Here at "SoCal Connected," we were saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime colleague and KCET mainstay Huell Howser, who died yesterday at his Palm Springs home at the age of 67.
The always affable host of "California's Gold" and "Visiting with Huell Howser" managed to find the sublime in the seemingly mundane with unmatched wholeheartedness. Whether he was chronicling avocado-eating dogs, or Juanita's menudo plant, or lowrider shows, Huell brought the same infectious enthusiasm to exploring the unknown, unsung treasures of the Golden State. The earnest ebullience he demonstrated with the people he met and in places newly-discovered gained him legions of fans, prompted kindhearted impersonations, and even garnered him "Simpsons" status.
"SoCal Connected" aired a special episode dedicated to Huell, in which we spoke to CEO of KCET Al Jerome and COO Mary Mazur about his many years producing his shows at KCET. His longtime producer Phil Noyes and cameraman Luis "Louie" Fuerte dropped by the studio and talked about their experience working closely with Huell and what inspired his storytelling. Also, author and historian D.J. Waldie examined Huell's importance as chronicler of California folk.