On Stage | KCET
Visit two unique outdoor California theaters with long traditions of their own. First stop is the Spreckles Organ in San Diego, the world's largest outdoor organ. Weekly summer concerts have been held there since 1915. Then we travel to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, where the unique art form tableaux vivants, or "living pictures," is practiced to amazing effect.
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.
Huell travels in search of the geographic center of our state and in the process visits a whole string of towns that lay claim to being " the center of California." With the help of locals and a cartographer from the U.S. Geological Survey, Huell finally locates the exact spot and marks it by planting a state flag.