Huell Howser – One More Golden
Era Icon is Gone
‘California’s Gold’ was a Secret Pleasure I enjoyed watching whenever I could. Not a program the average American today would watch, or even pay attention to I found it perhaps my favorite program on TV. It was not only because of the subject matter which dealt with exploring the unusual, often overlooked or forgotten backroads of California, but the host was such a genial , enthusiasm throwback to another era.
How could you help gut enjoy Howell , for example, watching his disbelief that a dog would eat avocados or the huge, amazing flies at Mono Lake. There were so many episodes where Howell seemed perhaps more intrigued that his own viewers. Howell was once questioned, in 2009, whether he really was so in awe of many of the people and places he would visit. He said he thought it ‘sad’ that today people would even question that. And I agree. We’ve become a nation of conformists with fewer and fewer people like Howser left with everyone else trying to be ‘cooler’ than the next guy. So, it was with great sadness yet another icon, for me, passed away, January 7 in Palm Springs, CA. Howser , 67, born in Tenessee was an ex-Marine seemed in such good shape, yet he had just retired, perhaps knowing of a serious illness; not mentioning what it was s, news reports said that he had been in hospice care.
However, they said, Howser was a very private person, never married, who lived in his ‘dream home in Palm Springs ; he also had an apartment in Los Angeles, where he was based at KCET, local PBS anchor for the network that broadcast his shows that have been shown weekly and even daily of late. I had had six epiosdes recorded and only just noticed that they were filmed earlier. Howser apparently stopped broadcasting in November. Howser seemed to espcially like the rural and offbeat folks, people who would have an usual profession or business. And they seemed to like him, too, with his friendly, enthusiastic way. I sure did. He is said to be the only one who was allowed in Frank Sinatra’s estate to offer coverage. Hopefully, his hundreds or thousands of old programs will be aired indeifnitely, since he donated them all to a film library for just that purpose.
Here is one bit of the many memorable shows, one which I remember with Hoswer in the remote, Eastern California Mono Lake area , learning about the unusual flies on the lake.
Huell Howser Truly Relished California’s Gold
We’re not talking about real gold as in the 49ers but the ‘gold’ that Howswer would discover in the many unique backroads, people and places of California. The show may not have gone back to the Golden Era 50s and early 60s but it’s host certainly did and visited mostly places that seemed to have that richness of an earlier era.