It’s beginning to look a lot like … Hawaii. The 50th state is probably the second most popular winter destination for PT residents — after Borrego Springs State Park near Palm …
It’s beginning to look a lot like … Hawaii. The 50th state is probably the second most popular winter destination for PT residents — after Borrego Springs State Park near Palm Springs.
Each time this year my thoughts turn not to the North Pole, but to the Aloha State — where many of us would like to be this time of year. Ah, the intoxicating scent of those plumeria leis.
I spent a good part of my youth in Hawaii — and fittingly, on Dec. 7, this military brat remembers attending Pearl Harbor Elementary School.
OK, Name That … classic Hawaiian holiday song. A. “Mele Kalikimaka,” which is Hawaiian for Merry Christmas and shows up on many radio stations each December.
A more obscure question: Who made that song famous? A. Hawaiian singer Haleloke, a regular on Arthur Godfrey’s radio show. (And if you know who Godfrey was, you’re probably collecting Social Security.)
Then, in 1974, our family moved to Honolulu to escape Canada’s bitter cold. We regularly took our infant son to play in Thomas Square. That park, interestingly, was only four blocks away from Punahou High School, where a student named Barry Obama was in attendance.
I started my Hawaii newspaper career amid some controversy.
The biggest celeb in Hawaii then was “Hawaii Five-O” star Jack Lord. But I was no big fan of the show or of the wooden Lord, as I made clear as TV columnist for the Honolulu Morning Daily. A typical Steve McGarrett (Lord) line: “Danno, I want the name of every New Hampshire resident who’s visited here since 1955.” Danno: “I’ll get right on it, Chief.”
When the soundstage where the CBS show was filmed burned down, I wrote in my column that all the mannequins in the Jack Lord School of Acting located there were destroyed. I’d offended His Lordship.
Some Hawaiian Christmas traditions from my boyhood days hadn’t changed. For example, fistfights down on the freight docks — because there were never enough Christmas trees shipped to Hawaii each year.
The recent eruption of Mauna Loa over on Da Beeg Island (Hawaii) has also brought back Hawaii memories. I could see the red glow of Hawaii Island eruptions to the east from our house on Oahu.
Tourist caveat: When you hit the beach in Hawaii, please remember the old Hawaiian cautionary: Never turn your back to the ocean. Even on Waikiki Beach, where I learned to swim.
My favorite island?
Easy. Da Beeg Island, Hawaii. Pardon the pidgin English.
Not only do you have two active volcanos on that island (both erupting at this writing), but the island is big and has diverse scenery and plant life. The Big Island is the only place in Hawaii where you can’t always see the ocean.
Speaking of which:
Anyone who’s lived in Hawaii knows about Rock Fever, a syndrome you get from living on an island and feeling trapped.
And then, there’s the enchantment of Hawaiian music. And I don’t mean Don Ho lounge-lizard schlock, but Old Hawaii music … with falsetto vocals, ukuleles, slack-key guitars and such. It still tears at my ducts.
Speaking of Hawaiian music, the big record label in Hawaii in the 1950s was 49th State Records, because it was widely assumed Hawaii would be admitted as the 49th state into the union. But Alaska got that distinction.
There aren’t many haoles (Mainlanders) left today who got to experience Old Hawaii before it all but vanished.
— Little-known piece of Hawaiian trivia: Did you know the word Wikipedia has Hawaiian origins? Wiki means “quick” in Hawaiian, and is combined with encyclopedia.
— Well kids, we’re just about out of time/space and it’s time to get back to the West Coast. No time to tell you more about when the tiptoe-through-the-tulips guy, Tiny Tim, visited our place in Honolulu without his uke to watch “The Tonight Show,” on which he had been married, drawing the largest TV audience ever at that time.
That was strange. And speaking of large audiences, I also introduced The Tiny One to Led Zeppelin’ s “Stairway to Heaven,” probably the most-played song in radio history. He hadn’t heard it.
Mahalo for tuning in today.
(Contact Bill at Newsmann9@gmail.com.)