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A ‘Happy Camper’ Halloween

People have, over the years, threatened to become The Garden Island’s Dennis Fujimoto, aka the “Happy Camper,” for Halloween. And, in fact, people actually have.

Count Elliot Lucas among them.

“Like so many people on Kauai, we all know and love Dennis. When Dennis shows up to an event, you know that you’re at the most happening place,” Lucas wrote Friday. “He moves through events methodically, and seemingly undetected, like a cheetah, and yet you can spot him from a mile away or just out of the corner of your eye.”

It was last year that Lucas, Kauai Made Films producer and co-founder of the Kauai Film Academy, said he knew he had to become the Happy Camper for Halloween this year. So he spent the next 10 months collecting everything he needed to look the part — vest, cap, glasses and camera.

But that was the easy part of playing Fujimoto, who has worked at TGI for more than three decades and somehow seems to be everywhere at once, snapping pictures and taking notes.

“The hardest challenge in becoming Happy Camper was getting his movements down and his facial expression,” Lucas said. “Dennis has a unique and contagious smile, and I knew that had to be just right.”

He even set up a car scene for a photo — just the kind where Dennis would show up, camera in hand, cap on head and, of course, wearing his trademark vest.

Friend Alaiza Ferrier took the picture as Lucas did his best Fujimoto impersonation, while Patricia Mara posed with yellow vest and tape measure, seemingly investigating the scene.

Growing up on Kauai, Elliot said he would often see Dennis at baseball tournaments, county fairs, fundraisers, “basically any event.”

“I’ve seen Dennis a lot in recent years because of a film we are making on Kauai. Dennis has always been there to help us promote the movie — at our fundraisers, studio opening and our academy classes.”

Fujimoto laughed at the impersonation and recreation, all in his honor. He recounted this incident: “While on assignment to the Lihue Public Library on Halloween, I was walking up Hardy Street (no parking at the library) and a resident collecting his mail wanted to know where I got my Dennis Fujimoto costume.”
Source: The Garden Island

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