By Dave Donnelly

Monday, December 22, 1997

Lee home
for the holidays

STOPPING into Havana Cubana, the cigar emporium and bar on Nuuanu behind the Hawaii Theatre, was actor Jason Scott Lee. His brother, Stuart, is part-owner of the establishment, quickly becoming a favorite downtown spot. Lee introduced the blonde who was with him as "my girlfriend," and for those who don't know about her, the young Los Angeleno's name is Pookie Gardhoff. Pookie? A nickname? No, her actual first name, she says. Thinking of Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa, I kiddingly asked if her parents were on drugs when she was born. "No," she laughed, "they just had a great sense of humor." Pookie describes herself as "in transit" between Playa del Rey and Honolulu because "I have an affinity for this place." The place or the people, I asked, nodding toward Jason. "Both," she replied with a twinkle ... Lee's mom and dad, Bob & Sylvia Lee were also in the place and I asked how his mom enjoyed Jason's singing on the Emme Tomimbang Christmas TV special. He quickly interjected, "She told me, 'Don't quit your day job.' " ...

I WAS in Havana Cubana to sample both the Cuban cooking and the "rolled on the spot" cigars fashioned by former Havana Partagas factory master roller Angela Gonzalez Chacon. Passing out samples of her handiwork was husband Armando Chacon, owner of La Flor De Cuba, a cigar factory with several stores including one on Ward Avenue across the street from Dixie Grill. The cigars were extremely smooth, as indeed were the Chacons ...

Mo info

YOU may be aware that the USS Missouri will make its final trip into Pearl Harbor in May, where it will become permanently moored at Ford Island as a memorial museum. But you may not know that the ship's very first trip to Hawaii was as eagerly anticipated as its final one. It was on Dec. 24, 1944, when the "Mighty Mo" steamed into Pearl Harbor setting off much celebration from men and women in the Armed Forces. The reason was simple. The Missouri was filled with Christmas packages and letters from families of loved ones stationed here during World War II. So Santa wasn't the only bearer of gifts that Christmas eve 53 years ago -- Old Saint Nickolas saw to it that the greatest battleship ever built was filled with goodies he couldn't fit on his sleigh ...

TO celebrate his 20th anniversary issue of Aloha magazine, publisher Rick Davis reprinted every cover shot the magazine ever ran. And to come up with something special for the cover, he hit pay dirt. After sifting through thousands of photos, his production team chose a photo of striking model Brandi Bacal, who's so delightfully cute in the American Savings TV commercials ...

R.I.P. for Sambo

IT was with a mixture of sadness and a relieved finality that I learned that old pal Sam Sanford died early Saturday morning. The former D.J. and restaurateur, equally outrageous in both elements, was a good pal. He remembered to the end that he was mentioned in the very first column I wrote for the Star-Bulletin on Dec. 16, 1968, in which I referred to him as a "lounge lizard." I think he pondered on that one until the end. Sam, who had just turned 68 shortly before his death, had been in pain and suffering from liver disease and knew for the past several months that his time was short. So too did his Job-like wife, Sheila Mae, who was with him until the end. There'll be services for Sambo at his Kalanianaole home Saturday, and it'll probably wind up as outrageous as he usually was ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

Contact Dave by e-mail: donnelly@kestrok.com.

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