills with water and stops motoristsin their tracks as they come across a huge lake amongst the vineyards andorchards that fill the valley. Huell and Luis take a very special canoe ride inthis magical lake.
Anybody who has studied California history knows the name James Marshall andhis discovery of gold which sparked the beginning of the gold rush. Does thename Jenny Wimmer ring a bell? Probably not, but she played a major role inMarshall's discovery. Jenny Wimmer cooked for and took care of twenty men whoworked at Sutters Fort including James Marshall. When Marshall reached down intothe tailrace of the mill and picked up a small shiny nugget, it was Jenny Wimmerhe went to for conformation. Jenny had done quite a bit of mining and knew how totest for gold in a lye bucket she used for making soap. Huell and Luis travelback to Coloma to re-create that historic moment. As an special treat, theactual "Wimmer Nugget" comes home for the day as does many of Jenny'sdescendants.
Contacts: Marshall Gold Discovery State Park 530-622-3470.
California's Gold #1006 - TRESTLE
The San Diego & Arizona Railway has been called "the impossiblerailroad". They broke ground in 1907 and completed the line in 1919.Between San Diego and Arizona is some of the most treacherous countryside in theUS With a bevy of workman and a lot of dynamite they managed to snake their wayto Arizona. The railroad had many tunnels collapse over the years, especially inthe Carrizo Gorge. The railroad decided to build the Goat Canyon Trestle in 1932after a series of tunnel closures. The Goat canyon Trestle is one of the mostimpressive feats of engineering in the world.
Huell, Luis and a handful of ex-railroad employees hop on a 1932 Model Arailbus and work their way to the now unused trestle. The Goat Canyon Trestle isthe highest existing curved wooden trestle in the US Huell takes a close look atthis marvel from the top to the bottom. Men who worked on the line reminisceabout the trestle and the wonder of its size and beauty. This tour is not forthose with a fear of heights.
Contacts: Pacific Southwest Railway Museum (formerly San Diego Railroad Museum)
California's Gold #1007 - MUSCLE BEACH
It was one of the most famous addresses in the United States from 1934 to1959. It's not a house but a small plot of sand in Santa Monica, California.Muscle Beach started as a WPA project in 1934 and helped spawn the modernfitness movement that lives on today.
The original Muscle Beach was a plot of sand just south of Santa Monica Pier.In the beginning it wasn't about muscles, it was about fitness and fun. Men andwomen did somersaults and handstands, built human towers and threw each otheraround. Huell and Luis go back to the original plot of sand to visit with someof the men and women who made Muscle Beach their playground during its heyday.We'll see some wonderful old photos and home movies and hear some great stories.
This show has a particularly good ending as there a group of people who arebringing back the original Muscle Beach in it's original spot. The new MuscleBeach will have the old emphasis of fitness and fun and it's sure to be a hugesuccess.
California's Gold #1008 - WINE
Napa valley has become one of California's main tourist attractions. Thousands of people flock to the area for wine tasting and vineyard tours every year. What most people don't realize is that California's rich wine history got it's start in southern California.
In this grape filled adventure, Huell travels to one of the oldest winery's in California. The Guasti family established their winery in 1904 and at one time had 4000 acres of grapes in the Rancho Cucamonga area. A virtual town was built to house the employees and their families. It had its own school, firehouse, inn, church, and post office. In 1917 Guasti was the largest winery in the world.
As a special treat, Huell attends a "Guasti" reunion filled with ex-employees and their families that had lived and worked at the winery throughout it's history. We'll look at old photo's and listen to some wonderful stories. We'll also visit Joseph Filippi Winery which has been family run since 1922. Huell goes to the vineyards to take a close a look at what makes So. Cal. wine so special.
California's Gold #1009 - FLYING FISH
Catalina has been famous for many things over the years, Glass BottomBoats,Buffalo and the Casino to name a few. But one of the strangest and most popularattractions has been the Flying Fish Boat Trip which has been transportingvisitors on nighttime journeys to watch Catalina's flying fish since the turn ofthe century.
In 1924 William Wrigley decided to build a boat just for Flying Fish Tours.The Blanche W. is a 64-foot long open-deck wooden boat named after Wrigley'sgranddaughter Blanche. The boat is still outfitted with its original pew-stylemahogany benches, which seats 98 passengers. The boat cruises the islandscoastline at night, attracting flying fish with two 40-million candle-powerW.W.I spotlights. The spectacle of the fish leaping out of the water has beencompared to giant silver dragonflies soaring over the ocean.
Huell travels back to Catalina for a very special 75th anniversary cruise.William Wrigleys granddaughter Blanche (for whom the boat was named) comes backto the island and shares some wonderful stories with Huell. We'll even take aclose up look at a flying fish and enjoy a wonderful night on the sea.
California's Gold #1010 - LOMPOC MURAL
Imagine driving through Lompoc in the early 1940's and coming across a huge 12 acre American flag made up of red, white and blue flowers. That's just what people saw every spring for several years and it was a remarkable sight.
In 1942 the good folks at Bodger Seeds in Lompoc decided they could do something really spectacular to support the war effort. A 12 acre flower flag was their way of saying thanks to all the Americans who were fighting the good fight. The company planted "flags" in 1942, '43, '45 and 1952.
In a fitting tribute to an obscure piece of California history, the town of Lompoc decided the flower flag was a wonderful image for their annual Mural-in-a-Day event as part of the Old Town Faire. The mural was painted by 15 talented artist and is truly beautiful. Huell met some folks from Bodger Seed and even someone who helped plant the "flag" in 1952.
California's Gold #1011 - DEVILS POSTPILE
Surreal, awesome, unbelievable, weird? These are just some of the words thatcome out of your mouth when you view the Devils Postpile. Located in the EasternSierras, this formation is one of nature's true masterpieces.
Towering 60 feet over the San Joaquin River the postpile looks like a hugecathedral pipe organ built entirely of stone. The postpile is actually composedof thousands of columns of fine-grained, black - colored basalt. 100,000 yearsago cooling molten rock contracted, creating perfect cracks. As gravity pulledon the face it created thousands of columns and the postpile was born. JoinHuell as he tours this fine example of nature's "California's Gold".
California's Gold #1012 - ABALONE
They were once a mainstay on menus throughout California. You could go to the beach at low tide and pluck them from the rocks. Kids would have parties on the beach and roast them by the dozen. They have gone from a California tradition to near extinction. In this episode of California's Gold, we'll take a close look at the history of Abalone in California.
The Native Americans who once lived up and down the coast of California were the original abalone eaters. Not only did they use the flesh for food; they used the mother of pearl shells for their crafts. Huell visits a very early midden pile in Pt Lobos State Reserve and learns about its history.
The Japanese were the firsts to harvest abalone commercially in California and were diving for them as early as the turn of the century. Huell visits the site of one of the early Japanese abalone canneries. As a special treat, we go into Monterey Bay to watch as one of the original divers go for a dive in an authentic 1930's suit.
We couldn't do a show about abalone without a taste, so Huell joins a group of school kids as they pound, cook and eat a little piece of California's Gold.
KCET Launches Huell's Interactive Los Angeles
Visit the interactive
The Best of California's Gold. Call 800-255-5727. DVD for $49.95.