The legendary late chronicler of Southern California adventures, Huell Howser, is celebrated in a new permanent exhibit opening March 29 at Chapman University’s Leatherby Libraries.
That’s Amazing! Thirty Years of Huell Howser and California’s Gold, sponsored by the Automobile Club of Southern California, will be launched with a public open house March 29 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will also mark the world premiere of a new documentary film, also sponsored by the Auto Club. A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser was created by Chapman film professor Jeff Swimmer, and it will be screened four times in Chapman’s Memorial Hall during the open house event.
Admission is free to the exhibit and open house. The film screenings are ticketed: $12 online in advance and $15 at the door. Auto Club members will receive a discounted film ticket price of $10. Screening times are 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Online advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended. For questions regarding film ticket sales, the public can call (714) 744-2176. Campus parking information is also available online.
The open house will feature:
- Personal appearances by some of the favorite people showcased on Huell’s shows.
- Food vendors featured on memorable episodes of the shows.
- The release of the Auto Club’s new “California’s Gold Guide Map” – a wonderful new map of the Golden State that marks the locations where many favorite episodes of Huell’s shows, including the Auto Club-sponsored Road Trip, were filmed. The Auto Club will be on site to hand out free maps while supplies last.
- Free tours of the exhibit, which features a replica of Huell’s office, a quote wall, career artifacts, pieces from his eclectic personal art collection, and fan gifts from his travels throughout California.
- The world premiere of the new documentary A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser by Chapman film professor Jeff Swimmer. The film takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the amazing world of Huell and his California’s Gold and Road Trip series. Enjoy seeing how the series were shot and edited, with appearances by Huell’s friends, colleagues and the production team that helped him create his offbeat and unforgettable adventures. (Proceeds from film ticket sales help to support the Huell Howser Archives and Collection and the permanent exhibit.)
Huell Howser’s PBS programs “Road Trip with Huell Howser” and “Visiting with Huell Howser” were sponsored by the Auto Club, and he was a frequent guest at special Auto Club events.
In the last several years of his life (he passed away in early 2013), Huell Howser forged a strong personal bond with Chapman University and its students. He “discovered” the university when Chapman President Jim Doti sent him a handwritten note inviting him to tour the campus.
Huell later made many generous donations to Chapman, including his personal art collection, his collection of show memorabilia, notes and papers relating to his work, and tapes of all of his more than 900 episodes of California’s Gold and associated shows (California’s Missions, California’s Golden Parks,California’s Golden Fairs, Road Trip and many more). His wish was for the university to digitize all the episodes of his shows and make them available, free of charge, to the public online. Following a year-long digitization process, Chapman recently launched www.huellhowserarchives.com, where the public can view all of these episodes for free.