Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, July 20, 1998

Throne flap a royal
pain in da kine

"SO what do you make of this Iolani Palace uprising?" my completely hypothetical, gender-neutral, ethnically ambiguous, politically nonaligned column pal asked.

(Hey, with columnists being fired for making up stuff, you can't be too careful these days.)

He was talking about the fact that the palace's long-time manager, Jim Bartels, resigned after long-time palace prez Abigail Kawananakoa, planted her derriere on the royal throne for a photo shoot for Life magazine.

I don't know, I said. Part of me thinks it's silly and another part of me thinks that the first part of me is an insensitive Caucasian boob. Another part of me told the second to "Sod off, ya blighter" and yet another part of me suggested we all go get a cheeseburger. I'm kind of split on the issue.

"I think it's a tempest in a poi bowl," my pal said. "That's like a tempest in a tea pot except ... "

I get it.

"The way I see it is, that's a big building," he continued. "There's got to be tons of thrones in there. If she was occupying one throne, he should have gone down the hall. Why she wanted her picture taken on the throne, I don't know."

Ah. I see your confusion. It wasn't the kind of throne that flushes. It was a real, palace throne that used to support the royal bootie. Think big, tacky chair.

"Ohhhhh," he said. "That's different. Still, what's the big deal? What, does this lady weigh 400 pounds or somethin'?"

No, judging from the pictures, she's no Rosanne.

"So what? Did she jump up and down on the throne? Have a food fight? Did she pick it up by the back and pretend to fight off tigers?"

No. It's just that the throne is old. The threads of the seat are delicate. It's not made to be sat on except by a real queen. And even then, they'd probably put a beach towel down first. You have to treat museum furniture gently.

"That's a load," he said. "That Iolani Palace had been abused for years and no one cared. Remember when Steve McGarrett had the corner office?"

WHAT, I'm afraid to ask, the hell are you talking about now?

"You know," he said. "Steve McGarrett. Iolani Palace was the headquarters for Hawaii Five-0, the state police force. McGarrett had the second-floor corner office. They showed it all the time on TV. First, they'd show the outside of the building, then they'd zoom to that corner office."

Go on. This is fascinating.

"So McGarrett used that office for years, scuffing up the hardwood floors with those big old black-heeled shoes he used to kick, I mean, interrogate suspects with. I think I saw one show where he was even wearing golf spikes."

I see.

"No kiddin'. And that ain't all. There was at least 12 shoot-outs in that office. I'll bet there are still bullet holes in the walls. And, don't forget the hair spray. Stevie-boy used it by the barrel. The curtains are probably still stiff from all the times he spritzed his hair and missed."

This will be a shock, I know. But Steve McGarrett was a fictional TV character. McGarrett's office scenes actually were filmed in a studio sound stage. They just pretended his office was in Iolani Palace.

"No kiddin?" he said. "Well, that explains some things. I wondered why the view from that window behind McGarrett always kept changing. One day it was a coconut tree, the next day it was the fjords of Norway."

I didn't know what to think. Part of me wanted to kill him. Another part wanted to choke him unconscious. Another part suggested we go get a cheeseburger. We're still voting.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or

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