Shindana Dolls | Still from "Lost LA" S4 E6: Shindana Toy Company

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.

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Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Griffith Park: The Untold History

At more than 4,500 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. Its founder, the controversial and complicated Griffith J. Griffith, donated the land to the city as a public recreation ground for all the people — an ideal that has been challenged over the years. In this episode, Sarah Wilson, director of Education at the Autry Museum of the American West, explains the upcoming “Investigating Griffith Park,” exhibition and the effort to create an archive of all things Griffith Park.

  • 2020-07-14T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-14T17:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-18T12:30:00-07:00

Paul Revere Williams: An African-American Architect in Jet-Age L.A.

Although best known for designing the homes of celebrities like Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra, the pioneering African-American architect Paul Revere Williams also contributed to some of the city’s most recognizable civic structures — all while confronting racial barriers.

  • 2020-07-15T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-16T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-18T07:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-04T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-04T17:30:00-07:00

Three Views of Manzanar: Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake

Despite the trauma of their incarceration during World War II, Japanese Americans built new lives while detained at concentration camps like Manzanar. They played baseball, planted gardens and made the honor roll. Three renowned photographers captured these scenes: outsiders Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams and incarceree Tōyō Miyatake who boldly smuggled in a camera lens to document life from within the camp. All three trained their lenses on small yet profound moments of dignity and domesticity, documenting resilience in the face of civil injustice.

  • 2020-07-21T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-21T17:30:00-07:00

Discovering the Universe: Exploring the Cosmos Atop Mount Wilson

As recently as a century ago, scientists doubted whether the universe extended beyond our own Milky Way — until astronomer Edwin Hubble, working with the world’s most powerful telescope in the mountains high above Los Angeles, discovered just how vast the universe truly is. Visit the underground vault of the Carnegie Observatories, where paradigm-shifting discoveries are annotated by hand on glass photographic slides; and the historic Mount Wilson Observatory. Learn more at Carnegie Observatories.

  • 2020-07-22T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-23T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-25T07:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-11T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-11T17:30:00-07:00

Bootlegger Tunnels: A Journey Through LA’s Prohibition Lore

There is always lore ingrained in a city’s history, particularly one like Los Angeles. It is no secret that throughout the Prohibition Era individuals living in the city continued to enjoy their vices as much, if not more, than they ever had before. But it is how they subverted the law that still remains unclear. In this episode, we explore the myths of subterranean Los Angeles, crawl through claimed prohibition-era bootlegger tunnels and visit some of the city’s oldest speakeasies along the way.

  • 2020-07-28T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-28T17:30:00-07:00

Shindana Toy Company: Changing the American Doll Industry

The Watts riots (also known as the Watts Uprising) left South Los Angeles in social and economic distress. In its wake, Operation Bootstrap, a non-profit community-based organization was formed, with hopes of facilitating change through community empowerment. This episode explores the lasting impact of one Operation Bootstrap initiative, the Shindana Toy Company, which left a lasting mark on the American doll industry by manufacturing ethnically correct black dolls.

  • 2020-07-29T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-07-30T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-01T07:30:00-07:00


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.

  • 2020-08-05T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-06T13:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-08T07:30:00-07:00

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.

  • 2020-08-12T04:30:00-07:00
  • 2020-08-13T13:30:00-07:00