The Last King of Hawaii
Every once in a while someone you know pulls off a truly memorable stunt.
Don Dzura was a Honolulu attorney. He was also a well known rugby player and prodigious drinker. Wait, is that redundant? He was also know for getting everyone around him involved, in trouble, and more than once, in jail. Good thing he was a lawyer.
But this incident made national news.
Somehow Idi Amin, president-general-ruler for life of Uganda, had gotten it in his head that the people of Scotland wanted him to become their “Last” king. He was photographed wearing a kilt and loudly proclaimed if the people wanted him, he would accept the crown. This would later account for the title of the bio-movie, “The Last King of Scotland”; a great movie incidentally.
As Don’s part in this, I’m willing to bet a large amount of Scotch and Coors Lite was involved, as well as several days without sleep.
Somehow Don and several friends managed to get through, via telephone land lines, this was the late 70’s so no cell or common sat phones, to the Ugandan Capitol.
They then managed to convince whoever they spoke to that they were the chosen representatives of the “Hawaiian Peoples” and were requesting a diplomatic conversation with the ruler; that is Idi Amin.
As a trial attorney, Don was a very convincing speaker, and it worked; again. Somehow, Don and his crew of merry pranksters actually talked themselves into talking to Amin himself.
They then “convinced” him they were calling on behalf of the Hawaiian Peoples and were asking if he would also consider accepting the mantle of Hawaiian Royalty and becoming their “King”.
Now, to my knowledge, none of the individuals involved had any “Hawaiian” blood in them. Almost every one of them was a mainland transplant and those that weren’t were still just plain old haoles.
Amin was receptive but told them he would need to follow-up with his advisors and took Dzura’s number and gave his word he would sincerely consider their request.
It was less than 2 hours (maybe a lot less) that found the FBI knocking on Don’s front door demanding to know what the hell he was doing talking with one of the most murderous dictators ever known.
The stunt made Time magazine, The International Herald Tribune and the local newspapers, for about “3 minutes”; but was dropped quickly, very quickly.
Amin made one announcement about it saying his advisors had advised him against accepting the “Hawaiian Crown”. That was pretty much the end of the whole matter.
A few years later cancer took Don’s life.
But the “Last King of Scotland” almost became the “The Last King of Hawaii” and Don drank well on it for several years. And Don Dzura will always be remembered as the man that brokered the deal.