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That’s Amazing! Huell Howser Archives

Today’s episode “That’s Amazing! Huell Howser Archives” is on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn, Pocket CastStitcher, iHeartRadio, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Today we visit the Chapman University exhibit of the archives of broadcaster Huell Howser, of “California’s Gold” PBS fame. If you don’t recall the name, you’ll probably remember the face: iconic sunglasses perched on a pleasant tan visage, cheerful smile (with perfect teeth), all solidly topped by steely (and precisely) cropped hair. There’s that linebacker build, those muscular arms and barrel chest, clad in a Polo or button-down short-sleeved shirt and a pair of chinos (or shorts). He looked like he should be playing football on a beach somewhere in Southern California. You know. HUELL HOWSER. Ok. Well, then, the voice will jolt you back to memory lane…you didn’t expect it when you saw him, but as soon as you heard his Grand Ol’ Opry Nashville roots “That’s amazing!” catchphrase, you couldn’t help be settle down for a homestyle good time as Huell presented – with all his heart and soul – his latest find somewhere in the state of California.

Kym finds Huell’s catchphrase. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s in California you would have to work pretty hard to miss seeing a Huell Howser human interest piece. At one point his shows aired 6 nights a week on KCET, with over a million viewers, including overseas military via the American Forces Radio and Television Services. If you weren’t learning about the next hidden gem in “California’s Gold” you could be “Visiting…With Huell Howser,” taking a “Road Trip With Huell Howser,” learn about all the county fairs, parks, and vast coastline in “California’s Golden Fairs,” “California’s Golden Parks,” and, you guessed it, “California’s Golden Coast.” Huell may have originally hailed from Nashville, TN, and even worked in New York for CBS and CNN for awhile…but when he landed in Los Angeles, CA, in 1980, broadcast gold was made. Forever.

The world became a bit less bright, and definitely less amazing on 7 January 2013 when 67 year old Huell succumbed to the prostate cancer he’d been privately battling. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he began making arrangements to leave over 5,000 videos of raw and edited footage as well as show notes, personal papers, knickknacks, mementos, books, art and furniture to Chapman University in Orange, CA, which was finalized in 2012. He never got to see the exhibit as it is today, which he originally intended to just be a donation for digital archival purposes. He had no idea his death would lead hundreds of loyal fans searching for his much-needed goodness to traipse into the Chapman University library, disrupting students’ studies to view the lobby displays of his legacy. University top-brass took note and (thankfully) dedicated a permanent archival exhibit just one floor down in what is now known as the California’s Gold Exhibit and Huell Howser Archives.

So. That’s where we went Saturday (Leap Day!) with our trusty Tascom digital recorder. Oh… yeah. Well, Kris hasn’t learned the ins and outs of recording on the fly with the digi handheld. So, sound quality is a bit…meh, BUT! It’s real, it’s raw…just like our morning walk episode, you’ll feel like you’re right there with us as we descend the echoey stairs in search of the archive only to discover Huell’s AMAZING industrial found art…seriously. Probably the best thing we learned that day – and there were a LOT of a-ha moments – was that the man saw beauty in EVERYTHING. He took junkyard scraps and transformed them into gallery-quality art pieces and functional furniture that he kept in all his houses (yep, plural…including a Volcano Rock House).

Walking through the door of room B11, the first thing you notice is the prominent “THAT’S AMAZING!” photo of Huell greeting you. At your feet, the black floor contains a large white outline of the state of California with labels overlapping each other pinpointing name after name after name AFTER NAME of alllllll the towns Huell visited and showcased over the years.

That 70’s Huell with Porky the Pig and family. This is the segment that started the magic back in Nashville.

Along the wall is a timeline mural and in the center of the room are thick columns – all of this covered with photos and blurbs about all the wild, whimsical and wonderful characters Huell met along the way. You can see what his office looked like – right down to the hand-drawn calendar, and the homemade coffee mug used as a pen holder. And right there right in front of you is The Camera. Yep, the one Luis Fuerte used to film all the episodes of “California’s Gold.” In the Artifact Room there are displays of personal items from childhood (Boy Scouts handbook, a miniature pop gun), broadcasting gear such as his camera bag from his early days in Nashville, favorite baseball hats (the SPAM hat is the best), art and findings from his travels, a boatload of books, and even an original John Romita hand-drawn comic of Huell meeting Stan Lee.

And because we’re kind of getting the hang of this interview stuff, we took advantage of being the only visitors left in the room, and asked the resident pro, John Carlo, Archivist, if we could pick his brain and man, he was a wealth of knowledge. So BONUS! You don’t have to listen to us gab for 45 minutes like we usually do. If you visit the archives, DEFINITELY see if John is available to chat you up.

So, folks, if you remember Huell fondly, we hope you enjoy this episode. Yes, we realize we did a poor imitation of Huell’s accent too many times (KRIS), but rest assured, we did it out of pure joy and love for the man, never, ever as ridicule. And of course, we unironically say, “That’s Amazing!” all throughout the episode because the archives truly are…amazing.

It’s fitting that the man who spent 30+ years highlighting little-known, quirky treasures up and down the state of California would inspire exactly the kind of place he avidly searched for and shared with the world. We can almost hear Huell walking down those stairs, stopping often with Southern-boy giddiness, asking Luis, “did you get that?” as he wanders and wonders through the three-room hidden gem showcasing his life.

If you’re local or visiting Southern California, you can’t miss a visit to Old Orange. If you want to visit the archives (Yes. Yes you do.) they are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. You might want to call ahead just in case to be sure the archive isn’t closed for a special event. Large groups can call ahead to make arrangements with the archivist. The displays rotate some items every few months, so multiple visits are totally necessary.

Leatherby Libraries building, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Chapman University is just north of the circle (The Plaza) on Glassell. You can park in the lower level of the parking garage off Walnut street (at the time of this writing you can get 4 hours for $3) or you can find a spot in one of the many parking lots in the area (and another new parking structure off Chapman near Ruby’s). That means you can enjoy the neighborhood as you make your way to the school. Just be very careful if you want to try your luck parking on the street. There’s some funky rules about who can park where, and if you park in the wrong place without a parking permit, the fine will set you back over $30 (uh…last time Kris checked, about 6 years ago that was the going price for not paying attention to her surroundings…so it’s likely the fines have gone up). Just watch for the signs. Leatherby Libraries (yep, not library, it’s plural) is right next to the field. To access the archives, take the stairs or the elevator to the basement (not gloomy whatsoever…true story) and you’ll find yourself face to face with that smiling photo of Huell.

When you’re finished with those archives, be sure to check out the Center for American War Letters Archives display near the entrance to the Huell Howser Archives. Each month they highlight the service of a soldier, sailor, marine or homefront warrior, displaying letters and other personal ephemera. The actual archives room has the same hours as the Huell Howser Archives, and their entrance is to the immediate left of the stairway.

To rejuvenate after you visit with Huell, Old Orange is chock full of delicious restaurants, antique stores and small shops selling art, pottery, home goods, comic books, vintage clothes, and toys. There’s even TWO Starbucks.

We urge you to visit the archives. And we urge you to watch reruns of Huell’s shows. This world needs more Huells…we need more unabashed joy in the adventure of discovery and human connection.

Today’s episode is released twice: in audio-only mp3 format AND in an image-enhanced mp4 format. Not all podcast apps support enhanced podcasts (Spotify, for instance), and we discovered if we only release an enhanced episode, it’s not that the images don’t show up, the entire episode won’t publish to that platform! So…two versions it is. If you are interested in viewing the images while listening, you can go to your app store and download Apple Podcasts, Overcast, or Pocketcast. We’re not sure if Google Play or Stitcher support enhanced shows, so let us know if you listen on those platforms and can view the photos.

As an added bonus, here’s some of the images we share on the episode today:

The anteroom of the Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
The memento cabinet housing some of Huell’s favorite gifts and mementos.
The camera used to film “California’s Gold”. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell’s tape viewing desk. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell shoveling sauerkraut. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell’s Herald’s of Peace Torch, 1996 Olympics, Los Angeles, CA. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell, Nita the Elephant, and Charlie. This was Huell’s favorite segment in all his years of broadcasting. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell got Simpsonized. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
John Romita’s personalized drawing of Huell and Stan Lee. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Huell’s 1957 copy of the Boy Scouts Handbook for Boys. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
A fine example of the industrial art Huell loved. Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
Some of Huell’s books and mementos in the artifacts room of the Huell Howser Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Check out The Mugly Truth Podcast’s episode “That’s Amazing! Huell Howser Archives, regular and enhanced versions, on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn, Pocket CastStitcher, iHeartRadio, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Then all you need to do is 1) subscribe 2) download and 3) listen! AND!!! 4) If you enjoy what you hear, please leave a rating and a review (pretty please?). The more subscribers and reviews we get, the more opportunities we get to grow this podcast and bring you richer content.

And don’t forget to follow us here at themuglytruth.com (click that blue WordPress Follow button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow The Mugly Truth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

© The Mugly Truth 2020 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2020. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox”  by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com.

All photos are courtesy Kym Wagner and Kris Core. All rights reserved.

Episodes

Riffing and Bingeing

MMMM Good to the last drop
Kris and Kym find coffee is good to the very last drop! Photo by Kimbery Sickel, @riverdeer at 500px.

Today we finally get around to alllll the wonderful (or as Kris likes to say over and over and over: FABULOUS) shows we’ve been binge-watching on Netflix and Amazon Prime (haven’t find one on Hulu yet, but we’re open to it!). That is, we get to it once we slog through all the talk about a spider using Kym’s leg as a buffet, how to cope with hot-flashes, the best way to decide when to get married, Kris’ guttermind moment (PLUS she thinks Eugene Levy is hot), and Kym came up with a really good tracker app but is using her bullet journal until someone develops her idea to make her fantastically wealthy.

Mood Tracker
Kym shares her love of all things bullet journaling with her October Halloween-inspired mood tracker.

Um..yeah, so once we get through all that (and probably even more), the discussion gets down to recommendations for obsessive boob-tube watching.

We cover some new, some old, and all are…ahem…fabulous. Some of our picks include Schitt’s Creek, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell and others go way back to re-watching hits like Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, American Horror Story, and basically anything true crime.

And then we drop a nice surprise for our listeners (and future listeners) so keep your ears open and be ready to have some fun soon!

Oh, and SHOUT OUT TO CON ARTIST for being the FIRST PERSON to email us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You deserve a freakin’ prize!

A small, so inexpensive, yet very heartfelt prize.

By the way: if you’re wondering whether it’s bingeing or binging (tomato, tomahhhto), the online dictionary says the word can be spelled both ways, so we just picked the one that looks less wrong. Seriously. Neither looks right so what are you supposed to do.

Check out the Riffing and Bingeing episode to find out which shows we recommend or just simply love to bits! Go on over to  iTunes/Apple Podcasts, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn, Pocket CastsStitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Then all you need to do is 1) subscribe 2) download and 3) listen! AND!!! 4) If you enjoy what you hear, please leave a rating and a review (pretty please?). The more subscribers and reviews we get, the more opportunities we get to grow this podcast and bring you richer content.

And don’t forget to follow us here at themuglytruth.com (click that blue WordPress Follow button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow The Mugly Truth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

© The Mugly Truth 2018 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2018. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox”  by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com
Location photo by Kimberly Sickel, @riverdeer at 500px

 

 

 

 

Episodes

Episode 06: Only Brats

Yep. Kris and Kym…are only brats. There are plenty of pros and cons with Only Child Syndrome. We had everything we needed, most of what we wanted. We never had to fight for the last cupcake, always got to ride shotgun (unless both parents were in the car) and we were the center of the Universe (we like to believe. And maybe still do…*sideeye*). And yet there were a lot of lonely days, and when things went south at home (because, you know, even in the very healthiest and happiest of households that happens) there was no one to turn to, to share the fear or the sadness with. There wasn’t a brother to feel safe with, there wasn’t a sister to whisper and giggle with. There was just…ourselves. And not all experiences for only children are like this, in fact, our experiences are quite different from each other although we both expressed that similar overall feeling of loneliness.  A lot depends on the parents and Kym is proof one parent can more than compensate for one not so great BioPU (Biological Parental Unit…pronounced bio-poo for good reason). When both parents are trying to get their lives together and rebuild and work and cope…sometimes the child gets a bit lost in the mix (Kris). And while we’re not going to outright say, “hey, that’s ok really, we ended up fine,” because it’s really NOT totally ok…there is an element of peace in that statement. Because we both did. And here we are, one raising two girls, one having raised a daughter…and all the offspring are doing a-ok. Because even though we’re only children, we really did learn how to share (I always say the ultimate and supreme sacrifice of love is letting the one you love have that last bite of cake) and we took the things we didn’t want to carry into our motherhood and made a real effort to do things differently for our children. Even better, we took the things we DID love and learn from our parents to be pretty decent parents ourselves. We think. We have expressly forbidden said offspring to indicate otherwise in any fashion verbal, body language, Snapchat, texting, YouTube rants, tweeting videos, IG IMs, etc., etc., etc., et al, legal verbiage infinity.

Just kidding. Titter teehee laugh laugh.

A bit selfish? Check.

Confident with being alone? Check check.

Center of the Universe? CHECK CHECK CHE….

Just kidding. AHHGAIN.

…maaayyyyyybe…

Well-adjusted and loving life? Definitely maybe could be possible Check.

Working on the above? For sure CHECK.

There’s lots of good in being an only child, and a lot of wishful thinking…

So go on, JOIN US…pleaaaase. Indulge our Pretty Princess Podcast again today by going to iTunes, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn or any podcast player you use to subscribe, download and listen! If you enjoy what you hear, go ahead and leave a 5-star review! The more listeners we get, the more opportunities we will have to bring you richer content!

And don’t forget to follow us here (click that WordPress button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow also us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Just search for The Mugly Truth in all those social media sites.

For those who enjoy listening here on our website, here is the Libsyn player link, like always. We may be eliminating the link from the site for future episodes. Let us know what you want!

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© The Mugly Truth 2018 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2018. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox”  by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com