Sunday, December 08, 2013
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When Huell Howser moved to Los Angeles in 1981 from his home state of Tennessee to become a reporter for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, he had no idea he’d fall in love…with California. His enthusiasm for his new home inspired the idea for the television series that started it all, California’s Gold. Huell had a simple idea: if he traveled the state with an open heart and an open mind, a microphone and a camera, he would uncover a treasure of California stories.
"We operate on the premise that TV isn’t brain surgery. People’s stories are what it’s all about," says Howser. "If you have a good story, it doesn’t have to be overproduced. I want our stories to reveal the wonders of the human spirit and the richness of life in California, including its history, people, culture and natural wonders."
A native of Tennessee, Huell began his television career at WSM-TV in Nashville after receiving his B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee, serving on the staff of a United States Senator and a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Howser later joined WCBS-TV in New York City as host of a magazine-style series. He then came to Los Angeles in 1981 to work as a reporter for KCBS-TV. Huell joined public television station KCET/Los Angeles in 1987 to produce "Videolog," a series of short programs featuring the stories of people from all walks of life. This series captured the imagination of viewers and led directly to an expanded format which covered people and places throughout the state.
And now after over 19 years in production, California’s Gold is one of the longest running and most beloved series about California ever produced. The success and popularity of the show helped to launch six additional series about life in California, Visiting with Huell Howser, Road Trip with Huell Howser, California’s Golden Parks, California’s Green, California’s Water and the newest series, Downtown. Huell Howser’s shows can be viewed six nights a week on KCET, and at various times on California PBS stations statewide and in Oregon, Nevada and Tennessee. Huell's work in television has also taken him on travels worldwide, including Egypt, Israel, Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, Australia, Europe, and twice to the former Soviet Union.
"Intimate, magnificently unslick, utterly charming, absolutely irresistible..." says "Los Angeles Times" columnist Howard Rosenberg of Howser's style.
Walter Goodman of "The New York Times" praises, "Howser's infectious upbeat spirit..."
"Daily Variety" says Howser has "a gift for probing the emotional truths of people's lives and gently coaxing them into the television screen."
The "L.A. Weekly" recognized Howser as the "Best Good-News TV Newsperson" in Los Angeles.
And twelve-year-old viewer, Melody, says: "I love to watch your show. I can tell that you are a very friendly and warm person. I like to say that you could make someone’s toothpick collection look interesting!!"
Huell Howser is also a frequent speaker to civic and student groups and is active in numerous charitable, civic and social groups throughout the state. He lives in Los Angeles and Twenty-Nine Palms.
Huell hosts a number of different series for PBS television:
Seen on all PBS affiliates in California, this is our signature series, and is endorsed by a number of organizations including: the California Teachers Association; the California Federation of Teachers; the California State Library Foundation; the California Library Association; the California School Boards Association; the California Council for the Social Studies; and the California Historical Society.
For that reason, we launched our series titled California's Green. This series highlights what innovative and creative Californians are doing to solve environmental challenges.
I'm really excited about California's Green because it is a learning experience for us all and most importantly it provides us with practical ideas and knowledge that we can actually implement in our daily lives.
The premise of the series is simple: See where the road leads as Huell and his cameraman set out on a California highway, with no particular destination in mind, on a voyage of discovery.
CALIFORNIA'S GOLDEN PARKS
We're talking, of course, about the California Missions and even though they differ in many ways, these missions have become part of the history and lore of our state and endure today as true California treasures.
In this very special ten part miniseries, entitled simply "California Missions," Huell Howser and cameraman Luis Fuerte set out on a quest to visit all 21 missions that run much of the length of present-day California.
The miniseries features three missions in each thirty-minute episode. We started in San Diego and literally drove up the coast. It was the most fascinating and enlightening trip of my life. I now have a better understanding of just what it is about these wonderful missions that continues to captivate so many people after all these years.
CALIFORNIA'S GOLDEN COAST
VISITING... With Huell Howser
LA Times critic Howard Rosenberg calls Huell's style, "Intimate, magnificently unslick, utterly charming, and absolutely irresistible." Viewers agree, and VISITING With HUELL HOWSER continues to be one of the most popular programs on KCET - PBS Los Angeles.
"VISITING" has been on the air for over 15 years, and is generously funded by a grant provided by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and produced by KCET.
KCET Launches Huell's Interactive Los Angeles
Visit the interactive
The Best of California's Gold. Call 800-255-5727. DVD for $49.95.