The Heiress and Her Chateau: Carolands of California

Carolands owner/builder "4493_Harriett_v4"

Harriett Pullman Carolan, Heiress to the Pullman Railway Car fortune, builder of Chateau Carolands

The true story of an American ‘Downton Abbey’?  Well … yes!

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Or, watch on PBS stations across the USA.  Check your local listings.  Or call your local station.  (Partial list of PBS broadcasts in 2015 at bottom of this page)

The Heiress and Her Chateau:  Carolands of California is  the 100-year saga of a 100-room mansion, a three-dimensional window into life among America’s elite. Chateau Carolands was built by one of the richest women in the world to be her ultimate dream home, but nothing went as planned.  Once the most fabulous house west of the Mississippi, now a foundation, the story of the rise and fall and rise of Chateau Carolands s is a dramatic tale of wealth and ruin, love and loss, art and architecture – with a murder, a porno film, and a couple of earthquakes along the way. It all ends happily, with a multi-million dollar restoration of the Chateau, more grand and glorious now than it ever had been.  See how this unique historic architectural masterpiece has come to be preserved for decades to come.

“…the best way to see it is through the lens of Ryan and Weimberg….” Nancy Davis Kho, SF Chronicle
 “… magnificent visuals, eccentric characters, heart-sweeping soundtrack, and a plot action packed with murder, love, loss and a lush, lingering legacy.”  Lou Fancher, Contra Costa Times
“… like a real-life fairy tale with a twist, with the chateau in the role of an enchanted magic mirror, so grand and expensive that it encourages a dangerous hubris in those who fall under its spell.”  Gentry Magazine

A Luna Productions documentary

Producers/Directors:  Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg
Cinematographer:  Tim Metzger
Editor/Writer:  Gary Weimberg
Original Music:  Todd Boekelheide
Narrator: Lorri Holt
Length: 56 minutes
Underwritten by:  Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, Fiduciary Trust, Wells Fargo Bank. ISU Insurance Services.

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Press composite_HEIRESS_ss

The history of the Chateau is like a real-life fairy tale with a twist, with the chateau in the role of an enchanted magic mirror, so grand and expensive that it encourages a dangerous hubris in those who fall under its spell.  The drama unfolds through generations of owners of Carolands as they fall into failure and near-ruin, starting with one of the richest women in the world, Harriett Pullman Carolan heiress to the Pullman Railway Car fortune, who first built the house in the 1910’s.  Lucklily, there is a happy ending:  the complete restoration of the Chateau by Ann and Charles Johnson that is an artistic triumph, and the film concludes with the transformation of the Chateau from private family home to charitable foundation, at long last able to be preserved into the future in all it’s grandeur and elegance.  Along the way, the documentary provides an insider’s look at the struggles and desires of the ultra-rich in America, where even the Heiress’s nearly limitless money could not guarantee that her dream would come true, yet inspired others nearly a century later, to complete the fantasy and create the architectural triumph that is Chateau Carolands today.

 

Carolands photography, "250_House_camera_web"

Chateau Carolands, Tim Metzger Director of Photography

 

Catherine Ryan, Producer/Director at the Carolands

Catherine Ryan, Producer/Director

Gary Weimberg, Producer-Director, at the Carolands

Gary Weimberg, Producer-Director

Carolands on PBS – 2015

PBS began to broadcast The Heiress and Her Chateau in Dec 2014.  If you missed it, call ‘em and ask them to broadcast again.

San Francisco, KQED, Mon, Dec 29 at 9:30pm; Tue, Dec 30 at 3:30 am; Sat, Jan 3 at 2 pm (on KQED World); Sat, Jan 3 at 6 pm, Wed, Jan 7 at 1:30 pm … and a total of 18 other showings!

Atlanta, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Wed., Jan 7 at 7 pm; Sat, Jan 10 at 12:30 am
Atlanta, WPBA, Tues, Jan 6 at 10pm; Sun, Jan 11 at midnight
Austin, KLRQ, Mon, Jan 5 at 9pm
Baltimore, Maryland Public Television, Sun, Jan 11 at 11pm
Boston/New Hampshire, NH Explore, Sta, Jan 31 at 8 pm
Charlotte, WNSC, Fri, Jan 2 at 10p
Charlotte, WTVI, Mon, Jan 5 at 10pm
Cincinnati, Think Tv, Mon, Dec 15 at 10pm
Cleveland, WVIZ Ideastream, Thurs, Jan 1 at 10pm
Denver, Colorado Public Television, Thurs, Jan 8 at 7pm; Fri, Jan 9 at 3am
Grand Rapids, WGVU, Sun, Dec 28 at 8pm
Greenvll-Spartan, South Carolina Channel, Sun, Jan 4 at 8pm; Sat, Jan 2 at 10pm on SCC; Sun, Jan 13 on SCETV World
Indianapolis, WFYI, Sun, Dec 21 at 10pm
Jacksonville, WJCT 4, Wed, Jan 7 at 9pm
Kansas City, KCPT, Sun, Jan 4 at 10pm
Los Angeles, PBS SoCal 2, Wed, Dec 17 at 11pm; Thurs, Dec 18 at 8am and 3pm
Los Angeles, PBS SoCal  , Wed, Jan 21 at 7pm
Los Angeles, KLCS, Wed, Jan 21 at 8pm
Louisville, Kentucky ET, Sun, Jan 4 at 2pm; Sun, Jan 4 at 4pm (on KET2)
Miami, WLRN, Sat, Jan 24 at 4pm
Memphis, WKNO, Sun, Dec 28 at 10pm; Thurs, Jan 1 at 7pm (on WKNO2)
New York, WLIW, Mon, Dec 29 at 10pm; Mon, Jan 5 at 5pm
New York, NJTV, Tues, Jan 6 at 10pm
Oklahoma City, OETA, yes, slot tbd
Philadelphia, WHYY 2, Tues, Dec 16 at 1pm
Philadelphia, WLVT, Tues, Jan 20 at 9pm
Phoenix, KAET, Jan 13 at 4:30am,  Sat, Jan 17 at 12:30 am
Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Sun, Dec 28 at 8pm
Sacramento, KVIE, Sun, Jan 4 at 7pm
St. Louis, KETC, Mon, Jan 5 at 10pm
Salt Lake City, KUED, Sun, Jan 4 at 6pm
San Antonio, KLRN, Mon, Dec 15 at 10pm
San Diego, KPBS   , Mon, Jan 5 at 10pm
San Jose, KQED plus,  Thurs, Jan 1 at 10p; Fri, Jan 2 at 4am
Seattle, KCTS, recording, slot tbd
Seattle, KBTC, Thurs, Jan 22 at 9pm
Tampa, WUSF, Thurs, Dec 18 at 11pm
West Palm, WXEL, Sat, Dec 27 at 8:30pm

          … and more to come.  Check your local listings …

 

Links:

 Carolands Foundation – go here to arrange your own visit to the chateau.

Photos of Carolands at the Library of Congress.  Free!

“Hillsborough’s Downton Abbey”  the SF Chronicle 2 full page article on the film, the house, and more. Lots of photos!

Carolands – the book.  $75, but so lovely

 

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  1. […] Our local PBS station has extricated itself from the morass of an endless series of pledge break programming in triumph. Monday night featured The Heiress and Her Chateau: Carolands of California, an engrossing tale of a unique place and those who inhabited it. […]