Book on comedian Rap Reiplinger's life debuts Saturday
HONOLULU - Paradise to Paradise: The Rap Reiplinger Story debuted at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival on Saturday, at the Mission Memorial Auditorium on the Civic Grounds near Honolulu Hale in historic downtown Honolulu.
The book, written by Leesa Clark Stone, chronicles the life of her late husband, James Kawika Piimauna “Rap” Reiplinger, a brilliant and beloved local comedian who helped create the comedy ensemble Booga Booga with James Grant Benton and Ed Kaahea in 1974. He received an Emmy Award in 1982 and a bronze medal from the International Film and Television Festival of New York for his TV special Rap’s Hawaii which he wrote and starred in. Rap’s work continues to be enjoyed and remains relevant throughout Hawaii 35 years after his death.
In addition to chronicling Reiplinger’s life, the book is a snapshot of the 1970’s and 80’s lifestyle, people, politics and varied cultures of Hawaii in an entertaining satirical fashion.
“I didn’t know it was going to be a book when I started this journey,” explained Stone. “I set out to get answers to questions about his death that had bothered me for over 30 years. In the process, I remembered what an interesting life Rap led during an important time in history with the Hawaiian Renaissance. When I uncovered some surprising details about his death, I knew that story had to be told in the context of his life and his humor, which so many people still love and quote daily.”
In the book, Stone reveals new details that emerged about her late husband’s death in 1984 through an investigation launched by the Hawaii State Attorney General’s (AG) office in late 2013. The ongoing probe has yielded information that conflicts with Honolulu Police Department detectives’ theories in 1984 that Reiplinger fell over 75 feet to the place where his body was found in Maunawili. The AG is investigating a sworn statement that Reiplinger was assaulted at the scene in a wooded area where he was known to go hiking.
Paradise to Paradise: The Rap Reiplinger Story is available at area bookstores and through the website: www.rapreiplinger.com.
In conjunction with the book release, Reiplinger’s last three albums will be available for the first time on iTunes beginning May 7. The album Do I Dare Disturb the Universe has several bits from the award-winning 1981 television program, Rap’s Hawaii. Highlights include Cooking Show #1 and #2 (the debut of Rap’s Aunty Marialani character), Eulogy, Ala Wai Motors and Puka Shell Tour Guide.
The iTunes presale link, prior to the May 7 launch, is: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/do-i-dare-disturb-the-universe/1460614654.
The other two albums are Strange Bird (originally released in 1981) and Towed Away (1983). Strange Bird has the memorable bit from Rap’s Hawaii entitled “Secret Taste Test.” Reiplinger fans will remember the line, “I like da crackah!”