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.


  • S11 Ep4: HDSI - Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?
  • S11 Ep3: HDSI - Texas Servant Girl Murders
  • S11 Ep2: HDSI - The Disappearance of Glenn Miller
  • S11 Ep1: HDSI - Civil War Sabotage?
  • S5 Ep1: 3-D Cuban Missile Crisis
  • S10 Ep8: Mysteries from the Wild West
  • S10 Ep9: Bill of Sale, Cobb Powder Horn and the Star Spangle
  • S10 Ep7: Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map and a Transistor R
  • S10 Ep6: Vietnam Diary, Bootlegger’s Notebook and a Hollywoo
  • S10 Ep5: Titanic Picture Frame, Woolworth Signs, Nazi Spy To
  • S10 Ep4: Bird of War, Lincoln Oath and War Spoils of a Peace
  • S10 Ep2: Civil War Derringers, KKK Records & Motown’s Bottom
  • S10 Ep3: Book of Rogues, Empire State Crash & a Forbidden Pi
  • S10 Ep1: Dylan Goes Electric, Beatles Autograph & Frank Zapp
  • S9 Ep12: Chandler Tintype, Hollywood Indian Ledger, Harlem H
  • S9 Ep11: Club Continental, St. V-Day Massacre, Society Circu
  • S9 Ep10: Order of Leopold, Suffrage Pennant, WB Cartoon
  • S9 Ep9: 1775 Almanac, Exercise Records, Moon Museum
  • S9 Ep8: Marion Carpenter Camera, Drug Smuggling Doll, Florid
  • S9 Ep7: Hot Town Poster, Andrew Jackson Mouth, and Modoc Bas
  • S9 Ep6: Japanese Cane, Revolutionary Telescope & I.W. Baker'
  • S9 Ep5: Top Secret Drone, Roosevelt's War Club & Clara Barto
  • S9 Ep4: Civil War Letters, Aviation Fabric & African America
  • S9 Ep3: John Brown Spear, US Bullet in Siberia & Ronald McDo


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' Club

Watch our Vermont PBS Kids' 24/7 channel. Enjoy the benefits of joining our Kids' Club! Explore our many free videos, games, and resources for educators and parents!

Upcoming and featured!

People talk about Vermont PBS!

Vermontpbs.org proudly supported in part by...


Vermont PBS

204 Ethan Allen Avenue
Colchester, VT 05446
(802) 655-4800
© 2017 Vermont PBS
All Rights Reserved

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn