By Tony Bartlett
Reed Travel Features
LIHUE -- Bob Jasper stopped the tour van at a vacant lot at
Kapaa on Kauai's east coast and slipped in a video of "Jurassic
Park." The scene: San Jose, Costa Rica. Kapaa, an old plantation
town, was transformed into a colorful Latin America setting. It was
here that the movie's traitorous computer nerd (played by Wayne
Knight) took the shaving cream container with the false bottom for
the stolen dinosaur embryos."Now let me show you the dinosaur
bones," Jasper said with a straight face. We walked across the lot,
heavy highway traffic on one side, the ocean on the other, to
inspect a bunch of bones in a shallow pit. They were ceramic, part
of the floor decor of a short-lived eatery that had capitalized on
the Jurassic Park name without permission.
Kauai doubled for South Sea islands (1958's "South Pacific" is
best known) and Vietnam ("Flight of the Intruder," 1991, and
"Uncommon Valor," 1983). It was the rugged, mountainous terrain in
the 1976 version of "King Kong" and provided African jungle for the
village scene in 1994's "Outbreak." More than 50 movies have been
filmed on the Garden Island. Some used more than a dozen locations,
so you can't go far on this 550-square-mile island without bumping
into what was once a part of Hollywood fantasy.
Jasper, who moved to Kauai from California a decade ago, has
made it easier to visit those sites by launching Hawaii Movie Tours
last fall. The tour begins at his family's exotic bird store near
the Kauai Marriott. It lasts from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., taking in
the 30-mile coastal highway from Lihue north to Hanalei and back.
Throughout the excursion, Jasper pumps out movie trivia,
sporadically delving into his front-seat video library to show a
clip before pointing out the real thing.
The first stop was the Menehune Fishponds outside Lihue, one of
Hawaii's scenic wonders. Look down and you see where Indiana Jones
escaped by seaplane ("Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1981). We drove
around Nawiliwili Harbor, Lihue's port, where Esther Williams and
Howard Keel frolicked in "Pagan Love Song," then passed the
Marriott and Kalapaki Beach, where sailors put on a review in
"South Pacific." Driving down to Hanamaulu, a beach north of Lihue,
we watched a scene from "Donovan's Reef," John Ford's last movie,
made in 1962 with John Wayne and Lee Marvin.
Passing Coco Palms Resort in the Wailua area, Jasper showed us
the beach where Frank Sinatra almost drowned while filming "None
but the Brave" (1964). After our Kapaa stop, we watched a music
video -- Paula Abdul singing by a waterfall -- then saw the
waterfall in the distance while crossing the Anahola Bridge. "Paula
Abdul was never here. Hollywood magic," Jasper said. We stopped to
view a peak in the Anahola Mountains that provided opening images
in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Next stop was Moloaa Bay, the location for the "Gilligan's
Island" pilot in 1963.
Jasper is obviously a Gilligan's fan. By the time we reach the
bay, we've watched the black-and-white pilot for what seems ages.
Jasper pointed out an outrigger canoe fronting a Moloaa beach home
that we saw in a "Honeymoon in Vegas" clip. Tommy (James Caan)
wooed Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker) in that canoe in the 1991 movie.
Then it is on to Anini Beach. There we stared at the
multimillion-dollar house that was Tommy's vacation home, and we
also saw the former home of Sylvester Stallone.
The land tour is priced at $85 per person and includes a meal.
Hawaii Movie Tours also offers an eight-hour deluxe tour for $245
that includes two meals, a 30-minute helicopter ride and a two-hour
ocean cruise. Both tours are commissionable at 20%. To make
reservations, call the firm at (800) 628-8432.