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News 8 Throwback: Vintage videos of Southern California attractions from 1966 and 1967

Some of the places in these newly unearthed clips are still favorites in Southern California while one is long forgotten

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Newly unearthed videos from the CBS 8 archives capture the LA and San Diego Zoos, Balboa Park, the Star of India and other Southern California locales in the mid-1960s  - some are still favorites while one is long forgotten. These gems were found alongside the 1966 Christmas film we featured in last month's throwback.

Laguna Mountains snow in 1966 

The snow in San Diego's Laguna Mountain area arrived a little late for Christmas 1966 but about an inch and a half fell just before the New Year. By the time CBS 8 made it up there, it had started to melt.  

Our original script says, "The youngsters were able to hone in on a few shady spots where things weren't too soggy."   

The film was shot near the Laguna Mountain Lodge. 

San Diego's Star of India in 1967

Original script from Jan. 2, 1967

"An interesting way to spend a few hours—on a holiday or a weekend---is visiting the old windjammer Star of India at the Embarcadero. Mulling over the story of this century-old sailing ship can conjure up some colorful thoughts of days gone by. The Star of India was launched in 1863—and was in a collision on her maiden voyage with a Spanish brig. She was badly damaged—her crew mutinied, and she had to be put back for repairs. On her second voyage she was caught in a hurricane. To keep her from rolling over, her crew had to cut away her masts. For many years she served as a New Zealand emigrant ship out from England, down the Atlantic, round the tip of Africa to New Zealand—dodging icebergs and fighting gales."

The old Star of India rotted and rusted away in San Diego until recent years when she was restored and open to the public. Today it’s one of the area’s finest tourist attractions. 

Writer Stu Batt provided a history lesson about San Diego’s storied ship. In 2021 she’s still one of the finest attractions in America’s Finest City. She was 104 then and is now 159 years old. 

Shamu performs for SeaWorld San Diego crowds the day after Christmas 1966 

Big crowds flocked to SeaWorld the day after Christmas 1966. Nearly 4,000 people were there to see one of the main attractions, Shamu. He was the only killer whale in captivity. The script says “next Christmas…Shamu who continues to gain weight each day…will get a present of new, larger quarters.” 

Film of then brand new Los Angeles Zoo in 1966 plus footage of San Diego Zoo

Recently unearthed footage of a CBS 8 special report in December 1966 on the new Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park. How will it impact business for the San Diego Zoo? Reporter Mel Knoepp talks to San Diego Zoo director Dr. Charles Schroeder. He gave the LA Zoo guidance in the building process.

The film also includes footage of the San Diego Zoo which was celebrating 50 years in operation in 1966. 

CBS 8 Anchor Marcella Lee read the original script in 2021 which compared the two Southern California zoos and highlighted some of the features of LA's new one.

Ski resort on Palomar Mountain in San Diego 1966 

Did you know there was a ski resort on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County? This film from the CBS 8 archives reveals the truth:

Original script 12-24-1966

"Except for a few trickles of water and a lot of mud leftover from recent rains, the upper slopes of Mount Palomar were sunny and beautiful today. But Mother Nature has yet to smile on one of the most ambitious projects on the mountain since the construction of the world-renowned observatory. The project—the quarter-million-dollar Palomar Mountain Ski Resort—almost was halted by heavy rains several weeks ago. Now, with fingers crossed and purse tightened, the operators of the new ski resort say they’re ready to open tomorrow…just one problem though…there’s no snow. Manager Sam Sherman and his crew don’t seem too worried about this though, they plan to turn on their snow machines to make the fluffy white stuff tonight, in time for a white Xmas. They’ll use compressed air and water forced under pressure through a simple nozzle to do the trick. As the air expands, it cools the water and if the air’s cold enough, you get snow. Maybe skiers will get a Christmas present tomorrow with the opening of the new slopes. Maybe."

There was a lot of excitement about this new resort but unfortunately, it didn’t last long. This article says it likely ceased operations in the winter of 1967.

Balboa Park Chimes ring out on Christmas Day 1966

Original CBS 8 script from Dec. 26, 1966: 

"For the twentieth year the chimes in the California Tower in Balboa Park rang out on Christmas day with a concert of favorite carols. It was also the last time the chimes will be heard. The carillon, a gift of Dr. Frank Lowe in honor of his mother, will be replaced with a new set of chimes that Dr. Lowe donated to San Diego."

This film unearthed in 2021, unfortunately, does not have its original sound.


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