An entertaining look at our state's rich history, cultural diversity, natural wonders, and amazing people. Hosted by Huell Howser.
California's Gold Previous Broadcasts
Pismo Clams (Episode #5003)
KQED Life: Mon, Dec 31, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell travels to Pismo Beach on the coast 10 miles south of San Luis Obispo, and learns how its famous clams, plentiful in the region at the turn of the century, did their part in creating an image for one of the last of the classic California beach towns.
Squeegee (Episode #5002)
KQED Life: Fri, Dec 28, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
The squeegee was such a simple invention, but like Kleenex and Jell-O, its name has become synonymous with all rubber-bladed window cleaners. Join Huell Howser as he visits the Ettore Corporation in Oakland to learn first-hand about squeegees developed in 1936 by Ettore Steccone.
Nitt Witt Ridge (Episode #4011)
KQED Life: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell Howser travels to the Central Coast in search of Nitt Witt Ridge, an unusual state historical landmark in Cambria Pines. Built from cement and found objects like bottle caps, toilet seats and abalone shells, this folk art home was lovingly built by self-taught artist Art Beal over a period of fifty years.
Corona Road Race (Episode #4009)
KQED Life: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
In the early 1900s Corona was known for its citrus, and even dubbed "The World's Lemon Capitol." Legend has it that Corona was laid out to resemble a wagon wheel with Grand Boulevard as the rim. This circular street is still probably one of the most unusual thoroughfares in the world, and from 1913 to 1916 it was even used as a racetrack. Join Huell Howser as he steps back in time to recreate the Corona Road Races complete with vintage race cars and even an attendee from the 1916 race.
Missing San Francisco (Episode #4008)
KQED Life: Tue, Dec 25, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
The Berkeley, an 1898 steam ferryboat operated for 60 years on San Francisco Bay, and now has a loving home at the San Diego Maritime Museum. Likewise, the organ from the Fox Theatre has a new life entertaining audiences at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. Join Huell Howser as he retraces the journeys of these two items from their beginnings in San Francisco.
Drawbridge (Episode #4007)
KQED Life: Mon, Dec 24, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Drawbridge is a small, marshy island at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. People started going there in 1876 for the excellent hunting and fishing. By the early 20th Century, Drawbridge had become a full time community for a handful of families. It had also become something of a weekend resort. By the 1940s, pollution in the bay and urbanization nearby had destroyed most of the island's hunting and fishing. Today, Drawbridge is a ghost town of gray, weathered buildings sinking into the bay, and is part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Huell goes back to Drawbridge with some of the original inhabitants and gets a very special tour.
Fire Steamer (Episode #4006)
KQED Life: Fri, Dec 21, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell travels to the 2002 National SPAAMFAA Winter Convention in San Bernardino. SPAAMFAA stands for "Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America." This get together was a wonderful place to get glimpse of our state's fire- fighting history. There were all kinds of apparatus from small hand pumpers to elaborate steam driven engines from the turn of the century. The highlight of the day was Dave Hubert's lovingly restored rig, the "Reno #1," which served the city of Reno, Nevada from 1902 to 1922. Dave pulled out all the stops and did a "full steam" and a run behind special horses that are trained just for this purpose.
Erle Stanley Gardner (Episode #4005)
KQED Life: Thu, Dec 20, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
The City of Temecula is nestled in a lush valley about 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Southwest Riverside County, just north of the San Diego County line. Besides a thriving wine industry, significant mission history and the distinction of being on the Butterfield Stage route, Temecula was also home to Erle Stanley Gardner. The lawyer-turned-writer, best known for bringing Perry Mason to life through novels, radio, film and television settled in Temecula on a 3000 acre ranch he dubbed "Rancho del Paisano." Remaining there from 1937until his death in 1970, he was an inexhaustible writer sometimes dictating 5000 words to one of his four secretaries before breakfast. He also indulged his outdoorsman spirit by exploring the rugged ranch with his dogs. Join Huell as he strolls the grounds of the former home of Erle Stanley Gardner accompanied by a longtime ranch manager, one of Gardner's secretaries and Gardner's 99-year-old widow, Jean.
Sub-Net (Episode #4004)
KQED Life: Wed, Dec 19, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
It's huge, metal and reaches across the Golden Gate, but it's not a bridge. Join Huell as he visits the site of the WWII antisubmarine net built to keep Japanese subs out of San Francisco. Long before the Tiburon Sub-Net Depot was there, this small piece of land across the bay from San Francisco had many incarnations. Among them were: home to Native Americans, an original Spanish Ranchero, the largest Codfish drying plant on the west coast, a coaling station for the Navy, and it was where the cables for the Golden Gate Bridge were spun. In fact, if you look closely at low tide, you can still see them. Come on along with us as we get an up-close look at this little, but important, piece of California's Gold.
Fire Lookout (Episode #4003)
KQED Life: Tue, Dec 18, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Travel with Huell to Sequoia National Forest to visit historic Buck Rock Fire Lookout. Established in the early 1900s, Buck Rock Lookout was one of the first fire detection locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The current lookout building, constructed in 1923, is historically significant as a representation of the earliest live-in towers in California. Huell climbs 172 stairs to an elevation of 8500 feet to interview the woman who currently staffs the lookout through the fire season, and to learn what it's like to live perched on the edge of a cliff! We'll also visit with a woman who staffed the lookout for many years in the '40s.
Modjeska House (Episode #4002)
KQED Life: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell visits the historic home and gardens of Helena Modjeska, still considered Poland's most famous Shakespearean actress, and a star of the 19th-century American stage. Named Arden by Modjeska and her husband, the two settled in Santiago Canyon in Orange County in 1888. The estate they built, surrounded by oaks and running brooks, has been faithfully preserved. The Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in Orange County and is open to the public for tours.
White House (Episode #4001)
KQED Life: Fri, Dec 14, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
How does Huell tour the White House and the Oval Office without ever leaving California? He travels to Hobby City in Anaheim and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The Hobby City Doll and Toy Museum contains literally thousands of dolls of all eras and styles, but it's what's outside that caught Huell's attention. Join Huell when he meets the "First Lady" of this exact, half-scale replica of the White House. Then travel to the Oval Office with Huell as he gets a guided tour of most important office in the world, or at least a copy of it, located in The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Trees (Episode #3013)
KQED Life: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
As we all know, California has some spectacular scenery and our great variety of trees makes up a large part of it. In this adventure, Huell visits three "big" trees that are a great example of California's Gold.
First Huell travels to Santa Barbara to see the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Given to a little girl as a gift from an Australian seaman, the sapling was planted in 1876. That little sapling is now the largest Moreton Bay Fig in the continental U.S. The tree is 42 feet around its base, 80 feet tall and has a branch spread of 176 feet.
Next it's off to Temecula and the former ranch of Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason Novels. On this spot stands the largest California Live Oak in the world. It stands 96 feet tall, with a trunk circumference of 20 feet and a branch spread of 590 feet. It is estimated to be at least 800 years old. This tree is so big that most people think it is a grove of trees.
We end the show in Kings Canyon National Park at the General Grant Tree. This tree is the third largest tree in the world. It stands 267 feet tall and is 2000 years old. What makes this tree so special is that it is our nation's official Christmas tree. The tree was officially dedicated on April 28, 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge. Ever since 1926, people from the community and visitors from around the world have trekked to the tree at Christmas time to celebrate our nation and the spirit of the holidays.
Windmills (Episode #3012)
KQED Life: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
The first stop on our adventure is the Dutch Windmill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which was built in 1902, at a cost of $16,000. It is 75 feet high, and 33 feet in diameter at the base, its sails have a span of 102 feet and it was capable of pumping 30,000 gallons of fresh water per hour from underground to a reservoir on Strawberry Hill. Despite being a great success for a few years (so much so that a second windmill was built), by 1913 electric pumps were introduced, so the windmills began to become obsolete. In August 1976, volunteers from the US Navy Reserve started to restore the rundown Dutch Mill. Work continued through to completion in 1981. The second windmill, which is close by, is patiently waiting its turn to be brought back to its original glory. Huell visits both windmills and gets a first hand look at these historic bits of California's Gold.
From the historic to the cutting edge of technology, Huell's next stop is sure to make you gasp. We travel to Enron Wind in Tehachapi to look at the biggest and most modern windmill we could find. Join Huell as he climbs 213 feet straight up to the top of this amazing machine. The blades are 112 feet long each, for a combined wing span (with the center hub) of 231 feet. If you're afraid of heights, this show is sure to make you squirm.
Giant Rock (Episode #3011)
KQED Life: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Join Huell as he looks into strange, out of this world gold in the California desert. His first stop is Giant Rock - considered to be the world's largest, freestanding bolder, and a long-time sacred site to Native Americans. In the 1950s it became a UFO airport according to George Van Tassel, who was contacted by aliens there, and the location was host to UFO conventions until the late '70s.
One of the things Van Tassel was told to do by the aliens was to build the Integratron, which is the next stop. This fabled building/machine is supposed to restore youth. Although never completed, Huell will get a "sound bath" and see for himself if its healing powers really do exist. Hold onto your seats, this will be a wild ride.
California/China Connection (Episode #3010)
KQED Life: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
California and China have had a long and storied connection, the most well known is the Chinese laborers who helped build the California railroads. But on this adventure, Huell finds a few lesser-known examples of California's and China's Gold.
A brief stop at the Golden State Bonsai Collection-North in Oakland introduces us to the Bonsai tree given to Chinese Envoy Anson Burlingame of the Lincoln Presidency. Burlingame opened China to the U.S. in the 1860s, and this souvenir from his tenure has been in the U.S. ever since.
Huell's next stop is The Social Saloon of the SS China built in 1866. The passenger ship made many trips from the U.S. to China before it was beached on Belvedere Cove in 1886. Huell visits its beautifully restored gilded Victorian drawing room that was salvaged when the side-wheeler was burned for scrap metal.
Crookedest Street (Episode #13011H)
KQED Plus: Sat, Dec 8, 2012 -- 5:30 PM
Huell goes in search of the crookedest street in the world. A small section of Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco is just miles away from the more famous Lombard Street. Which street is crookeder? Huell grabs a gang of experts and finally solves this mystery.
Beaches (Episode #3009)
KQED Life: Fri, Dec 7, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell strolls two beaches that are a treasure hunter's paradise. In the coastal town of Fort Bragg, Huell visits what the locals call "Glass Beach," where you'll find a kaleidoscope of colored glass glittering in the Pacific surf: azure, scarlet, mauve, amber, amethyst and teal. Next, Huell travels 25 miles north of Eureka to Patricks Point State Park where he finds a gently covered strip of sand named "Agate Beach." Mother Nature has polished semi-precious agates into beautiful little gems on this aptly named beach.
Vernal Pools (Episode #3008)
KQED Life: Thu, Dec 6, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
For years Huell has been getting letters telling him he should do a show about vernal pools. Well, now he has. Just a short drive from Sacramento on an old military base, Huell meets up with a couple of experts and a bunch of school kids all eager to explore the flora and fauna that live in and around these wonderful, natural pools. As they go from pool to pool, Huell learns that even if they are only a few acres apart, they can be totally different worlds.
Now, after all these years of wondering what these pools were, and saying, "I don't even know what they look like," Huell finally does. And as always, you're invited to join him as he finds out.
Will Rogers (Episode #3007)
KQED Life: Wed, Dec 5, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Will Rogers has got to be one of the all-time great American characters. Often called the "Cowboy Philosopher," he kept America laughing through some of its toughest years. Will was a radio commentator, newspaper columnist and motion picture star.
In 1922, Will bought property above Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades and built a summer cottage. The family loved the place so much that Will had a proper ranch built and the family moved there in 1928. In 1944, after the death of Mrs. Rogers, the property became Will Rogers State Historic Park and is now a well loved tourist destination. The ranch has been perfectly maintained and is filled with all of the Rogers family original furnishings and memorabilia. It's like stepping back into Will's boots.
What makes Huell's tour so special, is that it's given by Will's last remaining child Jimmy Rogers. Jimmy grew up at the ranch and shares many wonderful memories of a home that was dearly loved by all. This program is now itself a part of California's history because shortly after the interview was filmed, Jimmy Rogers passed away. From the ranch buildings to the polo fields that Will hosted many matches on, to the personal remembrances of his son, it's a tour you won't want to miss.
Zamboni (Episode #3006)
KQED Life: Tue, Dec 4, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Huell learns about the machines that clean the ice at ice rinks and professional hockey events around the world. Would you believe the Zamboni and was invented right here in sunny Southern California? Huell joins up with the son of the inventor, and visits the factory where it all started. Then he tops off the day with a trip to the Anaheim Pond, home of the Mighty Ducks to see the Zamboni in action.
Little Hollywood Cars (Episode #3005)
KQED Life: Mon, Dec 3, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
When do you think the economy car hit the American market? Most people would say the '70s or maybe the '60s, but you might be surprised to know that in 1930, the American Austin car company premiered a miniature car that could get 40 miles to the gallon. The cars were not a huge success with the general public, but Hollywood fell in love! Huell visits with a man who has the largest collection of these little cars in the world. We'll see some great cars and look at some fun film clips from Hollywood's golden age. Have you ever wondered what happens to the countless cars that have been driven over cliffs, crushed, crashed and blown up in thousands of movies? Most of those cars were miniature cars that were built for the movies and believe it or not, there is a man who has a huge collection of these "movie" cars. Huell gets a special look at some very unique little Hollywood cars.