Huell Howser Was California’s Gold

Huell.Howser.Mike.MullinEnthusiastic. Optimistic. One of a kind. Of course, we’re talking about Huell Howser, the iconic host of KCET’s Visiting With Huell Howser and California’s Gold, who died earlier this year of prostate cancer. Huell was known for his ability to make any subject interesting and entertaining. With his trademark exclamations of wonderment, he brought an infectious excitement to every episode, teaching us that everything around us – from the simplicity of a neighborhood park to the majesty of the Sierra Nevadas – had value and fantastic treasures to uncover and celebrate. With his death, California lost a living legend and one of our state’s best friends.

Here at LA Stormwater, we experienced Huell’s infectious excitement when he first visited LA’s storm drains in 1994. Our program was in its infancy, and we were focused on teaching people that the Los Angeles storm drain system was different than the sanitary sewer system and carried polluted urban runoff straight to the ocean. We were thrilled with the opportunity to take the crew of Visiting With Huell Howser on a personalized tour of LA’s storm drains. Huell was fascinated by the underground system of pipes and was equally impressed by our staff’s ability to back out of a very long underground storm drain in a truck.

Over the next two decades, Huell would revisit the subject of California’s water and its systems again and again, producing and hosting close to 30 episodes on the issues. In 2004, Huell launched a series entitled California’s Green that focused on what innovative and creative Californians were doing to solve environmental challenges. Echo Park Lake and the City’s efforts to clean the lake’s water utilizing floating wetlands was the subject of one of the episodes. “Huell Howser, through California’s Green, was able to bring the story of California’s environment into everyone’s living room,” stated Mike Mullin, Senior Policy Analyst on Environmental Issues for the City of Los Angeles, who accompanied Huell on the Echo Park Lake episode.  “He had the rare gift of being able to easily explain environmental issues and why we should care,” continued Mullin.

Thank you, Huell, for your spirited journeys and the enthusiastic way you taught us to love and protect California and our state’s many precious resources. Like so many of the places and people you featured in your unforgettable shows, you were truly California’s gold.

Photos courtesy of waltarrrr and Mike Mullin.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Michael Bronkey
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    The world was a better place with Huell Howser in it! I met him once while I was in college–needless to say what a nice man he was. I will miss Huell Howser for sure!!

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      February 11th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      We agree and thank Huell Howser for all the amazing California adventures we enjoyed with him during his years as a KCET host. He will be greatly missed!

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