Sunday, October 31, 2010

James MacArthur, 1937-2010

I posted the following on my other blog, but thought it worth repeating here.

I turned on the computer this morning here in Winnipeg and came across a news item reporting the death of actor James MacArthur. Years ago, during all those years when Hawaii 5-0 was being shot in and around Honolulu, I got to know Jimmy. His wife and mine were friends and we all hung out a bit together.

I had just started a small advertising agency and one of our clients was a very small bank. Just two branches. Nevertheless they had aspirations for expansion and we decided to produce a couple of 30-second television spots. I approached Jimmy to see if he would appear as the bank’s spokesman in the commercials. He agreed, as a personal favor to me, of course – he certainly didn’t need the money – and he showed up spot on time early one Saturday morning when the two branches were closed and we could do our production without disrupting things.

We shot one commercial at the downtown branch of the bank that morning, and moved on to the other branch that afternoon. Through it all, Jimmy MacArthur cheerfully endured all the re-takes and other delays for sound checks and lighting changes, apologized when he fluffed a line and chatted amiably with the crew during the catered lunch. He was, in a word, the consummate professional and a joy to be around.

We finally finished shooting at 3:30 that afternoon, and his wife came to pick him up. That’s when I learned that Jimmy had been skiing in Colorado the week before and, thanks to some bad weather throughout that whole area, had only arrived back in Honolulu at 5:00 that very morning. He had had just enough time to run home, shower and shave, and get to the bank for the filming of our two insignificant little commercials.

Ever since, whenever I read about the petulant, selfish, thoughtless behavior of some of these prima donnas in sports or theater or business, I think of James Gordon MacArthur … who shames them all.

Aloha, Jimmy.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mea Culpas, past and future

My apologies for the lack of posts over these past weeks. I have been preoccupied with my efforts on behalf of my long-time friend Neil Abercrombie, who -- as all Hawaii knows -- is the Democratic Party's nominee for governor of Hawaii.

Furthermore, it’s also likely that there will be only a few posts for the next several weeks, too. I will be leaving Tuesday for an extended trip to the mainland ... first to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the semi-annual board meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.

From there, I'll head to Toronto to catch VIA Rail's premier train # 1, the Canadian, which runs three times a week in each direction between Toronto and Vancouver, BC.

I'll be leaving the Canadian in Winnipeg and taking another VIA train almost 1100 miles north to the little town of Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay. Polar bears spend the winter out on the ice hunting seals and this time of year these magnificent creatures come into the area waiting for the bay to freeze over.

From there it will be back to Winnipeg and resuming the trans-continental ride on the next train # 1 to Vancouver. I'll connect there with Amtrak for the trip to Seattle and on down to Los Angeles for the flight back home to Maui.