Uncle Tom’s Gabbin’
Wednesday - January 13, 2010
Longtime pal Glen Larson was in the audience at this past NYE celebration with the Stylistics. Glen and I have been friends ever since I introduced him on stage at The Show of Stars at the Civic Auditorium when he was a member of the Four Preps. Since then he has gone on to create and write some of television’s all-time great shows such as “Magnum P.I.,” “Quincy,” “The Fall Guy,” “KnightRider” and “Battlestar Galactica.” The following is an uplifting piece that Glen wrote about his experience in welcoming 2010.
It’s New Year’s Eve, 1990. Money is flowing, people are going to shows - big shows, like Paul Anka at the Hawaii Ballroom of the Sheraton Waikiki.
The perfect recipe for romance: a bottle of champagne, my lovely wahine and the most romantic voice of my era. I look at my watch: 11:55 p.m. I pop a mint.
11:59 p.m.: Ah, the song ends and I get ready for the big moment ... that never comes. Paul continues on for another 45 minutes, not a word to the packed house about New Year’s Eve, no Auld Lang Syne, and rubs salt in the wound with an encore of I Did It My Way.
After that, I couldn’t go to another NYE show. And neither could most of Honolulu.
In the years to follow, I’d ask Tom Moffatt, “Who are you bringing in this year?” He’d tell me people are staying home, spending time with their families, six-packs and sparklers.
My life went on. The world Magnum P.I. knew began to fade. We bid farewell to Dick Jensen and Don Ho, and the climate was shifting in many ways: The economy was collapsing worldwide. On the upside, Hawaii is incredibly resilient: Lost brought TV production back to the Islands, and one of Hawaii’s brightest young talents, Makana, gave great promise to the future by appearing at the White House. Shortly thereafter…
It’s New Year’s Eve 2009. Our country has learned to cut back, but the spirit of the people is strong. Perhaps Honolulu is not being treated to the most bombastic, high-priced ticket act to ring in the new year, but that night, in the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, an act appears that simply brings everyone together: People are singing, hugging and enjoying one another, including the guy sitting next to me, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, whose voice is pretty darn good. The Stylistics, in their legendary and uplifting fashion, along with openers Touch of Gold, of which two members serve in the Honolulu Police Department, brought back the old-time Spirit of Aloha. The performers had heart. The audience had heart. And, by golly, we all actually got to sing Auld Lang Syne.
Looking back on what happened that night, I am reminded of stories of the Great Depression. Money was short; people went to the movies in unheard of numbers, and show biz gave them hope. One week ago a movie set an all-time box-office record at more than $1 billion. The deeper the challenges we face, the deeper our need for inspiration. I’m thankful for those, like Tom Moffatt, who bring it to us.
And in that inspiration, I, Glen A. Larson, feel that good days lie ahead ...
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