Tuesday, January 8, 2013

California, there he goes - RIP Huell Howser

California lost one of its greatest treasures when Huell Howser passed away Sunday night at the age of 67.

The Brother and I were huge fans.  Huell's enthusiasm for, well, pretty much anything was fun and infectious, plus he introduced us (and countless other Californians) to so many great people and places we didn't even realize were in our own backyard.

I'm lucky enough to have scored a Huell bottle from Montebello's Broguiere's Dairy (one of many local businesses Huell introduced to the world) last year when I was hunting down the two L.A. Kings bottles the dairy had put out after the team won the Stanley Cup.

Here's Huell performing California Here I Come with students from the Musician's Institute in Hollywood.  I hadn't seen this before, but it went up as news of Howser's death made the news.  A lot of people seem to think this performance was kind of hokey, but I absolutely love it.  You really get a feel for Huell's boundless love and enthusiasm for the Golden State:

I always hoped I'd be out somewhere and Huell would turn up filming one of his shows.  There are very few celebrities I have any interest in meeting, but Huell was pretty much at the top of my very short wish list.  I strolled past the MI courtyard so many times when I lived in Hollywood, but unfortunately not the day they filmed this.  I would have loved to have seen him belting out a song that could have been written for him.

RIP Huell.  California was a more interesting and appealing place when you were showing it to us.

Local coverage/links: Los Angeles Times - KCET - L.A. Observed - Franklin Avenue  - Huell Howser Productions - Chapman University's Huell Howser Archives - Huell Howser on You Tube

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