Today California lost a golden treasure, Huell Howser. For those of you outside of California you may be wondering, "Who is this Huell Howser?" that you're hearing about on Twitter and Facebook today. He was a piece of California television gold that no other state in the nation could replicate. As I read through my timeline on Facebook, I realized that everyone loved Huell!
Huell hosted a show on California PBS stations called "California's Gold"( I dare you Californians to say that without Huell's twang) since the 1990's. We actually never watched Huell until we moved to central California. We didn't have much money and PBS is free so we quickly became Huell fans. Every afternoon after Conner and Elizabeth woke up from their naps our family would sit down and watch California's Gold together. Today even E was sad to hear Huell had passed away. Some of our greatest family memories are our times watching all of Huell's shows ( he ended up having about five or six different shows at one point)
In the series, Huell and his trusty cameraman ''Louie" who was actually Louis would traverse the back roads of California digging up "golden" bits of California history that may be overlooked. He didn't go to Disneyland or Hollywood, he went to places like the Livermore Fire Station to see the 100 year old lightbulb. He would go to San Francisco and climb the TransAmerica building tower with " Louie" in tow. He taught Californians so much about our state.
We often would try to go places Huell had been. My particular favorite was when we went to Griffith Park to see the Disney Train barn and ride the 1/8th scale trains after we watched an episode of California's Gold. Once we went to Cambria on a camping trip, all Conner could talk about was going to NitWit Ridge because he had saw Huell Howser go there. I remember it was closed and I think Conner is still ticked to this day.
I can tell you that I learned more about California history from Huell Howser than I did in school. I loved his simple way of talking to a subject, he always said the same things over and over. He wasn't a flashy, smooth talking man. His southern charm was really what made the show great. From his "Are you getting this Louie?" to his famous " Isn't that Ahhhmazing?" line. You just would smile,laugh and have fun watching one of his many shows. He wasn't even a native Californian, that was the best part of it all!
Most of us loved watching Huell because he was funny. His over excitement about the simplest of things was often hysterical. He was a bit of a simpleton and often repeated the same questions from show to show. I found this hysterical Funny or Die clip mocking Huell in a uncanny impression.
Here is a great tribute to Huell posted on Youtube this afternoon. Gives you a great idea of the funny nature of his shows
So many were saddened today to hear that Huell had died. He was truly beloved by his fellow Californians and the state has lost its biggest fan. Kind of funny this happens; as our family is preparing to leave California and move to Huell's homestate of Tennnesee. I really hope that Chapman University takes the gift Huell gave them and puts his shows online for the world to watch. California would continue to benefit from the great gift Huell gave this state.
Goodbye Huell, I hope those Golden Gates open up for you!
A great interview with the famous "Louie" tonight on So Cal Connected here