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From Our Files - March

HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific, chronicling the Islands since 1888.


March 1926: An aerial photograph of Waikiki Beach, as it appeared in 1925. Near the Moana Hotel, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is under construction for an estimated $2 million (about $21 million in today's dollars). Double tracks of the Honolulu Rapid Transit line Kalakaua Avenue.

"Had the picture been taken in the afternoon, the water in front of the hotels would have been alive with surfboard rides, outrigger canoe parties, swimmers and bathers; and, between four and five o'clock, the avenue would have been a stream of hither-coming automobiles, bearing from the city the host who are beachward or homeward bound," writes Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine.

March 1946: With the end of World War II and a surge in demand for sugar, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association tries to recruit more plantation workers through a series of ads, including this one, photo at right, in Paradise of the Pacific.

March 1961: Paradise of the Pacific profiles Sterling Mossman, a popular Waikiki entertainer by night and stern police officer by day. Backed by his Barefoot Bar Gang–which included slack key great Alvin Isaacs Jr.–Honolulu's "high priest of comedy" was known for his offbeat humor. He razzed his audiences, parodied classic songs and told his own version of Hawaiian history. "Another crowd pleaser is his tale of Capt. Cook, discoverer of the Islands, being the main dish at the first lu'au. 'Fortunately,' says Mossman, 'Capt. Cook wasn't very tasty; otherwise, the way Hawaiians eat, there'd be no haoles left.'"
March 1971: "Color is the keynote, and it's been ingeniously used at Denny's Imperial Hawai'i Hotel, one of Honolulu's newest and jazziest," writes HONOLULU. Denny's, the national restaurant chain, had made its first foray into the hotel business with the purchase of the Imperial in 1969. To liven up the interior, the company hired Honolulu architecture firm Johnson & Reese. Among the hotel's additions: Captain Nemo's, photo opposite, a discotheque inspired by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. "Psychedelic lights groove to the exuberant beat of bright young combos," HONOLULU reports. "In fact, the lights are tuned in to the amplified instruments to match automatically the rhythm and the mood."

March 1981: HONOLULU Magazine interviews Bob Holden, chairman of the Hawai'i Visitors Bureau, about the previous year's dip in tourists to the Islands. The decrease was small–3.9 million visited in 1980, down 21,000 from 1979–but it was the first such decline since 1949 and a shock to an industry accustomed to rapid growth.

Holden attributed the decrease to national coverage of crimes against tourists, a lack of state funds for advertising and a downturn in the national economy. "1980 was a bad year overall. ...You can't expect to have banner years when the economy of the country is not paralleling that," Holden told the magazine. In 2005, Hawai'i saw a record-setting 7.39 million visitors, 650,506 more than the year prior.

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Honolulu Magazine March 2019
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