Wednesday - May 11, 2005
CONCH SHELL Echoes: As he’s been doing for some 30- odd years, Jim Nabors kicks off the annual Indianapolis 500 race (May 29) with his rendition of Back Home Again In Indiana. He’s being joined this year by isle pals Al and Charlyn Masini and Rick and Susie Fried … Lou Robin, Don Ho’s manager, is busier than ever handling the estate of former client Johnny Cash. “There’s such a big demand for Cash this and Cash that. But the family does not want an industry developed like in the case of Elvis,” sez Lou. He’s considering writing a book about his life. “If I can find the time,” he laffs during a recent holiday with wife Karen at the Royal. For many years he presented just about every major star of his day in concert. Thanks to Lou’s management, Don Ho is more in demand than ever on the lucrative Indian reservation gambling circuit that features major attractions in their hundreds of casinos across the country. Ho continues to pack ’em in, and it’s a whole new career and big $$$ for the Waikiki crooner … Rewarding honesty: A group of teens had just toured the USS Bowfin sub at Pearl Harbor and were killing some time at the P.H. Visitor Center waiting to board their boat to the Arizona Memorial. In their excitement, one of the youngsters left $300 cash on the table — but no identification. Lopaka Vierra, a greeter at the center, found the money and turned it in for safe keeping. After 30 days the money remained unclaimed. So the lost cash was gift’d to honest Lopaka with an added Benjamin Franklin ($100) from the center’s boss … Guess where the new Hollywood is? Believe it or not, Shanghai. Planning to film future movies there are Nicole Kidman and Jackie Chan. Not together, tho … All in the family: It’s no surprise to Mary Louise Blackburn that nefew UH linebacker Ikaika Blackburn is also a talented singer, dancer and musician. For years Mary, a local real estate exec, has sung in off hours at many affairs including a stint with a symphony choral group …
The sweet smell of success: Raymond Bickson calls himself a multicultural mutt. “I was born in Hawaii. My mother is Hawaiian, Filipino, Spanish and German. I was raised Catholic. My late father was a Russian Jew, Bick Bickson, one of the founders of Budget Rent-a-Car. He opened the Honolulu franchise with 17 cars in 1958 and ended up with 10,000 cars throughout the islands. My first job at 12 was washing Budget cars.” Today, Ray Bickson manages the huge Taj Hotel Resorts and Palaces in India. In his early 30s Raymond took over managerial duties of the swank Mark Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Said Bickson in a New York Times interview: “For a guy from Honolulu, it was like appearing on Broadway. It was showtime every night.” He says India is a great new and exciting challenge, not only for himself, but also his family. “I’m adopting to a whole consciousness about hospitality” … Old, who’s old?: At a big function one recent nite, a middle-aged gentleman (with beard) approached. “Hello,” he said as we shook hands. “My name is Rodney Torigoe. I’m a psychological consultant and a Ph.D. I just wanted to tell you I used to deliver the newspaper to your house when I was a little kid and that it’s nice to see you after all these years.” … This quip from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “A friend in Washington, D.C., is someone who stabs you in the chest”… Swimming with sharks: That’s what KHNL weekend anchor Diane Ako did vacationing in French Polynesia. “While feeding a group of stingrays some meat in Tahiti, 10 sharks came over to see what the commotion was about. It wasn’t scary. Actually, mesmerizingly beautiful,” says Diane. Her Tahiti impressions: “ They have the most beautiful beaches and reef life I’ve ever seen. Wish I had visited sooner”
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