Regarding "Brando's Eden," by Rosemary McClure, March 1: I worked and lived with Marlon Brando on Tetiaroa in French Polynesia from 1970 to 1973 as his architect and planner. I remained in contact with him until his death in 2004, and I can say with certainty that he would be appalled that Tetiaroa is now available only to the very affluent ($2,735 per night, three-night minimum), exclusive guests at the Brando luxury resort there.
He always expressed how much he wanted to preserve the atoll for the Tahitian people.
Marlon and Tarita lived in one of 12 simple open-air huts we built on the atoll. He is surely twisting in his grave at the mere mention of "35 beachfront villas … each with a media room, plunge pool, giant flat-screen TVs...."
The piece about Tetiaroa was fun to read, but I was surprised to see no mention of the island's previous hotel, where I stayed in summer 1978.
There were perhaps 10 separate double-occupancy rooms and a central dining/recreation facility.
I don't remember TV (no satellites in those days) or a swimming pool. I missed neither as I spent most of each day snorkeling in the lagoon and paddling an outrigger to the nearest island.
One day, we visited Bird Island; I still have photos of boobies and terns sitting on limbs. I loved it.
It was a bit cheaper back then. Four weeks in the Society Islands — four islands, including five days on Tetiaroa — totaled about $1,200 ($4,301 in today's dollars). But that was for four weeks. Well, times certainly change.
Visit Walpi too
I have spent considerable time on the Hopi Indian Reservation and was pleased to read David Kelly's detailed piece ["Hopiland Revelations," March 1].
There was one glaring omission, however. There was no mention of Walpi, on an outcrop of rock so high that one feels closer to the stars than the ground.
Electricity came somewhat recently to Walpi, and water is still trucked in or carried by hand up the zigzag footpaths. The one-room visitors center has somewhat irrregular hours.You cannot venture into the village on your own, but fascinating guided tours on foot are available.
It has always been an eagerly anticipated day trip on my yearly visits to friends in Winslow, Ariz. La Posada Hotel in Winslow is a magnificently restored landmark and an ideal home base for excursions.
1915 expos on film
Just now reading and enjoying Christopher Reynolds' "The Grand Legacy of a Great Rivalry" [Jan. 4].
Both expos are nicely documented in the 1915 Mack Sennett comedy shorts "Fatty and Mabel at the San Diego Exposition" and "Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World's Fair at San Francisco," both starring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Mabel Normand.
They can be seen on YouTube, DVD and Blu-ray.
Jordan R. Young