Fans of the late Huell Howser and his iconic TV show “California’s Gold” are invited to a free Open House at Chapman University on Saturday, March 29th from 9 am to 6 pm. The event will include live appearances by various stars of Howser’s public television programs and tours of the university’s permanent collection “That’s Amazing! Thirty Years of Huell Howser and California’s Gold,” which celebrates the life and work of the public television legend.
Housed in Chapman University’s Leatherby Libraries, the custom-designed Howser exhibit, which is sponsored by the Automobile Club of Southern California, features a replica of Howser’s office where he edited all of his shows, plus a quote wall, career artifacts, pieces from his eclectic personal art collection and fan gifts from his travels throughout the Golden State. There’s also a viewing room where visitors can watch any of the more than 900 TV episodes Howser donated to Chapman when he left his life’s work to the university as his legacy.
Throughout the day, there will be screenings of the world premiere of an hour-long movie about Howser and the making of “California’s Gold,” created by Chapman film professor Jeff Swimmer. “A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser” examines the man and his work and delves into Howser’s love for California and belief that every person in every walk of life has a story to tell.
Also on hand that day will be the many people who made Howser’s shows so memorable, including the experts, food vendors, artisans, collectors and characters who appeared over the years on “California’s Gold” and who, along with Howser, expanded appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the state. Auto Club representatives will also be present to give out free copies while supplies last of the “California’s Gold Guide Map,” which marks locations throughout the Golden State where many favorite episodes were filmed.
In the last several years of his life (he passed away in early 2013), Howser forged a strong personal bond with Chapman University and its students and made many generous donations of his work and resources to the university. One of his wishes was for the university to digitize all of the episodes of his shows and make them available free of charge to the public online, which has been done. They can be accessed at www.huellhowserarchives.com. He also endowed the California’s Gold Scholarship presented to selected Chapman undergraduates who display a positive outlook and are actively pursuing ways to improve society.
The exhibit and personal appearances by the stars of California’s Gold are FREE. The movie screenings to be held in Memorial Hall are ticketed: $12 online in advance and $15 at the door. Auto Club (AAA) members will receive a discounted movie price of $10. Choose from 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm screenings. For more information about this event and to buy movie tickets, go to www.huellhowserarchives.com and click “Purchase Tickets.” Questions: 714-744-2176.
Published in the Mar/Apr 2014 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie-Bawden Davis, Photograph provided by Chapman University
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