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RIP: California Treasure Huell Howser

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California has lost one of its biggest fans: local TV legend Huell Howser has passed away, according to several reports. A fixture on PBS stations for decades, he was the host of California's Gold, produced by KCET, until his abrupt retirement late last year. When the news broke that there would be no more new episodes, USC professor Martin Kaplan summed up Howser's appeal to the LA Times: "No one said 'Wow!' like Huell Howser -- everything about California turned him into a kid on Christmas morning. He was about as far from irony as you can get. He made corny cool." [OC Weekly/SCPR/LAT]