'Blue Sky Metropolis' Uncovers the Untold Story of Southern California's Aerospace Industry

How did Southern California become the aerospace capital of the world?  What were the consequences of this development for the region, for the nation and for aerospace itself.  "Blue Sky Metropolis," written and directed by two-time Primetime- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jones, is a series of four one-hour episodes that examines the largest homegrown industry that has received only a fraction of the attention heaped upon the Hollywood entertainment business.

Like its counterpart, aerospace was an industry created by dreamers drawn to a region that was invented by dreamers — civic boosters comprised of newspaper publishers, real estate developers and Hollywood moguls.  Their entrepreneurial spirit resonated with those imaginations attuned to the possibilities of flight.  With more than 60 interviews, "Blue Sky Metropolis" explores the intersection of aerospace and Southern California from multiple perspectives: technology, popular culture, politics, race, business, labor, environment and gender.

Discover Southern Caliornia's role in the history of aviation and aerospace. Watch the trailer for "Blue Sky Metropolis."

Throughout the twentieth century, millions flocked to Southern California to claim aviation/aerospace jobs, forever changing the social and physical landscape.  Did the “blue sky” environment nurture that combination of vision and technical know-how as it did for Walt Disney and his Imagineers?

Narrated by Emmy Award® winning actor Tony Goldwyn, "Blue Sky Metropolis" premieres Sunday, July 14 at 8 p.m. PT. Following the broadcast, each episode will stream on kcet.org, the free KCET app (available on Roku and Apple TV), as well as on YouTube.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming episodes

Wings: Aviation Takes Flight in Early Los Angeles– Sun., July 14 at 8 p.m.

Aviation takes flight in early Los Angeles, becoming an industry of dreamers, risk takers and entrepreneurs. The region is America’s “arsenal of democracy” during World War II, as two million workers build 300,000 aircraft. Critics see an unhealthy alliance developing between the federal government and aircraft manufacturers.

The Big Chill: The Cold War Fuels Business and Anxiety– Sun., July 21 at 8 p.m.

The Cold War and Pentagon dollars fuel the explosive growth of modern Los Angeles and creates the military-industrial-complex. Entire suburbs are built in record time to house defense industry workers, but  covenants restrict non-white races from living there. Fear of nuclear annihilation spawns a new genre for Hollywood as ‘science fiction’ movies become a box office goldmine.

A Space Odyssey: Southern California Spearheads Mankind’s Greatest Achievement” – Sun., July 28 at 8 p.m.

The triumphant and tragic Space Race unfolds in first-hand accounts of those who pioneered the technology and built the hardware that made possible mankind’s greatest achievement. Meanwhile, the military-industrial-complex expands unchecked.

Back to the Future: A New Space Age Dawns in Southern California– Sun., Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.

The end of the Cold War brings massive layoffs but tech billionaires choose Southern California to launch their space companies. Though committed to the “democratization” of space, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit include the Pentagon as a major customer.

Top Image: Outer space | NASA/Unsplash 


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