California TV Hero-Enthusiast Huell Howser, RIP

Sad news for Californians, as conveyed by OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano:

Huell Howser--a California broadcasting legend for his various shows that have appeared on public broadcasting over the past couple of decades--has passed away, according to sources who spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity.

Howser, the longtime cornball gee-whillickers purveyor of large-microphoned homages to California's historical and cultural quirks, had retired in a shroud of mystery a couple of months back, triggering this perceptive if perhaps over-thought appreciation from fellow California one-of-a-kind, D.J. Waldie:

Howser—Tennessee-born, drawling elongated vowels, bursting with enthusiasms—chose not to leave. He has never, despite playing the part on television, been genuinely one of the "folks." For one, he's better off than most of them, thanks to his business skill and a natural parsimony. He's also fiercely unprejudiced. But the melancholy behind his fierce public niceness, the cheer that was supposed to make up for the regrets of the transplanted, still binds him to the "folks." And it was in their service that he went everywhere in California and embraced every quirk of local circumstance, all the while delivering warm gusts of wonderment that were only partially synthetic. He showed them the California that they had dreamed of—completely harmless but always interesting. He wanted them to fall in love with their state. If only they had loved California as much as he needed to.

Go to YouTube to see Huell in all of his glory. It is no disrespect to his great work to say that this is still my favorite Huell Howser vid:


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  • Caleb Turberville||

    Geez, another Tenneforian. Here, I thought Quentin Tarantino was the only one.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Just checked Howser's wikipedia page. He's actually from Gallatin, which is basically Kentucky.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    RIP Huell. Go to your grave knowing that I stopped a 76 year-old ex-Navy guy from beating the piss out of you back in 2003.

    "Ohh myy goossshhh?!?!"

  • playa manhattan||

    Huell was a pretty big guy and a marine. I always wondered what he would be like if he lost his temper...

  • Specail Sauce||

    I'm sure Adam Carolla and Dana Gould are devastated by the news.

  • DrAwkward||

    "I think I've got the dry heaves..!

  • Sudden||

    Huell Howser was a hero of mine. He will be missed.

    RIP HH

  • Sevo||

    I need to get out more; only heard of the guy here.

  • playa manhattan||

  • Mike Laursen||

    Of course he would live in a cool curiosity of a house.

  • playa manhattan||

    My favorite episode, the upside-down house:

    He makes sure to point out everything that is upside-down....

  • SKR||

    well golly

  • waaminn||

    OK wow I never thought about it liek that before dude.

  • db||

    Not living in California, I've never heard of this guy. But he seems like a lot of fun.

  • db||

    I love the one where he makes the border guard look like a fool.

  • BoscoH||

    Man, this is the same way I felt when Paul Moyer died. I wonder who the under-appreciated fixtures are going to be for today's 20-year olds.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Never was a fan, but he seemed to enjoy what he was doing. About the only work of his that I remember is a trip he made to Clear Lake. Apparently, in an earlier show he had made some sort of disparaging remark about Clear Lake. Now, if one is going to mention Clear Lake, and the town, Clearlake, at all, disparagement is required. There's no other way to describe the place. The town is very poor and rundown. The lake is dirty and uninviting. There's a muddy scum line all around it. On the plus side, there are many who like to fish there, and the lake itself is huge. Konocti island used to host some pretty good summer concerts. I don't know if that is still the case. Anyway, HH got a full tour of the lake and environs in an attempt to get him to eat his words (whatever they had been) and he was certainly gracious about it.

    We drive through Clearlake every couple years on our way to camp in the Redwoods along the Eel River. Clearlake always smells bad.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Huell was the best. RIP.


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