Honolulu Star-Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii on November 2, 2014 · F10
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Honolulu Star-Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii · F10

Honolulu, Hawaii
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 2, 2014
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F10 SUNDAY 1 1214 TODAY TITLE IX: Memorabilia documents struggle and rise Continued from Fl archive footage of Wahine games and of Thompson and Mink, both of whom have died Mink in 2002, Thompson in 2009. When Kaneshiro interviewed former state Rep. Faith Evans, an early supporter of Thompson's cause, she brought out a folder of newspaper articles she had kept since the 1970s. "She handed it to us like it was some kind of relic and said, 'I have saved this for all these years, and I didn't know why until now,'" Kaneshiro said. "She passed away five or six months after we interviewed her." A few months ago associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano gave Kaneshiro two old garbage bags full of Thompson's memorabilia. They were a stark re- "She believed when others did not. She had to make something that did not exist, and she had to risk her reputation. And she had to risk making a blunder at a time when many people said women don't deserve this." Dean Kaneshiro Filmmaker, talking about the late Donnis Thompson, UH's first women 's athletic director minder that the Wahine 's story was being lost, Kaneshiro said. The bags were full of speeches, tournament programs, plaques and photographs all of it covered with mold so toxic WAYNE: Some films set on isles were shot on mainland Continued from Fl pearl diver Duke Slade. That was followed by "Seven Sinners" (1940), which takes place on the fictional Boni-Komba isle, where Wayne's naval lieutenant romances a sexy saloon singer played by Marlene Dietrich. ("American Titan," set for release Tuesday, claims the two engaged in an intense affair.) DUKE MET Hawaii's Duke in the seafaring potboiler "Wake of the Red Witch" (1948), with Wayne as octopus-fighting Capt. Ralls and Native Hawaiian surfer and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku portraying Polynesian chief Ua Nuke. Although set in the South Seas, "Wake" was shot at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Republic Studios. The aviation drama "The High and the Mighty" (1954) starred Wayne as the pilot of a troubled trans-Pacific flight that took off from Honolulu's airport but was lensed in Los Angeles. "Donovan's Reef," with Wayne as French Polynesia saloonkeeper "Guns" Donovan brawling with ex-shipmate "Boats" Gilhooley (Lee Marvin), was shot on Kauai by Ford. Wayne's World War II morale boosters included that Kaneshiro wore gloves and a mask. Most of it was damaged beyond use, but one mottled photo Thompson had kept spoke volumes. The shot from 1976 was taken from the highest spot in the Blaisdell Arena and captured the Wahine and the largest Hawaii crowd at the time to ever see women play volleyball. "Thompson kept that for decades," Kaneshiro said. "She won the hearts of the state." FOR HIS documentary, Kaneshiro teamed up with Tiffany Taylor, a friend with whom he had collaborated while working for a few years on the East Coast. The Wahine not only underscored the struggle for women's rights; they were the ultimate underdog, she said. "This was a scrappy group of small women from a small island who were led by women of incorrigible vision, and they took not only the sport, but the hearts of the people of Hawaii by storm and very quickly," Taylor said. "And I loved that." Although Title K was an education amendment, Thompson applied it to athletics, Taylor said. Thompson worked with Mink and took the Wahine volleyball team on a field trip to Washington, D.C., to meet the congresswoman. Thompson wanted the players to know who was fighting for them, Taylor said. Thompson also gathered like-minded women to her cause, and together they became pioneers. "Donnis was instrumental in saying now that Title IX is passed, let us do whatever it takes to drive that equality and that opportunity for women," Taylor said. "Because they drove so hard to say we are grabbing this for women's athletics, it really shook things up." The documentary should remind people of that. Mink's daughter, Wendy, Pilar Pallete arrived in Honolulu to join her film star husband John Wayne during filming of "In Harms Way." She was accompanied by the their children, Aissa, 8 and John Ethan, 2. The entire family stayed at the Ilikai Hotel. the Philippine-set "Back to Bataan" (1945) and "Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949). His performance in the latter as tough Marine Sgt. John Stryker earned the actor an Oscar nomination. "Operation Pacific" (1951), with Wayne playing submarine Lt. Cmdr. Duke Gifford, included scenes apparently set, but not shot, at said a lot of people know about Title IX and its legacy of opportunity but not the struggle that came with it. "This film shines a light on a seminal moment in our history and reminds us what we can accomplish by daring to dream, struggling with resolve and moving forward in solidarity," she said. "Wahine volleyball came into being in the immediate aftermath of Title IX's enact Pearl Harbor, Camp Smith and other Oahu locations. More than a decade later, director Otto Preminger relied on location shooting at Pearl Harbor, Kaneohe Bay, Makapuu and other sites for "In Harm's Way" (1965), with Wayne as Adm. Rockwell Torrey. In contrast to his battlefield heroics on film, "Ameri ment as law, at a time of intense opposition to the idea that women's athletics should be treated equitably by colleges and universities." Dave Shoji, who has been the head coach of the Wahine team for 40 years, would like his players to see the film. He wants them to know their roots. "I don't think they have any idea what we went UNITED AIRLINES JULY 1964 can Titan" emphasizes that unlike Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and other celebrities of the era, Wayne never served in uniform. Eliot writes that his third wife, Pilar Pallete, contends this explains why the actor became a "superpatriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home." Eliot notes that during STAR-ADVERTISER PHOTOS Posing with the 1987 NCAA championship trophy are players Mahina Eleneki, left, Diana Jesse, women's athletic director Cindy Boerner Mazda, player Reydan "Tita" Ahuna and statistician Alan Lau. At left, three-time Ail-American Dietre Collins, who led the team to NCAA titles in 1982 and '83. through early on to get where they are," he said. "They have grown up with this idea that women are pretty equal with the men." FOR BETH McLachlin, the former Wahine player who first inspired Kaneshiro, the film is a powerful reminder of how far women have come. Even now, when she talks about changes, she chokes up. When she was growing up in Southern California, girls who played sports were called "sweat hogs," McLachlin said. They were shunned by friends who didn't play sports because they thought boys would ignore them. The struggle for acceptance continued at UH when she played on that first Wahine team. "The people who were coming and watching us play and seeing how good we were became avid fans," said McLachlin, now 64. "But the sportswriters couldn't careless." On the morning the Wahine prepared to leave Wayne's wartime South Pacific USO tour, he was not "warmly welcomed by the enlisted men, most of whom had seen hard combat and did not appreciate these visits by Wayne" and other entertainers who had not enlisted. THE FIRST feature Wayne shot in Hawaii was 1952's "Big Jim McLain," at locations such as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Outrigger Canoe Club, Waikiki and Kalaupapa on Molokai. His role depicting a House Committee on Un-American Activities investigator who busts a "commie" ring operating in the territory of Hawaii reflected the actor's conservative bent offscreen. Made during the anti-communist McCarthy era, the plot was inspired by the "Hawaii 7" activists such as ILWU leader Jack Hall, Honolulu Record Editor Koji Ariyoshi and teacher John Reinecke, who were arrested by the FBI in 1951 and accused of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government. Around the time the movie was made, Wayne was president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals and supported the Hollywood Blacklist of suspected leftists in the film industry. On-screen, however, he often acted in movies with and by left-wingers, winning his only best-actor Academy Award as Rooster Cogburn in 1969's "True Grit," whose screenwriter, Marguerite Roberts, had been blacklisted. "American Titan" has a tell-all quality, disclosing titillating tidbits about the for the national championships in 1977, McLachlin was on the phone with a radio deejay railing at him for ignoring the team in his sports report. He had gone on at length about UH's losing football and basketball teams but said nothing about the Wahine, then ranked No. 2 in the nation. He told McLachlin no one cared about womens's sports. That same year a TV sports reporter had also interviewed McLachlin and asked her if she wished she was a boy. She was flabbergasted. "The cameras were rolling, but if they weren't I think I would have decked him," she said. "I said of course I don't want to be a boy. Women athletes are just women athletes. We like to exercise and we like to do things, and we are capable of doing a lot." Two years later the Wahine proved her point: They won the national championship for women's collegiate volleyball. star's personal life, which includes several tabloid-worthy episodes that took place in Hawaii. In December 1945, Wayne wed his second wife, Mexican actress Esperanza "Chata" Baur, in California, and they honeymooned at the Royal Hawaiian. "Howard Hughes personally flew them there, on the first civilian flight to Hawaii since the war ended," Eliot writes. When the couple separated in 1952, the book cites gossip columnist Louella Parsons' contention that Wayne's desire to fly home from Hawaii during their vacation to attend the graduation of his son from a previous marriage contributed to the rift. At their divorce proceedings in 1953, Baur testified that Duke "clobbered" her during their Hawaii vacation and that "on Waikiki Beach she had discovered Wayne having an orgy with other naked men and women." Baur also alleged he'd been unfaithful with his "Wake of the Red Witch" co-star Gail Russell. In 1954, after shooting "The Sea Chase" with Lana Turner on the Big Island, Wayne received word the divorce was final. According to "American Titan," he married Peruvian actress Pallete that evening in a sunset civil ceremony "held in the palatial former home of King Kamehameha III. . . . A crowd of Native Hawai-ians in traditional hula dress" danced. Former Makaha resident Ed Rampell is co-author of "The Hawai'i Movie and Television Book" (Mutual Publishing), which includes information on John Wayne.

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