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A Flower Girl’s Special Story

Mary Daubert was only 10 years old when her life changed forever.

It happened in 1961 at St. Catherine School in Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i. Mary and her father were there to pick up her older sister from choir practice. A Hollywood casting director was also there that day searching for extras to appear in a major movie production happening on Kaua‘i.

“I was wearing an orchid colored dress with a purple orchid in my ear,” recalls Daubert of that day 60 years ago. “I ran past the casting director and I guess I caught his attention. He asked my sister to bring me to the set at Coco Palms Hotel tomorrow.”

Everyone on Kaua‘i knew that movie was Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman. Daubert had “a sense of who Elvis was” but did not understand what the fuss was about.

“The next day we went to Coco Palms and the casting director asked me if I wanted to be a flower girl in a wedding scene,” says Daubert. “I said yes! Next thing I know, I’m standing next to Elvis in the movie’s iconic wedding scene.”

Blue Hawaii was the first major film that featured Kaua‘i as itself. It was Elvis’ eighth movie and by far his most successful. Its soundtrack spent 79 weeks on Billboard’s pop album chart, including 20 weeks in the No. 1 spot.

“My friends at school said, ‘Wow, you’re in Elvis’ movie!’ I was kind of like a star,” chuckles Daubert, who retired four years ago from the County after serving many years as its public information director. “Every morning Elvis would greet the cast from a distance, ‘Hello there!’ He was a charismatic man. It’s no wonder he’s still loved today.”

Hollywood has filmed more than 60 major movies and TV shows on Kaua‘i, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, The Thorn Birds, Six Days, Seven Nights, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide, but  none was more important to Kaua‘i than Blue Hawaii. It changed the Garden Island forever … along with a little flower girl from Kapa‘a.


Ron Mizutani