Related topics

Bright and Brief

October 31, 1988

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) _ Kokomo, Ind., is, no doubt, a fine city, but it’s hardly the tropical paradise of the Beach Boys’ song ″Kokomo.″ So Keys businessmen are creating pieces of the fictitious island to satisfy the Kokomo craze.

The song, which climbed to the top of Billboard’s pop singles’ chart Monday, mentions various Caribbean islands as well as Key Largo and the Florida Keys and declares that Kokomo is the place ″you want to go to get away from it all.″

Unfortunately for interested vacationers, songwriters Mike Love, Terry Melcher, John Phillips and Scott MacKenzie dreamed up the alluring isle for the song from the motion picture ″Cocktail.″

Some would-be visitors, not finding Kokomo on any maps, have called chambers of commerce in the Keys looking for it.

″One caller said she wanted her wedding ceremony on Kokomo Island and asked us to help make arrangements,″ said Ginna Thomas, executive director for the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce.

Not ones to miss any opportunity, resort operators are trying to capitalize on Kokomo’s fame.

In Key West, Marriott’s Casa Marina has renamed its beach Kokomo Beach, according to marketing director Jeff Erwin.

″We felt if people wanted Kokomo, then what the heck, let’s give them Kokomo,″ said Joe Roth, managing owner of Holiday Isle Resort in Islamorada. ″So we named our poolside bar Kokomo and developed a tropical drink with the same name.″

The full name, by the way, is Kokomo at Margaritaville. As with Kokomo, there is no Margaritaville, featured in a hit song by Jimmy Buffett, the Keys’ resident music star.


TACOMA, Wash (AP) - Shadowy figures flit through the halls after dark. Burglar alarms go off for no apparent reason. Things go bump in the night.

Sound like a Halloween haunted house? Actually, it’s the Washington State Historical Society Museum.

Through the years, nighttime security guards have reported ghostly figures stalking halls and noises in deserted parts of the museum, which was built shortly after the turn of the century.

″There’s nothing worse than closing this place up at night,″ said Steve Campion, who works in the gift shop.

Campion says any creaks and thumps probably come from settling of the building, but he admits that he would be reluctant to spend a night in the place.

Registrar Mary Rash said a security guard who retired in 1986 often reported seeing a lady wearing a brown dress in the darkened hallways. The same man, who died the month after he retired, also said he saw the ghost of Mary Todd Lincoln playing with her two sons near an Abraham Lincoln display.

Security officer Michael Shaudis said he was told that shortly after a new alarm system was installed several years ago, a motion detector sounded an alarm in a locked room where the Lincoln display was stored, for reasons that remain unexplained.

Ms. Rash, hesitant to say she believes the museum is haunted, nonetheless does not believe the guard fabricated his ghostly tale.

Unexplained circumstances continue even with the latest technology.

Images of Victorian-clad mannequins from a display somehow were burned into video security screens.

When a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy known as Ankh Unnofoi was moved last fall from the first-floor atrium to a dark cranny on the second floor to make room for another exhibit, plans called for installation of a light at the new location. The first light bulb fizzled. So did the second.

A new lighting base and bulb were installed, and all was well until the light was pointed at the mummy. The bulb immediately went out, Shaudis said.

″Obviously, it’s probably the contacts in the track,″ he said.

Nonetheless, to this day, the mummy remains unlighted.

Update hourly