Emperor and the President | KCET
Emperor and the President
Like other states, the hierarchy of California's government begins with our Governor and weaves its way down through offices such as Secretary of State, Attorney General and Senator. What is surprising about California, is that we once had an Emperor and a President.
California's President William Ide emerged during the 24 days of the Bear Flag revolt of 1846. Ide posted a proclamation in Sonoma declaring liberty for California settlers, which set the stage for California's statehood. In admiration of his bravery and leadership, his fellow Bear Flaggers and other pioneers dubbed him President.
Later in the 19th Century, a wealthy businessman who had lost a huge fortune, walked into the office of the San Francisco Bulletin and proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
From 1859 until his death in 1880, the eccentric Emperor Norton continued to issue proclamations, circulate his own currency and roam the streets of San Francisco dressed in a Civil War uniform. Residents and business owners humored the loveable character by paying him "taxes," providing him with meals and transportation, and saluting him.
Although their titles are unofficial, Huell discovers that the legacy of our Emperor and President continues as he visits the locales frequented by Emperor Norton in San Francisco, Sonoma and the popular adobe named for President Ide in Red Bluff. Huell also pays tribute at both of their gravesites, permanent reminders of their contribution to California.
The San Jacinto Mountains are one of the most impressive natural wonders in our entire state. No other mountains on this continent rise so high so fast - in slightly less than seven horizontal miles, the peak rises from 800 to 10,804 feet above sea level! But these mountains hold another distinction as well. They are the site of two of the greatest engineering accomplishments ever attempted by man. In this adventure, host Huell Howser first visits the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which takes passengers from the warm desert floor to a snowy alpine environment in a matter of minutes.
Huell visits two Los Angeles-area families that faithfully create elaborate Nacimientos, or Nativity scenes, which are a focal point of many Mexican American homes during the Christmas season.
Huell travels to Edwards, California to visit Dryden Flight Research Center, which is NASA's primary center for atmospheric flight research and operations. Before man could walk on the moon, they had to land safely and the Lunar Lander needed a lot of fine-tuning. Huell meets up with some of the men who spent many hours working on and flying that amazing craft in preparation for the first moon landing.
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.
A shout echos through Yosemite ... "let the fire fall," and from 1872 to 1969 that's just what happened. Join Huell at the top of Glacier Point with Nic Fiore who was the last to push a pile of burning embers off the edge, creating the beautiful red hot "waterfall" effect know as Firefall. Then down to the bottom at Camp Curry, the best spot to view Firefall, where Huell talks with Keith and Ginny Bee who for 42 years ran the nightly outdoor theater show which led up to the fiery finale of this now lost California tradition.
We all know about Hearst Castle, but few people realize the Castle is surrounded by a 80,000-acre working ranch owned and operated by the Hearst Foundation. Huell gets a first-hand look at the Hearst Ranch from Steve Hearst.
Huell meets Joe Rinaudo whose passion is a 1926 Fotoplayer, which uses music rolls like those for player pianos to provide music and sound effects to silent films. Joe spent thousands of hours restoring his Fotoplayer and although the "talkies" made them obsolete in the late 1920s, Huell discovers there is still no better way to enjoy a silent movie than with Joe, his hand cranked projector and his Fotoplayer.
For 22 years, loyal diners have been flocking to the beloved Jun Won in Koreatown where Owner Yong Won Jun brings much more than just Korean BBQ to his hungry customers. In the midst of success, however, the Jun family is faced with a grueling challenge.
For Chefs Debbie Michail and Wafa Ghreir, food is a way to link back to their Middle-Eastern culture. To have the opportunity to enjoy their meals is to gain an understanding of Middle-Eastern traditions.
The Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa peoples have maintained a close relationship with the Klamath River. They have secured traditional fishing rights and mobilized against the threats of dams and agriculture, setting an example for Native environmental rights.