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City Beat: Huell Howser's life is celebrated at Griffith Park

January 16, 2013 | 10:48 am

Huell Howser memorial
Huell Howser had so many fans. On Tuesday, they came out by the hundreds to celebrate him.

At an afternoon memorial at Griffith Park Observatory, they swapped stories, laughed and cried, and talked about him as if he were an old friend, even if they'd only watched him on TV.

Citybeat

For three decades, Howser -- who died last week at 67 -- explored California's people and places for his homespun television shows.

At the observatory, people talked about all the adventures they'd had because of him, how they had set out in search of the obscure landmarks and hole-in-the-wall diners he introduced them to in his travels.

PHOTOS: Remembering Huell Howser | Career in pictures

L.A. Councilman Tom LaBonge organized the event, which included speakers and a flyover by an LAPD helicopter.

Just before sunset, as LaBonge stood on the observatory steps, music began playing from speakers. It was Howser singing his "California Gold" theme song, "California, Here I Come." LaBonge urged everyone to sing along. As the song played over and over again, people joined him on the steps, singing and dancing.

It was heartfelt. It was hokey. It seemed just right.

People could practically hear Howser's voice saying, "That's amaazing!"

Read my latest City Beat on the Huell Howser memorial here.

And see faces in the crowd in the photos I sent out on Twitter:

 

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-- Nita Lelyveld

Follow City Beat on Twitter at @latimescitybeat and on Facebook. Send ideas for City Beat dispatches to nita.lelyveld@latimes.com.

Photo: Hundreds gather to celebrate the life of television host Huell Howser during during a memorial tribute Tuesday at Griffith Park Observatory. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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