Central Casting

Central Casting: Extras and Ethnicities

In 1925, Hollywood studios joined together and formed the Central Casting Bureau. At a time when aspiring motion picture players were flocking to Los Angeles, this new organization streamlined the casting process, but it also marginalized nonwhite actors. Central Casting took advantage of L.A.’s diverse social and cultural landscapes, hiring representatives within the city’s segregated ethnic enclaves to function as intermediaries when the studios called for actors of particular ethnicities. Some – even journalists working in the black press – praised the practice as a form of racial progress. But more often than not, stardom was reserved for white actors. For people of color, working as a Hollywood actor meant working as an extra.

LA as SubjectA collaboration between the USC Libraries and KCETLink, Lost LA features the member collections of L.A. as Subject, a research alliance dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden stories and histories of the Los Angeles region.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Fantasyland

Los Angeles has long been the place where you can imagine something — a time period, a location, ordinary or exotic, real or fantasy — and build it. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1910s and 1920s, when early filmmakers built huge, elaborately themed sets that often remained standing for months or years, inviting visitors to explore and to imagine being a part of the action. It found its fullest expression in nearby Anaheim, where Walt Disney’s Imagineers created the intricately themed, immersive experience that is Disneyland.

  • 2019-02-19T12:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-19T17:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-20T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-20T21:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-21T04:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-23T06:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-23T10:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-24T11:30:00-08:00
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Descanso Gardens

"Lost L.A.: Descanso Gardens" explores the history of one of southern California's most-beloved public gardens. From its pre-colonial origins as an oak woodland to its contemporary role as a living museum, the film examines how the Descanso Gardens reflects the social, political and cultural evolution of Los Angeles.

  • 2019-02-21T06:00:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-07T20:00:00-08:00
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Yosemite

Californians have long fought over what Yosemite means and how to manage it. Since its birth as a park and preserve in 1864, Yosemite has become a postcard for the natural beauty of California. Each year, millions visit from around the globe to see the cliffs, waterfalls and meadows that inspire wonder and reverence of the American West. This episode explores how Yosemite has changed over time: from a land maintained by indigenous peoples to its emergence as a tourist attraction and national park to the site of conflict over humanity’s relationship with nature.

  • 2019-02-26T12:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-26T17:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-27T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-27T21:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-02-28T04:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-02T06:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-02T10:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-03T11:30:00-08:00
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Desert Fantasy

California’s deserts have sparked the imaginations of millions of people around the world. From the famously alien landscape of Joshua Tree to the wide expanses of seemingly empty land, the desert has been seen as a place of reinvention, a blank slate on which the visitor creates his or her own dream. This episode explores the man-made natural disaster that created the Salton Sea, the efforts to preserve Joshua Tree National Park, and how commercial interests and real estate developers created a desert utopia like Palm Springs.

  • 2019-03-05T12:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-05T17:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-06T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-06T21:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-07T04:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-03-09T06:30:00-08:00
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Beach Culture

One of Southern California’s great international exports has been its beach culture. This episode explores how surfers, bodybuilders and acrobats taught Californians how to have fun and stay young at the beach — and how the 1966 documentary “The Endless Summer” shared the Southern California idea of the beach with the rest of the world.

  • 2019-03-12T18:30:00-07:00
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  • 2019-03-13T04:30:00-07:00
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  • 2019-03-13T22:30:00-07:00
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  • 2019-03-14T05:30:00-07:00
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  • 2019-03-16T07:30:00-07:00
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  • 2019-03-16T11:30:00-07:00
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