Monday, May 18, 2009

Coco Palms Royalty

Some fascinating background of the Coco Palms resort in Kapa'a on the Garden Isle. Not sure if they still do it, but some friends and I got to take a private guided tour of this ruined hotel in 2003 when we were on the Garden Isle. It was of course trashed in the early 1990s when Hurricane Iniki singled Kaua'i out for mayhem.

Strangely enough, Turner Classic Movies had "Blue Hawaii" on Saturday night. The final half hour or so of Blue Hawaii was filmed in the Coco Palms back yard and also in its bar.

Lots of weird people in that film supporting Elvis. To wit:

1. Sid Toler played Elvis' dad. He of course had earlier been one of the Charlie Chans, and before that was a radio announcer for the Boston Red Sox in the 1930s.

2. Angela Lansbury was El's Ma, even though she was only 10 years older than he was at the time. She later said it was one of her worst performances, but I always thought she was great as a drunken Southern drawl transplanted to pineapple land.

3. Elvis' love interest has for decades been mistakenly IDed as a British actress. They have all been confusing 2 Blackmans; the one in Blue Hawaii, Joan, was born in San Francisco.

4. Joan's boss in the movie is played by Floyd the Barber, Howard McNear.

5. Jenny Maxwell, who played Ellie Corbett, the spoiled brat teenager in the film, met a horrible end some years later-she and her husband were gunned down in cold blood in a robbery outside their condo in Beverly Hills. She was only 39.