When NPR interns aren't scouring the internets, airwaves, cable channels and print headlines for news of the day and important cultural developments, they're scouring the internets, airwaves, cable channels and print headlines for kicks and LOLCATS. We sent NPR intern Sarah Whites-Koditschek to the intern's natural habitat (Youtube) in order to find us images of the California Dream, and this is what she brought back.
There are actually thousands of videos tagged California on Youtube, and hundreds tagged "california dream." Sorting through the pile seemed insurmountable, but I soon started gravitating towards the archival and vintage footage.
Here we have some very old, late 1960's 8mm films of Disneyland. Apparently Disneyland has not changed a bit since 1960. This film features all the best rides as I remember them from about 15 years ago, when I visited as a baby. The Dumbo plane, the twirling tea-cups, the yellow submarine and It's a Small World. One thing I can't remember: Can you still step into the mouth of a giant whale? The clip features funny music and retro clothes to boot.
This early tourist film is called "California - the Golden 1930's."
"Enchanted roads through sunlit landscapes!" "A land of magic at the rainbow's end, California!" "The sunny frontier of America!" The film promotes tourism in the state of California in terms that are both anachronistic and current. How funny to hear multicultural Los Angeles referred to as "a once a tiny Spanish village," or to be told to take note of San Francisco's brand new "steel and concrete structures." There are also great images of national parks, film sets, missions, and what I think are Model T's on HWY 101. Makes me want to live in the California of the 1930's.
This is the Looney Tunes classic Gold Rush Daze. "Put some gas in it... I'm going out to dig for gold!" says our young canine hero as he travels West in his Model T. In this cartoon we learn the essentials of the California Dream: down shots of "Nugget Nectars" at a Wild West saloon, keep your hat on while boating down a waterfall, and close it all out by delivering a rousing rendition of that California favorite, "My Sweetheart Needs Gold for Her Teeth."
I'm going to leave this to my editor, who I think was probably conscious during this time period and might know how to best describe the show. Because i'm completely baffled. What's up with the theme song? The synth, the young, vested men, the slow-mo montage of kids leaping in the air on beach?
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Jeez, Sarah. Clips from the 1930s and the 1990s in the same batch!? Why don't you just call me Captain Geriatron and call it a day? I'll have you know that although I do technically have to use the 35-54 drop-down while joining the social-networking site du jour, I'm in the extreme lower end of the drop-down, okay?
That said, I have to confess to actually being unfamiliar with California Dreams, which aired after I was out of college. I vaguely remember it as a kind of tarted-up Saved by the Bell, and the clip above seems pretty indistingushable from The High School Musicals of the world. But that's just old, old me, and I'll defer to the reads of any California Dreams fans out there.]
Found any good clips of the California dream on Youtube? Share them with us here; and if we use them we'll give you a shout-out.