This documentary is a brief retrospective of Huell Howser's series California's Gold up to the end of the twentieth century (about 15 years). Much of this documentary provides the foundation for the recent lifetime retrospective A Golden State of Mind.
Huell's sense of wonder comes through in this. His message is that fascinating stories and places are all around, people only need to pay attention and be open to new experiences and new people to realize this. Huell was definitely a people's person.
I learned of a classic episode involving the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, located within Inyo National Forest, here that I quickly searched out on the archives and watched for myself. I was pleased to see them reference the Yosemite Firefall episode, which I appropriately saw for the first time at an outdoor screening at Yosemite Lodge. Just as people who lived it get nostalgic for the real firefall, I get nostalgic for the episode.
Huell Howser opened up people and places for us who are not people's people and not as magnanimous. The Firefall episode made it almost as real for us as people who were actually there. In some ways it's hyper-real as episode viewers get to experience footage of multiple falls throughout the years, free of waiting, with clear audio of the famed accompanying song "The Indian Love Call." Seeing the emotional reminiscences of those involved and getting the inside information adds to the magic. This is the indisputable power of Huell Howser's simple human interest journalism
Watch it for yourself below.