From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s Past–March Edition
A look back at Honolulu from March 1937 to 1992. Stories taken from the archives of Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.
In 1888, King Kalākaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.
An extended maritime strike on the West Coast leaves Hawai‘i stranded with no shipments in or out of the Mainland, driving up the price of vegetables, meat and canned goods as much as 400 percent. After the strike is settled, Paradise of the Pacific reflects: “Semi-isolation of about three months disrupted our serene complacency. We are all glad it is over. … That period, during which this local American market was supplied considerably by foreigners and when Hawaiian products could not be moved to normal markets, produced blessings as well as blights. We must count profits as well as losses. We should do some remembering, some thinking, and looking on both sides of the shield.” Paradise also had renewed appreciation for Hawai‘i’s tourists. “Now that they are here again, let us so plan their sojourns with us that every visitor will depart from here a booster for Hawai‘i.”
The hot new look for the spring of 1962: boy-leg swimsuits.
Paradise of the Pacific editors: “A writer we know notes that all Elks Clubs observe a solemn ceremony at 11 p.m. in their clubhouses. A part of the ceremony is for members to toast their ‘absent brothers’—and he wonders if those absentees are their black, brown and yellow brothers.”
HONOLULU interviews Don Ho, and asks, hey, we hear you got friends in the mob. Ho replies, “Let me put it this way, OK? Almost everybody on this island I know. I know a lot of people in the underworld. I know a lot of people in the good world. I know a lot of people in politics. I know a lot of people in entertainment. I know a lot of people, period. … Even the guys in the underworld will tell you, Don is friend, like growing-up-kine friend. … We know ’em all, we don’t go to bed with them.”
The H-3 Freeway has just opened, and HONOLULU Magazine takes stock: “Ecologists hate it, Hawaiian activists curse it, and heaven knows what will happen when you drive through its electromagnetic field.” Wait, what? Yes, the OMEGA radio station is still active at the top of Ha‘ikū Valley, pumping out VLF (very low frequency) navigational signals. Each signal pulse generates an excess 140,000 watts of electricity, which charges the air in the valley with electromagnetic residue. Protesters illustrate the problem by hiking into the valley with long fluorescent tubes in hand: The tubes light up just from the electricity in the air.
Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at shop.honolulumagazine.com.
READ MORE STORIES BY MICHAEL KEANY