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A Sweet Sunset Salute for Huell Howser

Wednesday evening's sunset from Griffith Observatory. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

It was as simple as a memorial could be. With snow dusted mountains to the east, a lucid ocean view to the west, the sun slowly anchored down below a thick of clouds. The group of about 100 gathered at Griffith Observatory on Wednesday night to honor the late TV legend Huell Howser took in the sight, along with throngs of tourists from near and far.

"This is the day we lost one of the greatest Californians," said L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who has been organizing these sunset salute memorials since Huell's passing in 2013. He then invited a number of people to speak about Huell, including Luis Alvarado, the honorary mayor of Griffith Park, where Huell filmed stories.

"He was the only person that when he said gold, you felt so good about it," Alvarado explained, a nod to one of Huell's TV titles and oft-used phrases, "California's Gold."

Not everyone spoke to the crowd, but many talked amongst themselves about their favorite Huell moments and places he helped them discover.

For Marty and Pat Price of Calaveras County, where Huell did stories about Gold Country and Mark Twain's short but notable stint, figurative gold is what he's been showing them for years.

"He could find things others couldn't," said Marty Price, explaining they've traveled to Half Moon Bay outside San Francisco some 20 times, only to recently discover something new and exciting by watching a recent Huell episode.

As the sun dropped near the horizon, the group sang "California Here I Come," which Huell featured in a music video.

And then it happened. Eyes -- and cameras -- glued to the Pacific Ocean to take in a sharp and rich sunset. A simple moment to say thanks and be inspired to continue seeking out California's Gold.

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