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“Hawaii at the Movies,” August 2009

Cool write-up! Actually I think most people would agree that North Shore captured local lifestyle a little better than your score indicates. Kiani’s little brothers and the pig farmer who picks up Kane while hitchhiking stand out as the “localest” people ever on the big screen. Turtle’s pidgin may not be perfect but most “local haoles” (especially those on Outer Islands and in certain areas of Oahu) speak a sort of “Californicated” pidgin anyways, especially those in the surf scene that acknowledge Californian slang and its roots in the surf culture explosion of the 1950s.


Your brief review of the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! claims that “special effects blend grainy stock footage with cheap-looking model planes.” In fact, those were real aircraft, flown by real pilots. For the movie, vintage aircraft were collected from all over the U.S. and brought to California, where they underwent slight modifications and were painted to make them look like Japanese zeros (fighters), kates (dive bombers) and torpedo bombers. The planes were then transported to Oahu aboard a Navy aircraft carrier.

Several dozen veteran American pilots, most of whom had flown in World War II, were hired to fly the “Japanese” attack planes. These old salts had wonderful stories to tell about having been shot down over the South China Seas and other adventures. My husband, Guy Davis, was one of only two younger pilots who were qualified for such a prestigious flying job.

He was granted leave from his job and spent more than two months flying for the movie. The cameramen repeatedly filmed waves of “Japanese” aircraft approaching the North Shore in the predawn, then sneaking through Kole Kole Pass, strafing Schofield Barracks and attacking the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.

I believe my husband’s movie pay was more than twice what he was making at his real job. But some people in Honolulu were not happy with what the movie people were doing. Having been traumatized by the real events of Dec. 7, 1941, my sister’s mother-in-law refused to speak to my husband because he was “bombing” Pearl Harbor again.

The flying was demanding but not very dangerous. There was, however, one accident that resulted in a fatality. So please tell your editorial staff that the “cheap-looking model planes” were something else entirely.



Our annual "Best of HONOLULU" March issue contines to generate conversation among our online readers.

“C’mon, Don Quijote is the best all-around … poke case with choices extraordinaire, bentos, lunch bar, fish selection (including the odd), and is surrounded by terrific mom-and-pop melting-pot eateries. It’s tough to beat. I like the new Safeway on Kapahulu, but it’s “new-school good,” as compared to “old-school great.” ­

See all of the 2009 Best of Honolulu winners and don't forget to vote for our 2010 Best of Honolulu.


Ahana koko lele

In our August Centerstyle section, we reported that the first escalator in Honolulu was at Ala Moana Center. It was actually at the House of Mitsukoshi. Sears on Beretania Street also had one of the town’s first escalators.



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