Watch the Movie

Doing foot patrol in Waikiki came with plenty of distinctive challenges and many unique problems, especially during the 70’s. It was the era the world began to really change from “Leave It to Beaver” to “Miami Vice”.
But in the 70’s there was still enough Mayberry around that working foot patrol was fun. Okay, maybe not fun, but it was interesting.
There were still a lot of wooden cottages and buildings in the back areas of Waikiki then. So many, that occasionally the termites would “swarm” clear over to Princess Kaiulani Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue. I mean a swarm so big and thick it would drive people off the streets and into any refuge they could find. These swarms would literally block out the street lights.
They would only last a short while then it would be over leaving thousands of dead and dying insects everywhere.
This was before anyone knew any better because the state, or maybe the city and county, had large trucks that would drive around at night spraying the bushes, or anything else left outside, with DDT. DDT was commonly used as an insecticide back then and now is recognized as toxic, dangerous to the environment and a known carcinogenic. Back then they just sprayed it everywhere to kill the bugs. Oops.
On foot patrol you spent a lot of time answering the same questions over and over, giving the same directions, and every once in a while you got to do some police work. You also got to know a lot of store, restaurant, and bar managers. Heck, you even got to meet Gypsy royalty, if you were lucky.
One of those restaurant and bar managers I got to know was Jon, the manager of the Jolly Roger restaurant on Kalakaua. He would often tell the waitress our coffee was on the house and was known to “comp” a meal now and then.
One night Ray and I were having some coffee and catching up on some paperwork
I overheard 2 of the waitresses talking about John’s son being in the hospital for surgery. I spoke up and asked for the whole story.
The boy was 3 or 4 years old and needed open heart surgery. Jon and his wife were spending every waking hour at the hospital and Jon had asked if any of the staff could donate blood as there would be a lot needed.
The next day Ray and I went to Queens Hospital before work and donated blood in the boy’s name. I never mentioned it to Jon.
A couple of years later I ran into Jon and his son at the Ala Moana shopping center. Jon introduced me to his son, and then told the boy some of my blood was in his body. I never knew that Jon had known.
Then there was Arnie, who probably had the most unusual Waikiki attraction.
Inside “Arnie’s House of Horrors”, which you have to admit was an unusual attraction for Hawaii, were torture devices and implements from some of the most infamous places on earth. He had devices from the Nuremburg Castle chambers, items reputed to have been used by the Spanish Inquisition, and a number of items related to the infamous Japanese “Unit 731”.
I tried to go inside a couple of times but just couldn’t make myself go past the lobby. The feelings were just that intense. Some of his exhibits had to be authentic, I could feel it.
At that time there were 5 movie theaters in Waikiki. The biggest and best known was the Waikiki #3 on Kalakaua.
It had a huge open area in the front with a fish pond full of koi and a water fountain. The walls of the pond was filled with small plagues engraved with replica signatures from the movie stars that had been in the movies shown there.
Inside there was a church style pipe organ on a platform that raised and lowered the organ between shows for many many years and was played expertly by the late Johnny deMello. During the 40’s it was part of many radio shows coming from Hawaii.
Inside the roof of the actual theater was painted with clouds and star constellations were projected on the ceiling during intermissions. There were actual palm trees and banana plants growing against the side walls.
For many of the years I walked foot beat, the manager was “Buck” Richards. Mr. Richards could have doubled for the late Duke Kahanamoku. He was tall, well built, with skin the bronze color of Hawaiian “Alii”. The entire time I knew him he had the most beautiful head of snow white hair. It was for people like Buck that the word “gentleman” was coined as he was a gentleman in every sense of the word.
During the years I walked the foot beat, I would often escort Mr. Richards and the night deposit bag to the bank a short distance away. If I couldn’t be there, or was off, I would ask one of the other beat men to make the walk. It was only a block or so, but why tempt fate.
It was the opening week of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, the original with Newman and Redford. It was one of those weeks when my days off were in the middle so my first wife, Maura, and I decided it probably wouldn’t be too crowded so we went to see it at the Waikiki Theater number 3.
We couldn’t have been more wrong. The front area around the pond was packed and there was a line down the stairs and onto the sidewalk.
We walked up to the ticket booth and I had just about decided to skip the whole thing when the girl in the booth called out to me.
I turned and greeted her, then told her we’d come back when it wasn’t as crowded. She asked me to wait a minute, and picked up the house phone to the manager’s office. After a very short conversation she turned and told us to go up to the front door and Mr. Richards would meet us.
We climbed the stairs, walked past the koi pond and all the people standing in line, and just as we started up the last few stairs the exit doors flew open and Buck Richards stepped out. He was dressed, as always, in a dark suit, spotless white shirt, and had a matching tie and breast pocket hanky.
Holding the doors open wide he open his arms in welcome and in a big voice greeted us with; “Alooooohha. So glad you’re here. Come in, come in”. As he ushered us inside he was giving his undivided attention to us and none of the surrounding crowd.
You can be sure this gathered a lot of hard, surprised and just plain puzzled looks from the crowd standing there.
We were allowed to choose our seats before the doors were opened so we continued getting looks and questioning stares as the rest of the crowd came in.
Nobody said anything to us directly until Maura went to the concession stand about 30 minutes into the film. While she was standing there a young woman approached and asked;
“Who are you?”
Maura, not really knowing how to answer replied; “Why?”
“Well”, the young woman explained. We were standing in line when you and your boyfriend…”
“Husband”, Maura corrected.
“Of course, husband”, she continued.” You both walk past everyone in line, the manager opens the doors to greet you both and let you in. Who are you?”
The girl attending the concession stand at that time was the same girl that had been in the ticket booth. At this point she decides to head off any problems.
“Excuse me ma’am”, she spoke up. “Have you been watching the movie?” said the counter girl.
“Well, of course I have”, came a kind of snotty response.
“Maybe you should watch a little closer.”
Turning to Maura she topped it all off by sliding our refreshments across the counter and said,” It’s on the management. It’s really nice to meet you.” She turned to the other woman she asked “And what can I get you?”
Without saying anymore Maura took our snacks and got back into the theater before the young woman spotted the big grin on her face.
I don’t know if that woman ever spotted me in the movie I was never in, but I bet she wasted a lot of time trying. Maura and I waited a few minutes into the next showing before leaving.
I hate autograph seekers.

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