"That's Amazing! 30 Years of Huell Howser and California's Gold" Now a Permanent Exhibit

Man, we really miss Huell Howser here in the Weekly ivory tower.

Chapman University feels our pain and is doing something about it for fellow fans of the late, longtime KCET host by making permanent the exhibit "That's Amazing! Thirty Years of Huell Howser and California's Gold." (Who else heard Huell's voice and smiled when reading the words "That's amazing?")

Chapman, of course, before and after Howser's death in early 2013, was the recipient of his personal art collection, show memorabilia, notes and papers relating to his work, tapes of all of his more than 900 episodes of California's Gold and associated shows like California's Missions, California's Golden Parks, California's Golden Fairs and Road Trip.

The Automobile Club sponsored Road Trip, and it is sponsoring the permanent exhibit housed in the private Orange university's Leatherby Libraries. The public is invited to an open house launching the new exhibit from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

On tap will be personal appearances by some of the favorite people showcased on Howser's shows, food vendors featured in memorable episodes and free tours of a replica of his office, a quote wall, career artifacts, pieces from his eclectic personal art collection and fan gifts from his travels throughout California. The Auto Club's new "California's Gold Guide Map," which marks many locations Howser visited for his shows, will be handed out free while supplies last.

Saturday also marks the world premiere of the new documentary A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser. Created by Chapman film professor Jeff Swimmer, the film screens in Chapman's Memorial Hall at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 online in advance (at www.huellhowserarchives.com) and $15 at the door (or $10 if you are an Auto Club member). Proceeds from film ticket sales help support the Huell Howser Archives and Collection and the permanent exhibit.

Besides giving the university all that stuff, Howser endowed the California's Gold Scholarship that is presented to selected undergraduates who display a positive outlook and are actively pursuing ways to improve society. Howser also donated two houses to Chapman: his Twentynine Palms residence that is being sold per Howser's wishes to support his scholarship and archives; and the "Volcano House," an iconic Midcentury Modern domed structure atop an ancient volcano in the Mojave Desert that the university uses as a base for study trips, filmmaking, writers' retreats and more.

Chapman recently launched www.huellhowserarchives.com, where the public can view all of these episodes for free.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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I absolutely love Huell Howser. I always wondered how someone with such a thick southern drawl became such an expert on California. What a delightful man with unmatched enthusiasm. I'm a little surprised at only two other comments on a Huell Hauser write up. Oh well, I guess it's the quality of commenter, and not the amount. One last thing, whatever happened to Louie?

18usc241 topcommenter

If only there was an honorable male hero like this in Orange County CA law enforcement.

JBinOC topcommenter

With the scholarship and bequeaths, Huell Howser proved once again what a genuinely considerate, generous man he was.  Emphasis on the word "genuinely." 


@roman_archer  Luis actually was there on Saturday at Chapman University shaking hands, signing things,and taking pictures with people. It was a great event.

The permanent exhibit will now be on display Tues-Sat 9-5 and I highly recommend seeing the California's Gold documentary.   


@megandanielle Thanks for the info Megan! Nice to hear that Louie could be on hand to help honor Huell.


@JBinOC "you could feel the spirit of affability in the air among everyone". I can just picture that JB! Makes me smile.

JBinOC topcommenter


Luis was, indeed, there, and looking well.  

He had a name tag on that said "Luis Fuerte" with no other identifier (and none was needed).  Attendance was tremendous, and you could feel the spirit of affability in the air among everyone.  Who wouldn't want a legacy like that?  

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