Wednesday - November 02, 2005
WELL, GOLLL-EEE ... A few weeks ago Jim Nabors (head-lining at an Indian casino in Minnesota) was strolling thru the gambling spa, when a lady at a blackjack table remarked, “Why you look just like Gomer Pyle. And you even talk like him.” Jim smiled, “Well, I am Jim and Gomer.” “Oh no,” replied the lady, “he’s dead.” The wahine was finally convinced that Jim and Gomer were still alive when the pit boss pointed to a nearby poster announcing Jim was currently headlining at the establishment’s nite club ... His Gomer TV show continues in syndication worldwide. In Australia, where it airs daily, Russell Crowe told him, “your program has been in my home since I was a kid.” Nabors has cut his show biz schedule way back. “The traveling is getting too difficult. Rather stay home, right here in good ol’Hawaii nei,” sez he ... The march of time: In the ‘80s there were at least a half-dozen movie theaters in the Waikiki area. Today? Zero - nothing. No movie houses. Of course, there’s Sunset On The Beach movies ... Small world: Publicist Lisa Josephsohn and Eric Johnson (new artistic director of the Honolulu Theater for Youth) met at Auntie Pasto’s Beretania. Turns out they have more in common then devotion to theater. Both grew up in nearby North Carolina towns and also graduated from the U of North Carolina ... Elbow bending: Young British wahines reportedly knock off an average of five bottles of vino per week ... Tap, tap, click, click: Where are they now: Simeon Den, former dancer-choreographer who used to own Danceworks in Honolulu, now a successful photographer in El-ay ... The big splash: Lotsa romantic aqua activity in the waters these days off Kauai. It’s mating time for thousands of humpback whales, who’ve been swimming in from their feeding grounds in the Arctic ... Lites, camera, action: I first met Don Stroud when he was a teenager hanging around his mother and stepfather’s restaurant, the Embers Steak House on Lewers St. in Waikiki. Don was a strapping young beach-boy then, over 6 feet and a powerfully built, bronzed l75-pounder. Don wasn’t much of a student at Kaimiki Hi, spending most of his time with beachboy surfers at Waikiki named Blackout, Steamboat, Mud and Rabbit. “They were like kings in those days,” recalled Don. “It was one of the most wonderful times of my life” ...
Then things changed quickly and his future was born. Hawaiian Eye, a long-ago TV series starring Robert Conrad and Connie Stevens, was filming in Honolulu. They needed a young, athletic type for surf stunt work. Stroud was spotted and given the job. That led to an invitation to Hollywood and long 30-year film and TV career playing all sorts of characters and often bad guys. He starred in more than l00 movies and a couple hundred TV shows. Despite the fact he had no formal training or schooling in acting, it came naturally. Obviously, in his genes. His mother, a dynamic singer and entertainer (and still today), Ann McCormack, is show biz personified. At a very young age she married Jackie Coogan, one of the greatest child stars in history, who made silent films with the legendary Charlie Chaplin. Don’s mother played the top nite clubs of America and toured with Frank Sinatra. His father was Clarence Stroud, a vaudeville great, and early radio star. Yes, show biz came naturally ...
During his successful career his private life took some heavy hits. He was pulled over for reckless driving, arrested for carrying a concealed .357 magnum and had a drug and booze problem that he finally succeeded in licking. “Today I’m clean and healthy,” sez Stroud proudly. But some years ago he almost lost his life when he went to the aid of a young man who was being beaten by six guys in New York’s Greenwich Village. Stroud was stabbed l0 times. His face slashed. He lost his right eye. Suffered partial facial paralysis. Went thru a long rehabilitation. That’s when he gave up drugs and booze. Yet, after that trying time, he continued his acting career. As has been reported frequently of late, Don has returned home to Hawaii. Hollywood is history, but he’ll be happy to work again -here - if the opportunity arises. “Today,” he laffs, “my problems are few. I’m financially OK and just thrilled to be home-at last”
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