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Apaka tribute brings legends to Hilton Hawaiian Village

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Many of Hawaii’s stars turned out Saturday to honor the late singer Alfred Apaka at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where he was so great in the ’40s and ’50s. The singer’s son, Jeff Apaka, organized the show, sang and emceed with original “Five-0” regular Al Harrington. Highlights included Mihana Souza getting her cousin Hailama Farden up to dance “Boy from Laupahoehoe,” which was written by Mihana’s late mom, Irmgard Farden Aluli. Legendary Aunty Irmgard’s “Musical Journey” was presented by the students of Kamehameha Schools Kapalama in their song contest at Blaisdell Arena the night before Alfred’s tribute. Hailama, Mihana and other Farden relatives had strong roles in the marvelous program that will be repeated at 6:30 tonight on KGMB. …

Another highlight in Apaka’s tribute was colorful Melveen Leed, who sang, danced hula and played keyboard for singer Clayton Naluai. Melveen came to the event from her Saturday daytime gig at International Market Place and was wearing pedal pushers. But when she saw the other ladies wearing colorful Hawaiian dresses, she went to a nearby store and bought a $156 Hawaiian dress. Melveen had several guest roles on the original “Five-0.” She told Harrington, the former Punahou and Stanford running back, he had a “Hercules body” in those “Five-0” days. … Speaking of “Five-0,” a shirtless Scott Caan of the new show was on “Entertainment Tonight” on KHNL Monday night, filmed with his co-stars. I wonder what Melveen would say about Scott’s body. … A trailer for Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” some of which was filmed here, was also on “ET” Monday. It pulls into theaters May 20. …

“THE KING AND I” opens tonight at Diamond Head Theatre, and the costumes for the musical’s king of Siam are from the 1996 Broadway revival of the show. A few additional ensemble pieces came along in the shipment. One of the belts still had sewn-in name tags from the B’way show. Whose names? One tag read Greg Zane (current director of the DHT show) and at the other end Andrew Sakaguchi, who is coming in to direct “Hairspray” this summer. DHT’s “King” reigns through April 17 …

Hawaii’s Wally Yonamine, who died Feb. 25 at 85, got a big write-up, with a photo, on Time Magazine’s Milestones page in the March 21 issue. Sports Illustrated, in its March 14 issue, also wrote about the first American baseball player to play professional baseball in Japan, after an injury ended his single season as a running back for the San Francisco 49ers. The magazines emphasized how he was at first despised and heckled by the Japanese for his aggressive play, but his winning ways later made him highly popular. Time said Wally, considered by many to be the Japanese equivalent to Jackie Robinson, was honored by the emperor. …


Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things.

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