The Huell thing

Some people think Huell Howser is too corny to be taken seriously, but I like him. His show Friday featured the Claremont Packing House, the subject of a column of mine a few weeks back when the place was rehabbed and reopened, so I tuned in with interest.

One historical tidbit: In the 1970s there was a commercial worm farm in the basement, only the worms reproduced faster than they could be sold. The rest of the story I knew, but it was fun to see Howser touring the place and interacting with Jerry and Nancy Tessier and Ginger Elliott, all of whom I had interviewed as well.

Howser is an enthusiast, you have to give him that. In fact he’s sometimes more enthusiastic than the people actually invested in the subject. Marveling at the new College Heights sign out front, a nod to the original citrus association that packed lemons in the building, he exclaimed: “You’re really reigniting an interest and a curiosity about the history of Claremont!”

Two favorite bits:

* The only “wow,” a Huell Howser trademark, came at an unlikely moment.
Howser: “Did this place always have a second story?”
Jerry Tessier: “They actually added a second story about 1945.”
Howser: “Wow.”

* He listened to someone at the Claremont Forum’s used bookstore talk about how book sales provide money to send paperbacks to prisoners. To clarify things for viewers, Howser (in jest) (I think) asked: “So you don’t have to be a prisoner to shop here?”

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