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Sunday, November 9, 2014

FALL CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE: Day #7--South Pacific


The Crystal Symphony is now in the Southern Hemisphere of the Pacific Ocean.  Thus, we are in the South Pacific.  This morning when I awoke South Pacific had just begun on TV.  This was not that memorable 1958 version, which might be my most favorite all-time film, but the made-for-television 2001 production, which I did not remember even existed.  South Pacific, the "series," began with the Pultizer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener.  

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein then premiered on Broadway in 1949 the first musical South Pacific with Mary Martin as nurse Nellie Forbush and Ezio Pinza as French planter Emile de Becque.  Juanita Hall was Bloody Mary and Betta St. John as daughter Liat, with William Tabbett as Lt. Joseph Cable.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave this film an 89% rating.

The 1958 film featured Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi (using the voice of Giorgio Tozzi).  Bill Lee (who never got credited) did the singing for John Kerr as Lt. Cable.

Juanita Hall reprised her role as Bloody Mary.  Here are the renditions of A Wonderful Guy by Mitzi Gaynor and Glen Close, from the 2001 TV film.  Never saw the original stage show, but did go to the 2008 Lincoln Center revival with Glee's Matthew Morrison as Lt. Cable and Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary.  

The 1958 South Pacific is my favorite film for several memorable reasons.  First, it was filmed in Hawaii.  More so, Kauai was the setting, and the backyard of the cottage Pearl and I lived in was where Happy Talk occurred.  Here, Bloody Mary singing to Liat and Lt. Cable at the pool of the Slippery Slide.  Below are Pearl and Pepper at our waterfall, which flows into that pond:


These are the Liats from the past:
  • 1949:  Betta St. John
  • 1958:  France Nuyen
  • 2001:  Natalie Mendoza
  • 2008:  Li Jun Li 

Yes, Pearl most looks like France Nuyen, even their hand positions.

Best of all, South Pacific returns to Honolulu as a Diamond Head Theatre production this Spring, with Loretta  Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary (here on Broadway with Li Jun Li above) in the most recent 2008 Broadway Revival of South Pacific.  This is the 100th Anniversary of DHT.

Finally, one of my co-creations was the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, where one of our objectives was to assist in the development of renewable energy throughout the South Pacific.  Part of my job, therefore,was to visit American Samoa, Fiji, Ponape and Tonga.  There were striking contrasts.  Unemployment today, for example, is around 50% in American Samoa and 1% in Tonga.  

One trip to Tonga with Luis Vega, OTEC specialist, was especially memorable:
  • We were asked by the King to evaluate OTEC prospects for the island.  Luis and I showed up for our first meeting with his Eminence, and were served orange juice.  He was not yet at the table, but Luis drank his juice because he was really thirsty.  Then King Taufaahau Tupou IV (who passed away in 2006) walked in, sat and said we can now drink our orange juice.  He was 6'5" tall and weighed 400 pounds.
  • He hosted a lunch where we were served two 3-5 pound lobsters.  I'm allergic to crustaceans but managed to get through the meal.
  • I guess we could not recommend an OTEC program, for nothing is happening today there with this option.
  • However, wave power has always been attractive.  On the flight to Tonga, I talked to a colleague from the Florida Solar Energy Center, who said he was asked to recommend a wave power development program for the country (they belong to the United Nations).  While we were there he went for a dive, and never returned.  In 1988 there was a ground-braking (I meant ground-breaking, but, as nothing has happened, perhaps that term is the operative one) for a Norwegian-sponsored effort, and I saw a 2011 report expressing interest from New Zealand.  No ocean energy electricity today is being generated on Tonga.
While there is considerable activity ongoing throughout the world, mostly in Europe, I have long felt that this renewable energy option should not be pursued.  Certainly, the death of a colleague weighs on me, but fatal problems are that there are only a few locations where the natural coastal conformation is ideal, hundred year storms occur regularly and the cost of attempting to protect these devices can be astronomical.  Nevertheless, the red areas below are prime spots:


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