First, there was the PBS documentary, “Waterman,” that profiled the life and times of Duke Kahanamoku, the beloved surfer-swimmer known as the Ambassador of Aloha. Jason Momoa, the Islander who become a superstar actor thanks to “Aquaman,” narrated that documentary.

Soon, “Aquaman” Momoa will be producing a feature film on Kahanamoku, the iconic Hawaiian Olympian winner, widely credited as the father of surfing. Momoa is teaming up with producer Peter Safran to tell the story of Hawaii’s first well-known surfer-swimmer,   

Duke Kahanamoku
Jason Momoa

who was a five-time Olympian, who broke racial stereotypes when he was a minority Hawaiian swimmer who helped popularize surfing in his lifetime, competing in four Olympic Games in 1912, 1920, 1924 and 1932.

And writing the screenplay for this project is Christopher Kekaniokalani Bright,  who has been based in California, but settled back at home in Hawaii to diligently and quietly work on the script. Bright is the grandson of the late Ronald Bright and Mo Bright; Ron was the popular teacher-director-mentor of thousands of island actors and techies who earned their stripes in Bright-directed productions at the Ron Bright Theatre at Castle High School and Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

Christopher Bright

Chris Bright has been on stage, performing in musicals helmed by his grandfather, but has focused on shaping scripts, including “Conviction,” a 2018 Black List selection.

Details are still scanty; there’s no data on when the filming will start, or where it will be done; when a casting call will be held and the biggest wonderment: will a Hawaiian, from here or elsewhere, be tapped to portray Kahanamoku.

Over the decades, there have been trademark issues on rights to projects involving Kahanamoku. Momoa, Safran and producers Susan Miller Carlson and Eric Carlson of Carlson Company have been negotiating with Don Love, a California investor who has been operating Malama Pono Ltd.since 1999, to manage IP (intellectual property) rights to Kahanamoku’s legacy.

After his notable athletic career, Kahanamoku served as the sheriff of Honolulu until the early 1960s and had various jobs as a gas station owner and was the namesake of Duke Kahamaoku’s, the fabled International Market Place nightclub, where Don Ho launched his global fame. The Duke often made appearances at the restaurant club, in the era when  entrepreneur Kimo McVay operated Duke’s.

Kahanamoku died of a heart attack in January, 1968, at age 77. …

Mariota is a TOYA

Marcus Maritoa

Kudos to Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota, quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, who has been named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Junior Chamber (Jaycees). The awards will be formally made at Virginia Beach next month.

He was nominated for the laurel by the Rising Phoenix Jaycees, who wasted no time to honor the former Saint Louis Crusader.  Hope the function doesn’t conflict with a Falcons game. …

One for the grandparents

Frank DeLima will stage a brunch show to mark Grandparents Day

from 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Central Oahu Event Center, formerly Dot’s in Wahiawa.

Frank DeLima

DeLima will perform at 12:30 a.m., preceded by a brunch buffet from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

A brunch for kupuna is not all that common, but DeLima has been booking brunch gigs recently —twice at Blue Note Hawaii, for Easter, with another coming up on Dec. 11. Before the Pagoda Restaurant welcomed Sorabol as its current tenant, DeLima did brunch and evening shows at the Pagoda ballroom.

The Wahiawa brunch event will offer a range of assorted breakfast breads and pastries, salads and anti pasto dishes, with entrees such as fresh island catch, medallions of chicken in sun-dried tomato and mushroom cream, braised shoulder of beef with cremini mushroom sauce, and a lavish display of desserts, accompanied by coffee, tea or hibiscus-mint iced tea. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.

The buffet is $47 for adults, $23.50 for youths under 19, and free for keiki 5 and under.

The Central Oahu Event Center is located at 130 Mango St., in Wahiawa.

Reservations: (808) 627-5451.

Details: www.centraoahueventcenter.com. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


  1. Great news about a new film about Duke Kahanamoku film. Too bad Dick Jensen isn’t around anymore. When I met Nadine Kahanamoku at Dick’s shows she told me that Dick reminded her of her late husband.
    Congrats to Marcus Mariota also and glad to see Frank Delima is still doing his shows.

    Aloha Dolores Treffeisen

  2. It will be interesting to discover who will portray Duke. Interesting thought, re Mariota; he doesn’t act, but he’d he’d bring athleticism to the role. Just thinking…

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