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James Michener
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 961
Posted: 2006-05-12 3:53 pm   Permalink

If you remember Hawaii Five-0 you'll also get a kick out of seeing Khigh Dhiegh ("Wo Fat"!) and Herman Wedemeyer ("Duke")
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Ah! Thanks for the tip, I'll try to watch this!

"There's no way off this rock..."

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1207
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2006-05-17 2:25 pm   Permalink

I just finished reading "Rascals In Paradise" by Michener and A. Grove Day. This is a non-fiction book that tells the tales of some of the most notorious characters of the south seas. But by far the best chapter is the very last one.."Leeteg...the Legend." What a nut this guy was...and a genius. I know next to nothing about art but some of his techniques were certainly original. He also despised the fact that some art citics didn't consider his work "art." He was also a major, MAJOR party animal who lived for booze and girls. It's unfortunate he died in a motorcycle accident instead of completely hammered in the arms of a beautiful Tahitian woman half his age.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 01, 2006
Posts: 37
From: Milwaukee/Chicago/San Francisco
Posted: 2006-07-10 8:14 pm   Permalink

"Mary Martin, playing a Navy Nurse dressed up for an amateur show, clowns with Seabee Luther Billis (Myron McCormick)."

scanned from:

This Fabulous Century 1940-1950, Time Life Books, New York. 1969 p.279

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2007-09-19 09:09 am   Permalink

I just finished "Hawaii". I know this isn't earth-shaking news for anybody but that was a dense book and I finally made it through. I guess I'm bragging--only $1 from the flea market!

Anyway, I recommend it. For those of you who do read it, you might wind up with negative feelings toward people from Massachusetts. I just want to tell you, you'd be right to have those feelings--this is the worst state in the Union. I can't believe I'm from here.
"I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver."
Phil Harris

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2004
Posts: 1032
From: Tolland, CT
Posted: 2007-09-19 10:38 am   Permalink


On 2007-09-19 09:09, pappythesailor wrote:
this is the worst state in the Union. I can't believe I'm from here.

I dunno Pappy, I think your neighbor to the south will give ya a run for your money. At least you've got some great old tiki joints left in MA....here in Corrupticut, we've got nothing.

Back on track, I started Hawaii....never made it through, so congrats!!!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1784
From: Orlando
Posted: 2007-09-19 10:41 am   Permalink

You guys have obviously never lived in Alabama.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2005
Posts: 372
From: Lake Mojave
Posted: 2011-02-03 09:25 am   Permalink

Nice to start my day today (Feb. 3) with Garrison Keillor's sonorous voice on The Writer's Almanac ( http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org ) announcing that it's James Michener's birthday. Keillor went on to provide a nice mini-biography (quoting:)
It's the birthday of the novelist who said: "I have only one bit of advice to beginning writers: be sure your novel is read by Rodgers and Hammerstein." That's James Michener, born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1907).

He never knew who his parents were he was taken to an orphanage as an infant, and adopted by a Quaker woman in Pennsylvania. He grew up in poverty, moving from house to house they would always leave in the middle of the night. He never had any toys or possessions for himself, didn't get Christmas presents. He beat up younger kids and got beaten up by older ones. When he was 14, he took off and hitchhiked all over the country. He said: "I think the bottom line is that if you get through a childhood like mine, it's not at all bad. Obviously, you come out a pretty tough turkey, and you have had all the inoculations you need to keep you on a level keel for the rest of your life. The sad part is, most of us don't come out."

He said: "I would suppose I learned how to write when I was very young indeed. When I read a child's book about the Trojan War and decided that the Greeks were really a bunch of frauds with their tricky horses and the terrible things they did, stealing one another's wives, and so on, so at that very early age, I re-wrote the ending of the Iliad so that the Trojans won. And boy, Achilles and Ajax got what they wanted, believe me. And thereafter, at frequent intervals, I would write something. It was really quite extraordinary. Never of very high merit, but the daringness of it was."

His mother read aloud all of Dickens' novels, and after a salesman convinced his aunt to buy the complete works of Balzac, she passed them on to her nephew. By the time he got to high school, he had decided he wanted to go to college, and he did he was a good student and a good athlete, and he got a full scholarship to Swarthmore.

He was drafted into the military during World War II, and he joined the Navy even though he was a Quaker and 36 years old, so he could have gotten out of it. He was stationed in the Solomon Islands, where he kept records of aircraft maintenance. While he was there, he wrote some stories and sketches based on life in the Navy, and he sent his manuscript anonymously to Macmillan. They accepted it, and Tales of the South Pacific was published in 1947. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted it into the hit musical South Pacific (1949).

After that, Michener never had to worry about finances. But he was uncomfortable being wealthy. Instead, he said, "The decent thing to do is to get rid of some of this money." And he did at least $100 million. He donated the royalties from many of his books, which was no small gesture he wrote nearly 40 books and they sold an estimated 75 million copies worldwide. Since he himself got to go to prestigious schools for free, through scholarship money, he decided that he would donate to universities so that other people could have the same opportunity. He died of kidney failure in 1997, and left his $10 million estate to Swarthmore, his alma mater. The year before, he had given away $24 million.

His books include Hawaii (1959), Chesapeake (1978), Poland (1983), Alaska (1988), and Texas (1985).

He said, "As a writer I have persisted in my uncertainty, alternating between novels which could charitably be considered literature and world reporting which by another stretch of objective standards might be called history."

And, "I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains."

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Kahuna Tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 18, 2010
Posts: 41
From: Toronto, ON
Posted: 2011-02-03 12:11 pm   Permalink

After I heard about Tales of the South Pacific, I desperately wanted to read it but couldn't find it anywhere. I finally stumbled across an old hardcover version (with some illustrations) in a used book store. I loved it and it still holds a prominent position in my bookcase to this day. I then read Return to Paradise (another one hard to find around here), Hawaii and Caribbean. The last two, besides being thick, weighty volumes, were *real* eye openers. Certainly each was enjoyable in its own right.

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Haole Jim
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 17, 2009
Posts: 424
From: central coast metro Chicago
Posted: 2011-02-04 7:35 pm   Permalink

After reading Tales, Hawaii and Return decades ago, 'bumbled across really old paperbacks of Tales and Rascals, this past summer.

Michener was one heck of a storyteller.

'Any truth to the bit of his having adopted two orphan boys and then "gave them back" when they proved too troublesome for him?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 25, 2008
Posts: 474
From: West Leroy, Pennsylvania
Posted: 2011-02-04 7:44 pm   Permalink

I know that James Michener was friends (through his military days) with an individual who lived close to where I was born & have moved back to now & that he had many first editions & autographed books. Unfortunately there was a fire in this individual's home & all of those books were destroyed several years ago.

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White Devil

Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Posts: 0
Posted: 2014-02-27 12:12 pm   Permalink

John Rose was the artist on the jacket of this U.K. first edition. For my money, it's the best DJ artwork on any Michener title.

The Philippe Weisbecker-illustrated edition of The Franklin Library's "Tales of the South Pacific" has great external design, but his interior illustrations are somehow too dull & abstract.

The Franklin Library's earlier mid-1970's edition of "Tales" featured illustrations by William Franklin Draper, and lend themselves much more to the romantic setting of the book.

This Turkish edition of "Hawaii" has a pulpish feel that his early vintage pbs had.

[ This Message was edited by: White Devil 2014-02-27 13:01 ]

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White Devil

Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Posts: 0
Posted: 2014-03-07 09:00 am   Permalink

A few of Richard Powers' illustrations for The Easton Press' 1988 two-volume edition of Michener's "Hawaii". Powers is best known for his abastract 1960's science fiction paperback art.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1616
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2014-03-07 09:38 am   Permalink

Very cool, thank for sharing those pictures.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1616
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2015-04-29 09:24 am   Permalink

James Michener at a Polynesian restaurant. Circa 1950 according to the photo notes.
The picture is from the Library of Congress online archives. Maybe someone else can blow up the picture without making it look blurry.


Title: James Michener
Date Created/Published: [ca. 1950]
Medium: 1 photographic print.
Summary: Seated at table with menu and an Oriental woman on both sides.


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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 778
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2015-04-29 11:00 pm   Permalink


On 2015-04-29 09:24, tikilongbeach wrote:
James Michener at a Polynesian restaurant .... Maybe someone else can blow up the picture without making it look blurry.

Apparently, to get a higher resolution image, you must physically access the Library of Congress. Does anyone have a close relationship with their congressman?
Seriously, a bigger image would be cool, if someone in D.C. could get it and post. I wonder if we could make out the menu in the high res image?

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