Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tommy Fujiwara

TOMMY FUJIWARA, Another Icon who gives back

I first came across Tommy Fujiwara when I was in high school and his brother, a classmate, brought him to a school assembly to entertain us. He was a nightclub comedian and crooner, opening at the Clouds nightclub, where the Queen Kapiolani Hotel now stands near Kapahulu Avenue. He later performed at the Oasis nightclub at Waialae and Kapiolani Boulevard.

Sorry, best picture I could find

Most people know him as a semi-regular on Hawaii Five O although he has had parts in many other T.V. shows that were filmed in Hawaii. He had an uncredited part in the movie, Around the World in 80 Days in 1956.

His T.V. credits also included Charley's Angels, One West Waikiki, Jake and the Fatman and of course, Magnum P.I.

A few years ago, OC 16 had a show (may have been called "Heroes") where they featured people who gave back to the community. Tommy Fujiwara was featured as a person who went to care homes and senior citizen gatherings and entertained. He sometimes did that five days a week. He brought a guitar and entertained the seniors by singing ballads from years past from his repertoire of 2,000 songs.

Many don't know that Tommy was a very good crooner when he worked the nightclubs as a comedian and M.C. I wouldn't be surprised if he could also hoof it a bit as club entertainers were required to do in years past. When I checked with the older musicians that I know, they all raved about him as a singer.

It amazes me that a big name star like him thought enough of his community by sharing his talents with those who are not able to go out and enjoy live entertainment. Or, as he puts it, lifting their spirits. And, doing it quietly and without fanfare. Until that T.V. show caught up with him and did that feature.

He sure inspired me.

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