Uncle Tom’s Gabbin’

Tom Moffatt
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Wednesday - February 08, 2006
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IN MY WILDEST dreams I don’t think I could’ve envisioned myself as a columnist for one of America’s best publications, but here I am - I’m very excited and looking forward to sharing this space with you each week.

I’d love to say that I was responsible for the great title for this column, but I must give credit to John Berger and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin staffers who used it as the title of John’s review of my book. It’s a very clever play on my old radio show, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

There are also three friends who’ve traveled this road before me and deserve mention because they are the true masters of the art form; if I’m successful at keeping you entertained it will be, in large part, because of their influences.

Eddie Sherman and me at KGU circa 1956
Eddie Sherman and me at KGU circa

Eddie Sherman has left me a big pair of shoes to fill. He’s one of my oldest friends in Hawaii, going back to our days as junior announcers at KGU Radio. We’ve done a lot of things - we’ve been in a film together (that’s the two of us standing behind John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in a scene from In Harm’s Way). We’ve traveled to different places (he talked me into seeing Elvis Presley at the Hilton International in Las Vegas, where I was pleasantly surprised when Elvis introduced me from the stage). We’ve dined together (he took me to my first Jewish delicatessen, in Hollywood). Eddie has always been a great news gatherer, gracious and diplomatic, in the right place at the just right time. But he’s first and foremost a good friend, and I am humbled by his enthusiasm for my succeeding him in MidWeek. Eddie, don’t pack that typewriter away just yet, I need some pointers!

Another friend and writer was Dave Donnelly, whom I knew since he was a Moose - the nickname we gave him when we were disc jockeys at K-POI. Dave’s personable writing style and his embrace of the human angle in each item made him one of Hawaii’s best-read featurists for many, many years. Then there’s Don Chapman, one of the most eloquent writers in the business, with whom I am privileged to share print space. Thanks, Don - and publisher Ron Nagasawa - for giving me this opportunity.

Now on to some news!

Former Hawaii resident (and featured performer at Aaron’s), saxophonist Jerry Martini is headed to Los Angeles for the 48th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, where music luminaries like Maroon 5 will pay tribute to Sly and the Family Stone. Jerry, as a member of that iconic ‘60s group, is in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame ... It’s nice to see local singer/actress Tani Lynn Fujimoto receiving national kudos for the renewal of her hit Discovery Kids TV show, Flight 29 Down. Second season filming is now under way right here in Hawaii ... In town to announce the 2006 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Competition at Blaisdell Arena and Hawaii Convention Center April 13-15 is USA Gymnastics honcho Steve Penny, who’s spent some of his Waikiki time answering international press queries about the new scoring system for Olympic gymnastics competitions. Look for several power-house teams to vie for the championship on Island turf, including the USA, Japan, China, Taipei and Korea ...

Too bad Glen A. Larson (of Magnum, P.I. , Fall Guy and Battlestar Galactica fame) can’t collect royalties from the press who, after Bush’s State of the Union address this past week, has made generous use of the term “manimal” in relation to one of Bush’s comments. Manimal, if you recall, was one of Glen’s 1983 TV shows. Glen is currently huddling with studios over a planned movie version of one of his other hit shows, Knight Rider.

Finally, this week in 1958 at Schofield’s Conroy Bowl: Paul Anka, Buddy Holly and The Crickets with Jerry Lee Lewis as the headliner ... and yers truly as the emcee

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