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It began back in 1941 when it was known as Camp Cooke and served as a U.S. Army training facility for tanks and infantry troops. With the advent of the missile age in the 1950s, the land was transferred to the U.S Air Force for use as a missile training base. The first missile was launched from this facility in 1958 and since then almost 2,000 missiles and space boosters have followed suit.

Located on our state's central coast near the town of Lompoc, Vandenberg AFB is not only the U.S. Air Force's third largest installation, but an important part of our state's and nation's space history. In this episode of "California's Gold," host Huell Howser visits Vandenberg for a first-hand look at this huge base which covers over 98,000 acres and is literally filled with reminders and remnants of our space heritage.

Huell is taken on a tour that includes stops at sites of the first satellite launches from California, and an early Thor missile launch facility that is now listed as a National Historic Landmark because it is one of the best and most intact surviving examples of 1950s space technology. Huell also visits Altas missile sites, an underground Titan missile site and the Space and Missile Heritage Center filled with space and missile artifacts. The adventure ends with a look at some of the state-of-the-art facilities and hardware which today are making history and breaking new ground in the space field. Vandenberg AFB continues to be an important and, in fact, vital part of our space program and, as we discover on this visit, it is also a fine example of "California's Gold."

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Mt. San Jacinto

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.

  • 2016-10-29T11:30:00-07:00


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.

  • 2016-11-06T11:00:00-08:00
  • 2016-11-12T11:00:00-08:00

Lunar Landing

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.

  • 2016-11-09T11:00:00-08:00


  • 2016-11-10T11:00:00-08:00

Crookedest Street

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.

  • 2016-11-16T11:00:00-08:00


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.

  • 2016-11-17T11:00:00-08:00

Hearst Ranch

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.

  • 2016-11-20T11:00:00-08:00