History Detectives

The First Movie Studio/Ufa Light/King Kong Camera

Series Website »
Episode Guide »
The First Movie Studio - Lincoln Heights, a quiet neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, is located far from the glitz and glamour normally associated with Hollywood. But a resident of Lincoln Heights thinks the city's first motion picture studio may be located in her very own neighborhood park. Could a broken gateway once have been the grand entrance to the beginning of Hollywood history? The History Detectives travel to California - and it's lights, camera, action! UFA Light - When a California man bought an antique Kaschie lighter for $50 at a flea market, he didn't realize he was buying a piece of Hollywood history. The beautiful German lighter is a collectible in itself, but the engraving may make it even more valuable: "Harry Warner" on one side and "Ufatone" on the other. Harry Warner is one of the Warner brothers of the eponymous studio that produced movies aimed at garnering support for America's entry into World War II. Ufa was Germany's largest studio and Hollywood's biggest competition. So what are the names of these competitors doing on the same lighter? And what is the connection between Harry Warner, known for his anti- fascist commitment, and a studio that became the propaganda tool of the Nazi party? The History Detectives are on the case! King Kong Camera - A Washington resident owns an old movie camera he believes could have been used to film the original version of "King Kong." Released in 1933, the movie was a milestone in story-telling and special effects, and spawned several remakes, including one currently in pre-production under the direction of Peter Jackson. To investigate the camera's claim to fame, the History Detectives visit Washington State, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they meet legendary animator Ray Harryhausen and discover the true story behind the ape with a weakness for blondes.


  • HDSI - Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?
  • HDSI - Texas Servant Girl Murders
  • HDSI - The Disappearance of Glenn Miller
  • HDSI - Civil War Sabotage?
  • 3-D Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Mysteries from the Wild West
  • Bill of Sale, Cobb Powder Horn and the Star Spangled Banner
  • Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map and a Transistor Radio
  • Vietnam Diary, Bootlegger’s Notebook and a Hollywood Ledger
  • Titanic Picture Frame, Woolworth Signs, Nazi Spy Toys
  • Bird of War, Lincoln Oath and War Spoils of a Peace Chief
  • Civil War Derringers, KKK Records & Motown’s Bottom Line
  • Book of Rogues, Empire State Crash & a Forbidden Pinup
  • Dylan Goes Electric, Beatles Autograph & Frank Zappa Collage
  • Chandler Tintype, Hollywood Indian Ledger, Harlem Heirs
  • Club Continental, St. V-Day Massacre, Society Circus Program
  • Order of Leopold, Suffrage Pennant, WB Cartoon
  • 1775 Almanac, Exercise Records, Moon Museum
  • Marion Carpenter Camera, Drug Smuggling Doll, Florida Map
  • Hot Town Poster, Andrew Jackson Mouth, and Modoc Basket
  • Japanese Cane, Revolutionary Telescope & I.W. Baker's...
  • Top Secret Drone, Roosevelt's War Club & Clara Barton Letter
  • Civil War Letters, Aviation Fabric & African American...
  • John Brown Spear, US Bullet in Siberia & Ronald McDonald...


Share your thoughts, questions, and comments on "History Detectives" here.

Vermont PBS educates, informs, entertains and inspires Vermonters to be lifelong learners and engaged in their community.

Kids & Family

Join our Vermont PBS Kids' Club!

PBS Kids - many videos and games for children!

Educator Resources - for teachers and parents.

PBS Parents - your child's first, best teacher.

Check out our Vermont PBS Wish List

The Wish List is where we display things our station needs. If you enjoy tangible giving, you might consider funding an item – individually or with a group. Click for more info 

Sign up for the Vermont PBS Weekly

Our weekly email newsletter highlighting upcoming shows and important station news. Sign up today!



Upcoming and featured!

People talk about Vermont PBS!

Vermont PBS

204 Ethan Allen Avenue
Colchester, VT 05446
(802) 655-4800
© 2016 Vermont PBS
All Rights Reserved

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn