“Her name was Woman … Her other name was Excitement … She belonged to Hawaiʻi’s Kona Coast like the surf riders and the beach bums.”
Whoa, let’s look back …
Richard Allen Boone was born June 18, 1917 in Los Angeles County, California; his father was a descendant of Squire Boone who was the younger brother of frontiersman Daniel Boone. Like Daniel Boone, Richard Boone had a heroic side: was an aerial gunner in the Navy during World War II. (Bloom)
Following the war, he studied with the New York Actors Studio on the GI Bill. In 1947 he made his Broadway debut with Judith Anderson’s Medea, and made his motion picture debut in 1951 in The Halls of Montezuma.
His career in motion pictures, often cast as a western badman (City of Badmen, The Siege at Red River, Man Without a Star, Robber’s Roost, Ten Wanted Men, Star in the Dust, The Tall T, Big Jake, The Shootist and Hombre) or the good guy (Dragnet, The Alamo, The War Lord and The Raid.) (ancestry)
In 1957, Have Gun-Will Travel (with Boone as Paladin) made its TV debut, and soon became one of the most popular programs of the fifties. It ranked in the top five almost immediately and after that trailed only Gunsmoke and Wagon Train for the rest of its run. The theme song, co-written by star Boone, even became a hit single.
Boone moved to and became a permanent resident of Honolulu in 1965 and was a regular commuter between Honolulu and Hollywood. He “considers himself the world’s most satisfied actor – because he can afford the luxury of living in the Hawaiian Islands and working in Hollywood”. (Chicago Tribune, October 35, 1968)
While living on Oʻahu, it was Boone who helped persuade Leonard Freeman to film Hawaiʻi Five-O exclusively in Hawaiʻi. Prior to that, Freeman had planned to do “establishing” location shots in Hawaii but principal production in southern California.
Boone and others convinced Freeman that the islands could offer all necessary support for a major TV series and would provide an authenticity otherwise unobtainable. (Correa)
Then, in 1967, Boone (with Vera Miles, Joan Blondell, Kent Smith, Duane Eddy and a bunch of folks from Kona) filmed ‘Kona Coast,’ a pilot that he hoped CBS would adopt as a series. (Instead, CBS chose Hawaii Five-O.) (It was released in 1968 – with its premier in the Kona Theater.)
“Kona Coast” was an adventure story about a Honolulu charter-boat captain (‘Sam Moran,’ played by Boone) who leads fishing expeditions and later hunts down the man responsible for his daughter’s death.
It did not receive favorable reviews; “… most of Kona Coast utilizes actual locations and this is the film’s single greatest asset.” (Pfeiffer)
Kona Coast Movie Trailer
Kona Coast Movie Preview
The story often takes you to a bar, Akamai Barnes (run by a man of the same name – in real life it was later the Red Pants; today, it’s a vacant lot under the banyan tree on Aliʻi Drive in the middle of Kailua Bay.)
Later (1970,) the bar was the scene of a brawl – “Chuck Norwood pulled a .45-caliber handgun and shot and killed another man. Although he claimed he blacked out and does not remember what happened, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 35-years in prison.”
“Norwood, 48, was elected to one of the 13 seats on Hawaiʻi’s Board of Education (1984.) While in prison, Norwood attended classes at Leeward Community College. In 1975, he was paroled and elected student body president.” (Reading Eagle, November 7, 1984) Norwood served back to back two terms (1976-1977) as Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi president.
In 1971, Richard Boone moved to his wife’s hometown of St Augustine, Florida where he taught acting classes at Flagler College. Richard Boone died January 10, 1981 in St Augustine of throat cancer. At the time of his death, he was serving as cultural ambassador for the State of Florida.
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