Delta Queen | KCET
For 50 years one of the most popular ways to travel up and down the mighty Mississippi River has been aboard the authentic paddlewheel steamboat Delta Queen. To ride on this boat is to step back in time -- in fact, the Delta Queen has been declared a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But true riverboat buffs will tell you that the Delta Queen was not originally built to travel on the Mississippi River. It's a California boat, built in Stockton in the late 1920's for service on the Sacramento River. The Delta Queen spent the first 20 years of her life as a night-boat taking passengers back and forth from Sacramento to San Francisco and becoming a familiar and much-loved part of the California landscape. In 1947, the proud paddlewheeler left California, was towed through the Panama Canal and began her service on the Mississippi River. Now, 50 years later, producer/host Huell Howser travels over 2,000 miles east to rediscover the Delta Queen's California history and roots. Also, along for the rid are several Californians who remember her "good ole days" and have great stories to tell about her time on the Sacramento River.
Huell goes straight to the TOP! Finished in 1874, California's Capitol Building is a stunning neoclassical gem. With all great buildings of this size, there are lots of steps. Some steps are very obvious, like the set that leads up to the front entrance, but this building has lots of "step" stories and even a few that are very scary to climb.
There is a reason that old lighthouses could send a beam of light for miles. Most lighthouses used a Fresnel lens, which looks like a beehive made of glass. These lenses are works of art and the one that graced Point Fermin Lighthouse is no exception. In this adventure, Huell learns the history of the lens, which was removed from Point Fermin and changed hands many times.
They're one of the most famous air squadrons in the world -- serving as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors not only for our Navy, but for our country. We're talking about the Blue Angels who, since first formed in 1946, have been demonstrating their flying skills and maneuvers to literally millions of spectators each year. And for over 30 years the Blue Angels have been a part of "California's Gold." Since 1967 the squadron has spent the winter at Naval Air Facility, El Centro, training pilots and new crew members.
California has a rich maritime history and has been at the forefront of naval warfare since the beginning. In this special one-hour adventure, Huell visits two aircraft carriers that are now museums in the waters of California. First it's off to San Diego to visit the USS Midway, which has steamed through a 47-year career of service. Imagine a carrier that was commissioned in 1945 and served as a flagship in Desert Storm in 1991. No other carrier served as long as the USS Midway. She opened in 2004 as a naval aviation museum and is now the pride of San Diego's waterfront.
The Kings Highway - or El Camino Real has long been a part of California's rich history. From its humble beginnings as a dusty trail, it quickly became California's first "super highway" connecting all 21 Missions.
Join Huell Howser as he learns first hand about the road and its famous bells from author and historian Max Kurillo. Huell also joins up with Cal Trans as they install a new roadside bell, and even recreates a walk with a Padre and burro along an original
dirt section of el Camino Real at La Purisima Mission in Lompoc.
Huell travels to Central California to visit the 80 acre Masumoto Family Farm. Huell's host is David "Mas" Masumoto and his family who have a deep connection to the land. Mas is an award winning author of such books as "Epitaph for a Peach" and "Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Harvesting Legacies from the Land".
It wasn't always pretty, and it didn't always work, but the "doctors" of the Gold Rush did the best they could to take care of the throngs of immigrants who came to California in search of fame and fortune. Sacramento's Sutter's Fort is the backdrop of this adventure. Huell hears the story of how the Fort was chosen as the site of the first hospital in Sacramento that housed doctors, midwifes, Chinese herbalists certainly some charlatans with plenty of snake oil to sell. With the help of docents and some real doctors, it's sure to be an education.