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Hollywood in Hawaii

From plastic palm trees to on-set pranks, from fake languages to obstinate water buffalo, intrepid humor writer Charles Memminger uncovered the funniest, strangest tales of Island moviemaking.


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(page 4 of 4)

Sinatra Returns in Triumph

After having to beg for a part in From Here to Eternity, Sinatra made a heroic return to movie-making in Hawaii in 1961 in The Devil At 4 O’Clock. To create a French Polynesian port, the film used two plastic cannons (with plugged bowling balls as cannon balls), wind and lightning machines, 24 plastic palm trees, plastic outrigger canoes, 17,000 artificial flowers and a portable volcano. Why not shoot the movie at Newport Beach?

A Tall Order

While shooting Lord of the Flies on the Big Island in 1989, the director found a beautiful field of grass on the Hamakua Coast through which 10 or so boy actors would walk. But the grass was too tall and the boys too short. If the grass was cut, it would look weird, so the director sent out a call for body doubles between 6´4˝ and 6´7˝. Amazingly, within 48 hours they had found the tall “boys” they needed and shot the scene.

Anthony Quinn

He was in one of his first film roles, played Kimo in Waikiki Wedding, in 1937.
 

Nia Peeples

She was Kiani in North Shore, in 1987.
 

Joan Blackman

Played Elvis’s Hawaiian love interest in 1961’s Blue Hawaii.
 

George Chakiris

Portrayed Dr. Dean Kahana in 1963’s Diamond Head. In the same film, James Darren was cast as full-blooded Hawaiian Paul Kahana.
 

Susan Hart 

Was Lily Kilua in Ride the Wild Surf, in 1964.

Charles Memminger was a staff writer for Bawatch Hawaii. The show was canceled 15 weeks after he was hired. He thinks it was just a coincidence.

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Honolulu Magazine February 2018
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