Reprobate Friends

It was with sadness I heard of the passing of local entertainers Peter Moon and Donna Butterworth. Of course Peter and the “Sunday Manoa” and “The Peter Moon Band” were mainstays of the Waikiki music scene in the 70’s. Heard them , both bands, on several occasions.

Ms. Butterworth was a child star that held her own against Elvis and even won a Golden Globe. I had the chance to meet her when her family vehicle had problems while at Hanauma Bay. I was patrolling that area and managed to help them get started and home. I remember she was very adult for her young years, but very polite and courteous.

During my years patrolling Waikiki I met many celebrities, but the ones I met off duty were the most memorable.

REPROBATE FRIENDS

My friend Bob (USMC RET) and I used to frequent the same bars. During the week we often ended up at a little place on Lewers Street. called Keoni’s.

Great jazz and classic bar music by Jimmy Borges and Betty Loo for a small hole in the wall bar.

We’d walk in and sometimes Jimmy would stop in the middle of a song to greet us, Betty Loo would wave from her piano.

It was a Thursday, close to midnight because I was working the 2:30 pm to 11:00 pm shift (third watch) when we walked into Keoni’s. The crowd was small so we walked toward our usual booth.

Jimmy stopped in mid-song, “Hi Bob…Hi Jim, grab your booth.

Betty waved at us. Betsy the bartender opened 2 beers and the waitress was headed toward the booth before we sat down.

Several of the customers also called greetings out to us as we passed.

After he finished the set, Jimmy came over to say a few words. He then walked away to talk to some of the other regulars and Bob and I fell into a discussion about something or another.

Bob and I sat sipping our drinks when we realized a very large man was leaning over our table. He looked at Bob and I and said; “Who the hell are you guys? I’m a damn movie star and I don’t get the service you guys get. So, who are you?”

I think Bob and I realized who our guest was at about the same moment.

George Kennedy, movie and television star, was mad at us.

He then grinned, stuck out a hand the size of a catcher’s mitt and said “I’m George Kennedy and you guys are?”

We introduced ourselves and Kennedy became very interested when he found I was an off duty police officer.

We began talking about some of his roles when the woman he had been sitting with walked over and said something to the effect of: “George, this is our vacation. You’re always leaving me to sit with your reprobate friends. Now come back and sit with your wife”. And she walked away. Kennedy stood up shook hands again and said, “That’s my wife, God I love her” and walked away.

I took two things away from this meeting.

One, George Kennedy loved his wife.

Two, I was one of George Kennedy’s reprobate friends.

Actually, that was the only time I ever met the man but don’t tell his wife. I kinda like being one of his reprobate friends.

I still have a signed picture of Kennedy as “Bumper Morgan, The Blue Knight”. And a copy of his autobiography. He  was in every sense of the word, a man and a star.

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