Huell Howser

Huell Howser, left, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower. ("California's Gold" / KCET / June 30, 2000)

Nearly a year after he died, beloved television host Huell Howser is being commemorated with a special tribute on KCET.

The channel -- the nation's largest independent public television station -- issued a call to fans to vote on their all-time favorite episodes of Howser's shows "California's Gold" and "Visiting with Huell Howser." Each episode of the former, which was Howser's most popular show, features Howser introducing viewers to very special places and people in California. The most popular ones will air as part of a Howser marathon on the channel beginning Jan. 5 (a Sunday) from 7 p.m. to midnight, and each weekday after that during the show's regularly scheduled 7:30 p.m. slot.

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"Huell Howser is a legendary television personality who shared a special relationship with his viewers," said Mary Mazur, chief operating officer of KCETLink. "On the one-year mark since his passing, KCET thought it appropriate to ask his fans to help celebrate his life and work by selecting their favorite shows for our marathon."

Fans came out in droves. The station received more than 6,000 votes and distilled the list of shows it will air down to 25. These include "Hearst Ranch," "In-N-Out Burger," "Musso & Frank," "Galco's" and "Vincent Price Art Museum."

That's a nice sampling of California gold, indeed.

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