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New History Series 'Lost LA' Premieres on KCET

Based on KCET's L.A. as Subject web series, "Lost LA" gives voice to Southern California's buried past that has been left out of official history narratives. A co-production of KCET and USC Libraries, this new series unearths the intricate past behind modern Los Angeles through the marriage of extensive collections housed at the USC Libraries, as well among L.A. as Subject member archives, and dynamic forms of documentary storytelling. In each episode, emerging filmmakers explore a different subject, from vanished wetlands to the communities erased by the construction of Dodger Stadium.

"Los Angeles has forgotten, buried, or rewritten much of its history," says Nathan Masters, writer for L.A. as Subject and host of "Lost LA" "It's torn down landmarks, recast its Mexican past as a Spanish Romance, and written entire cultures and communities out of its official historical narratives. Drawing upon the city's archives, this series gives an authentic voice to some of those stories, bringing to light what might otherwise might be permanently lost."

The "Lost LA" three-part broadcast series, beginning on January 27, 2016 at 8:30 p.m, will be televised as follows:



Wild L.A.
January 27, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.
Created by filmmakers Laura Purdy and Sara Joe Wolansky.

The premiere episode, "Wild L.A.," unwraps the complicated relationship between the city and its natural environment. The program explores the origin of the Santa Ana winds, that infamous weather phenomenon that trigger allergies, fray nerves and alarm fire-prone communities. The series also examines the demise of the grizzly bear in Southern California, an animal once revered by indigenous peoples but later targeted by Europeans as a threat to safety and security




Before the Dodgers
February 3, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.
Created by filmmakers Ben Sax, Javier Barboza, and Amy Lee Ketchum.

Long before Sandy Koufax threw Dodger Stadium's first pitch, and even before the first residents moved into Chavez Ravine, there were the Elysian Hills. Raised up by tectonic forces, and carved into deep ravines by the ancient precursor of the Los Angeles River, these hills have meant many things to many people. They were a refuge from floods for the region's native Tongva Indians, and then a source of quarried stone soon after the city fell under American sovereignty. In this episode, "Lost LA" explores the various ways Southern California's inhabitants have used the hills around Dodger Stadium. The program looks at an old lithographic view of L.A. as drawn from an Elysian hilltop, the vanished neighborhood of Chavez Ravine, and a massive construction project that reshaped the land into a modern baseball palace.



Reshaping L.A.

Reshaping L.A.
February 10, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.
Created by filmmakers Kelly Parker, Matt Glass and Jordan Long.

It is often said that Los Angeles has buried much of its history. It has suppressed inconvenient reports, recast the plight of Mission Indians as a Spanish Romance, written entire cultures and communities out of its official historical narratives. But some of lost L.A. literally lies buried beneath our feet, hidden long ago when the city, finding the shape and character of its land wanting, opted to mold it to its needs. In this episode, "Lost LA" examines how the modern metropolis has reshaped its own topography. The program explores downtown L.A. 's lost hills and tunnels, as well as the vanished canals of Venice Beach.

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

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.

  • 2019-07-17T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-17T22:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-20T07:30:00-07:00

Ghost Towns

Some California dreams did succeed, creating a megalopolis in the state’s north and south. Other dreams failed, leaving only ruins behind. This episode explores the hopes and dreams of three California ghost towns. We feature Bodie, an early gold mining settlement in Mono County that continues to be preserved in time; Llano Del Rio, a socialist utopian community in the Mojave Desert; and Zzyzx, a former health spa community that came to an end with the eviction of founder and radio evangelist Curtis Howe Springer.

  • 2019-07-24T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-24T22:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-25T05:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-27T07:30:00-07:00


From its origins as a themed seaside trolley resort to its international fame as a countercultural hub, Venice Beach has been in a state of perpetual renaissance, boasting a rich, multilayered history. This episode explores evolution of Abbot Kinney’s original Venice of America development, and how the commercial renaissance along Abbot Kinney Boulevard has impacted the historically African American neighborhood of Oakwood. We also look at the Beat poet community who called Venice home.

  • 2019-07-31T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-07-31T22:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-01T05:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-03T07:30:00-07:00


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.

  • 2019-08-07T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-07T22:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-08T05:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-10T07:30:00-07:00


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.

  • 2019-08-10T12:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-14T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-14T22:30:00-07:00
  • 2019-08-15T05:30:00-07:00