Monday, December 15, 2003

ABCs of X-Mas Special

R is for
‘Rap’s Hawaii’

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OK, so we've already suggested DVDs as gifts during the Star-Bulletin's "ABCs of Christmas."

But if you can't afford shelling out big bucks for a boxed set this year, why not pick up a timeless local classic that's being offered on DVD for the first time?

The late Rap Reiplinger's "Rap's Hawaii," an Emmy Award-winning television special first broadcast on KGMB in 1982, is now available in all its comedic glory. Along with James Grant Benton and Ed Ka'ahea, Reiplinger was an original member of Booga Booga, leaving the group in 1977 to try his luck on the mainland. "Rap's Hawaii" was produced when he returned to the islands.

Rap Reiplinger, above center, earned laughs as part of the comedy trio Booga Booga, with Ed Ka'ahea, left, and James Grant Benton. Left, "Rap's Hawaii" captures the late comedian's best work.

All the characters you remember are there -- Merdie Murdock, the used car salesman; "independent republicrat candidate for representative" Willie Maunawilli; Kimo, the puka-shell tour guide; and James Okada, the taste-test volunteer who proudly exclaims, "I like da cracka!" when asked to choose between two cans of soda.

And who can forget the wine-swilling Auntie Marialani, or the ode to Fate Yanagi?

Reiplinger's style of "Kanaka Komedy" is timeless, and watching the DVD quickly reminds you that many local comedians working today still draw upon his influence to make audiences laugh. Pay close attention and you can also spot remnants of life in Honolulu from the early '80s, like old-school city buses and a glimpse of the old Mike Salta car lot near the H-1 freeway.

"Rap's Hawaii" is available at retailers islandwide; suggested retail price is $19.99.

The Star-Bulletin's Christmas countdown continues daily, one letter at a time.

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