Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Farewell, Huell

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Huell Burnley Howser

(October 18, 1945 – January 7, 2013)

Huell HowserJoan and I worked with Huell Howser on the third hour of the Ken and Barkley Saturday Morning Show on KABC. This was soon after Huell arrived in Los Angeles. Hour three, considered the lifestyle segment, featured Huell who introduced us to places in our own backyard that many of us weren’t familiar with; Chuck Walsh reviewed the latest movies and Joan and I featured restaurants by bringing in food from the establishments being discussed. Somehow Ken Minyard held the whole thing together with his fun banter with Roger Barkley. It was a fast, fun-filled hour (pre-taped on Wednesday mornings) which hit the airwaves at 9am. Huell was the first one to notice that when we were plying them with mouthfuls of food, it made it possible for us to get a word in edgewise.

Around this time, Huell had just taped the first segments of California’s Gold, his travel show, based in Los Angeles at KCET for California PBS stations. The series was a video chronicle and celebration of the history, culture and people of California. This was to become a tradition on television for the next 20 years.

Huell was born in Gallatin, Tennessee. He received a Bachelors degree in history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also served as student body president. After serving in the United States Marines and later on the staff of Senator Howard Baker, Huell began his television career at WSM-TV in Nashville with a series of “human interest” stories.

Huell worked in New York as the host of WCBS-TV’s “Real Life” show and then moved to Los Angeles in 1981 as a reporter for KCBS-TV and as weekend host on Entertainment Tonight. In 1985 he joined Los Angeles television station KCET, then a PBS affiliate.

Huell was always excited about everything. California’s Gold highlighted small towns, landmarks, events or places of interest throughout California which are not well known to the general public, with Huell conducting informal interviews with the locals. He also produced derived shows including California’s Golden Parks, California’s Water, Visiting… with Huell Howser, Our Neighborhoods, The Bench, Road Trip, California’s Golden Fairs, and various specials.

Huell was a generous man donating his entire videotaped collection of California’s Gold to Chapman University. He also donated his personal papers, and a large collection of books on California history to the university. The school established the Huell Howser Archive, which, when completed, will offer the public free access to the entire digitized collection of episodes of California’s Gold. He also gave his extensive art collection to the university and endowed the California’s Gold Scholarship Fund.

Huell Howser2The last time we met up with Huell he was standing behind the host stand at El Coyote restaurant on Beverly Boulevard speaking with one of the owners. I was there with my visiting London nephew and giving him my full attention when I heard Huell’s smooth, southern accented voice, “Mr. Engoron, will that be a table for four?” We laughed and talked for about an hour about his series, our futures and Huell wanted to know all about Choclatique. We promised to get together soon at the Chocolate Studio but Huell was not able to visit because of his progressing illness.

Huell Howser’s death made us very sad, but then we can just tune to an old episode of California’s Gold and see him still very much alive and feel happy when watching his show. Goodbye Huell—rest in peace.

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So Long, Dick Clark

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Let me take a moment to break away from our wonderful topics—CHOCOLATE and CHOCLATIQUE—and talk about the loss of a friend and one of the stalwarts of the entertainment and music industries.

I first met Dick Clark when I was hanging out at the old ABC Television Studios on Prospect and Talmage on the fringe of Hollywood. That was before the days of high security, pass codes and pictured identification cards. I was around so often that someone finally offered me a job in the art department and very soon thereafter became an art director. Art directors are those guys and gals who design the scenery and sets for television show and movies. I was only in my late teens, (lied about my age; pushing 17 up to 26), but thankfully I had enough talent to convince people I knew what I was doing.

One of the shows I was to work on was American Bandstand. It’s kind of funny looking back today; I was just about the same age as the dancers on the show. I got to know Mr. Clark as each week I tried to design something a little bit better which seemed to impress him. Now, this was no easy feat. In the mid-60’s the budget for a show like this was only in the hundreds and you had to really stretch a dollar to get any production values at all.

The one thing I did learn about Mr. Clark was that he was one of the kindest men on the lot. He always took the time to talk to everyone on the set. He was very protective of the young unpaid kids who danced on the show, and was always showcasing new talent. I was there on Stage A for the first TV appearance of Sonny and Cher (I Got You, Babe), Chubby (The Twist) Checkers and many others.

One afternoon our director, Hal Galley, became ill with food poisoning (no, I didn’t do it). There were no other directors on the lot. Mr. Clark came over to me and asked if I would fill in for Hal. At the moment, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Mr. Clark took me aside to assure me that I had been in the control booth long enough that he was sure I could handle a 30-minute show. Let the truth be known we had such a well-oiled group of professionals who had worked on the show for several years that no one could have failed at the task.

My first words were, “Cue the music!” and as I heard that famous theme score start, I began calling the shots. What a thrill to be asked by Dick Clark himself to fill in as a director. At the commercial breaks, Mr. Clark rushed up the stairs to compliment me on a job well done. I finished out the week for Hal and then went back to my normal duties of designing sets for Day in Court, Queen for a Day and Shivaree.

Several years later I got a call from Dick who asked me to draw some sketches for a new sitcom he was pitching. It was to be a comedy based on the life of a cave man that started out with a brute hitting his wife with a club and dragging her back to the cave. This was to be a kind of non-animated (totally polically incorrect) take-off on the Flintstones. Thankfully, nothing ever came of it.

I left the entertainment industry to open the first of many restaurants and later Choclatique. Over the years, Dick would be a guest at one of them. He always remembered me as “the kid” he gave the first shot to direct and I will always remember him as one of the the most generous gentlemen in Hollywood. So long, Dick, and rest in peace.
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Pal Joey

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I love doing radio. I have had several of my own shows over the years from Stump the Chef and The Food Show to The Super Foodies (no cape or tights involved!). My partner, Joan, co-hosted with me on the last two.

Occasionally we were asked to sub for the overnight guys at KABC in Los Angeles. Overnight talk radio is something else. It brings out all of the late night wackos. So when I was asked be on The Joey Reynolds show the first time, well… I was a bit skeptical.

Then I discovered that Joey Reynolds is the true leader of The Royal Order of the Night People. He’s “Mr. Nice Guy” from coast-to-coast, where his show is the absolute king of the night.

Joey Reynolds

Joey Reynolds

Joey rose to national fame as a Top 40-radio personality, and many leading authorities in radio think of Joey as the person who invented shock talk radio. A few years ago, he was the focus of a two-part series on the Oprah Winfrey Show about radio talk personalities. Joey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for his accomplishments in radio, television, and music.

Today, his unique style of radio-TV personality is a bit more mellow, but he is still able to attract and maintain huge and phenomenally loyal audiences in such markets as New York, Denver and Philadelphia. His radio shows sparkle with a rare and wonderfully sharp, spontaneous wit and his guests are truly legendary. So, I’m always delighted when I am in New York to be invited back to the show… perhaps not so much for my sparking personality as much as for our wonderful Choclatique Chocolate.

This last time I was on the show was the night that Michael Jackson passed away. The first guest of the evening was Ron Luxemburg, former president of Epic Records who was responsible for the Jackson cross-over career. The story that Ron told was that Barry Gordy actually agreed to let Michael leave Motown because he saw the singer’s great potential as a cross-over artist.

And then Joan and I were on. Now, that’s a tough act to follow on a very sad night, but from that moment on, it was all about Choclatique. The one really great thing about being on with Joey and producer, Myra Chanin, is that I never have to toot my own horn. I just feed them all chocolate and let Joey, Myra and all of the other guests talk about Choclatique Chocolate all night long.

We had planned to talk about our new Choclatique Moon Rocks Collection in celebration of man’s first walk on the moon 40 years ago this month, but because of the untimely death of Michael Jackson we dedicated the assortment—for that night only—to “The Moon Walker” himself—M.J.

It’s always a treat to be on with the king… the real King of Overnight Radio… my pal Joey.

Joan Vieweger, Joey Reynolds, Ed Engoron and Myra Chanin on the overnighter Joey Reynolds Show, WOR, New York

Joan Vieweger, Joey Reynolds, Ed Engoron and Myra Chanin on the overnighter Joey Reynolds Show, WOR, New York

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Do You Inhale?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Tuesday morning Megyn Kelly on Fox’s America’s Newsroom ran a segment on a guy who “invented” a chocolate inhaler. His claim—it is a great chocolate replacer. Megyn was fast to declare it “a lot of hooey.” And, I’m here to tell you that chocolate is much more than just aroma. So, Megyn, thanks for playing the “Hooey Card,” especially when it comes to chocolate.

Chocolate! There are few foods about which people feel as passionate. One of the most pleasant effects of eating chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after eating it. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Phenyethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant. Say good-bye to your Prozac. Chocolate is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Set aside your Levitra. Chocolate has even been proven healthful for the well being of expectant moms.

Medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Good high cacao content dark chocolate is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.

Elephant Collection

Elephant Collection

We sent Megyn a box of our new Elephant Chocolate (76% cacao). This is seriously strong chocolate made for American tastes. On her first bite she will get the hit of big, rich chocolate and then the essence of ripe cherry, berry and wine over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes all held together by the solid, deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long and pleasant finish to allow one to savor the flavor. So, you should check it out by tasting. Trust me, you can’t get all that from an inhaler!

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