One day in the winter of 1848, a worker was digging in a pond on the northern California farm of Swiss immigrant Johann Sutter. Suddenly the man stopped and stared, for there, gleaming through the muck on his shovel blade, was a discovery that was to transform the entire California territory almost overnight: a movie camera. Word of the discovery spread like wildfire, and soon thousands of actors, agents, producers, and so forth were rushing westward, overburdening the territory’s limited restaurant facilities and causing the price of valet parking to skyrocket. Soon there were more than a hundred thousand residents, which raised the issue: Should California be declared a state? Or, in this case, maybe even a separate planet?