The Days Of Our Lives With Don Ho

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - April 25, 2007
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Editor’s note: The first segment of this column is excerpted from Eddie Sherman’s “Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me: Adventures in Paradise with the Celebrity Set,” published last year by Watermark. The second, Eddie penned last week for MidWeek.

In 1957, I was a bachelor and shared an apartment in Waikiki with Flash Miller, who managed the popular Queen’s Surf nightclub. Flash asked me one day if I knew of someone who could replace his star attraction, Sterling Mossman, at the Barefoot Bar. Mossman was going on a two-week vacation.

I suggested myself. Naturally, Miller thought the idea was crazy. But I had a plan. I would basically take a page from Ed Sullivan, who at the time hosted the top variety show on television. Sullivan was a New York columnist, while I was a Hawaii columnist. He introduced people from the audience, and I would do the same thing. But we would have entertainers planted in the audience who would be our “guests,” and they’d come up and do their bit when called upon.


Miller thought it was a great idea and not very expensive. He quickly went out and employed a band for the two-week period. The band was this group from Kaneohe led by a little-known performer named Don Ho.

Much to everyone’s surprise, our show was an instant hit, and for two weeks the Barefoot Bar was packed.

One night during a guest’s performance, Don and his band members were having a conversation behind the entertainer. I was furious. I told Don later how unprofessional and discourteous it was to the entertainer.

“Never do it again,” I warned him, “or I’ll see that you have a hard time getting another job in Waikiki.”

He just shrugged. “OK.”

A few months later, Don was starring in Waikiki at Duke Kahanamoku’s. He was a roaring success. Don eventually became the biggest entertainment name in Hawaii.

About our Barefoot Bar show, Ho quipped, “It had the worst emcee and the worst band, but we were a big hit.”

What was, and is, so special about Don Ho? How did he become such a major attraction? He’s of medium height, and not particularly attractive. He mumbles. He appears to have hardly any energy and often performs like he’s sleepwalking. He does-n’t possess a particularly good voice. What is the big talent? Why is he so popular?

I’ve been watching him and writing about him for most of his professional life. I’ve seen hundreds of his performances. Yet I’m still baffled at how he manages to capture an audience and weave his special magic. I’ve taken numerous guests to his shows over the years. After the first few minutes, they often ask me, “What’s the big deal about this guy?” Then two hours later, they’re on their feet giving him a standing ovation.

My own opinion? His “magic” is sheer charisma. Don was born with it. He has that special magnetism, presence, personality and charm - and yes, incredible sex appeal. People just eat up his laid-back, “I-don’t-give-a-damn” Polynesian attitude. Like he often says, “It ain’t no big thing.”

It’s just magic, that’s all.

Don’s performance schedule these days includes stops at many of the Indian gambling casinos proliferating around the country. There are more than 400 of them coast-to-coast. And his shows are often sellouts. Asked why he’s so popular on this circuit, he laughs and says, “They think I look like an Indian, so I must be one. People seem to believe that.”


Don has always been one of Hawaii’s most talked-about performers. When he first came to prominence in Waikiki, there were always rumors about his drinking, carousing and sexual activities. The youthful days of his Waikiki adventures were a bit on the wild side. His dressing room was always filled to capacity after shows with visiting young co-eds eager for a look, hug, kiss or even the ultimate Don Ho private favor.

Now in his mid-70s, Don continues to tour the country, and many of these former co-eds, now gray-haired grandmas, still flock to his shows, reliving their happy Waikiki memories. For his part, Don still has a liquid-filled glass on his piano, and will take an occasional sip. But booze it ain’t.

Recently, Don made headlines around the world when he had stem cells injected into his failing heart. The procedure seems to have helped. He’s cut back on his schedule, but still performs one or two nights weekly.

Don will never retire as long as he can still walk out on a stage. Performing is his life. He can’t live without it.

And did you know: Don Ho was a fighter pilot in the Air Force. He left the service in 1960 to tend to his ailing mother, and to perform at Honey’s, her nightclub in Kaneohe.

three star

One of my most memorable Don Ho experiences occurred about the time he exploded onto the national scene in the early 1960s. He was booked at the famed and historic Coconut Grove of Los Angeles, showplace of the stars. I went to the West Coast to cover the event.

Don’s Mainland debut was completely sold out. The nightclub lobby was packed with people offering all sorts of financial bribes to anyone who could squeeze them into the club. As I was escorted into the showroom by the maitre d’, I quickly spotted familiar faces of the entertainment world. Many were friends of Don’s. Looking around, someone was waving to me. It was Kui Lee. He asked me to sit at his table. Kui was decked out in a tuxedo. Two beautiful ladies were his guests.

“Can you believe this?” Kui said. “Here’s Don playing the Grove that’s sold out. I’ve been in a San Francisco nightclub for the past few weeks and can’t draw flies. And tonight I know he’ll be a hit because he’ll be singing my songs.”

Then Kui added, lifting a glass of champagne. “To Don!”


About an hour into his show, Don asked the audience how they liked his songs. A roar of appreciation and applause went up.

Said Don, “Most of the songs I’ve sung tonight were written by a young composer by the name of Kui Lee. To me he’s the best entertainer we have in Hawaii and the most talented songwriter. Kui Lee, come, come.”

Grinning, Kui leaped on stage. Grabbing a microphone he walked to the opposite end of the large stage from where Don was standing. Kui began to sing his composition She’s Gone Again while Don crooned another Kui melody I’ll Remember You. It was a riveting duet. Knowing their history, it was a very emotional moment for me, and I watched with tears in my eyes. Kui and Don conquered that sophisticated Coconut Grove audience.

Talk about memorable moments.

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - December 28, 2005
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GATHER ‘ROUND, FOLKS, here’s a little scoop: The time has come for me to say aloha to 3-dot journalism. Gonna retire. I’m leaving with enough memories to write a few books - and hope to do at least one. After much deliberation, the decision kinda snuck up on me. So, here’s my last column of the year - and career ... Why? Simple. I wanna do other things before my time runs out. Tackle different challenges. Oportunities have presented themselves. I’ve got a plateful of new da kine waiting ... It’s been quite a ride. Where else but in this profession would I have had a chance to meet giants from every walk of life. Even presidents -Ike Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy. But most important and, to me, the best people of all - Mr. & Mrs. Hawaii ... Just a few of the celebrity vignettes I’ll never forget: Fr’example: Legendary film director Mervyn LeRoy was in Hawaii on Maui making Devil At 4 O’Clock starring Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy. I was invited to LeRoy’s 60th b’day party at Kula Lodge way up on Mt. Haleakala. The aging lodge owners, Mr. & Mrs. James, were almost broke - struggling to make a go of their business. So I asked LeRoy if I could write about the special private party. I said the publicity possibly could help the couple. LeRoy refused. I pleaded. LeRoy finally shrugged, “Well, only if Sinatra OKs it.” When asked, Frank simply smiled, “Fine by me.” The newspaper column I wrote about all those stars partying at Kula lodge helped save the business ... Red Skelton, one of the all-time legendary comedians, was doing a one-man concert at the Waikiki Shell when after only 45 minutes he suddenly staggered off stage. From where I sat I could see into the wings of the Shell. Red was on the floor. Out cold. Milton Berle, another great comedian, was in the audience. He ran up on stage and ad-libbed for about 15 minutes. Suddenly Red appeared as if nothing happened and the show continued. Those of us backstage at first thought Red had a heart attack. He had fainted from the heat ...


Having breakfast one day at the Kahala Hilton with Leonard Freeman, writer, creator and producer of Hawaii Five-0, he suddenly said, “Wait here. I’m just gonna go next door (to an apartment building) and fire Jack Lord. He has meddled into my business for the last time. The new star of 5-0 will be Lloyd Bridges.” A half hour later Freeman returned. “What happened?” I asked. Lenny shook his head. “He begged and pleaded for another chance. Said he was sorry for what he did. What could I do? And, after all, he does a great job as McGarrett,” said Freeman. So much for my scoop ... A great career highlite was the worldwide Elvis TV concert from Blaisdell. I had started the Kui Lee Cancer Fund (thru my column) for a doctor at the UH doing cancer research. Lee was the legendary songwriter who died of cancer at 34. In the TV concert, Elvis sang Kui’s most famous tune- I’ll Remember You, to millions of global viewers. Thanks to Elvis and Col. Tom Parker, his manager, I received (for the fund) a check for $75,000 from the live concert gate. Because it was a television broadcast, there was no charge. The audience was allowed in via their own contributions. Some kids saw the show for only 10 cents. Next day, Elvis and the Colonel took out full-page newspaper ads thanking Hawaii ... A two-hour exclusive TV interview with Marlon Brando on Channel 9. He blasted Hollywood, especially those who produced his starring film, Mutiny On The Bounty. The whole thing could have been a national story. But the next day after the interview I went to the station to buy a copy of the TV show and was told some idiot had taped a commercial over the Brando interview. Unbelievable, but true ... Thank you for reading all these years ... Happy New Year - and aloha

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - December 21, 2005
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DRUMBEATS FROM MANHATTAN: Hard to believe, but Hawaii’s homegrown international star Bette Midler just celebrated her 60th b’day. It was a big bash in New York loaded with stars. Even her roots were honored with hula dancers that reportedly brought tears to her eyes ...

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon

And yet another film about the late multi-millionairess Doris Duke has just been completed starring Susan Saran-don as Doris. Ralph Fiennes plays her butler, who apparently was very influential in her life. Don’t know how much Hawaii figgers in the film, but did very much in real life. And if you’d like to visit her island estate up Diamond Head way, check with your nearest tour guide.


It’s open to the public ... There seems to be a growing demand by some visiting celebrities who desire rental vacation homes instead of our classier hotels for their brief island stays. Most want beachfront, with pools. And it’s expensive, folks - with a capital E. Among those who’ve enjoyed our balmy trades recently were: Cameron Diaz and beau Justin Timberlake, Jim Carey, Courtney Love and Mariah Carey. Bruce Willis and The Rock had longer “vacations” ‘cause they were working on films. An average cost for these luxury homes for celebs in Hawaii? Only $2,500. A week? No way. That price is for one nite only. And to think - Jesse James did it with a gun ... Pedestrian dangers: Almost got clip’d again - in the crosswalk. The lite was green. The sign said “Walk.” I did. When suddenly a car zoomed around the corner, missing me by inches. The driver was steering with one hand, a cell phone in the other, gabbing and laffing his head off, paying little attenting to driving. Am I in favor of banning cell phone use in cars like in New York state and some of our local military establishments? Waddya think? It’ll take time, but - that new traffic law for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk hopefully will helpful. Drivers who violate that law will get hit with a $92 fine ... Just stuff: Wanna keep up with your kids? Then learn how they communicate these days with each other on cell phones, blogs, web sites, etc. As reported in a recent MidWeek PAge 6 feature, tet messagers use a series of letters that make up a word, sort of a shorthand. For example: 4ever means forever ... 86 - over and out ... 2nite is tonight ... Minister-entertainer Dick Jensen, tooling around Waikiki in a brand new fancy motorized wheelchair (he’s battling ALS), saw what looked like a homeless type going thru a trash can. By the time he arrived at the scene, the guy was gone. But Dick found a wallet he left behind. Eventually, “detective” Jensen located “Mr. Homeless” and returned the wallet that had a pile of $$$$ in it plus a bank book with a substantial deposit.


Homeless, huh? ... Show biz beat: Haolewood continues to moan and groan over its longest box office slump in history. No question there are too many other things that interest young kids these days. Better films would help. Plus cheaper deals for overpriced popcorn, drinks, candy, etc. ... The world’s first nude flight from Miami recently took off for a resort in Cancun, Mexico, with 85 passengers. Special precaution was taken when hot drinks were served and extra care was noted when fastening seat belts. Experts say it’s all a reaction to these stressful times ... An entertainer I’d like to see perform here more often is one of Hawaii’s supertalents, Jay Larrin, whose concerts locally are too far and few between. Jay’s passion is writing poetry - as more than 300 or so in his collection. Spends at least four months annually in Canada - just observing life and writing. A localite since 1967, Jay is a former schoolteacher (Kalaheo and Kalani Hi). Subject: French. A friend, recently noticing Jay’s expanding opu, gave it a loveable tap. “Watch it,” smiled Jay. “You’re touching my aloha pouch”

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - December 14, 2005
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MELE KALIKIMAKA: Once again islanders thrilled to Jim Nabors’ (and friends) annual Christmas extravaganza at the Hawaii Theatre. This was his ninth year. Here is one of America’s greatest entertainers, a Hawaii resident for over 30 years, again showing his tremendous aloha for his adopted state. And he has never yet taken one penny for his services. What can Hawaii say but bless you, Jim ... USA Today predicts stardom for Lost‘s bad guy Josh Holloway. (Robbed one recent ayem at his Hawaii Kai home). Lost exec producer Carlton Cuse thinks Holloway has big screen stardom coming. Incidentally, Lost is now seen weekly in some 187 countries and territories - the largest viewing audience of any TV series ever in Hawaii’s history ...


While e-mail communicating with Hawaii’s gift to Japan’s radio industry, Kamasami Kong (alias Bob Zix), I asked him what’s happening with islanders in Sashimiland. Here’s some of his scoops (hold da rice): “The past few months visiting islanders included Jake Shimabukuro on tour. He’s become a big star over here. People love him ... Other island visitors included Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the ‘Ambassador of Aloha’ Danny Kaleikini (a big favorite in Japan) visited my radio show. Mufi even sang an island medley from his CD.” ... If they’re from Hawaii, and visiting Japan, Kong gets them on his radio show. Latest was new ukulele whiz, 16-year-old Taimane Gardner. Her album debut is titled Loco Princess. Apparently Don Ho has been grooming her at his show in Waikiki ... Kong keeps quite active promoting Hawaii Night events at Velfarre, Asia’s largest disco. Features lots of Hawaiian music. Wesly Stock-still, a former local boy now stationed in Tokyo with American Airlines, says it’s amazing to see an ocean of young wahines crowd onto the floor to learn just one hula dance. Hawaiiana is hot in Sashimiland ... Others who’ve appeared recently on Kong’s radio show: Hawaii-born supermodel, Brenda Kato and pro surfer/seascape artist Christian Lassen, who’s involved in a new animated feature film ... And that’s Kamasami Kong’s Tokyo report ... Congrats to ukulele craftsmen Fred and Sam Kamaka - getting Duke’s Ho’okahiko Award for their great instruments ... These changing times: Just a few months ago Duke Bainum’s name was all over the place. Now you hardly hear a word about him ... It was a delightful surprise last week at Don Ho’s Island Grill (Aloha Tower Marketplace) as a dozen or so seniors paraded their amateur talent (plus pro guests). The full house was bowled over. Emcee Al Waterson, who hosts these affairs that wife Nancy Bernal produces, is, in my opinion, the best emcee in the biz in this town. His sharp, quick wit handles any glitches.


Add an excellent singing voice, charming personality and you’ve got a master in action ... Hana hou: Tom Moffatt (along with the late Ralph Yempuku and Earl Finch) first presented Neil Sedaka at the old Civic Auditorium back in 1959. Moffatt brings Sedaka back again (46 years later) Dec. 16 and 17 (Hawaii Theatre). Guess nobody ever accused Moffatt of hasty decisions. Anyway, Sedaka is one of the few artists with a two-time hit of the same song - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do ... Always enjoyable: John Hirokawa’s magic at the Beachcomber Hotel ... Lites, camera, action: That great dramatic story about one of the bloodiest battles of all time - Iwo Jima - is finally being filmed. And with Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood (producing and directing) you can bet it’ll be a first-class production. Because this South Pacific island has become a sacred burial ground to the Japanese, the movie about the raising of the American flag by victorious Marines in World War II could not be filmed there. So what location replaced the real Iwo Jima? Believe it or not - Iceland. True! It has the same kind of volcanic black beaches as Iwo Jima. And if you wanna see an exact replica (statue) of the historic Iwo Marine flag raising, it’s proudly on view inside the Marine Corps sentry gate in Kaneohe

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - December 07, 2005
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HONOLULU NEWSSTAND: According to those supermarket gossip rags,

Evangeline Lilly
Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly, sexy star of the hit Lost TV series, reportedly dumped her Canadian hockey player Murray Hone a few months back. The magazines are hinting of a romance with another Lost star, Dominic Monaghan, because they’ve been seen together. So wot and big deal. After all, they do work together and quite naturally, are friends ... Among his many local friends saddened by the news of actor-comedian Pat Morita‘s death last week was Vera Ako (mother of News 8 weekend anchor Diane Ako). “He was a great guy,” recalled Vera. “I worked with him at the Sky Room in San Francisco where he was just getting his early show biz break. I was quite impressed with his talent and how and humble he was. I was a dancer then” ... Once over lightly: Carl and Clara Rial love to get married - often - to each other. Matter of fact the couple have taken their vows 50 times - in 50 states.


Yes, and they’ve collected licenses in every state in the Union. Their last “I do” was at Makena Beach on Maui. Along the holy matrimonial trail they’ve been wed in some strange places - a candy shop, a zoo and a funeral home. Laff’d perpetual groom Carl, “These honeymoons are killing me!” ... Show biz treat: If you’ve longed for an intimate polished cabaret show featuring B’way hit tunes and standards, here’s where to find it: at Li May’s deluxe Shanghai Bistro (Discovery Bay) Sunday nites only for a limited engagement. Stars Rex Nockengust with Don Conover at the 88s. The debut was a sellout last week and Nockengust delivered a show-stopping performance. (A jewelry maker by day) his repertoire was laced with panache (style, etc.) and show-manship. Rex has a long list of B’way productions on his resume and also toured Europe with David Hasselhoff ... Tid-bits: This is how some of today’s youth in groups communicate. They make a CD, plop it into a computer and send it out on the e-mail circuit ... Time marches on (or, just for the Geritol set): Many moons ago in the days of our youth, one of the nation’s most popular singers was a lad named Eddie Fisher. He dumped his first wife Debbie Reynolds to become one of Elizabeth Taylor‘s many husbands. She dumped him for Richard Burton. Anyway, Fisher, when his career was just about over, wed a rich Chinese lady and moved to San Francisco where he lived a quiet, retired life. She recently died and left Fisher with a whopping $20 million or so.


That’s better than the hit recordings he used to have ... Thinking out loud: Wonder why the local sports fraternity doesn’t invite famed TV broadcaster Al Michaels to Hawaii for some sort of charity event? It would be a nice gesture to honor Al, who got his career start in Hawaii ... Success story: That’s the Hawaii-based company called Team Unlimited. Few know their name. Yet, sports fans by the millions watch what they do. And what they do is produce hundreds of TV shows of the lifestyle sports variety. That includes a Hawaiian adventure series on ESPN, Hawaii Ocean Games series and the Xterra World Championships from Maui. Backing all this are world-class sponsors. They produce about 100 events now in 16 countries of the triathlon-type and syndicate a slew of other shows. Some events have as many as 20,000 competitors. Leading this very successful local enterprise is low-key Tom Kiley, a former Honolulu hotel exec who started his career driving a taxi while attending school in San Francisco ... What are they doing now: Remember Larry Manetti, Tom Selleck‘s side-kick from Magnum days? Now plays host at a restaurant in the Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas, where much of his memorabilia is on view ... Tip of the papale (hat) to all the workers involved on the Lewers St. project. They’re handling the demolition and rebuilding with a minimum of dirt and debris

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - November 30, 2005
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FACES OUT FRONT ... Entertainment tip: Despite recent herniated opu surgery and a new pacemaker to help the ol’ ticker, Genoa Keawe (just turned 87) is readying a concert Dec. 2 at the Lili’u Theater (3rd floor of the Convention Center). The lady legend is indestructible ... Because U.S. Army Gen. (Ret.) Fred Weyand and wife Mary recently celebrated their fourth wedding ann’y and agree it was “kismet” or “fate” that brot them together, they just hadda be sponsors of the Army Community Theater’s current musical Kismet, starring Buz Tennent,

Shawna Masuda
Shawna Masuda

Shawna Masuda and Jay Flores ... When Mike Tyson was in town recently with some pals, he reportedly was very well-behaved and polite to all as he made the after-dark rounds. So the rumors must be true that he’s changed into a nice guy. Better late than never ... Hell hath no fury dept.: This license plate seen on a veddy expensive Kahala car: “Was His” ... Sudden thot: Wonder what Oprah is gonna do with that hundred or so acres of waterfront property on Maui she bot for millions??? ...


Didja know dept.: There’s a synagogue in Cuba’s Castroland that was completely renovated by the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, maybe the most philanthropic organization in Hawaii ... Thinking out loud: A number of recent car accidents in Honolulu have been linked to inattentive driving because of cell phone use. New York has a law that forbids cell use while driving. (Our Legislature voted against such a law). Now the Army has nixed cell use while driving on Hawaii’s military bases. Right on! ... Wonder what’s happening with one-time Hawaii major power broker Lokelani Lindsay. The former Bishop Estate trustee went from a million-dollar salary to six months in jail ... Hard to believe, but true: Sashimiland gets less visitors than little ol’ Hawaii. It’s one big problem - very, very expensive. Hawaii is a more economic bargain and closer to the Mainland ... Wonder how many of those devout Elvis fan club members locally know Col. Tom Parker’s real name? Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk. His first Isle visit was reportedly on military duty here back in the ‘30s. He allegedly escaped a murder rap in the Netherlands where he was born. Never did become an American citizen. That’s why he never let Elvis play a foreign country - feared he might not be able to return to America without proof of citizenship ...


Some quick thots about disa ‘n’ data: F’example: When American Airlines eliminated just one olive from each salad served in first class back in 1987, it saved $29,000 annually ... Usually, Kelsy Grammer, better known as TV’s Frazier, sneaks into Hawaii as often as his schedule permits to enjoy his special piece of paradise on Maui. That’s where he and wife Camille built their first home together. It’s a 9,600-square-foot modern plantation-style home on two hilltop acres overlooking pineapple fields and the palm-fringed Kapalua coast. They have an excellent view of surfers riding enormous waves, see spouting whales and can gaze into nearby Molokai. They also have other classy homes. Like a five-acre estate and beach house in Malibu, a ski lodge in Colorado, and a 19th-century farmhouse on 200 acres in upstate New York. Hey, he can easily afford all this. After all he was TV’s highest paid star for a reported $1.6 million per Frazier episode… Eddie-torial: With “experts” from everywhere offering advice on how to improve tourism, here’s my two-cents worth : Let’s take a hiatus. Back off. Give the Tourist Authority a vacation. The visitor picture will hardly change. May even improve. Why? Years of publicity from films, TV and news media

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - November 23, 2005
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THE REAL STUFF: A sparkling throng of dignitaries from all walks of life, friends, family and hundreds of admirers jammed the Hilton Haw’n Coral Ballroom last week to honor a true-blue American hero - Capt. Jerry Coffee. For those who don’t know the true story of this fellow MidWeek columnist, Jerry survived a horror none of us will ever experience - seven years as a prisoner of war after being shot down in his Navy fighter plane over North Vietnam.


Who can imagine the isolation, degradation and physical torture he had to endure those terrible years? That he did, and emerged victorious to become one of America’s premier public speakers, and recognized last week by the Navy League with the 2006 American Patriot Award. His book Beyond Survival tells his inspiring story ... An Asian tour is being worked out for legendary singing star Tony Bennett. Hopefully, it’ll include a Hawaii stopover concert. The 79-year-young troubadour is still going strong, with a recent sold-out H’wood Bowl concert. For those who don’t know, Tony is also a very accomplished painter. Recently Bennett was notified that he’ll receive Kennedy Center honors this year ... Where are they now: Old time TV news watchers may remember B.J. Sams, who was a TV news director and anchor in Honolulu back in the early ‘80s. He’s successfully still doing it at KTHV in Little Rock, Ark. ... Eddie-torial: The debate over the H’wood box office slump continues. And it seems everybody has a reason why. Here’s some of them that are certainly no secret: High ticket prices, having to sit thru lots of advertising before the movie begins, talkative people and cell phones, noisy popcorn munchers, etc. Movie-going offers many annoying factors (with their films) these days ... The changing scene: Walk down historic Lewers Street in Waikiki now and see huge vacant spaces where old hotels once stood. The demolition is going quite smoothly for the new face-lift coming soon to that special location ... Here’s the story behind the story of that very impressive and beautiful mural, titled Shangri-La, hanging in the Lau Yee Chai chopstickery. It was created in 1946 by one Bik Kai Ho, a stranded artist in Hawaii at the time trying to earn enough money so he could return to China. In those days, art canvas was in short supply in Honolulu. He eventually was able to salvage some from warships here and sewed them together. On this canvas he created a beautiful original 41-foot-wide by 12-foot-high painting that covers almost the entire back wall of Lau Yee Chai ... You don’t hear much these days about Iraq war hero Gen. Tommy Franks since he checked out of the Army and into civilian life. However, it’s been reported he kept a detailed written journal while in the service. Publishers would pay a bundle for that. But guessing is it’ll remain private ... Honolulu sights: The dog training on view at Thomas Square Park. Canines are very well-mannered and respectful of the grounds. Fun to watch ‘em go thru their bowsie-wowsie paces with dedicated handlers ... Just a reminder: The annual Pearl Harbor Mardi Gras Follies early Feb. (under Jack Cione‘s direction) is coming up.

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood

It’ll also be Jack’s last ... Another reminder: The zoo area is still one of the best parking deals in town. A quarter gets you an hour of parking, plus some fun seeing our animals enjoy life ... Small world item: Another screen star who loves to get away to his beautiful Maui home when time permits is Clint Eastwood. And so does ex-wife Maggie - who owns her own nice home on the Big Isle ... Didja know: That the liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma? True ... That the owner of Marlboro cigarettes died of cancer ... That a pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes ... And some lions mate over 50 times a day ... In my next life, guess what I’d like to be

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
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Wednesday - November 16, 2005
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AUTUMN IN NEW YORK ... The Big Apple ... or deli-heaven - where the white fish smokes ...The pastrami is okie-doke ... The corned beef is delish ... And, so is a knish ... The Stage Deli fills your belly ... An egg cream is a dream ... Barney Greengrass (deli) is a gas ... Lox and a bagel plus a shmere is dear ... On arrival at the airport, my wife was blown away when we were greeted by John Walker and his limo. A special surprise from Al Masini, the retired TV exec now a Honolulu citizen. John was Al’s driver in Manhattan for years. He showed us a number of landmarks - Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall St., Greenwich Village, along the East River and ground zero of 9/11 ... Lites, camera, action: Invited by Cindy Balfour (script supervisor on Law & Order) to watch filming at their Chelsea Piers HQs on the New York waterfront. Cindy’s dad, Dr. John Balfour, is a surgeon at Straub. (Operated on me a couple times).


It was a simple office scene with Law star Sam Waterston. He seemed uptight for some reason. Kept flubbing his lines. To get the scene right, a half dozen takes were required ... Sid Bernstein, who presented some of the greatest rockers of his era, also managed dozens of major stars. Semi-retired now, this Hawaii afficianado will always be known as the man who first presented the Beatles to America (at Shea Stadium). We spent a few pleasant hours one sunny afternoon in Central Park while he reminisced about his exciting career. He showed us the Strawberry Fields area in the park (dedicated to John Lennon), right across the street from the Dakota apartment complex where John Lennon lived and was fatally gunned down. Stopping at a small park lake to rest, I was given a seat on a crowded bench by a young lady sitting with three girlfriends munching hot dogs. We all got into a brief conversation. “Do you know who this man is? “I asked pointing to Sid. “He brought The Beatles to America.” They all became very animated, plying Sid with Beatles questions. Then Sid asked the wahines where they were from. “Hawaii,” they exclaimed. “Pointing to me he smiled, “Do you know who this man is?” Recognized, it suddenly became a reunion of old friends. What an unexpected fun time in Central Park with Nancy Dela Cruz (works for Tel Com), Emelie Corpuz (nurse at Kuakini), Cynthia Guray (Kamehameha counselor) and Geraldine Galanto (Kuakini nurse). It was their first trip to N.Y. and loving it. Small world ... There’s no business like show business - in New York: Saw five major Broadway productions in one week. Spamalot, Wicked, Avenue Q, Lion King and The Producers. Average ticket price - $100. And lucky if you can get ‘em ... The Hawaii connection: Peter Lawrence has come a long way since his days attending the UH (‘71-‘72) and being a local drama critic.


Today Peter is a successful stage manager (Spamalot) and will be directing the next three Spam shows - in London, Las Vegas and U.S. tour. Assisting him in the show is Hawaii-born Mahlon Krusie, UH alumnus ... Vignette: When my son was about 10, he often played with pal Kevin McCollom (same age) at the Kahala Hilton beach. Kevin’s mom Sue was a single lady who loved theatre and participated in many local productions - as did Kevin. After she died, Kevin left Hawaii to live with Mainland family members. Fade out, fade in: Today, Kevin McCollum is one of the biggest producers on Broadway. His Rent (Tony for Best Musical in 1996) debuted 10 years ago and is still running. Kevin’s current B’way smash Avenue Q (Tony for Best Musical in 2004) is also a major attraction at the new multizillion-dollar Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. His production of La Boheme also won a Tony. Kevin says, “My mother, Sue, was a big part of my accomplishments. She was ahead of her time and would have been more successful if she had been born in my time. I am an extension of her”

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CONCH SHELL ECHOES ... Maui’s Shep Gordon, being a former show biz manager (and still handling folks like Alice Cooper), his recent wedding on the Garden Isle brot out some famous faces like Michael Douglas and Helen Hunt, to name two. Gordon also is an agent for some big-name chefs, and once arranged a dinner for the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama

Matter of fact, Gordon’s wedding was a Tibetan ceremony ... Once over lightly: A traveling friend just back from Europe sez the real estate market on the continent is sizzling compared to Hawaii. One big reason - low, low interest rates. Better deals than in the U.S. ... Atty Vernon Woo back from a quickie to the Big Apple on biz - and of course seeing some B’way shows ... Honolulu newsstand: Entertainer Dick Jensen, battling Lou Gehrig’s disease (a neuro-degenerative disorder), gifted with a brand-new special motor buggy, thanks to wife Toni, plus a brand new little doggie for company that fits right in Dick’s palm. Pals tossed a testimonial to the entertainer at Nick’s Fishmarket that brot out a gang of pals and well-wishers including Mayor Mufi ... Saimin king Shiro Matsuo met up with pal Dalton Tanonaka recently in Tokyo. After a hotel cup of coffee, they were shocked when the check came. Nine bucks a cup. Sighed Shiro, “In my Honolulu restaurants it’s only 90 cents - plus all the refills you want” ...



Play ball: If you spotted Brother Greg O’Donnell (prez of Damien Memorial School) wearing his black-and-white White Sox cap on campus during the World Series, here’s why: O’Donnell (66) grew up on Chicago’s South Side, a mile or so from Cominsky Park. He’s even been in Chicago during the games wrapping up a financial conference. However, the prices were just too high for a man who took a vow of poverty. So, he watched TV. The O’Donnell family has been entwined with the Sox for years. O’Donnell’s father was a batboy at Cominsky in the 1930s. His uncle was a cop during the ‘50s - whose beat included the ball park ... Seen on Korean TV: A commercial for the new Duck Butt Restaurant on Kawaiiahau Street. We assume they serve other parts of the duck, too ... Surfer Joe Teipel - the auctioneer, marathon talker, comedian (he thinks) health devotee and all ‘round nice guy, credits yoga for his rippling muscles ... Always a good time to visit Australia. Because - the $$$$$ situation is very much in the U.S.‘s favor. Great bang for the buck ... Happy ann’y to the Flamingo eatery - celebrating its 55th ... For those who extoll “those good old days,” this is what it was like at the beginning of the last century. Life expectancy was in the mid-40s ...


Melodious: Jeff Peterson’s new CD Slack Key Jazz performed with musical legends Eric Clapton and Michael Feinstein, plus Hawaiian stylists Ledward Kaapana, Dennis Kamakahi and the Honolulu Symphony. The sounds of slack-key guitar playing the music of Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, plus ...

The amazing “double-life” of Joe Nicolai: In Hawaii, Joe lives a quiet, private life. This low-key businessman represents companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Motto-Guzzi and Vespa. Then there’s his massive Harley-Davidson dealership, plus all kinds of other businesses and developments thruout the Pacific - real estate, apparel, advertising, leasing, rentals, etc. Nicolai also hands over multimillion-dollar revenues annually to charity. A hi-lite of his life is when once a year or so he travels to Italy like a conquering hero and visits Castiglione A Casria, the small home town of his parents, about 70 miles northeast of Rome - a town dating back to 300 B.C. There Joe is king - lionized, loved, admired - because he practically supports the hamlet. And has for years

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Wednesday - November 02, 2005
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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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KHNL’s weekend anchor Diane Ako and hubby Claus are happy to be home after their recent South America horror “vacation.” Let her tell you about it: “Peru was the worst trip my husband Claus and I ever experienced. Ever! Recapping briefly: When we arrived in Lima a man ripped my backpack off. Claus, caught him quickly, but he managed to escape…


In Cusco, we were struck by high altitude sickness at 15, 000 feet. I vomited 12 times in five hours before a doctor arrived with pills and oxygen…In Puno our tour guide severly over-charged us (triple) because we were ‘rich Americans.’ This happened almost everywhere…Also in Puno police unexpectedly pulled us over for a random drug search. Thought we were smuggling cocaine from the Bolivian border…In Lima, woke up one morning vomiting from our seafood dinner the night before. My symptoms turned into flu, fever and chills. Claus suffered from painful diarrhea…I never felt so tired, insecure or afraid for my life…However, we did experience some nice cultural sites and we did meet some wonderful Peruvians. Despite our many problems we were happy to have escaped relatively unscathed”...EFolks out West Oahu seem thrilled to have a Italian restaurant at Kunia’s new shopping center. It’s Ed Wary’s Auntie Pasto and doing gang-busters ... It was a trip down memory lane over lunch recently at the Royal with former isle resident Ann McCormack (now living in Las Vgeas) her son, actor Don Straud and wife Terri now islanders once again after Don’s long film career. Ann and late husband Paul Livermore owned the swank Embers eatery on Lewers many moons ago. Ann claims to be in her 80’s, but she’d be the envy of 50 year olds. Looks great and still in show biz singing at various retirement residences in Sin City. Ann knew (and dated) many of the show biz biggies of her era and tells some great stories that would make a sizzling book…


Nuptial notes: It was back in l996 that former Miss Hawaii, Melissa Short, made her theatrical debut at Diamond Head Theater in an up dated version of Cinderella. Today she’s living her own version of Cinderella having just tied the knot with handsome show biz mogul Ross Zapin, an exec of Sirius Satellite Radio. Ross also had a long career in the record biz launching such rockers as Nirvana, Aerosmith, Nelly Fertado, and Papa Roach to name a few. The New York wedding brot out quite a few celebs like Howard Stern, super model Cindy Crawford, who’s husband is opening a new Las Vegas hotel with film stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Also at the wedding - Al Waterson with his missus Nancy Bernal who just happened to visiting in New York on biz & pleasure, former Miss Universe and Miss Hawaii Brook Lee . Melissa has been living in the Big Apple for five years now and plans to continue per-suing her opera and acting career… Where are they now: Donald Duckworth, retired Bishop Museum boss, now living in Fredericsburg, Va., with wife Sandra. Currently employed at a gov’t relations firm in Washington…Some leftover notes from a recent New York visit: The biggest and probably classiest McDonald’s in the world is in Manhattan. Takes up a whole block.They even have a grand piano on the 2nd floor… No bikes seen on the Big Apple’s sidewalks. (They’d probably be trampled to death)...Cabbie told me told me that car horns are restricted in certain areas. But taxi drivers have no problems yelling and cussing…People appear slimmer in New York. Maybe because the average citizen there walks about 6 miles daily ... On the cultural front: Words can’t describe the Metropolitan Museum. It would take years to go thru the complex…Atty Robert Morris, visiting local pals from his HQs in Shen Zhen China, told about this particular dining experience when he first arrived in that country. Asked for chicken, received raw meat served on a plate, along with boiling water and chop sticks. Cooked his own . Said it was very tasty. Later learned the “chicken” turned out to be frog legs…

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Wednesday - October 19, 2005
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AUTUMN IN New York ... The Big Apple, or deli-heaven - where the whitefish smokes ... The pastrami is okie-doke ... The corned beef is delish ... And, so is a knish ... The Stage Deli fills your belly… An egg cream is a dream ... Barney Greengrass (deli) is a gas ... Lox and a bagel plus a shmere is dear ... On arrival at the airport, my wife was totally blown away when we were greeted by John Walker and his limo. A little special surprise from Al Masini, the retired TV exec now a Honolulu citizen. John was Al’s driver in Manhattan for years. He showed us a number of landmarks - Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall St., Greenwich Village, along the East River and to ground zero of 9/11 ...


Lites, camera, action: Invited by Cindy Balfour (script supervisor on Law & Order) to watch filming at their Chelsea Piers HQs on the New York waterfront. Cindy’s dad, Dr. John Balfour, is a surgeon at Straub (operated on me a couple times). It was a simple office scene with Law star Sam Waterson. He seemed uptight for some reason. Kept flubbing his lines.To get the scene right, a half-dozen takes were required ... Sid Bernstein, who presented some of the greatest rockers of his era, also managed dozens of major stars. Semi-retired now, this Hawaii afficianado will always be known as the man who first presented the Beatles to America (at Shea Stadium). We spent a few pleasant hours one sunny afternoon in Central Park while he reminisced about his exciting career. He showed us the Strawberry Fields area in the park (dedicated to John Lennon), right across the street from the Dakota apartment complex where Lennon lived and was fately gunned down. Stopping at a small park lake to rest, I was given a seat on a crowded bench by a young lady sitting with three girlfriends munching hot dogs. We all got into a brief conversation. “Do you know who this man is?” I asked pointing to Sid. “He brought the Beatles to America.” They all became very animated, plying Sid with Beatles questions. Then Sid asked the wahines where they were from. “Hawaii,” they exclaimed. Pointing to me, he smiled, “Do you know who this man is?” Recognized, it suddenly became a reunion of old friends. What an unexpected fun time in Central Park with Nancy Dela Cruz (works for Tel Com), Emelie Corpuz (nurse at Kuakini), Cynthia Guray (Kamehameha counselor) and Geraldine Galanto (Kuakini nurse). It was their first trip to N.Y., and loving it. Small world ...


Saw five major Broadway productions in one week: Spamalot, Wicked, Avenue Q, Lion King and The Producers. Average ticket price - $100. And lucky if you can get ‘em ... Peter Lawrence has come a long way since his days attending the UH (‘71-‘72) and being a local drama critic. Today Peter is a successful stage manager (Spamalot) and will be directing the next three Spam shows - in London, Las Vegas and U.S. tour. Sends regards to isle pals. Assisting him in the show is Hawaii-born Mahlon Krusie, UH alum ...When my son was about 10 years old, he often played and swam weekends with pal Kevin McCollum at the Kahala Hilton beach. Kevin’s mom Sue loved theater and participated in many local productions - as did Kevin. After she died, Kevin left Hawaii to live with Mainland family members. Today, Kevin is one of the biggest producers on Broadway. His Rent (Tony for Best Musical in 1996) debuted 10 years ago and is still running. Kevin’s current B’way smash, Avenue Q, (Tony for Best Musical in 2004) is also a major attraction at the new Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. And his production of La Boheme also won a Tony. Kevin philosophized, “I think I chose theater because this is where we come together as strangers and leave as a family. ... My mother was a big part of my accomplishments. She was ahead of her time. I am an extension of her”

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Wednesday - October 12, 2005
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THE O’REILLY FACTOR: Bill O’Reilly, without a doubt, is one of the biggest guys in broadcasting today. Literally and figuratively. His program on the Fox News Channel is the number one TV cable show. (That’s big). His radio program is heard daily over 400 radio stations. And his column is syndicated nationally, including MidWeek. Also author of best-selling books. In person, he’s soft-spoken, personable, polite and quite impressive physically, standing about 6-feet, 6-inches tall. However, his on-air style has caused some of the most powerful in America to run for cover. Some call him the new pope of journalism ... O’Reilly is a busy guy - working over 60 hours weekly, he estimates. And says he reads about 10 newspapers daily. The interview took place in his New York radio studio during his commercial breaks.


Eddie: What turns you on?

Bill: Basically I want to use my power and influence to help make people’s lives better. To protect children and keep politicians and journalists honest. I’m not in it for the money. I have enough money. I’m not in it for the fame. I have the fame.

E.S. What turns you off?

Bill: The personal attacks that are levied against me every day. That’s the downside of the job. Some are pretty brutal. I think they are despicable. Up to a certain point I ignore them. It’s a battle. The far right and the far left hate me because they are fanatics. They don’t like the fact that we’re watching them.

E.S. Threats?

Bill: All the time. Threats on everything. It’s bad. I’m the most controversial broadcaster in the country. That’s why I have body guards.

E.S. What do you like about your job?

Bill: I get to deal with really important things. Help to change things in the country. Get laws passed. It’s fun in a way each day never knowing what will happen.

E.S. With your combined radio and TV daily shows, how many people do you reach?

Bill: It’s estimated about 30 million in the United States and maybe 10 million abroad.

E.S. You knock the powerful New York Times and the L.A. Times pretty good. What reaction do you get from them?

Bill: We’ve obviously hurt the L.A. Times dramatically. Their editor and editorial director got fired. The New York Times, I feel is pushing an agenda in their newspaper, and I don’t think it’s right. My job is to watch all the powerful. So I watch. And speak my piece.


E.S. Your heroes? Who are they?

Bill: Abraham Lincoln is one. George Washington is two. If you study these men, they were extraordinary. Mother Theresa is certainly a hero to me. Giving up her life to help the poor. Teddy Roosevelt was a gutsy guy. FDR was another hero; he got us through WWll and the depression. An amazing man. Robert Kennedy was a hero to me for disbanding the Mafia and for civil rights legislation.

E.S. You sign off your TV show saying “no bloviating.” What does bloviating mean?

Bill: It’s a word that almost died out before I brought it back. Means someone who rambles on and on and on. I’ve been accused of doing that myself.

E.S. Can we win the war on terror?

Bill: Not in the short term. But in the long term we can do it if our intelligence gets better. Also, we need to convince a lot of people that we are really in a war so they support our efforts

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Wednesday - October 05, 2005
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DATELINE NEW YORK - The greatest city of ‘em all ... There’s more Italian eateries in the Big Apple than in Rome ... More Greek coffee shops than in Athens ... More Jewish delis than in Tel Aviv ... More Irish pubs than in Dublin ... More Chinese kau kau chopstickeries than in Beijing ... And sushi? Probably New York’s most popular snack. Everybody seems to be eating the Japanese delicacy ... Hotel tip: Don’t try to visit unless you book hotel rooms way, way in advance. Best deals can be found on the Internet ...


Surprised how friendly everyone seems to be ... It’s been years since I last visited. Yet some things never change in New York. The famous Rockettes are still one-two-three kicking up their heels at Radio City Music Hall ... You can’t find a cab when it rains, but you can always get a bagel with cream cheese almost anywhere ... Just a bit of history: Didja know: When the Dutch settlers first came to this island of Manhattan, they made a deal with the Indians who lived here. They purchased the whole place for $24. (It’s said). And some glass beads were thrown in. If the Indians had put that 24 bucks in the Bank of England at compound interest, they would have more than what the entire worth of Manhattan is today ... Coming up for Hawaii’s transplanted New Yawker

Bette Midler
Bette Midler

Bette Midler: On Oct. 31 she’ll celebrate the 10th ann’y fundraiser for her Manhattan Restoration Project that will (sort of) coincide with the Divine One’s 60th b’day (Dec. 1). It seems like yesterday, this island-born lass took New York by storm when she exploded out of the Continental gay baths to become an overnite superstar and instant icon. And it also seems like yesterday when I saw her in a show at Diamond Head Theatre when she was a teenager and remarked to her mother, “Oh, she has a little talent. Let her go to New York, give it a try and get it out of her system. She’ll be back in a year or so.” ... Shopper’s Paradise: They say if you can’t find it in New York City, they probably don’t make it. Whatever you may be looking for, be prepared to put a big dent in your credit card. There are places where you can bargain - like Canal Street - and buy phoney Rollex watches that look like just the real thing. Street vendors clutter the sidewalks with cut-rate stuff like umbrellas, scarves and belts for 2 bucks each ... And if you’re not a shopaholic, just window gazing is a treat in itself. Amazing, creative displays of merchandise ... A must-not-miss are the great emporiums of food like Zabar’s incredible display of international treats. Unbelievable ... The Belvedere Hotel my wife and I stayed at was the perfect location for show-going, close to Times Square. Here you’ll find the current big hits along with high priced and often hard-to-get tickets. Average tab today for a top B’way hit show is $100 ... Once crime-ridden and shabby, Times Square now has a new face. Cleaned up and sparking. And in the middle of all the activity still stands that famous statue of the legendary great entertainer George M. Cohan of another era, Broadway’s Yankee Doodle Dandy, magnificently portrayed by James Cagney in the film based on Cohan’s life that’s still often enjoyed on late nite TV. Unfortunately, the statue’s head needs a cleanup. It’s loaded with bird kukai ... And, if you’re a little brave and crave an experience, you might try the subways to get around. Fast, cheap and complicated. It’s a unique New York adventure. However, could be dangerous late at nite when muggers and pickpockets go to “work” ... Next week will tell you more about New York and shows along the Great White Way

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THIS STATE is getting some unexpected free advertising thanks to professional surfer Sunny Garcia. He’s got a map of the Hawaiian islands tattooed on his side ... Just an entertainment tip: Liza Minnelli’s classic Emmy-winning 1972 Liza With a Z TV special will air on Showtime next year - with a restored negative and improved sound. This long-lost special shows Liza at the pinnacle of her career and in magnificent voice. Her recent marriage lasted about as long as her Hawaii honeymoon ... Everytime I go to LensCrafters for new specs, I admire optician Jo Carmichael‘s hair - more than five feet long cascading down her back.


Hasn’t been cut in about 12 years. Why? Sez she: “Because my dad Art Tanimoto likes it.” Just another item a columnist picks up while waiting for new glasses ... You’re getting old when: You tell a youngster of today that movie usta cost 25 cents - and they think you’re lying ... Too bad they’ve stopped plans to redevelop Waikiki’s International Market Place. So badly needed. Still interesting, tho despite all those carts selling the same kind of trinkets and jewelry ... Occasionally, whenever I run into Lanikai’s Steve Harmon at various entertainment productions, we gab about what’s new in show biz. It’s a subject he knows well. This charming 67-year-old gent is a veteran of the entertainment world since the age of 10. By 15, he was appearing on all the major TV shows and danced with great stars like Juliet Prowse, Gwen Verdon and even the legendary Ginger Rogers. His list of credits would fill a couple columns. Even tho his career is history, I keep trying to get him to come out of retirement for maybe some special function. No luck, yet ... A pal e-mails: “What’s happening to the world? It’s going nuts. The best rapper these days is a white guy. The tallest dribbler in the NBA is Chinese. The Swiss hold the America’s Cup and France is accusing the USA of arrogance.” How you figgah? ... Travelers to Sashimiland have discovered the famed Kobe beef. It’s the most expensive, tastiest and tenderest of steaks - anywhere. However, few know it’s also available right here in Hawaii. True. It’s grown on the Kahua Ranch on the Big Island. Only here it’s called Wagyu beef (name of the special herd). Like Japan’s beef, it’s a costly product and sold only to special customers ... Congrats to the local military for helping clamp down on the crystal meth epidemic in Hawaii. They do good work. Not long ago they nailed a female Pearl Harbor petty officer first class guilty of running a drug lab at her Navy housing. She’s now serving seven years, a reduction in rank, forfeiture in pay and a dishonorable discharge ... Whenever I’m asked who I think in the best broadcaster, the answer (for me) is Mike Wallace star of 60 Minutes. Here’s a guy who’s 87 and looks at least 25 years younger.

Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace

His mind is sharp as ever. For those who don’t know, Mike was around for the likes of legendary gangster Al Capone, Adolf Hitler, the bombing of Hiroshoma, the birth of television, etc. He’s the master of confrontational interviews with the powerful. Old school broadcasters like Brokaw, Walters and Rather are fading away, but like that 60 Minutes clock Wallace keeps on ticking and still is the best of interviewers ... The book beat: Hollywood Animal, a new book by Joe Eszterhas (one of the highest-paid screenwriters) drops a bunch of scandalous, funny and outrageous grenades about those who populate the film industry. Great inside stuff by one who really knows ... Congrats to MidWeek columnist and KHVH’s top rated ayem talk show star Rick Hamada, now celebrating his 12th year on the air

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Wednesday - September 21, 2005
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MUSICAL MEMOS: Just a few minutes after meeting Gideon Toeplitz (the new chief of the Honolulu Symphony) for coffee at the Halekulani, I learned the following. He grew up in Israel. His father Erich, a prominent musician with the Frankfort Symphony, fled Nazi Germany in 1936 and became one of the founders of Israel’s first symphony orchestra. For its premier concert, he did the impossible: Persuaded the (then) world’s greatest symphony orchestra conductor, the legendary Arturo Toscanini, to play a concert in the new country of Israel ... Toeplitz has a very busy schedule back home in Tanglewood, Mass., and can only spare a few days a month now for Hawaii. He’ll be doing a lot of commuting. Looking at the picture-postcard scenery surrounding the Halekulani while sipping coffee, Toeplitz sighed, “I won’t be able to enjoy much of this while here. There’s just too much work to do for the symphony in Hawaii” ... The work he’s talking about is a problem that’s facing symphony orchestras all over the world - how to make them financially healthy. Hardly any are in the black. Toeplitz is a veteran of symphonies, the last being the Pittsburgh orchestra he ran for 16 years. Today it’s known internationally as one of the best. “I have a lot to absorb and learn in Hawaii. And I look forward to the challenge” ... Thinking out loud: With all those speed-talking heads on TV gabbing a mile-a-minute, Joe Moore‘s relaxed news delivery style (in comparison) is much appreciated. Thanks to Joe’s enunciation and pace, his every word is distinctly understood. (Especially when one’s hearing ain’t da bes’) ... Changing times: Non-members used to need an invite to enter the Waikiki Yacht Club, but now you can enjoy the ambience even if not a member. So sez manager Peter Dietrich: “Folks are more than welcome. The can come in for lunch, dinner or just a drink. And those interested may even want to become a member” ... Just sights: Visitors to the Hilton Haw’n Village are often startled encountering the various birds that come out of the hotel ponds occasionally and wander around the grounds like royalty, ignoring all the onlookers ... If you wanna know the inside scoop about Hawaii’s rag biz (that’s what some call the fashion industry) check out UH prof Linda Arthur‘s book on the subject: Aloha Attire: Hawaiian Dress in The Twentieth Century. Hawaii’s garments sell in the multimillions worldwide, and Linda is a foremost expert on the subject ...Ever hear of Lil’ Bow Wow and Lil’ Romero? These baby-face rappers are heroes to 12 year olds. They sell out concerts and make millions from albums and merchandise. Catering to kids is big biz. T’is estimated they spend about $155 billion a year on music, clothes and entertainment ‘n’ stuff ... You may have heard the name Wally Amos. Or Famous Amos. You may also know he’s been an island resident for more than 30 years.


Wally Amos

He recently summed up to friends in an e-mail some of the trials and tribulations of his business career. Sez Wally: “I started out as as Famous Amos, lost Famous and then started Wally Amos Presents Chip & Cookie. Then sued over ownership of my name. Started Uncle Noname while being sued over by Famous Amos. Then I wrote a book about it during the lawsuit. Settled the suit and watched the cookie business fall apart. Filed Chapter 11. Coming out of bankruptcy, I returned to Famous Amos as spokesperson.” And he just started a new cookie store in Kailua. How’s that for perseverance?

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Wednesday - September 14, 2005
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Sen. Dan Akaka

HONOLULU NEWSSTAND ... So ya wanna be a politician? Take a look at Sen. Dan Akaka’s schedule in Honolulu last week before he jet’d back to Washington to vote on an important bill: Aug. 30: Guest speaker at the Rotary Club luncheon, Royal Haw’n Hotel. Same day at 6:30 p.m., HHVillage, spoke at an investor forum featuring top regulators, including Hawaii Securities Commissioner Corinna Wong. Wednesday, Aug. 31: Keynote address by the senator at Sheraton Waikiki.


This was the Native Hawaiian Grammy Awards Banquet. And Sept. 2, he was guest speaker at the veteran’s luncheon, Sheraton Waikiki - honoring our warriors. Whew!

... Short story: Billy Williams was a character deluxe in Honolulu for many years. Well-known in the local auto industry, Billy used to do TV ads with pal Sid Fernandez, the great Mets pitcher. Billy is in his early 70s now, and his lovely Ramona, 40s. They’ve been married 21 years and always wanted a baby. No luck. Well, waddya know? Pals can’t believe it, but - miracle of miracles, Beaming Billy finally got Ramona hapai and they are now the proud parents of a baby boy named Gunner. Billy is retired in Belleair, Fla. - living happily ever after ... Just a thot: Can you believe looking at those sexy pictures of Marilyn Monroe - that if she were alive today she’d be over 80 years old? ... Ever wonder how 7-Eleven got its name? Answer: When it first started in business the stores were open from 7 to 11. Thass why ... Most hometown folks have no idea what a big star Jake Shimabukuro (the uke whiz) is in Japan. He sold out his concert last week at Hibiya Park (an open-air venue like the Waikiki Shell) in central Tokyo. Tickets went for $75 per. While doing his concert, a legion of boy fans between the ages of 7 and 12 -with ukes in hand - played along with Jake outside the concert gates. They call themselves “Little Jakes.” Jake now sports a new look in Japan. No more aloha shirts. He’s got a new rock ‘n’roll look. Black sleeveless shirt and designer jeans. Real cool, man ... Just thinking out loud: Wouldn’t it be a nice idea if newspapers, magazines, etc., when using a fancy word in their stories most readers don’t know -would explain what it means (in parenthesis)? ... Att’n film fans: Don’t complain about the high prices of movie tickets in Hawaii. In Sashimiland it’s $18 smackeroos to visit the cinema ... Recently read again a book that came out a few months ago, The True Story of Colonel Parker and Elvis Presley. He and Elvis both loved Hawaii, and over the years gave their time, talent and money, raising thousands here for many good causes (like the Arizona Memorial), and putting a big spotlite on this state via movies filmed here, and including that worldwide one-of-a-kind unforgettable telecast that’s Elvis’best-selling video ... Eat beat: Doggie bags becoming more popular in restaurants these days. People realize they can get two meals out of one price ... Visitors often ask if those flower pots on street lite poles in Waikiki are for real. Absolutely. Watered every early ayem by huge a water truck that drives by and does the sprinkling ... True drama: A middle-aged man I know was a longtime store salesman at Ala Moana. He was barely getting by. Then tragedy struck. A stroke. What little he had saved was wiped out. Then his wife left him. He couldn’t work. Nowhere to go for help, he returned to the Midwestern city where he was born to live with his aged mother. A few months later, she suddenly died. Then he learned a deep, dark secret about his mother. Always very frugal, she was actually very wealthy. She left her poor son a small fortune. Wonder how his ex-wife took the sad news

 

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Wednesday - September 07, 2005
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ONCE OVER LIGHTLY ... “I don’t want to be one of those guys who will one day say, ‘I coulda, I shoulda, but didn’t.’” So spoke Lenny Klompus after a rehearsal of the Guys and Dolls musical at Fort Shafter’s Army Community Theatre - explaining why he decided to take the challenge of appearing in a local theatrical production. He plays the lead role of Sky Masterson in this classic musical (the Marlon Brando role in the movie version) ...


Klompus, with Tina Shelton

If you don’t recognize the Klompus name, it’s definitely well-known in local political and sports circles. He’s the power behind the power - meaning Gov. Linda Lingle’s senior adviser in charge of communications for the governor. Before that, the Hula Bowl director. It’s an incredibly demanding, time-consuming job, leaving little room for other activities. “If I don’t do it now (the show), I may not get another chance. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be involved in, so why not now before it’s too late?” reasoned Klompus. Lenny is no stranger to the entertainment world. He was performing at every opportunity since he was a youngster - singing, dancing and acting. In college, he majored in theater. That was to be his career. But somehow he segued to radio as an on-air talent, producing shows and eventually entered the sports business. He became involved with the Baltimore Colts, and received an unexpected education in the marketing and promotional sports field. Eventually he formed his own company, Metro Sports, producing sporting events around the world. At one time his company helped create some 150 sporting events a year - this included the first basketball game ever brought back live to the United States from Japan. It was UCLA playing Temple University ... One day in 1979 Klompus received a call from the late Mackey Yanagasawa asking if Lenny would consider helping promote the Aloha Bowl. So, Klompus commuted between Hawaii and his Mainland offices, eventually putting down roots permanently here in the late ’ 80s ...


Faces out front: Oprah (the one and only) enjoying her hiatus from TV chores with a long siesta on Maui checking out the 102 acres she owns ... Congrats to writer-author Scott Stone (about 28 novels and biographies). He’s been named “Distinguished Scot of the Year,” the honor given by the prestigious Saint Andrew Society of Hawaii. Stone, who lives at Volcano on the Big Island, is also Norwegian and Cherokee ... Another just-thinking item: Wonder how former Councilman Andy Mirikitani is doing in jail these days? ... That beautiful face at the door of Shanghai Bistro (Discovery Bay) this summer is owner Li May Tang’s 21-year-old dotter Teresa, who goes to college in Seattle. She’ll be a natural to follow in mama’s footsteps ... Not much more info has been released since it was announced Steven Spielberg‘s plans to make that long running TV Baywatch into a big screen production. Don’t think it’ll location here despite the fact it’s TV life ended in Hawaii ... Thinking out loud: Is there a sexier woman on the screen than Halle Berry??? ... Didja know dept: When Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maria Shriver) had just finished college, she spent a summer living in Honolulu with the Rod McPhees. (He was then prez of Punahou). She also worked here in Sen. Dan Inouye’s office. And with Ah-nuld earning some of his early weightlifting trophies here, it’s no accident Hawaii is their favorite vacationland

 

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Wednesday - August 31, 2005
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ONCE OVER LIGHTLY: Honolulu’s Richard Chamberlain starts his nat’l tour of the stage hit On Golden Pond a year from Sept. The old film version starred Henry Fonda ... According to real estate insiders, Japanese multizillionaire Gensiro Kawamoto, who purchased lots of houses in Hawaii (and elsewhere), is now rumored to be evicting a dozen or so tenants a month from his Hawaii Kai properties and selling them. He reportedly never put a dime into fixing up any of them. A strange gent, indeed, they say ... And so it’s into retirement for longtime Hilton Hawaiian Village topper Peter Schall.


He’ll be missed. As so many of his era, he came up the hard way. Peter started working at menial jobs, as he climbed the ladder of success. Now at 62 and looking boyishly years younger, Peter’s impact on Hawaii’s tourism will be long-lasting. He’s made outstanding contributions to the industry and this state ... Before his recent hospitalization, I took some visitors to catch Don Ho at the Beachcomber Hotel in Waikiki for their first time. As witnessed so often over the years, their first reactions were negative. “What’s the big deal about him?” they wondered out loud. “He can hardly sing, mumbles, and moves like slow motion.” However, as the show progressed, they were converted. By the end of the two hours of entertainment, they were on their feet applauding and raving about what a great show Don presented. At age 75 and after more than 40 years as a major headliner (here and on the Mainland), the amazing Ho magic continues. Meanwhile, Ho and another local entertainment legend, Dick Jensen, (both headlined in Las Vegas showrooms) get honored with a star on that city’s streets by the end of the year ... Was told this actually happened - but not too sure. Cute, tho: Two priests come to Hawaii on vacation. First stop, Hilo Hattie’s for the most outrageous shorts, shirts, sandals and sunglasses. Next day they hit the beach in their tourist outfits. While enjoying the action, sunshine and drinks, a drop-dead voluptuous, gorgeous blonde in a thong bikini walks straight for the priests, smiles broadly at each one and and says, “Good morning, father.” Stunned, one of the priests asks the shapely lass, “Excuse me, but how did you know we are priests?” Again she smiles sweetly, “Don’t you recognize me? I’m Sister Katherine” ... Hotel mogul Georg Raphael, with offices in Monaco, enjoying a little siesta at his Kahala manse. An avid golfer, Georg will never forget his current isle vacation. Got a hole-in-one at Oahu Country Club (on the 11th hole with a 6-iron) after playing the sport 40 years ... The Aloha Spirit in Washington: When people meet Sen. Dan Akaka, they are surprised he never shakes hands.


Sen. Daniel Akaka

He hugs everyone, just like his late brother, the Rev. Abe Akaka did. It’s the family way. And at various functions, whenever the opportunity arises, the senator always wins audiences over by singing his favorite Hawaiian song, A Hawaiian Lullaby (the “Where I live there are rainbows” song). Akaka’s wife, Millie, helps make Akaka’s office local (she has her own desk, etc.) Always wears a muumuu, goes barefoot and is affectionately known to all as “Auntie Millie” ... Guess: So what foreign group do you think owns the most Hawaii property, Japanese, or Canadians? I’d bet on our Northern neighbors ... Norm Godbold, the onetime island newsman and now retired writer-producer of hundreds of TV commercials in Australia, always amazed at local changes after visiting. When here, he enjoys talking the pidgin he loves, but never gets a chance to use. Norm brot this joke with him: Bush and Cheney were having lunch. After looking at the menu, the president smiled at the waitress. “I’ll have a quickie.” The waitress turned and left in a huff. Bush asked the veep, “Wonder what upset her? “Cheney answered, “It’s quiche.”

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Wednesday - August 24, 2005
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FACES OUT FRONT: Harold Perrineau, the African- American character of Lost , and Daniel Dae Kim, the Asian gent of the same series, were dining at Dixie Grill when a nosy columnist joined the conversation. Both actors, who know a bit about racial prejudice, were asked how they liked living in Hawaii. In effect they said, “it’s like coming home” …


Inter’l newsreel: Hawaii hotel marketing exec Hans Strasser and wife Marie Claire just back from a two-month European jaunt. Lotsa hi-lites. Like meeting the new pope in Italy and catching Michelle Wie playing golf in Paris. “I felt great pride watching her play,” sez Hans. “She’s such a big star in the golf world. I saw her picture on huge posters all around Paris. Her father, B.J., got my wife and I special badges. We were the envy of all we met. It turned out to be a lifetime experience” … Once over lightly: one of Las Vegas’s legendary showman and Hawaii favorite, Wayne Newton, is in deep kim chee with the IRS. The Feds say that Newton, who filed bankruptcy a few years ago, still owes $1.7 million in taxes and penalties, Forbes.com reports. And that he took all kinds of improper deductions. Hey, everybody’s got problems. No? … The march of time: Recently Brendan Paul dropped into Matteo’s with a party to visit old pals (manager) Russell Druce and ex- Trattoria waiter J.J.Dicker. He once worked at the eatery as a busboy years ago. Today, Brendan lives in Las Vegas where he is the top Elvis tribute artist. Has appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno, etc. and is quite successful… Cowgirl capers: What do some of our local TV folk do in their off time? If the name is Serena Thomas (KHNL News8 producer), she enjoys riding and and showing nags for Beth Hillyer, a reporter for the same station — who owns three horses — Mano, Kula and Alii


Willie Nelson

… Show biz: When not traveling the country, Willie Nelson relaxes at home. And where’s that? Maui, where he enjoys life wife Annie and two teenage sons. Willie is not shy talking about his many past problems. Like screwing up his taxes, three wrecked marriages, etc. But he’s straightened out past problems and is a happy man these days with — wife No. 4. He’s made good with the IRS, paying them millions in back taxes. (Bad financial advice). Willie’s on the road, however, much of the time playing engagements everywhere and always recording. Sometimes, while touring in his specially built bus, he’ll stop at an out-of-theway roadside joint, ask if can sing a few songs. Will he ever retire? Smiles Nelson, “Not even a possibility” … The little dramas of life: Dennis Adair (who owns his own construction company here) once, thru World Vision, saw a picture of a little girl from Bangladesh that touched his heart. He decided to care for her and began sending money to the family. He even visited the girl and not only set the father up in business, but helped other members of the family. Today, the lucky little girl, Hamida Kahtun, born into poverty, is 21 and employed as a translator … High kickers: Special congrats to those StepTaculars senior ladies, still wowing audiences at local care homes, retirement centers and other venues. Most of the chorus line wahines are in their ’70s and ’80s. They have a great time entertaining and many say the dancing helps keep ’em young and frisky

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Wednesday - August 17, 2005
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THE MARCH OF time: Once, Hawaii’s premier show promoter Tom Moffatt knew everything and everybody in the world of show biz. Now, sez he: “I’ve got rock groups coming to Honolulu I never heard of. But they’re selling tickets and that’s what counts.”Yes, sir! … Happy taxes: What does a rich and successful Hollywood producer do in his “spare” time? If the name is Peter Guber, he buys and sells his various upscale properties. Peter is currently divesting himself of one of his special prizes, a 171-acre Kauai spread, Tara Plantation, for only $46.5 million. (He picked it up for $7.2 million a few years ago). The $46 million is about what he sold his trophy 650-acre Aspen homestead ranch last year. The Kauai property is located not far from where South Pacific was filmed some 30 years ago. Guber formerly headed Paramount Pictures, and then owned a number of major entertainment companies. Currently, he’s a full professor at UCLA School of Theater …


The incredible imaginations of e-mail scam artists. The latest received comes from someone who sez he’s a Canadian attorney, based in Spain who represents a dead Lebanese client who died in a plane crash with his wife and three kids in the Benin Republic and left $12 million. And since the lawyer can’t find any relatives, he asks in his e-mail to me if I would be willing to be next of kin. If so, I will make a small fortune, he sez. (After, of course, I first send him large amounts of expense money, etc.) Please, folks — don’t ever fall for scams like this … After a long career as an art and set director in the film and TV biz in Hawaii, Wally White decided on a change of pace. He offered his services as a dance host on upscale cruise lines. “Canard Lines flew me to Hong Kong for one nite. Next day I embarked on the QE2 sailing halfway around the world. Singapore was wonderful. At the famous Raffles Hotel I had a Singapore Sling for only $30.” Wally said Egypt was fascinating, but spooky. Going into Cairo from the dock, he was part of a seven-bus caravan. Three police cars in front and two in the rear. Each bus had armed security. Wally was told if they didn’t have that kind of protection, it was probable they’d be held up by terrorists and shot. “It was a great experience. Free travel, room and board, and interesting people. “Can’t beat that,” laff’d Wally. … Orchids to local lass Leslie Goldman’s Golden Key Opera Co. on its successful debut last weekend at the Hawaii Theatre. Friends and family celebrated after the performance at Waikiki’s hot in spot, Shanghai Bistro, where owner Li May Tang had Chef Chang prepared a chopstick delight … After coming to Hawaii for a number of years to compete in windsurfing contests, Egmar Klemmer decided to quit his regular job (a lawyer in Munich) and came to Hawaii permanently. Turned his hobby into a nice business. Today, this expert waterman is veep of Kailua Sailboats and Kayaks … This modern world: Hawaii Theatre domo Burton White’s phone almost never stops ringing. So he decided to personalize rings on some numbers, including pals like publicist Lisa Josephsohn.


Gwen Stefani

Hers is by Gwen Stefani, singing If I were A Rich Girl, from her new album a la Fiddler On The Roof. White gets laffs in meetings and Lisa happens to call … Eddietorial: They say the movie industry is in a slump. I can think of a few reasons why. One is the hassle of just going to movies. Finding a parking space, paying a small ransom for overpriced drinks and snacks. Shelling out big bucks for often mediocre films. Then, being subjected to a slew of commercials and a bunch of trailers before the feature even starts. Now the movie begins and your unknown seat mate opens a big crinkly bag that sounds like small firecrackers going off while digging out the snacks. And, sometimes you have listen to know-it-all types who explain the movie plot to their companion. But don’t get me wrong. I love movies

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HONOLULU NEWSSTAND … The tourist industry is bracing itself for the biggest month in Hawaii’s history, say the experts. Cash registers in hotels, restaurants, stores, will be ring-a-dinging like crazy … Show biz beat: Scott Rogers, who runs an acting school here, is mighty proud of younger brother Steven. A very successful screenwriter, he’s authored such film hits as Kate & Leopold, Hope Floats and others. His newest, Flora Plum, currently being directed by Jody Foster. Altho raised on the Mainland, the Rogers brothers spent much time in the islands when growing up because dad Herb produced numerous touring shows at the Blaisdell. He now lives in a local a retirement home …


Ray Bumatai

Great tribute to Ray Bumatai, showing clips of films and TV he’s acted in, at Dan Long’s home movie theater.The event was tossed by the South Seas Cinema Society. Among the guests — brother Andy Bumatai and actor Don Stroud, now living here. Writer Ed Rampell wing’d in from L.A. with his new book, Progressive H’wood … Heads were turning when ultimate Big Isle fighter BJ Penn came into Compadres for some Mexican chow. Penn was surprised to see so many K1 fite fans … The show must go on: John Vasquez (asst. set & lite designer of A Chorus Line at Castle) accidentally slashed his leg while spearfishing, but didn’t miss a minute of work … Alooooha! Pirates of Penzance lead tenor George Dyer and missus rented a car for a drive around Oahu. Parked near an inviting beach. Hardly anyone around. While they were ocean dipping their car was broken into and all valuables vanished … On the road again: Stella Iwasa (a frisky 90 retiree) and nephew Henry Iwasa (bossman of Haw’n language study, art & culture at the UH) are still talking about their recent three-week tour drive thru France. Raved Stella, “The roads were flawless. We never encountered a pothole anywhere. Just smooth driving everywhere in France.” She learned that private contractors take care of roads in that country … Jimmy MacArthur, golf instructor, wife H.B. and son Jamie enjoying their Waikiki condo and catching up with old pals. Jamie’s taking summer courses at Kapiolani College while he works as a greeter at Hula Grill (above Duke’s in Waikiki). MacArthur interrupts his vacation with a quick jaunt to the East Coast, where he’ll present a special award from St. Vincent’s Hospital to Edie Falco, (“wife” of SopranosJames Gandolfini) for her charity work and excellence in show biz … What are they doing now: Don Carroll, former bossman of Oceanic Cable (retired) splitting his time between Hawaii and his Montana Ranch. And not missing the rat race … Altho I rarely go to to the Pacific Beach Hotel (unless for a special occasion), it’s always a special treat when I do. Not only the always excellent buffet, but the “aqua fish show” at the restaurant’s fabulous 260,000-gallon threestory oceanarium. More than 70 different species of marine life on view. It’s like taking an undersea excursion … After the recent London bombing, British-born Russell Druce, bossman of Matteo’s eatery, e-mailed his oldest brother Patrick to make sure the family was OK. And, they were. A few days later, London celebrated the 60th ann’y of the end of WWII. It culminated in a fly-over of WWII planes with a Lancaster Bomber dropping 1 million poppy petals. London’s “one finger salute” to the terrorists, said Druce. The poppy is a symbol of remberance for the British … Wonder what those bananaheads who stole a painting (sawing it off the wall) by artist Herb Kane from a long vacant Punaluu bldg. are gonna do with it? First of all, it’s 20 feet long. Who do those idiot crooks think they’re gonna sell it to? … Think it’s easy being a United States senator? Even with a broken toe, Dan Akaka recently took that long flight home to attend some business and personal matters and then zoomed right back to D.C.

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Col. John Bates

THE NEW director of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center doesn’t look or act like a military hero. Col. John Bates, of average height, wiry-thin, creased face, graying hair, sunny disposition, usually smiling, is a Marine legend. That his body is still in one piece and that he is still alive is a miracle. Bates’ chest was blasted by machine-gun fire in Vietnam. He was wearing a flak jacket which at the time was lined with fiberglass plates. The shots sent the fibers into his chest, destroying most of his right lung. Months later a hand grenade tore his knee to pieces. These experiences seem insignificant when compared to the time Bates fell into a punji stake trap. That’s a hole with a bunch of sharp wooden stakes at the bottom of it. His left foot became impaled by a long, sharp bamboo stake smeared with water-buffalo manure to maximize infection. All this earned him three Purple Hearts. To this day Bates can’t remember how he pulled his foot out of that stake. “It’s kind of like trying to tell somebody what sex is like without ever having experienced it,” he smiles … After being banged up like this the Marines medically retired him. Being put out to pasture was difficult to accept for Bates. He re-applied to the Marines over and over, but was rejected six times. Meanwhile, he kept busy going to school. After earning a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees during his seven-year military hiatus, then 30-year-old Bates was finally accepted back in the Marines and made a second lieutenant. His perseverance prevailed … Despite all the various injuries, Bates later became known for his dedication to running. His first marathon was in 1997. Since, he’s competed in various “Ironman” triathlons including a 146-mile run from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in California …


Of all the drama in Bates’ life, one that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up was an e-mail message from a young man in New Hampshire asking if he ever was stationed in Vietnam “If so,” said the message, “I may have something of yours.” Turned out it was a lost cigarette lighter Bates purchased and had engraved during the war. Eric Sletten, a student at Skidmore College, was traveling with friends in Vietnam. At an outdoor bazaar Sletten spotted a table full of lighters. Something about that old lighter just stood out, and the young man purchased it. Sletten was a history major whose father served in Vietnam as a sailor. When he returned to New Hampshire after studying abroad, he tucked the lighter in a drawer and forgot about it. Much later, cleaning out that drawer, he came across the lighter again. Looking at it more carefully, Sletten was able to read the fading name and date Bates had engraved. Curious, he decided to see if he could track down the original owner. He checked lists of soldiers killed during Vietnam. Then started looking elsewhere. Eventually, “detective” Sletten tracked Bates down. Bates returned the favor by inviting Sletten to a Marine Corps Ball … Bates clearly remembers the date he had it engraved — Jan. 22, 1967. It was on that date that Bates, recovering from a gunshot wound, simply walked out of a military hospital and rejoined his unit in the field. “I just got fed up sweeping and mopping floors in the hospital.” He borrowed utility pants, combat boots, a loose-fitting hospital gown and walked out, found a helicopter crew and “hitchhiked” back to his men. While waiting for his ride, he bought that lighter and had it engraved … Col. Bates ended his long Marine career by parachuting into his retirement ceremonies

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I HAVE AN enemy. This enemy is everywhere, always following me. And every day this enemy tries to kill me. Yet, I cannot live without this enemy … Sound confusing? Welcome to the world of a diabetic … My enemy is food. The one thing we all need to survive. And it’s such a big part of our culture. Daily we are seduced by all kinds of delicious foods. Try this, enjoy that. Don’t miss this. It goes on and on. Oh, the temptations …

For a diabetic, food is both a blessing and a curse. Food adds weight. The more pounds you put on, the higher your blood sugar goes. High blood sugar leads to medical complications. Often neuropathy sets in. Meaning — that you feel numbness in your feet and other areas of the body. If you’re not wearing shoes (and many in Hawaii often go barefoot) you can step on something sharp. Diabetics won’t feel it. Infection sets in. Result? Diabetics often lose their toes or feet. It’s a disease that can kill you one limb at a time if you let it. The health complications resulting from mismanagement of diabetes includes a long list of medical problems. Stroke, loss of eyesight, heart attacks, to name a few …

And it all starts with food. So how do you deal with it? Stop eating? Of course not. Just realize the problem you face. Don’t deny it. Don’t take it lightly. You have an enemy, just like I and millions more do, that won’t go away. It’s ready to kill you if you give it a chance. Some diabetics think just medicine will allow them to eat all they want. Wrong! Some even say, “Oh, I have just a light touch of diabetes.” They’re in denial …


I was diagnosed about 15 years ago. The disease (as always) suddenly came on without realizing it. There is no pain, no warning. My doctor discovered it during a routine exam. It’s been reported that half the people who have diabetes don’t even know it. At the beginning I was quite cavalier about my diabetes. I thought I could eat anything I wanted as usual. All I had to do was take a shot of insulin once in awhile. As I said, wrong! …

Altho I occasionally still stumble, most times I watch my food intake and try to eat as healthy as possible. I’m fortunate my wife, Patty, helps me watch my diet at home. When we go out we often share a meal. I’ve found many restaurants are understanding and helpful if they know what the problem is. Heck, they want your business, and I can’t come back if I’m dead from overeating! …

Here’s another tip: One of the best things diabetics can do for themselves is daily exercise. It helps lower the blood sugar dramatically. I walk and swim almost daily …

The bottom line is that you can beat diabetes and live with this food enemy with just a little self-discipline. Sure — it takes a lot of will power to push away an inviting meal or a plate of delicious pupus at a special event, or a delicious dessert. (A big reason I don’t go to as many such functions these days. The food temptation can be a killer) … And, it’s important to eat your meals on time. Missing a meal can cause problems. By limiting your food intake and with moderate exercise, you can control your disease and live a normal life. The first step is to admit and accept the fact that you are a diabetic. Ignoring diabetes is a fatal mistake too many diabetics have made. I’m determined not to let that happen to me. Diabetes is relentless. So to defeat it you have to be relentless, too

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Wednesday - July 20, 2005
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Federal Judge David Ezra admits he doesn’t always agree with his own courtroom decisions — but adds the law is the law — and that’s what he goes by. Howz dat for honesty? … This modern world: Ruth’s Chris’ attractive (and strong) marketing director Alex Kirley had her first baby recently. And was back on the job two days later … Early Oscar prediction: Paul Giamatti for his superb acting job in Cinderella Man. Plays Russell Crowe’s fite manager in the film … Baywatch, that long-running old series, wound up its career in Hawaii. But will be now be resuscitated as a multimillion-dollar epic via Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks. Will they film here? No word yet … Cable TV’s Deadwood western will give you a jolt. Wellacted, directed and produced. But the language can be startling. Like the fword, constantly used by most the the characters. Makes you wonder if the old Western folks really talked like that. Never read anything in the history books that claimed they did … Folks are still talking on Molokai about that amazing accomplishment of Father Joseph Hendricks at Kalaupapa. In less than four years he rebuilt St. Francis Parish in the center of town. And did it by raising the $200,000 needed — a miracle. Today, Kalaupapa is a National Historical Park and home to the last few Hansen’s Disease patients at the settlement …


About 20 years or so the time share business in Hawaii was considered on a par with carnival barkers, flim flam artists and hustlers. Not so today. The industry over the years has cleaned up its act, is now highly regulated and one of Hawaii’s hottest businesses. Hotels and time-share companies are gobbling up Hawaii properties as fast as possible … Musical history: Recently enjoyed a CD of the late Johnny Almeida, once known as the Dean of Hawaiian Music. Wrote more than 200 songs. Many thot he was a musical genius. And quite the character. I first met him when I was a kid breaking into local radio. (Only two stations in Honolulu then). Almeida had his own show once a week (sang and played the uke). And almost always showed up with a new wahine. Called them his “care givers.” For a guy who was totally blind, he did quite well with the wahines. Married five times … Waikiki vignettes: A small crowd was gathered around a bench in front of the Galleria on Kalakaua. A man on the bench was dressed in newsprint-type clothing, face covered with a white paint and wearing a white painted old-fashioned snap-brim hat. The clothing also looked treated with a white spray. He’s “reading” a Japanese newspaper. Onlookers were invited to sit next to him. They do, and friends snap pictures. Then coins and bills are dropped in a can next to his feet. After people leave, he removes his “uniform” and starts counting his money. I ask him how business was. “Very good,” he replies in an unfamiliar European accent. “There are lots of jobs in Hawaii,” I offer. “You don’t have to do this,” I say. He smiles. “Thanks. But I do very well. And enjoy being my own boss.” Declined to give me his name

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HARD TO BELIEVE, but the world spotlite on Aruba has boosted that island’s economy. All hotels are full. My “spy” is former Hawaii b’caster-engineer Tom Ewing, covering the Natalee Holloway story for Mainland radio stations. About that island resort, Ewing sez, “Nice, but Aruba ain’t no Hawaii” … Congrats to Dick Jensen, who’ll soon be receiving a welldeserved star on Las Vegas Blvd. Jensen, now battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, was a headliner in Vegas for many years … With Chris Lee’s just-announced film deal as major domo of Legendary Pictures, it opens an exciting career chapter for the creator of the UH film school. Like the Godfather quote, Lee was given an offer he couldn’t refuse. Warner Bros. will invest up to $500 million in matching funds with Legendary Pictures — a billion-dollar deal — to co-finance 25 films. Lee’s not only the president, but also an equity partner. He’ll be working with many of his old Hollywood friends on a wide range of films. So he’ll be moving back to the Mainland. As he says, “when they give you a checkbook that big, they expect you to live in Hollywood.” But he’ll continue to maintain his Hawaii residence. And plans to continue to be a vital part of the UH film school, helping raise money and expand the school to the community college campuses on all islands. Chris expects to start his new job after completing production in Australia of Superman Returns in Sept. … Hana, Maui, becoming a celebrity nesting spot. Latest reported building a zillion-buck mansion is one of the Fleetwood Mac rockers. Oprah and Jim Nabors have digs in the area, too …


Seeing stars: Kenny Rogers spotted at the Halekulani enjoying an afternoon repast … Where are they now: Discussing disa & data with local businessman Cal Lui, he recalled this interesting vignette of a few years ago on a Paris visit. While dining at the swank George Pompidou eatery, he noticed a familiar face on the menu, along with other celebs. It was old friend George Lazenby. The two played a lot of tennis together in Honolulu where the former actor lived for a few years. If you don’t recognize the Lazenby name, a brief refresher. George was the first leading man replacement for the 007 epics after Sean Connery quit the famous film franchise. What a great break. A million to one shot. Lazenby, however, only made one 007 movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), and then quit show biz altogether. (His adviser shuddah been hung). After a few minor film roles, Lazenby gave up the acting biz and moved to Honolulu. Apparently, he never made another movie, and who knows what he’s doing now … Not many remember Elvis’ leading lady, Doloros Hart, from one of his earliest films. They appeared together in the movie Loving You. Today, at 65, she’s better known as Mother Doloros at the Abby Regina Laudis — wherever that is … Tradition: Chad Hatae (34) calls himself the “head-gofer” at the huge, always busy Oahu Market (fish dept.) at the corner of N. King & Kekaulike in Chinatown. It’s definitely a family affair started by Chad’s grandma Asako Ishimoto some 60 years ago. Chad’s mom, Charlene, has been boss-lady since 1983. “Our clientele comes from everywhere. Every day it’s different and exciting. I love it,” sez the fish market’s future heir

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INDEPENDENCE DAY bits: Thanks to an old friend no longer with us (who was quite an authority on American history) here are some unbelievable statistics particularly appropriate on Independence Day — July 4. And history stuff you probably never learned in skool … F’r example: It’s not generally known that the Declaration of Independence was originally written in French. True. The original is not in existence. What is on display in Washington is merely a copy … John Paul Jones, the great American naval hero, never was a citizen of this country, but he did become the commodore of the Russian fleet … The state of Vermont was an independent nation for many years. (From 1777 to 1791). When it finally became the 14th state it was known as New Connecticut … John Adams held the highest elected office in the United States before George Washington.


George Washington

Adams was elected vice president and took his oath of office April 21, 1789 while Washington took his office a few days later — April 21, 1789 … Washington was the only president who never lived in the White House, altho he did lay the cornerstone in 1792 … The official legal tender in New Hampshire was not changed from pounds and shillings to dollars and cents until 1950 … The Indians could have had the best of the deal when they got $24 and some glass beads from the Dutch settlers for the island of Manhattan. If they had put that $24 in the Bank of England at compound interest, they would have more than the entire worth of Manhattan today … Actually, we only have 46 states. Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are commonwealths … And, didja know: Washington, D.C., is closer to Moscow than it is to the capital of what state? Hawaii, of course … And, that painting “Spirit of 76” is an anachronism. The Stars and Stripes were not designed until 1777… So what happened to those great patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five of the signers were captured by the British, branded traitors, and tortured before they died … Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned … Nine of the 56 died from wounds and hardships fighting in the Revolutionary War … But — what kind of men were these brave people who so boldly wrote their names to the Declaration that lit the fires of liberty in souls of men throughout the world? … Twentyfour were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. All well-educated for those days. Their security, incomes, worldly possessions made the substantially well-off. They all knew that signing the Declaration of Independence would mean death on the gallows if they were captured. That certainly did not stop them. They signed. And pledged their lives, fortunes — and sacred honor — for the cause of liberty … There are so many untold stories of the sacrifices made by those longago patriots

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Wednesday - June 29, 2005
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Honolulu Newsstand: After being a Hawaii resident these many years, Jim Nabors may be “no big ting” to most local folks. But it’s a different story on the Mainland. Especially if you were his guest at the annual Indianapolis 500 — as lawyer Rick Fried was. “When Jim opened the race festivities (as he’s done annually for about 30 years) singing Back Home Again In Indiana the estimated 300,000 crowd exploded. I think he could be elected governor of Indiana any time he wanted to,” laffs Rick. “As Jim’s guest we had excellent VIP treatment. Had our own golf carts to get around and sat in air conditioned boxes.


Colin Powell

On one side of my wife and I sat Colin Powell and on the other was the lead singer of Motley Crue”… Chop suey circuit: The “Hotelier of the Year” award — in China — goes to Chris Bachran, the new prez of Jin Jiang, China’s leading domestic hotel chain with HQ’s in Shanghai. Chris is the first foreigner in China to hold that position. Bachran’s operation covers over a l00 hotels in some 20 provinces. His Hawaii parents Bill and Lauri Bachran couldn’t be prouder. Sr. Bachran, a former newspaperman, is the media director of the Sony Open held annually at Waialae CC … Spotted a young business type, well dressed and groomed, with a ring thru the tip of his nose. I don’t get it. Wahines pleeze note: Not uncommon to see guys at soirees parading around in tight jeans with padded crotches… Political pupu: Behind closed doors some very hush-hush meetings are taking place to come up with a top Democratic candidate for the next Gov’s race. At the moment, just talk and listening. But you’d be very surprised who’s being seriously considered … Rare experience for me: Seeing Cinderella Man twice. Liked it even better the second time around …


Update on one of Hawaii’s successful entrepreneurs: The name is Peter Burwash who founded his company 30 years ago. Peter is a former tennis pro who spread his company’s activities to over 63 facilities in 32 countries. Home for Burwash is now Carmel, Ca., but sez “I’ll always miss Hawaii” … Have you been to the Zoo lately? Always a great show … The aloha spirit: Rutger Hauer is a name you probably don’t know. But his face is familiar because you may have seen him in some of the almost l00 or so movies he’s acted in. Mostly plays villain types. Hauer is a pal of Scott Rogers, prez of Honolulu’s Academy of Film & TV School. And always calls and helps instruct Scott’s students whenever in town or passing thru. Like he did recently. In Hauer’s current film, Batman: The Begining, plays a villain as usual … From their first restaurant about 20 years ago in Beverly Hills, California Pizza was a hit. At Ala Moana and Kahala Mall it’s usually a wait to get in (no reservations). The chain has grown to almost 300 establishments coast-to-coast, including Asia … Flash: Some pretty good horse sense over at KHNL News8. Reporter/sub anchor Beth Hillyer (most recently seen newsing on the ayem show) owns a pack of horses. Three to be exact, Mano, Kula and Alii. Turning a Windward property she owns into a horse ranch. Ride ‘em cowgirl … Ice skating star Dorothy Hamill lunching with Tom Moffatt about a future ice extravaganza in Honolulu … During Ray Romano’s recent visit, he caught up with retired TV producer Al Masini, creator of the long ago Star Search that helped launch many an unknown to fame and fortune. Ray was once a contestant on Al’s show. He lost. Guess who was a winner? Brad Garrett, who later hit the big time playing Ray’s goofy brother on Everybody Loves Raymond. Al recalled some other losers on his Star Search who went on to fame and fortune: To name a few: Brittany Spears, Christine Aguilar and Justine Timberlake

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Wednesday - June 22, 2005
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LITES, CAMERA, ACTION: Chris Lee, bossman of the UH film school and currently exec producing the multimillion-dollar Superman Returns (now filming in Australia), e-mails some Down Under tidbits about the epic: “I have an excellent cast and things are running smoothly. Kevin Spacey, our film villain Lex Luthor, is due any day. He’ll be joining cast Kate Bosworth, Frank Langella, Eva Marie Saint and our Superman/Clark Kent, a young newcomer by the name of Brandown Routh. And I’m so happy about four of our UH students who are getting the break of a lifetime employed as production interns on the movie: Crystal Jameson, Matthew Ortiz, Nelson Quan and Ronson Akina. All have been integrated into the crew and working very hard in various departments like camera, art, assistant director and producers unit,” sez Chris … Seeing stars: That casually dressed, familiar-looking couple chowing down at Hawaii Kai’s Cha Cha Salsaria last week had the young customers goggled-eyed. They quickly swarmed around Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake asking for autographs, while the famous faces enjoyed owner Angie Ruyon Berg’s chicken enchilladas and other Mexican delights. “It was a day to remember,” said Angie. “And they were polite to all” …


Ed Case

Sen. Dan Inouye is the special guest this month on state Rep. Ed Case’s cable TV show (now airing on all five public access channels statewide). The half-hour conversation between the two lawmakers covers a wide range of topics — from Dan’s early years to various career highlites. Interesting to note that with Watergate in the news again, it was those hearings that Dan participated in that helped catapult him into the national spotlite … Hawaii’s Federal Judge Sam King recently celebrated his 89th b’day. Sam’s secret for longevity: “Good wife, eat straight and don’t worry” … Ya win some, lose some — or, life of an actor: Cary Tagawa bounced from the cancelled Hawaii TV series right into Steven Spielberg’s next epic, Memoirs of a Geshia. And when not acting, Cary’s teaching martial arts and Chu Shin to students like deejay Lanai and music exec Bobby Pileggi


What’s new with teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm to a shark while surfing on Kauai? She’s doing very well, thank you. Still riding the media wave: TV interviews, award shows, promoting her book and her new signature perfume fragrance with bottles shaped like surfboards — “Stoked” for girls and “Wired” for boys. Bethany also has a movie in the works. While she enjoys the spotlite, she’s not impressed with her own publicity. She’s a committed Christian and plans to enroll in Bible school … According to a former employee, drugs at Halawa are still easy to get. All depends on who you know. And for prisoners with $$$, no problem buying almost any drugs they want. Just a case of supply and demand. Some drugs have even been known to be smuggled in via food, it’s said … Just a little twist of fate: B’way’s Craig Schulman (who starred here in Les Miz a few years ago) was jetting to Hawaii last week. The plane’s movie? Phantom of the Opera, the musical Schulman starred in on the national tour … … You may never have heard of Lon Bentley, but many film and TV stars certainly know him. This longtime Diamond Head resident has plied his makeup trade for many years in Haolewood and elsewhere. And long worked with Tom Selleck. Their union began during those old Magnum days. Bentley will apply the makeup for Selleck when he starts his new TV series based on the character he recently created in the recent CBS film Stone Cold

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Wednesday - June 16, 2005
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CINEMASCOOP: By now you should be well aware that Cinderella Man starring Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger is a big hit. It’s already being touted by some for Academy Awards. Personal opinion: Compared to last year’s Clint Eastwood boxing movie Oscar winner, Cinderella Man is a winnah by a knockout. One of the best I’ve seen in years. The forceful, grim Depression times of the ’30s are expertly captured by director Ron Howard. Staging is breathtaking. Especially the fight scenes. Crowe is just brilliant. The emotional wallop of the drama hits hard and caused me to shed some rare movie-going tears …


Konishiki

During a visit to Honolulu and a relaxer at his Maile hacienda, retired sumo star Konishiki was asked if he misses local kau kau living in Japan. “Not really,” said the big guy. “Japan has lots of island style food. And we have hundreds of night clubs featuring Hawaiian music” … This scene observed on a bus the other day: A wahine was having a loud conversation on her cell oblivious to the irritation of other passengers. Suddenly her seatmate pulled out a cordless shaver and started buzzing his face. A nearby lady started singing at the top of her voice. Somebody else pulled out a portable radio. The inconsiderate cell user finally got the message and quickly scampered off the bus — while passengers applauded … When in New York recently, Tom Moffatt was visiting his pal Sid Bernstein (the promoter who brought The Beatles to America, etc.) While they were chomping deli food on Second Ave., Moffatt called local pals between bites to tell them how great the kau kau was. Also noted that Sid’s life as a major show biz manager- entrepreneur of such stars as Sinatra, Presley and, of course, The Beatles and The Rascals, will soon be a TV special based on his life-story book. At one time, Hawaii was a second home for him and wife Gerri


Travel tip: Next vacation, ya may wanna consider New Zealand. Not only a beautiful country, but the current exchange rate makes the experience quite reasonable for Americans … Word’s out that aloha shirts are more popular than ever — from New York to Tokyo. And shirt collectors at New York auction houses and on eBay have been known to pay thousands of bucks for a single rayon “silkie” that cost less than a buck in 1935. So — don’t throw away those old shirts —yet … Reminiscing about long-ago days in Hawaii with former media personalities Bob Basso (authorspeaker) and Bill Bigelow, ex- PR exec and also an author-speaker, the name Lippy Espinda surfaced. Lippy sold used cars and hosted old movies on TV. He only spoke pidgin. An original. And one of the most colorful kerrikters this town ever had. His famous used car guarantee: “I personally guarantee every used car — up to the time you drive the car off the lot!” … Pump action: Everytime I go to McKinley Car Wash I hope to get jovial Willy Kelepolo to fill the tank and service my car. Most times, I do. Willy has been on this job for 36 years. Averages about 350 cars daily. He’s 65 now and thinking about semi-retirement. “Maybe,” he laffs. “My boss Yuki Yoshigawa has been working cars for 58 years and he’s over 80. And energetic as ever. If he can do it, so can I,” sez Willy with a big smile. Why does he like the job? “I just enjoy the work. It’s good exercise and it’s fun meeting new people and seeing old friends. Can’t beat that” … The way it is: With jobs more plentiful in Hawaii and more money in circulation, the good news is auto thefts are way down on Oahu … Let’s not be too hard on those responsible for keeping our roads in good shape. The problem is nationwide. Bad roads almost everywhere … Still in action: Annette Nahinu, owner of the popular Sand Island La Mariana eatery, has to be in her 90s, but still frisky as ever. Customers love her and vice versa

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AMONG THE all-time greats I’ve met in my long journalistic career, Bob Allen ranks among the top of my list. He passed away last week. Bob, one of the founding fathers of our tour industry, died at Tripler after a long residence. A former Navy intelligence officer, on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in the Philippines during WW ll, Allen was captured and imprisoned. During those difficult years he saved hundreds of lives risking his own by sneaking out of prison at nite to bring back much needed medical supplies. If caught, it meant instant death. Allen met wife Billie (a nurse) while in prison. Years later, Allen was a pioneer of our fledgling tourist industry. In my book, Allen was a heroic figure and a gentleman. A rare first-class act. Our condolences to Billie and the family … All in the family: One of the most eye-catching gowns in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA contest at Sheraton-Waikiki was worn by lovely 17-year-old Alexis Sunga (fourth runner up). Asked who created it, she smiled proudly, “my great-grandmother, Soling Viray.” Told me it took a year to sew … Localite Bill Bigelow’s dynamite suspense-action novel Red Sky At Night now into a second printing … Justa note: Hawaii’s golden voice of old Hawaii Genoa Keawe had 12 children. (And still had time to sing). Only four out of that dozen are still alive. Yup — and Aunty Genoa is still performing … One of Hawaii’s most colorful characters, Waimanalo cowboy Tommy Campos, still smokes two packs daily and has been for 65 years. “All the doctors who told me to quit have died,” coughs Tommy between quotes … Some readers have asked if Marie (Mrs. Jack) Lord is still alive. Very much so, we’re happy to report …


Hari Kojima

Been also asked about former TV fishing personality Hari Kojima and what he’s doing these days. Anybody know? … Richest family in America? That would be the Waltons of Wal-Mart. Their personal stock in the famed company worth an estimated $90 billion … Ono taste treat: Baked mahi-mahi at Bob’s Big Boy out Mapunapuna way. Note: only served on Fridays … All golfers dream of getting a hole in one. Most never do. Honolulu teenager Sally Soranaka has more than a dozen of ’em to her credit, …


The world today: Recently dined at a small restaurant serving ethnic-type food. When the waitress arrived at the table with the main dish, she served with one hand only. Her other hand held a cell phone she talked into continuously — without missing a beat … At a supermarket the other day I overheard a wahine near the fruits ’n’ nuts section shouting into her cell phone, “This is just between you and me. Nobody can hear this, understand?” While a half-dozen shoppers nearby shook their heads … Sorry to learn Howard Morris, the comic actor, writer, producer, director (best known for his characters on the old Andy Griffith Show) just died at 85. Morris was a frequent visitor to the former Kahala Hilton. Enjoyed reminiscing about his Army show biz days in Hawaii during WW ll. Served in the entertainment unit of the Army stationed up at UH. Carl Reiner was there too … Seen ’n’ heard: One of the loudest laffers at the preem of the new Madagascar cartoon movie was 4-yr-old Gracyn, dotter of Marvin Buenconsejo and missus Maelee. Marvin’s the KHNL News8 sr. correspondent and fill-in anchor … Just a reminder for polo afficianados that the summer season began June 5 and runs for 19 weeks. Sundays only (1 p.m.) in beautiful Waimanalo. Nice way to spend an afternoon … Travel tip: If you plan on traveling this summer, air flights may be as enjoyable as getting caught in freeway traffic. Airlines have eliminated thousands of jobs. As a result, expect lots of inconvenience and delays. Remember, too — at the slightest breach of security, terminals will be evacuated. Be patient and have a nice flight … Yup — everybody loves Raymond: Tickets disappeared so fast for the first Ray Romano show Saturday at Blaisdell, promoter Tom Moffatt added a 2nd show —Sunday. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

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HONOLULU NEWSSTAND: Sad to report that one of Hawaii’s greatest entertainers (and now a minister) Dick Jensen has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is no cure for this neuro-degenerative disorder. In his prime, Jensen played the major leagues of show biz. All the top nite clubs, TV shows, etc. On stage, he was like a tornado. His singing and impressions were show stoppers. And Jensen’s incredible unique dancing, sliding and gliding style stunned audiences. Dick made Michael Jackson’s moon walk look like he was standing still. Super stardom, many agreed, eluded Jenson only because he never quite got that elusive hit record …


Vignette: Once upon a time, in Selerno, Italy, two young brothers grew up mesmerized by the movies of Elvis. When adults, the brothers decided to move cold turkey to Kauai because Elvis made a movie there. Eventually, Tony and Rosario Laskolk (and Tony’s wife, Gerry) built a restaurant in Lihue. Things were great — until hurricane Iniki wip’d them out in 1992. They lost everything. The family struggled back with a new eatery — Pomodoro, in Kalaheo. Today, locals, visitors and celebs pack the Kauai establishment. Sez world traveler and foodie Nick Susner, “I’ve had the legendary fettucine in Rome’s Alfredo’s, but Pomodoro’s is just as good — and you don’t have to fly to Italy to enjoy it … A bit of history came tumbling down when Gussie L’Amour’s nite spot on Nimitz was recently torn down. The club was originally called The Dunes. Owned then by Mr. Nite Club of those long gone days — Jack Cione. He presented the biggest show biz stars of a long ago era — Wayne Newton, (when he was young and blond) Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, Della Reese and a special legend named Sophie Tucker (to name a few). Cione (retired) and missus Maydell nowreadying a cruise thru the South Pacific. Plan to check out the action on Saipan and Guam, now hot as a pistol with Japanese tourists. The attraction? Gambling, and big-time Vegas style shows … How about this: The influential Zagat hotel and restaurants guide book named the Big Isle’s Four Seasons the No. 1 resort in the entire country. It gushed about the site as “paradise found.” Raved about the attentive staff, greeting guests by name “everytime.” Also getting orchids from the prestigious Zagat spotlite was the Lodge at Koele on Lanai … And after all these years, untold Pearl Harbor stories about Dec. 7, 1941 continue to seep out. Like this believe-it-or-not one. Just before the bombs fell that tragic day, two sailors, Peter Gallagher and Earl Drumitch, were playing poker in the after section of the USS Utah battleship. Needless to say, they didn’t complete the game. After the attack they never saw each other again — until meeting accidentally again years later at the Moana Hotel. (A friend witnessed the dramatic scene). After hugs and kisses, they quickly found a deck of cards and completed the game they started more than 60 years ago … The world’s richest, Bill Gates, and wife Belinda obviously have a soft spot for Hawaii. (After all, they did get married on Lanai and have an elegant estate on the Big Isle).

The Gates Foundation has supplied many of our libraries with computers, printers and technical support … Recently caught up with Mike Vasconcellos at a social function. He’s the former longtime athletic director at Chaminade and ex-GM of the extinct Hawaii Hammerheads indoor pro football team. Mike has been battling Parkinsons disease for years. After his second deep brain stimulation surgery, it has completely stopped his shaking (like Muhammad Ali does today)

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Wednesday - May 26, 2005
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“HOLY SHIITE” was the classic headline the New York Post came up with last week over Newsweek’s erroneous story that our armed forces flushed a copy of Islam’s Quran down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay prison. The report caused riots and deaths in Afghanistan …


Elizabeth Vargas

Honolulu beauty expert Connie Gayle had the honor of being selected by the ABC-TV network to handle the hairstyling, makeup, etc. for 20/20’s new hostess Elizabeth Vargas. (She’s replaced the legendary Barbara Walters.) Vargas was in town doing a segment on the mega hit Lost. Some of Gayle’s clients read like the who’s who of the celebrity world … Honolulu after dark: Augie Rey (trio) packing ’em in with his Sat.-nite-only gig at the Elks Club. Son Joe Fernandez, an Army warrant officer and Black Hawk helicopter pilot just back from a year of duty in Afghanistan, was in to see dad’s smash opening … The Honolulu Zoo still one of the best shows in town … The widest beach area in Waikiki? In front of the Hilton Haw’n Village …


Water cooler chatter: We’re not the only hot real estate market. Million-dollar homes are selling almost everywhere. Las Vegas, however, continues to be one of the best buy deals for home buying. At least for our ex-pats. Former islanders have purchased large, beautiful homes there they never could have afforded here. And at half the cost of an island hacienda. No state tax either, in Vegas … All in the family: Dr. Robert Grekin (dermatologist) was in town recently with wife Shirley (of 61 years). Matter of fact, they were visiting with son Dr. Jay Grekin, also a dermatologist — at Straub. Matter of fact, of Robert and Shirley’s four sons, three are dermatologists. The fourth is a psychiatrist. Senior Grekin sez he’s still practicing. “It cost me a lot of money to send ’em all to college,” he laffed. Sounds like a TV series possibility … Education the hard way: Matt Myllykangas, a very busy exec of the Hunt Group (building military homes, etc.), is continuing his education thusly: Has been flying weekends to San Francisco to study for his MBA. His wife is a very talented surgeon at Tripler. Both are West Point grads — where they met. Fascinatin’ story … Mid-East communiques: Baghdad restaurants are suffering, sez a businessman friend from Hawaii. Few eateries stay open after 8 p.m. because of the danger of criminals and insurgents and bad security. Traditional dinners go for about $5. But for most Iraqis, even that’s unaffordable. A top chef earns about $600 — a month … When talented 10-year-old Channing Weir was asked what she wanted to do when she grows up, her quick answer: “Be on Broadway.” After seeing her performance in The Secret Garden at the Army Community Theatre, I’ll bet the bank her dream will come true … Eddie-torial: Once again our legislators pulled the rug out from under the local film and TV industry by dumping House Bill 1590. If passed, it would have been a tremendous financial boost for the state and our large roster of skilled technicians. And made us a much more desirable film location by Hollywood. But thanks to some of our elected officials, the bill was killed. How sad. Our politicians threw away such a golden opportunity for more fame, fortune and business. What helped build our No. 1 multizillion-dollar tourist industry in the first place? The global film industry publicity and promotion given to us all these years — practically for free. Since Thomas A. Edison shot the first film in Hawaii in 1898, hundreds and hundreds of movies and TV series have been made in Hawaii, spending millions and millions of dollars in this state, helping our many businesses and giving employment to so many of our citizens. You’d think that such a gift coming to Hawaii, and leaving this fortune here would be appreciated. Over the many years of film and TV production this state has done relatively little to encourage or help this industry. Yet, we have reaped great rewards

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Wednesday - May 18, 2005
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WEDDING of the year: Tying the knot June 25 — Starr Wedemeyer and Christopher Dods. Starr’s dad is entrepreneur Hans Wedemeyer, and Christopher’s father is Walter. They’ll say “I do” at Kawaiaha‘ o Church … Remember Joe Penny, one of the stars of Jake and The Fatman, a popular TV show that filmed here a few years ago? Joe decided he didn’t want to work in Hawaii anymore, so the show moved to H’wood. Soon after the series was cancelled. Penny practically vanished. I recently caught a glimpse of him on a Soprano episode playing a bit role, about 30 pounds heavier, practically forgotten and almost unrecognizable to the public … My favorite “undiscovered” show in Waikiki. Tribute to Sammy Davis, Sinatra and Dean Martin (Fri. nites only — at 7:30) at the Sheraton Waikiki’s Esprit nite club. Stars Gary Moore, Al Waterson, George Chun and Cameron Krainin. The cast delivers a winnah! Lots of laffs, unforgetable music and the gang has a ball doing it…


Former Vietnam POW Jerry Coffee (columnist in this gazette) gets honored Nov. llth as Patriot of the Year. Event folks hoping to snare Gov. Ahhhhnuld as keynote speaker … Oh, what fools we mortals be —sometimes: I scheduled a b’fast with a local TV entrepreneur. An hour before the meeting he called to cancel because of a sudden “important” appointment. What Mr. W missed — my special surprise — a top H’wood producer I was bringing who was interested in discussing a possible project. When the producer was told about the last minute b’fast cancellation, he said, “fahgettaboutit” and wing’d home to the Coast … It pays to advertise and promote: Computer folks Super Geeks have a jazzy little colorful geek mobile zipping around town often mistaken for a taxi of some sort and getting lots of attention. Kids love it when owner James Kerr turns on the siren and some radio stations wanna use it for promotions, etc…Life today: The craze continues. Surveys of college kids indicate 30 to 50 percent of them have pierced themselves — and that’s not just earlobes … Smokers are now being advised not to lite up around kids. Secondhand smoke ups the risk of sudden infant death syndrome for babies, and can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and ear infections, sez new research. Matter of fact, smoking, say experts, should be banned from every room in the house — if kids are around … Rohan Gunaratna (Ph. D) author of best seller Inside Al Qaeda, plans a Honolulu return in the fall for more talks about his book. Was here a few months back helping train local law and military types … Sweet smell of success: Body Mint pills you pop in your mouth that reduce body odors are selling well from Hawaii (where they were created) to L.A. and New York … If you are a hamburger lover, you’ll flip over those served by Francois at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center. Definitely one of a kind. All the meat is chopped fresh daily and garnished with Francois’s own special ingredients.


Bruce Willis

Trust me on this one … Read somewhere that Bruce Willis was reported tipping a bartender $300. When Bruce made a film here a few years ago, that kind of generosity apparently didn’t surface. But, who knows … Comedian/ comedy writer Bill Dana writes from Nashville that he and his wife miss Hawaii very much. Bill lived in Hana, Maui, for more than 20 years. They moved to Nashville to be closer to his wife’s aging parents … Apparently producer David Gest, who came to Hawaii he said to recoup from alleged beatings from ex-wife Liza Minnelli (and is suing her for $10 million), has finally left our shores. His name now popping up again in New York gossip columns

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Jim Nabors

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 FriedLou 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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PEOPLE ARE TALKING about: That dramatic scene in front of hangar 105 at Kaneohe’s Marine base when the main hatch of a DC 10 opened to cheers and tears from friends and families greeting Marine heroes returning from Fullujah, Iraq. Adding to the drama — the Marine Band’s stirring rendition of Stars & Stripes. Even some hard-bitten news types shed a few tears … Sights ’n’ sounds: Unexpected treat t’other nite for Chai’s patrons when Jimmy Buffett joined uke whiz Jake Shimabukuro for some special music and song … Entertainment tip for all ages: Don’t miss those spectacular young Irish foot stompers in Lord of the Dance at Blaisdell. Dancin’ like you’ve never experienced before … After 16 years, Kamasami Kong — still a part-time Honolulu resident — is ending his radio gig in Osaka to take an exciting new job on Japan’s largest radio network, TOKYO-FM. Known to Hawaii friends as Bob Zix, Kong is a major star in Japan, interviews every visiting celeb on the air ...  The restaurant scene: Check out the eatery in Kaimuki (9th & Waialae) called Town, owned by Edward Kenney. Young Kenney is quite the chef. His mom and dad (Bev Noa and Ed Kenney) have enjoyed a long and successful career in show biz. At age 21, Ed starred on Broadway as the lead in Flower Drum Song, and Bev distinguished herself as one of Hawaii’s greatest hula stars. The two headlined at the Royal for years. Bev’s now retired after managing the Chanel store in Honolulu 14 years. Kenney senior retired from show biz and lives on Kauai … Faces out front: Rocky Aoki, the former Japanese Olympic rassler who went on to fame and fortune as Benihana’s major domo, recently put his New York townhouse on the market. Asking price: $5.2 million. And it includes Rocky’s noted collection of slot machines. Meantime, his Hilton Haw’n Village Benihana continues to be the numbah 1 grosser in his entire worldwide restaurant chain …


Woody Harrelson

Mauigo- round: I recently mentioned that after a long hiatus from films, Woody Harrelson is back in the acting action, big time. You’ll be seeing a lot of him in upcoming major films. He took a long break from show biz —five years — and moved himself, wife Laura and their two kids to Maui after checking many potential home sites worldwide. “Maui’s the best for me and my family,” he sez. “And once in awhile when we’re both home, I go visit my buddy Willie Nelson, who lives nearby, and we play chess.” After college, Harrelson moved to New York and hoped for a shot on B’way. A year and a couple dozen restaurant jobs later, he couldn’t get an agent or an audition and decided to forget an acting career. The day before he was leaving New York he got his first break. Woody landed an audition for Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues. He was hired as an understudy. Six months later he won the rube bartender character in Cheers. He never looked back since … Friends are calling Frank DeLima “skinny.” The comedian has shed about 80 pounds

 

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Wednesday - April 27, 2005
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HONOLULU ALMANAC: After reading some of teen surf star Bethany Hamilton’s inspirational story from her book in Readers Digest (about losing her arm after that Kauai shark attack), looking forward to her first in-depth island TV interview with Emme Tomimbang Sunday, April 28 (Ch. 2, 8 to 9 p.m.).


Tani Lynn

Other guests include Willie K, Tani Lynn and Makana …Nice deeds: Kevin Wong, part of a youth outreach group that helps young folks in distress, walks the streets of Waikiki at nite looking for runaways, drug addicts, homeless types etc., up to the age of 21. He and others in his group pass out condoms, snack foods and hygienic items. “We also offer counseling help, and feed ’em hot meals if hungry.” Why do most kids run away? “Usually it’s from some kind of abuse,” sez Kevin … Musical notes: Att’n all those who have written a song and had it recorded. You may have royalties coming you didn’t know existed. Molokai’s Bobby Pileggi, of the Robert Sterling Music Publishing (with offices in Hawaii and N.Y.), has collected thousands of dollars for island songwriters who didn’t know they had it coming. “We’re bounty hunters for songwriters and are on a mission to collect what they are owed,” sez Pileggi. Last year Sterling Music brought in over $250,000 worth of royalty revenue to songwriters and publishers in Hawaii alone. Pileggi can be contacted at: 808-553-3736 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) … Every once in a while I’m asked how to write a column. After all these years, I still don’t know. I just put it down like I feel it and write the kind of column I personally enjoy reading. And if others like it — great. Along the way, I was fortunate meeting some of the giants of this business, and getting their tips. Like the legendary Walter Winchell, credited as the father of the dot-dot-dot gossip column and acclaimed the numero uno gossip of all time. Gossip has been reported for eons. The earliest “columnists” probably were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. “Gossip” comes from the word “gospel.” The Scriptures. (Could this be holy work?) When I started 3-dotting I was the only one doing it locally. Alone for many years. Those days I wrote five and six columns a week. Sometimes seven. It was a never-ending merry-go-round, going to every social function, sports, business and entertainment event, interviewing almost every visiting celebrity. You can do all that when you’re young. Today, it seems like everybody writes a column. I like reading them all. Am asked if I ever get tired of doing it. Not yet. It’s still fun. A challenge. I enjoy it. Great brain exercise. And columning only once a week, the schedule is just right. It also helps if you’re curious. And if you like people, writing a column is the best way to meet folks from every walk of life, etc. I’d pay MidWeek to do it. But pleeze — don’t tell my editor … Ad libs: At the Cats Blaisdell opening, radio talk show host Mike Buck introduced me to a friend and zing’d, “Sherman’s been around so long, he saw Cats when it was called Kittens … Just a personal opinion: One of the most underrated talents in this town is Vanita Rae Smith. Her long service as chief honcho at the Army’s Fort Shafter Richardson Theatre — producing, directing and doing almost everything necessary show after show — is one of the most amazing artistic achievements in this town. Working with manini budgets and mostly amateur talent, she continuously produces and directs excellent shows. If anyone deserves more recognition in this town than Vanita for her outstanding entertainment efforts, I don’t know who it is. And if an Oscar was ever given for theatrical achievement locally, she would win hands down

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FACES OUT FRONT: Tobey (Spider-Man) Maguire enjoyed his Waikiki holiday thusly: Spent much of his time taking surf instruction from one of the masters — Hans Hedemann, a longtime wave champ. Among Hans’ better star surf pupils are Cameron Diaz and Adam Sandler


Cameron Diaz

The practical joker: That would be Gene Axelrod, former owner of the Honolulu Club (still lives at Diamond Head) and currently major domo of his successful Beverly Hills Country Club. Fr’example: This is the sting he pulled on a couple of his most prestigious members, Merv Griffin, the former talk show host and multi-millionaire hotel mogul, and the famed Dr. Phil. Gene found a vegetable spray bottle labeled Niagara. He turned the letter “N” into a “V.” When Dr. Phil saw the bottle he said, “I need one of those.” Axelrod gladly obliged, saying how great it was. Dr. Phil later claimed he knew it was a joke. Ha! For Griffin, Axelrod held a book signing of his latest book as a fund raiser. Gene made up special books to be signed — with all pages blank. When Griffin realized he was signing blank books, he was so angry he threatened to sue the publisher — until Axledrod explained … Thanks to Big Isle-grown fresh abalone, gourmet palates around the globe and now enjoying this advanced aquaculture technology … Did Elvis really die almost 28 years ago? You’d never know it judging by the incredible propaganda and marketing machine generating millions annually by his estate. Impersonators continue to impersonate. Elvis look-alikes marry folks in Vegas. Books are still being written about him by almost anyone who may have shaken his hand, and his memorabilia sells briskly … This changing world: While putting the groceries in my car at a supermarket, a begger-type tap’d me on the shoulder and asked for a dollar. OK. As he walked away, I noticed a newspaper under his arm — The Wall Street Journal. Hope he invested my money wisely … Just thinking out loud: Hawaii’s Bette Midler has been a hit in just about every show biz venue — except one. Broadway shows. For some strange reason she’s never been asked to star in such … Heart of Hawaii: Bill Bruhl, chef-owner of BluWater Grill out Hawaii Kai way, putting together a fundraiser for wife Amy, who had her leg amputated because of bone cancer. A bunch of canoe paddlers from Amy’s Hui Pakaloa Canoe Club are getting together to paddle from Lanikai to Bluwater Grill in Hawaii Kai. Fundraiser also includes breakfast, silent auction, Moanaloa and celeb chefs. May 14 is the date and all paddlers are welcome to join in … An island vignette: European Kosmetica is the name of a new spa recently opened in Harbor Square. Owner Iva Taylor (a model in her native Czechoslovakia) came to this city with a new American husband two years ago. Shortly thereafter, the nuptials collapsed. He left. She stayed. Some customers say the cozy, high-quality atmosphere rivals any 5-star resort spa … How to become a grandparent twice in one day. Cecilia Villafuerte (of Central Pacific Bank) is definitely one excited grandma. Happened thusly: Her dotter Celia Villafuerte McCuaig (Maryknoll class of ’85 and a senior civil engineer with the California State Dept. of Transformation) and hubby Mike are thrilled to have a blessed event. Her name is Megan Lehua. Now, get this. Three hours later — in Honolulu — Cecilia’s son Elix, Maryknoll ’87 and audit manager at Kamehameha Schools, and wife Vicky (senior audit manager at Deloite & Touche) welcome a baby boy, Eldon. Congrats to all … MidWeek’s Carol Chang, who writes a terrif dot-dot-dot col’m in the Windward Islander supplement, sends a postcard from Palm Springs — a foto of a desert roadrunner: “We saw lots of roadrunners, but I couldn’t log on to any of them!”

 

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LINES, CAMERA,ACTION: Chris Lee, head honcho of the UH film school, having a ball Down Under currently producing the next Superman $100 million spectacular. And some lucky students of his are getting the chance of a lifetime interning on a major Hollywood film … Marlon Brando’s ashes have been scattered over Tetiaroa in Tahiti, the island he owned. Now another book is out about the late star written by his last wife, Tarita Teriipaia. They met when he starred in Mutiny On The Bounty. I once had a Thanksgiving luncheon at the Ilikai Hotel many years ago with Tarita and Brando’s son Teihotu. Brando planned to meet his family in Honolulu, but was delayed. So he called and asked me to host the luncheon. She talked mostly French. And I couldn’t. It was a very quiet lunch … Backstage stuff: Made me feel young again listening to the show biz struggles of a couple of talented singing-dancing Cats actors (Kym Chambers and Justin Wingenroth) who are in the legendary musical playing at the Blaisdell (April 12-17). They were telling me about their career struggles on B’way and the show over ono pupus at Shanghai Bistro … What did Napoleon, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Clark Gable, Truman Capote, Noel Coward, Fred Astaire plus kings, tycoons, etc. have in common? They all owned one-of-a-kind Panama hats that never goes out of style. All are specially crafted. These hats are all registered with their own numbers. So Jim Tomasi, manager of Newt store at the Royal Haw’n Hotel (where they sell these famed hats) wasn’t too surprised one day when he received a call from Warren Beatty who asked for a size 8 Fedora. Jim sent two to the film star. Beatty picked out the least expensive. Only $450 bucks …


Shari Lynn

One of the best: Manoa Valley Theatre honored Shari Lynn last week at the Hilton Haw’n Village for her contribution to the world of show biz in Hawaii. And, well-deserved for one our better talents. Many believe Shari would have achieved stage stardom in New York had she tried. But Hawaii called instead. “I’ve done everything theatrically I ever wanted to right here, and enjoying a very happy 30-year marriage to my husband, Mike. And, that’s better than Broadway,” smiled Shari … Great wits: George Bernard Shaw, the prolific playwright, cabled the following invitation to Winston Churchill: “Have reserved two tickets for my first night play. Come and bring a friend, if you have one.” To which Churchill replied: “Impossible to come first night. Will come second night, if you have one. Churchill” … The Massie Case, subject of Cobey Black’s definitive book, Hawaii Scandal, will be featured on PBS’American Experience April 18. Black’s book is the explosive account of the alleged “rape” and murder that rocked Hawaii to its volcanic roots in 1931-32. That lured the greatest trial lawyer of his day, Clarence Darrow, out of retirement to try his last case … Didja know — that prostitution is legal all over Europe? One in-the-know traveler explained: In almost all countries this business flourishes. People in the industry pay taxes. Workers receive gov’t benefits like Social Security, etc. Just about every city in Germany has a house of prostitution. Average charge is $50. Of course, there’s always lots of negotiation. Some establishments are like five-star hotels. Gents in tuxedos greet customers. The girls are all knockouts who speak many languages. They average about $1,000 an hour. Excuse me, my travel agent is on the line. (Awww — only kidding)

 

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Wednesday - April 06, 2005
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ENJOYING THE Easter holidays in Hawaii, the whole Arnold Schwarzenegger family — wife Maria Shriver and their four kids — at their favorite holiday retreat on Maui. Those who’ve seen The Terminator on the beach say the old muscles of his youth ain’t what they used to be.


Arnold
Schwarzenegger

Apparently, good living and little pumping iron these days has caused the California Guv’s old shape to sag a bit … Better late than never — always. For Straub vascular surgeon Elna Masuda, it has always been a very busy and successful career. At the age of 41 she gave birth to twins — boy and girl. She and hubby (optometrist) Kevin Lui have lived happily ever after (as they say in fairy tales). Both parents are still very much career-ing along and loving their parental duties … Just nosey: Strolling along the beach in Waikiki the other day I asked a character who takes pictures of tourists with his colorful array of parrots (resting on a bird stand) why they didn’t just fly away. “Because their wings are clipped. They can’t fly,” came the answer. “Oh,” I oh’d … Jealously is a frightening thing: With all the good America does for people everywhere you’d think we’d have high marks for likability. We are hated in many countries. Many think we’re a threat to world peace. More reasons. We are richer, more influential and powerful than other nations … Ever notice: Japanese female visitors never make eye contact with strangers while strolling along. But Americans seem to scan everybody they pass from top to bottom … Waikiki sights: Long lines daily waiting to get in to the Cheesecake Factory. Hottest eatery along Kalakaua … The march of time — or, those good old days: About a 100 years ago, America was a very prosperous country. We had no national debt then and most moms stayed home to raise the kids. Today? We’re taxed out the gazoo. Building permit tax, capital gains tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, gas tax, inheritance tax, liquor tax, marriage tax, utility tax, etc. It just goes on and on — as the country sinks deeper in debt. But, would you rather live anywhere else??? … These changing times: Take a stroll thru the downtown Hotel Street-Chinatown area and you’ll be surprised how many stores have shut down … Things I didn’t know about Susan Page, who also columns in this gazette: She’s a former Miss Texas and a Miss America finalist … Overheard at Waialae about a laid-back type character: “He’s the only golfer who falls asleep during his own backswing” … Sherman survey: Checking various water holes around Waikiki, most bartenders agree that the mai tai continues as number one mixed drink among locals and touristas. Beer? Bud … Soap opera stuff, but true: Back in the 1920s a young entrepreneur by the name of Bill Forman purchased the Consolidated theater chain from the vast Magoon estate that grew into Hawaii’s largest movie company and the vast Pacific Theater chain on the Mainland. Fast forward: One of the Magoon heirs, Bob Magoon, was a talented composer who wrote the music for a number of theatrical shows. One, 13 Daughters, even made it to Broadway. Because of family problems, Bob was eventually aced out of the wealthy Magoon estate and lost his fortune. He fell on hard times and moved to the Mainland. Thanks to the generosity of some good friends, especially Mike Forman, son of Consolidated’s former chief and longtime company president, Bob Magoon was able to survive. “I can never repay his generosity. He’s been such a great friend,” said Bob. Still a shareholder in huge the Magoon Estate, Bob hopes one day his fortune will be restored. Meantime, he’s planning to return to Hawaii soon to continue his musical career.

 

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Wednesday - March 30, 2005
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HONOLULU NEWSSTAND: You probably won’t believe this, but Baywatch is gonna be made into a movie. Baywatch? Yup! I mean a reeeeealllly BIG movie. Who’s the brave man planning to do that? None other then one of the greatest directors in all of movieland — Steven Spielberg. When I heard the news I immediately called Greg Bonan, who co-created and produced the long-running series. “Yes, Eddie, it’s true. We hope to shoot some of the film in Hawaii, especially using the water tank there, one of the best. But the show however will be about L.A. County lifeguards and will be set on the beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu. But you know me. The more I can do in Hawaii the better I like it” … More Haolewood pupu: Tom Hanks, (Rita Wilson, Hanks’ wife), supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Robin Williams, Jay Leno and Honolulu businessman Nick Susner dined together at a Beverly Wilshire black-tie affair recently honoring bike-riding champ Lance Armstrong, a testicular cancer survivor. So, what were all these stars doing with Susner? Lemme tell ya. Susner’s Honolulu hi tek firm, STI (Science & Technology, Inter’l) has developed incredible diagnostic imaging devices (for the military) over the years that they are now taking to the commercial world, especially the medical field. One of STI’s amazing efforts can detect cancer of the cervix and colon, fr’ example, in a totally non-invasive procedure. It’s revolutionary. The global market for cancer detection and treatment is estimated at $50 billion. The Entertainment Industry Foundation, one of the dinner’s sponsors, is interested in working together with Susner’s firm in cancer research and awareness … Entertainment of the deep: Diane Ako (KHNL) News 8’s weekend anchor) telling pals about experiencing one of the most beautiful “concerts” ever. It happened in about 40 feet of water off East Oahu’s Lanai Lookout while she was scuba diving with Hanauma Bay manager Alan Wong. The “singers”? Whales. Sez Diane: “It was so overwhelmingly beautiful I was almost moved to tears” …


Aaron Mahi

Honolulu news makes the big time: Thanks to the prestigious Wall Street Journal. thousands of its readers around the country now know the story about the recent brouhaha in Hawaii starring Aaron Mahi and Mayor Mufi and a cast of hundreds. It was front page news. And a very lengthy, in-depth story. If you’d like to read it, the Journal published in on March 10. And, on the same front page the Journal featured a story about Broadway musicals along with a picture of one of the Great White Way’s most successful young producers, Kevin McCollum. Two of Kevin’s big hits — Rent and Avenue Q. What’s that got to do with Hawaii? Just that Kevin still has a lot of friends here where he grew up. Small world, eh? … Items are everywhere: While enjoying an ono meatloaf dinner at Ed Wary’s Auntie Pasto Italian eatery on Beretania, got to kibitz with local actor Allen Cole at the next table celebrating his lovely dotter Maxine’s 14th-b’day. Cole has appeared in almost every TV series filmed here and is seen frequently in local stage productions … Despite having both legs recently amputated, at St. Francis Medical, former Hawaii deejay and musician Greg “Kukui” Nutt is still full of good cheer and resilience. He’d been flying helicopters in Asia when he broke his back after a fall and was paralyzed from the waist down. Friends are just amazed at his good-cheer attitude. And you think you’ve had a tuff time? ... Congrats to Waikiki’s legendary beachboy Rabbit Kekai. The 84-year-young Rabbit recently won the Santa Cruz Open Surf Classic. “Never felt better in my life,” sez Rabbit, who’s instructed the world’s more famous how to surf. And still has his concession on the beach

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Eddie Sherman

Eddie Sherman
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Wednesday - March 23, 2005
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ALOHA MARTIN … Saying a fond farewell to long, long time friend Martin Denny at the Elks Club last week along with hundreds of others brought back so many memories. Those were the days of my youth, chronicling the action and activity of old Waikiki show biz and the then burgeoning tourist industry. How often I sat with Henry J. Kaiser, one of America’s greatest industrialists, the man who built the Kaiser Hawaiian Village, and listened to his dreams for Hawaii at a time in his life when he came to Hawaii to retire after one of the most incredible careers in American history. … Kaiser was also the man who first helped launch Martin Denny to fame and fortune. The story in a moment … Kaiser then often called me at the newspaper and asked me to invite visiting celebrities to his spectacular residence just to have some kau kau and chat. At this time, his company was one of the sponsors of Maverick (starring James Garner), a major weekly hit television series. All this from a very poor kid who dropped out of school in the sixth grade in order to support his mother … How did he come to build the Kaiser (now Hilton) Hawaiian Village? This story was told to me by a close friend of Kaiser’s — Bob Cummings, who frequently vacationed here and a was major film and TV star. Henry and visiting executives from his worldwide company in Oakland were having a meeting at the Surf Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. While huddled around a table (in their white shirts and rolled-up sleeves) looking over various potential multimilliondollar future projects laid out on a table, the meeting was interrupted by a hotel employee who informed Kaiser it was 6 p.m. and it was hotel policy that all male guests were required to wear ties at that time. If not, they had to leave the premises. Kaiser was furious. He told Cummings, “I’ll build a hotel were guests in Hawaii can wear whatever they want any time of the day or night.” He found the old Niumalu Hotel, ripped it down and the Kaiser (now Hilton) Hawaiian Village Hotel was born. The hotel featured a cozy lounge called The Shell Bar. He hired a struggling musician, Martin Denny, and his musicmakers, Arthur Lyman, Augie Colon, Harold Chang and John Kramer. Others later like Julius Wechter and Harvey Ragsdale. In those early days, as Denny slowly introduced his unique music, customers believed the place was infested with frogs and other strange nite creatures. It was just bongoist Colon delivering a variety of his inimitable and unrehearsed vocalistics of unique jungle sounds to go along with the melodies. Slowly, Denny and company began their rise to legendry status with this new musical sound called Exotica. Eventually, Denny was offered substantially more money than he was making at the Shell Bar to move to the happening International Market Place on Kalakaua. Mr. Kaiser refused to meet what he considered an exorbitant price then for Denny’s services, so Martin took the Market Place’s generous offer. Martin remembered Kaiser was quite angry over this and informed Denny he’d be sorry for leaving him and the Shell Bar. The rest, of course, is history as Denny’s recordings slowly made many fans and eventually exploded into a worldwide phenomenon … From my lanai today I can look down at the sprawling, beautifully landscaped historic hotel grounds. I can still hear the sounds of Martin Denny’s melodies emanating from the old Shell Bar while tourists lounged in tropical attire. And, not one man ever seen wearing a necktie

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