|Remembering and Reviving the
Coco Palms Hotel
From AAP NEWSFEED, Thursday, Oct. 28, 1999:
Memories of Elvis in Blue Hawaii
WAILUA, Kauai, AAP - When Hurricane Iniki hit Hawaii's Kauai island on September 11 1992, Wayne Perreira's employers at the Coco Palms Resort summoned him on his day off to help evacuate guests.
As the eye of the storm approached, the hotel engineer went from room to room making sure all guests had escaped. He then disconnected the electricity and gas, all the while worrying about his pregnant wife and their children at home.
"It was bad because we were right in the eye of the storm," said Perreira.
"I had to get all the people out, then check all the rooms. After everything was secured, I had to shut down the power and gas and then go home and secure everything there. It was a very frightening time."
The resort, made famous in the 1961 Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, was wrecked and seven years later remains shut, awaiting redevelopment.
Perreira recalls the time Elvis returned to the Coco Palms in the late 1960s, bringing with him his new wife Priscilla. The celebrity couple had married in a splashy affair in Las Vegas in 1967, but apparently yearned for the relaxed and tropical atmosphere of Kauai.
In a more intimate affair away from public scrutiny, Elvis and Priscilla renewed their vows under the great palm trees reflected in the artificial waterways that surround the Coco Palms Resort. Guests and staff at the resort were thrilled to witness the proceedings, a re-enactment of Blue Hawaii's colourful wedding scene in which Chad Gates (Elvis) marries his childhood sweetheart (Joan Blackman), both draped in leis and serenaded with romantic Hawaiian music.
"I met him and talked to him a couple of times," said Perreira, who worked in room service at the time.
"Elvis was very friendly and he really seemed to like the place. The wedding was a re-enactment of Blue Hawaii and Elvis fans still come here every day to see where it all happened.
"There are still weddings here with all the singing, the flowers, the conch shells and the hula dancers."
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