13 October 2022

O'ahu HI, USA

After 1961's Blue Hawaii and Girls! Girls! Girls! from 1962, PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE was the third and final film Elvis Presley made in Hawaii. The islands O'ahu, Kaua'i and Maui were chosen as filming locations. The first day of shooting was on 25 July 1965 in Hawaii, the last day on 30 September at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 0:22:47
Elvis Presley plays pilot Rick Richards who returns to Hawaii after being fired. Together with his friend Danny Kohana (James Shigeta), he starts a charter business taking people by helicopter to the various islands. Between flights, he meets numerous pretty ladies and sings nine songs. Filming took place at several locations on O'ahu. The island is seen from the air several times, starting in the opening credits. The camera glides over Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head on the far right.

From the plane en route from Hawaii Island (also known as Big Island) to Kaua'i, we had a nice view of the 150,000 year old volcanic cone.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 0:01:57
Diamond Head, O'ahu, 19 June 2017

Rick lands at the Polynesian Cultural Center to pick up some people. This open-air museum showcases the culture of six Polynesian regions: Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand).
The centre was opened on 12 October 1963 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This Mormon church had regularly sent missionaries to these areas over the years. Tickets were a whopping US $ 130 per person for an entire day. Fortunately, a cheaper ticket was available but you only had access for two hours. As proof, the car key had to be handed in at the ticket office.
I did not expect there to be any landmarks after more than 50 years but I hoped to see the palm tree bent over the water forming a natural bridge. The tree is featured prominently in the film and therefore also known as the "Elvis tree". However, the tree was nowhere to be found. When I asked the staff they had no idea. We did however take a boat trip on, just like Elvis does in the movie.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 0:27:01
Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, 12 June 2017
Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 0:30:15
Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, 12 June 2017

Together with Jan (Donna Butterworth), Danny's young daughter, and Lani (Marianna Hill), Rick goes snorkelling. The helicopter lands in Kuola Regional Park which is located by the sea, near the Kuola Ranch. The island in the background is officially called Mokoliʻi but is better known as Chinaman's Hat because of its shape.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 0:57:15
Kuola Regional Park, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 1:02:10
Kuola Regional Park, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 1:02:15
Mokoliʻi, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 1:02:27
View from the Kuola Ranch, O'ahu, 11 June 2017

When Danny and Jan's helicopter is missing, Rick goes looking for them with secretary Judy (Suzanna Leigh). The film clearly shows them flying over the Na Pali coast on the island of Kaua'i. They see Danny’s helicopter which, however, is stranded in Hanauma Bay on the island of O'ahu. This location can also be seen in Blue Hawaii.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style, 1:08:47
Hanauma Bay, O'ahu, 11 June 2017

Almost eight years after filming on Hawaii was completed, Elvis Presley returned to O'ahu for a concert, Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii. It was the first concert to be broadcast live around the world via satellite. During the opening footage, which shows Elvis arriving by helicopter at Waikiki Beach, the title song from Paradise, Hawaiian Style can be heard. The concert took place on 14 January 1973 at the Honolulu International Center, now the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, on Ward Ave in Honolulu. The full concert can be watched on YouTube.

Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, 0:05:35 
Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, 13 June 2017

In 2007, a bronze statue of Elvis Presley was unveiled at the entrance of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. The statue was commissioned by television channel TV Land and designed by Ivan Schwartz. It shows Elvis accompanying himself on guitar during the first song performed at the concert, “See See Rider”. Fans regularly adorn the statue with a lei, the traditional Hawaiian garland, which Elvis also wears during the concert.

Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, 0:08:13
Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, 13 June 2017
Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, 0:14:44
Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, 13 June 2017

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures