the talk of Honolulu was the upcoming demolition of Kaiser Hospital
in Waikiki to make room for a new hotel. Explosives experts were coming
in from the Midwest. Tourists and residents alike were making plans
to get the best view of the implosion. Not to miss the opportunity,
the folks at Magnum wrote the event into an episode. The premise: Magnum
was trapped in an elevator in a building about to be destroyed. The
film crew was scheduled to shoot the hospital’s demise.
demolition day, we crossed the police lines at the hospital. Cameras
were being set in the adjacent parking. The crew was pushed back to
a safe distance. Goggles and earplugs were handed out. Tension was high.
Obviously we were only going to get one take.
The countdown began, "60, 59, 58--STOP!! STOP!!" Someone shouted that
they spotted a skateboarder on the sixth floor. The building was searched:
nothing, no one. The countdown restarted, "3, 2, 1."
BOOM!!! The explosions went off like an earthquake. A pregnant half-moment
hung in the air as the structure’s skeleton collapsed. Then the
once-square building bent and folded in upon itself. The lower floors
were crushed as the upper stories came down.
the dust: an all-encompassing cloud that spread for blocks in all directions.
It was worse than any fog or vog you've ever seen. You couldn't even
see your outstretched hand. It was very difficult to breathe, especially
for me as I laughed my head off in all the excitement.
The dust settled leaving Waikiki flocked like a Christmas tree. I was
left with a new destiny. I had just seen my birthplace decimated as
a set for a t.v. show. My ties to my childhood had been cut for my new
career to begin. There was certainly no turning back now. Hollywood,
here I come!
16 years later, I am working as an assistant director with the same
Magnum producers; Don Bellisario, Charles Johnson and Mark Schilz, on
JAG. From intern to A.D., that destiny has been fulfilled and I count
myself one lucky guy.
I still glance over where Kaiser used to be as I sit in traffic on Ala
Moana Boulevard. In its’ place stands the Hawaii Prince Hotel.
It’s amazing to me that something with so much invested in it
can be worth destroying. In the same way the lava changes these islands,
so does man’s progress, I suppose. Someone’s history is
now fading away in memory, but new histories are being written everyday.
Robert Scott, 2002