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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 8, 2002

DeLima's latest takes a whack at the Chinese contest of tiles

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

'Mahjong Party'

A TV game show, based on the Chinese game mahjong

Premieres at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10

KHON-Fox 2

Call for contestants:

• 1 p.m. July 14, at the Palace Showroom, Ohana Reef Towers Hotel, 227 Lewers St.

• Must be 21, with valid Hawai'i driver's license, and be available for tapings (initial shows will be taped July 20, with others to follow)

Frank DeLima has made a career out of creating ethnic characters and doing race-related comedy in his nightclub shows.

His latest concoction, a mischievous yellow-robed Lum Jong, will be introduced in a new game show, "Mahjong Party," 5:30 p.m. Saturdays on KHON-Fox 2 starting Aug. 10.

"I don't play mahjong, so I'm learning, making it up as I go," said DeLima, who hadn't decided whether Lum Jong would speak standard English or unreel an accent in his speech. "I'm supposed to be funny, throwing in some ethnic jokes, and I ask the questions. So I've been watching the Game Show Network (for tips)."

His straight man in the endeavor will be Brickwood Galuteria, KINE-FM morning show co-host, who will prevail over the half-hour competition being produced by Franco in partnership with Hawai'i Star Presents, the latter group linked with "Jan Ken Po" and "Hawai'i Stars."

Playing a Chinese character is nothing new for DeLima, who is Portuguese and grew up in Pauoa Valley with Chinese and Japanese neighbors. His current "Noodle Shop Days" production at the 'Ohana Reef Towers Hotel's Palace Showroom boasts Bruce Springroll, a rock singer patterned after Bruce Springsteen but with a Chinese punch. In the past, DeLima has portrayed a 1,001-year-old Chinese man, a magician named Fu Ling Yu, and a Chinese Elvis performing in an Elmer Fudd accent.

Thus, Lum Jong, who doesn't have to sing, will be a breeze.

One of his Chinese advisers and friends, Leon Letoto of the Phoenix Dance Chamber, helped create his flowing yellow robe with red accent.

"The only time I worked with Frank was when he guested on my cooking show," said Galuteria. "It was a riot; anytime you get DeLima on your side, some accident is waiting to happen. Maybe I need to call Glenn Medeiros (who worked with the comic before) about how to hang out with Frank."

Galuteria isn't a mahjong buff, "so I have to learn," he said. "Maybe I'll go Chinatown and seek out the Joy Luck Club."

"Mahjong Party," a brainchild of Frances Kirk of Franco, is a modernized version of the ancient Chinese game. In this reincarnation, there will be humor and mischief, with four contestants in teams of two, competing for prizes that include Vacations Hawaii trips to Las Vegas.

The usual mahjong tiles will be morphed into whimsical objects. A new measure, "Wiki Wiki Mahjong," will enable contestants to qualify for additional tiles by answering Hawai'i trivia questions. Patrick Downes, veteran script and comedy writer for DeLima, is formulating the questions and multiple-choice answers.