Huell Howser, the public television host of “California’s Gold,” among other shows, died Sunday at age 67. Even though there will be no new episodes of his long-running adventures throughout the Golden State (he’d already retired from the show late last year), there are plenty of highlights left online for fans to continue to visit with the outspoken California booster.
For the hard-core fan, or people with a lot of time on their hands, Howser’s entire run of 443 episodes over 18 seasons are maintained at Chapman University’s website in the Huell Howser Archive.
But everybody has their own favorite Huell Howser moment, and several are posted on YouTube. For instance, there’s Howser’s infamous trip to the Bagdad Cafe in Newberry Springs. Appearing unannounced with a camera crew in tow, Howser did his best to get a coherent interview out of the locals, while simultaneously trying to figure out why a portrait of Burt Lancaster was hanging on the wall. If anyone ever wondered what a good-natured Mike Wallace “60 Minutes” segment might look like, this is it.
But sometimes, even when the interview subjects were eager to participate, it was Howser himself who couldn’t quite be corralled. For example, during this visit to Mono Lake, Howser’s fascination with the flies swarming the edge of the lake became a struggle for the local expert to give his answers to Howser’s questions, as the host continued to run off after the swarming flies.
Huell’s enthusiasm for seemingly innocuous aspects of California life made his show comfort viewing. In this clip, a trip to an avocado grove and a dog that eats avocados provides endless fascination for the host.