Skip to comments.‘Hawaiian Eye’ Star Poncie Ponce Dies
Posted on 08/01/2013 12:55:02 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
The Maui native played the cab driver with the straw hat and ukulele on the exotic 1960s ABC detective series.
Poncie Ponce, who played a wise-cracking cab driver on the 1960s ABC detective series Hawaiian Eye, the first network series to be set in the 50th state, has died. He was 80.
Ponce, a native of Maui, Hawaii, who also appeared opposite Elvis Presley in Speedway (1968), died July 19 at his home in Los Angeles, his family reported.
During Hawaiian Eyes opening each week, Ponce was seen floating in the ocean on an inner tube, wearing his trademark straw hat and stroking a ukulele. His character Kazuo "Kim" Quisado had a lot of friends in Honolulu, and he helped the shows handsome private investigators (Anthony Eisley and Robert Conrad) crack cases. Connie Stevens played a nightclub singer/photographer on the series, which was actually filmed on a lot in Burbank.
Ponce, who served as a corporal in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany during the Korean War, came to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business after entertaining the locals in Hawaii. He sang and did impressions on a live weekend amateur talent show called Rocket to Stardom that was broadcast from the Wilshire Boulevard showroom of automobile dealer Bob Yeakel. (Phil Spector and Lenny Bruce, among others, would also appear on that show.)
Later, Warner Bros. execs spotted his act at a Santa Monica nightclub and signed him for the role of Kim. In 1962, the studios record label released his album Poncie Ponce Sings.
When Hawaiian Eyes run of four seasons came to an end in September 1963, Ponce traveled the world, singing and performing in nightclubs in Australia, Argentina, Japan and elsewhere.
In addition to playing a member of race car driver Presleys pit crew in Speedway, Ponce appeared as Kim in 77 Sunset Strip, another Warner Bros. exotic-locale detective series of the era. He also had a bit role as Pineapple in the comedy The Worlds Greatest Lover (1977), starring Gene Wilder.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Sherry; his daughters, Debra, Paula and Margaret; grandsons Dane, Devin, Jack and Charles; sisters Feliza and Juanita; and brothers Alfred, Joseph and Delphine.
Services will be held Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica.
I remember the show and the others listed in the article.
He outlived the entire cast of the original Hawaii Five-O, a much more recent show.
Grey in the beard and smooth on top qualifies, right??
Yes, I remember the show.
“Kookie Kookie lend me your comb”
Sad to hear this news. One of my favorite shows of all time . I was just 7 in 1959 when the show first came on the air but was fascinated by it , happily unaware that most of the filming was done on a lot in Hollywood and not in Honolulu . Have the first 3 seasons ( 4th with Troy Donohue I didn’t care for ) on DVD and will watch an episode tonight . Thanks for letting us know about Kimbo .
At 0:54 in the link below. . .
During Hawaiian Eyes opening each week, Ponce was seen floating in the ocean on an inner tube, wearing his trademark straw hat and stroking a ukulele.
Patch me through to McGarrett!
The theme music is a tune that really sticks with you over the years.
“The soft island breeze brings you strange melodies
And they tell of exotic mysteries under the tropical spell of Hawaiin Eye. “
Hawaiian ! oops
It’s EDD...not Ed...is it Byrnes??
“Book ‘em, Dano...”
The early Hawaiian prototype for Flavor Flav?
Robert Conrad pre-’Wild, Wild West’...
I am grey haired, and I do remember it. Connie Stevens’ character’s name was Cricket Blake.
Cricket Blake , Tracey Steele , Tom Lopaka and Kim Kusano !
One of favorites was 77 Sunset Strip. How could we forget “Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb?”
Ooops - it was Quisado . Always thought Kusano which is a Japanese surname . Also forgot the Greg McKenzie character played by Grant Williams of Incredible Shrinking man fame .
It gradually became corny when Kookie and Roscoe’s roles became more prominent .
Right! If I remember correctly, I think it was Connie Stevens who sang that song.
Another show, set in that period of time, was Surfside 6, which was (supposedly) filmed in Miami. Long time ago!
There you go !
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.