Yesterday and today....very sad. Huell Howser has passed away at the age of 67. Even though we loved making fun of his corn-pone ways and his interview style, we envied him. Huell carved out the BEST job for himself. He was a sincere booster of all things California. I cannot count how many places we visited after seeing one of Huell's shows. He inspired us to visit out-of-the-way spots in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Twentynine Palms and beyond.
We got a kick out of "Simpsons" co-creator Matt Groening's thinly veiled spoof of Huell on that popular show. The character was named Howell Huser. Huell voiced the character himself. I'm sure viewers from other parts of the country didn't get the parody, but it made us crack up! What a good sport Huell was.
|Huell's character on "The Simpsons"|
I used to see Huell in Larchmont Village, near his Rossmore Avenue Apartment. We spotted him at our favorite haunt, the Original Farmers Market. I also met Huell when I was working at KPCC-Radio in Pasadena. He had been a guest on Larry Mantle's "Air-Talk" when I was entering the studio in preparation for my 8pm show, "The Friday Night Blues Revue." He said, "Howdy," shook my hand and made my day.
Our longest encounter with Huell Howser was during the 1997 dedication of the Twentynine Palms mural honoring Bill and Prudie Underhill. Bill and Prudie were distant cousins of Larry's. You can read about the mural here. At the dedication that day, we caught up with all of the Underhills and particularly visited with Huell. Later that night, while Larry and I were having dinner at the Twentynine Palms Inn, Huell strolled right over to our table and sat down with us to talk more about the beautiful high desert. He certainly was an entertaining man.
Thank you Huell, for your knowledge, wonder and sharing all of it with us.