This Week on 'Visiting With Huell Howser' -- Historic Restaurants and Buildings

Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.

Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Musso and Franks"

Huell visits Musso & Frank Grill, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, and talks with longtime employees and patrons about what makes the eatery a landmark. The restaurant opened in 1919 and is named after original owners Joseph Musso and Frank Toulet.

Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "The Two Anns"

Huell revisits French Garden Restaurant & Bistro in downtown Los Angeles, but this time, he brings along two very special lunch dates: Hollywood legends Ann Rutherford and Anne Jeffreys.

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Attention Time Warner Customers: KCET Is Moving!

Are you a Time Warner Cable customer? If so, you may soon be tuning into KCET and its affiliates on new channels. In fact, all channels above 100 will be moved starting May 29, 2014.
Here's where Time Warner customers can find KCET channels in the future:

  • KCET-HD (our main channel): Channel 1233
  • KCETLink: Channel 1276
  • V-Me: Channel 1277
  • NHK World TV: Channel 1278
If you're not a Time Warner Cable subscriber, no worries: The change will not affect you. For more information about the change, call Time Warner at (866) 744-1678.

This Week on 'Visiting With Huell Howser' -- Museums and Festivals

Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.

Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Diorama"

Huell visits the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to explore its famous animal dioramas. He meets with Robert Reid, the museum's resident artist of 20 years who's responsible for creating all of the beautiful exhibits. Reid manages to capture everything from deserts to beaches with nothing more than a paint brush. He works closely with taxidermist Tim Bovard to make the animals appear as lifelike as possible.

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Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Bug Fair"

It's creepy crawly day on "Visiting." Huell stops by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County during the 22nd Annual Bug Fair -- the largest event of its kind in North America. We explore the world of insects and get close-up looks at spiders and scorpions, butterflies and bats. Over 60 vendors were on hand with entomological equipment and supplies, artwork, toys, and more.

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This Week on 'Visiting With Huell Howser' -- Pastrami and Hot Dog Tastings

Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.

Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Russak's Meat"

Join Huell to discover another downtown hidden gem: Russak's Cured and Smoked Products. The Russak family has been selling succulent meats and cold cuts for over 50 years. Now run by the second generation, the company cures everything from corned beef and roast beef to jerky and chili con carne.

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Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Cow Tongue"

This Huell adventure is the result of some disparaging on-air remarks about what he quickly discovered is a culinary delicacy for many people: cow tongue. The episode features a visit to Langer's Deli and a taco stand near USC for some first-hand tongue tasting. The show's editor, Michael Garber -- a tongue aficionado -- also makes an appearance.

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A Proud History of News, Part 3 -- 'California Connected' and 'SoCal Connected'

KCET is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a series of stories, reflections, and flashbacks, like this throwback below. For more and to participate in our next 50 years, join us at kcet.org/50.

David Brancaccio, the original host of 'California Connected' | 2002

"California Connected"
In 2002, KCET launched "California Connected." We were a part of four-California station consortium, and David Brancaccio and later Lisa McRee hosted. The show contained stories from every corner of California and was seen statewide on 12 public television stations.

My son, who was a preteen at the time, adored the show, especially its host David Brancaccio. He would sit by the TV watching and when election time rolled around, who knew the most about the issues facing our state in my house? It was, by far, my young son. I told Marly Klaus, the executive producer, about that and it was probably her happiest feedback ever.

Bret Marcus took over "California Connected" in its last years, continuing the award-winning journalism that the show was known for, but eventually the funding dried up in its fifth year.

Bringing the Spirit of the Holidays to Los Angeles

Holiday Program in Progress | Photo Cathy Bower

KCET is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a series of stories, reflections, and flashbacks, like this throwback below. For more and to participate in our next 50 years, join us at kcet.org/50.

Just as dependable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, KCET brings the residents of our city a chance to celebrate ourselves and spirit of the holidays each and every Christmas Eve. It is hard sometimes to get into a holiday spirit, when you live in a location that worships the sun and never really sees the snow, but every year, we do our best. It is called the Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration.

As a service to the residents of our city, KCET has been part of broadcasting the yearly concert that comes from Los Angeles County Arts Commission on behalf of our L.A. County Board of Supervisors. We were part of the deal made by the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Board of Supervisors to allow this concert. The broadcast makes it available to almost every home in Los Angeles via our signal. The concert, held yearly on Christmas Eve, has been a part of our community since December 24, 1959, and at the Dorothy Chandler since 1964. The concert is free to all and it gives residents of Los Angeles a chance to view live music, performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I have spent eight Christmas Eves working the twelve-hour show during the 80s, and I can tell you that the beauty of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is unparalleled. Nowadays, the concert has been reduced to just a short three hours, due to budget cuts over the years. In spite of that, you can still spend an afternoon enjoying to local music and dance groups that showcase the diversity of the many residents of our city.

If you have never experienced our broadcast, I heartily recommend you check it out. I personally find that I love to bake or cook while the concert is on my TV. It puts me and my household into the holiday spirit.

This Week on 'Visiting With Huell Howser' -- Idyllwild and Egg Collection

Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.

Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Aerial L.A."

Have you ever wondered how news crews get such good shots from a helicopter? How they can zoom in on a backyard while flying in a machine that rattles your teeth? Well, Huell goes in the air with Helinet to see the latest in cutting edge helicopter mounted cameras. You'll be amazed at how close they really can get and you may never walk around in your underwear in your backyard again!

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Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Ferguson's Shells"

Huell's off to Wilmington to visit Ferguson's Marine Specialties, which is owned and operated by Ralph Ferguson and his daughter, Lupe. Once inside, Huell is literally surrounded by beautiful seashells from all over the world. Ferguson's has a wonderful, authentic, old-time feel to it.

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American Bandstand and KCET?

American Bandstand | Photo by Cathy Bower 1988

KCET is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a series of stories, reflections, and flashbacks, like this throwback below. For more and to participate in our next 50 years, join us at kcet.org/50.

"American Bandstand" was not a KCET production, but since the staff of KCET had the honor to shoot its final season, it's worthy of a post.

Dick Clark needed a new home for "Bandstand" when ABC dropped him and he went into syndication back in the fall of 1987. He came to KCET with the proposition that we build his set on our huge Stage B at out Sunset Boulevard lot. The thing was massive, with three levels for the kids to dance on. We called it the jungle gym, and due to the fact that the Whittier quake had just recently occurred, we always worried about it. We especially were worried about the kids if another earthquake happened while they were dancing. Luckily, no earthquakes struck while we were taping the shows on those Saturdays.

Dick Clark and the Dancers - American Bandstand | Photo by Cathy Bower 1988

The shows were shot on one Saturday a month and we did four shows each time. We had a break at the halfway point for lunch and other than that, we pretty much worked non-stop (minus the union breaks, of course).

I worked two jobs for this show: I loaded the electronic graphics for the credit roll ahead of time and then, when taping time came, I pulled cable for the floor camera, who was usually Luis Fuerte of "California's Gold" fame. It was a difficult camera to handle, because the kids were all in the way, dancing their hearts out and totally oblivious to the cable that was attached to that camera that they wanted to get in front of.

Dick Clark was all over the place, as producer of the show and talent in front of the camera, and it showed. He would be putting out some fire, like the script not being right or the reset not going as fast as expected, and then he would suddenly have to be in front of the camera, a smile on his face. I did not envy his job. Dick Clark's wife, Kari, was a very nice person and a pleasure to work with. You could tell they were a good team, because she helped with whatever needed to be done, to keep things running smoothly.

This Week on 'Visiting With Huell Howser' -- Getty Villa, Stan's Donuts and Jacaranda Trees

Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.

Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Getty Villa"

In 1945, J. Paul Getty acquired a Malibu retreat. Today, this spot includes a Romanesque gallery full of priceless art. Huell also tours the property's historically accurate ancient Roman crop garden.

Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Stan's Donuts"

For almost 40 years, Stan's Corner Donut Shop of Westwood, California, has baked the world's most gourmet donuts. From a Cinnamon Chocolate Cheese Danish to an Apple Fritter to a Reese's Peanut Butter Pocket with fresh banana. Stan's offers donuts you will find nowhere else in the world.

Finding California's Gold... in California Food

KCET is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a series of stories, reflections, and flashbacks, like this throwback below. For more and to participate in our next 50 years, join us at kcet.org/50.

I am a broadcaster.

Consequently, each April, I find myself crossing the desert, on my way to Las Vegas and the National Association of Broadcasters convention. This particular trip brought about a dilemma: Where to stop for food on our way back? Our usual go-to location, Bun Boy in Baker, had closed. Instead, what we decided to do is visit Peggy Sue's 50's Diner just north of Barstow at the Yermo Annex.

Peggy Sue's Menu | Photo Cathy Bower

I had been here years ago, and it was basically the same now: The food and the service were top-notch and the music and atmosphere is pure '50s. When I picked up the menu, I saw that there was a menu item called the "Huell Howser Hawaiian Honey Ham & Pineapple Cheeseburger." Intrigued, I decided to try it and I was pleased with my purchase. The waitress mentioned that the late Huell Howser, would stop by quite often in his travels and he even owned the infamous Volcano House in nearby Newberry Springs.

This chance encounter got me wondering what else is out there on restaurant menus that is named after Huell. Producing over 2,000 shows in a 27-year career, he saw and visited many locations -- and quite a few restaurants. What I have here is not an exhaustive list, but it is my best start at one. Feel free to mention some that you have seen, in the comment section below.

Pink's Hot Dogs

photo by flickr user aloha75, under a Creative Commons license

One of the most well known locations, is Pink's Hot Dogs. The "Huell Howser Dog" is a standard chili dog with two of their regular hot dogs on a single bun and it costs $5.80. It has been a menu item for over a decade and is one of their top-five best-sellers. He lived in this area of Los Angeles, and so it was his home turf.

Stan's Donuts

With Huell, it was all about the peanut butter. His favorite doughnut, "The Huell," has a peanut butter pocket in the center and chocolate on top. I contacted Stan's Doughnuts in Westwood and they said that he also liked the doughnut with peanut butter and banana, but noted that the doughnut does not carry his name. Prices vary, according to how many you buy, but a single doughnut is $3.

The Tallyrand

The Tallyrand in Burbank has a hot turkey sandwich menu item that has a note saying that it was Huell's favorite. I have seen many people choose this item, just to pay respect to the man. As a matter of fact, when we had a private toast to Huell after his passing, this is where we went. It's roasted turkey with herb dressing, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. It sells for $9.95.

Broguiere's Dairy

Broguiere's Dairy in Montebello, produced a glass bottle that carried Huell's picture and says "Favorite Visitor - Huell Howser / 'California's Gold.'" I happen to own one and a quick check with Broguiere's revealed that the Huell bottles are still in circulation and still available to customers.

photo by flickr user jrmyst, under a creative commons license

I am glad that there are places that keep his memory alive.

This is another in a series of posts where Cathy Bower, KCET's broadcast operations coordinator, looks back at some interesting moments and events during the station's 50 years on the air. Read more entries here.