Generally, Californians reacted in one of two ways to Monday's announcement that Huell Howser had died. Many Golden State natives and longtime residents were saddened by the void it leaves in California pop culture.
Then there was this reaction: "Who's Huell Howser?"
Well, Howser was a California television legend. For about 20 years he traveled the state with his handheld microphone to shed light on the places we might visit on day trips or family vacations. Howser bathed in the glow of the 100-plus-year-old lightbulb in Livermore, searched for the "Tree Circus" near Gilroy and reminisced with chicken farmers in Petaluma. A native of Tennessee, he bubbled over with excitement at that which we might consider mundane; Howser is remembered for exclamations like "This is AMAZING!"
His enthusiastic interviews and profiles aired on programs like "California's Gold," which you can still watch in reruns on public television and online. Howser retired from television late last year.
We've put together three YouTube playlists for those who aren't familiar with Howser as well as those who will remember him fondly for his pride in California. The first playlist provides a good introduction to his work, and it features video of two of his visits to the Bay Area. The second includes three of the most popular Howser videos on YouTube. The third playlist has four videos suggested by commenters on our post Monday about Howser's death.