Island Address Book 4-14-2006

Jim Nabors, Entertainer and Oahu Resident, On Where to Shop for Gifts

By: Dawna L. Robertson

Even away from his home in Hawaii, Jim Nabors is recognized nearly everywhere he goes. And on those rare occasions when people aren’t quite sure who he is, his friendly smile makes them feel they might know him anyway. Accustomed to the recognition, Nabors laughs when kids tell him he looks like an “old Gomer Pyle.”

The popular star still remains one of television’s most beloved personalities 37 years after his stint as the endearing private in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

Having lived in Hawaii over 30 years, Nabors has found appeal in the easy island lifestyle.

“As the years go by, Hawaii hooks you,” he said, “and you can’t live anywhere else. I don’t know what it is about the place.”

He describes himself as more of a friend than a celebrity, which makes Nabors very approachable.

“People aren’t pushy here,” he said. “They’re polite. So I’m polite in return. I love people and usually talk to anyone who wants to talk to me.”

Among his buddies are the rich and famous, as well as Hawaii residents of all ages who know him from his annual “A Merry Christmas With Friends and Nabors” show at the Hawaii Theatre. Others frequently spot him shopping in the Kahala Mall.

“Knowing what someone likes to receive is the fun of gift giving,” said Nabors.

He knows how to practice what he preaches too. Nabors lived next door to Doris Duke, whose Shangri-La mansion is now an Islamic museum open to the public.

“Know what broke the ice with her?” Nabors asked. “Remember, she was one of the richest women in the world. I gave her an inlaid ivory screen I thought would be nice in her home. That did it.”

Nabors owns a macadamia nut farm in Hana, Maui. So he frequently shares mac nut candies as gifts.

“I have a friend who lives in Ohio,” Nabors said. “I send him my macadamia nuts and he makes candies from my recipes. Then we send them to other friends all over the world.”

When he shops locally, Nabors prefers Hilo Hattie for Hawaiian goodies and muumuus. He also opts for Crazy Shirts. Nabors tries to match up just the right gift.

“I like to give Hawaiian shirts, like the beautiful ones Anne Namba makes,” he said. “I just bought several at Ballet Hawaii’s Mistletoe Magic fundraiser.

“I also like to find unique Oriental items that folks on the mainland can’t find,” he said. “I went to Meng Dynasty recently and bought Anna Meng’s jewelry and art pieces. She has exquisite taste and gets things from China.”

For edible offerings, Nabors literally stays in his neighborhood. He heads up the hill from his Diamond Head home to Kapiolani Community College.

“There’s a great farmers market in the parking lot on Saturday mornings, and you can buy wonderful local products there,” said Nabors.

“It doesn’t matter whether the gift is big or small,” he noted. “It’s the memory that comes with it that makes it special.”

One large memory for Nabors is his grand piano, a gift from dear friend Carol Burnett.

“She raised her children to play on this piano, so I know it means a lot to her to have it here in my home,” Nabors said.

Nabors’ lifestyle is geared to generosity. And perhaps the greatest gift is his annual holiday show, for which he has never received a cent of compensation. Nabors shares his time and talents with the local community as well, giving back to the Hawaii ohana (family) that embraces him.


Anne Namba
324 Kamani St.

Ballet Hawaii

Crazy Shirts
2201 Kalakaua Ave.

Hilo Hattie
700 N. Nimitz Hwy.

Hawaii Theatre
1130 Bethel St.

Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd.

Kahala Mall
4211 Waialae Ave.

Meng Dynasty
1188 Bishop St. #1704