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Huell Charmed Everyone At The Sugar Pine Railroad

Submitted by Dale Clugston

FISH CAMP – His interviewing style has many descriptions. Traditional and unflashy, awestruck curiosity and a relentless enthusiasm. I agree with all of that and maybe a couple of more. He was genuine and a true gentleman.

I met Huell Howser when he visited the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad several years ago. Huell showed up with just his cameraman and a microphone, and spent most of the day at the railroad.He had a great sense of humor, this incredible child-like curiosity about everything and rapid fire questions that would keep you on your toes.

Huell Howser and Dale Clugston at the Sugar Pine RailroadThe filming and interview process seemed a little disjointed to me. There was no semblance of order, no script, just Huell asking questions, a lot of questions.

When we were done at the end of the day, Huell thanked each and every employee he had talked to, told us all we did such a great job and then he was gone.

I remember thinking after he left, wow, I don’t see how he can make any kind of show that will make any sense to anybody.

When the episode finally aired on PBS, I was a little apprehensive about what it would look like. It looked great. He was a master at his craft. He took all his film from that day, massaged it, and turned out one of his more popular episodes.

Huell Howser WikipediaThe show was full of the history of the region, mixed in with historical photographs, interviews with folks who rode the train that day, and a lot of Huell’s comments and quick-witted humor.

I was very sad to learn today that Huell passed away during the night of January 6. His trip to the railroad will always be one of the highlights of my tenure there. He will be missed. He was truly California’s Gold.

One comment

  1. Dave Wolin - Film Commissioner; Madera County Film Commission

    He filmed 4 projects here in Eastern Madera County – a gentleman and a professional; he will be missed.

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