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Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Ralph Story's Los Angeles: On the Move!

Ralph Story
November 19, 2021 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
Alison Martino of Vintage Los Angeles.

Premiering in 1964 on CBS affiliate KNXT (now KCBS), Ralph Story’s Los Angeles (1965-69) remains one of the most fondly remembered series in L.A. television history. Created by news director and producer Dan Gingold (of KNXT's historic The Big News broadcast), the locally produced Ralph Story’s Los Angeles explored the history, personalities and landmarks of L.A. in one of the first newsmagazine-styled programs on television. Foregrounding the warm, wry personality of newsman and commentator Ralph Story, the local Emmy-winning series earned high television ratings, often outperforming network programs in prime time. In later years, the series’ innovative format would help to inspire an entire genre of popular local television programs covering the unique landscape of Los Angeles, including Eye on L.A. and Visiting with Huell Howser. Today, the surviving episodes of Ralph Story's Los Angeles represent an invaluable moving image archival record of an evolving L.A. as it stood at mid-century.

Join historian Alison Martino of Vintage Los Angeles for a screening retrospective celebrating Ralph Story's Los Angeles, featuring rare excerpts and two complete episodes exploring the city through its unique and, in some instances, long gone modes of transportation. Topics and locales featured include a history of the five-cent tram on the Venice boardwalk, a look at the Pacific Electric Red Car transit system, a trip by boat through the Los Angeles sewer, a ride on the Long Beach “Cyclone” roller coaster, and much, much more.

Program notes written by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Curator.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 69 (excerpt)

U.S., 6/22/1965

A fond look back at the Pacific Electric Red Car rapid transit system.

KNXT. Producer-director: Dan Gingold. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 186C (excerpt)

U.S., 2/25/1968

A detailed history of the 5-cent tram on the Venice boardwalk and the Venice Tram Co.

KNXT. Executive producer: Dan Gingold. Producer: Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 231C (excerpt)

U.S., 4/13/1969

A look at downtown L.A.’s short subway line that was built in the 1920s and in service until 1955.

KNXT. Producer: Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 197C (excerpt)

U.S., 6/9/1968

A trip by boat through the Los Angeles sewers with the Sewer Inspection Division.

Executive producer: Dan Gingold.Producer: Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 224C (excerpt)

U.S., 2/23/1969

A car wash run by the Santa Fe railroad to clean train cars.

KNXT. Executive producer: Dan Gingold. Producer: Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 193C

U.S., 5/5/1968

A look at the peculiar nature of the Los Angeles freeway system.

KNXT. Executive producer: Dan Gingold. Producer: Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles, No. 200C

U.S., 6/30/1968

Segments include: the Ralph Story Survey Team asks people to name the most thrilling amusement park ride they have ever been on; the hazards of the Long Beach (a.k.a. Los Alamitos) traffic circle; a look at the Long Beach "Cyclone" roller coaster; the perils of the "most frightening ride in Southern California," the drive up the very steep Mt. Lee; and Del Graham's backyard school for circus acrobats in Chatsworth.

KNXT. Executive producer: Dan Gingold.Producer, Joe Saltzman. Director: Jim Johnson. Writers: Jere Witter, Nate Kaplan.

Ralph Story's Los Angeles courtesy of KCBS-TV Los Angeles. All material preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from 2 in. videotape. Video transfers at DC Video and CBS Media Exchange.

Total running time of program: approx. 100 min.