From Our Files | November

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

In September, Hawai‘i lost one of its most prominent journalists and storytellers with the death of Bob Krauss, 82. While Krauss was best known for his 55 years as a columnist with The Honolulu Advertiser, he also contributed to HONOLULU Magazine and its predecessor, Paradise of the Pacific, from the late 1950s to the early ’70s. Here are excerpts from some of his stories that appeared in the magazine.

Nov. 1959: In a Paradise of the Pacific interview with James Michener, Krauss asks the author—who recently sold the movie options to his novel Hawai‘i—if he considers himself lucky. “Oh yes,” Michener tells Krauss, “in timing and in the things that have happened to my work. … The year I got my Pulitzer Prize, 1947, there was no competition. I don’t think I’d have won any other year. The book on Hungary, I just happened to be passing through at the right time and I got behind the Iron Curtain.” In the photo above, Krauss (second from right) dines with authors (from left) Kathleen Mellen, Michener and Bill Lederer.

July 1960: Paradise of the Pacific writer Glenn Black gives a glowing review to Here’s Hawai‘i, a new book by Krauss, pictured above in his Waikiki “office.” “The book is rollicking, hilarious and all that. Bob Krauss, on the one hand, is one of the most avidly read columnists in Pacifica,” Black writes. “But his empathy with Hawai‘i is most poignantly revealed in this newest literary offspring. … The author’s got it bad, real bad, for Hawai‘i.”

Nov. 1961: Krauss describes “the biggest diaper operation in Hawai‘i’s history,” which took place on Jan. 9, 1961, at the Honolulu International Airport. Over the past six years, planeloads of Korean orphans had stopped over in Honolulu en route to their adoptive homes on the Mainland. “Each time, a volunteer group of Honolulu housewives has turned out to … make the lonely little orphans feel at home in Hawai‘i while the plane is being refueled,” Krauss writes in Paradise of the Pacific. Despite having only 12 hours’ warning, Mrs. Hugo Kortschak of Manoa assembled 70 other housewives from around the island to tend to 137 babies during the four-hour stopover. By the time the plane left Honolulu, “every baby on board had a full tummy, clean diapers and a complete new outfit. They left behind 70 exhausted housewives who seemed sorry that the ordeal was over.”

Dec. 1967: “Today’s automobiles have become so numerous, their seats so comfortable and their engines so dependable, and the highways they ride on so smooth that it’s taken all the excitement out of motoring,” Krauss laments in a nostalgic piece decrying modern automobiles on O‘ahu. He uses the Pali Tunnel, which opened less than a decade earlier, as a prime example. “A trip to Kailua offered a real challenge when cars had to go over the top along a narrow, twisting road that clung to the cliffs. You never knew when your radiator would boil over. Or, on a windy day, if the trunk would blow open. Then they bored tunnels through the mountains and now the drive to Kailua is just another 15 minutes along another high-speed freeway.” The photo below is an early 20th-century shot of Trail and Mountain Club members with their prized Cadillac.

Jan. 1974: HONOLULU Magazine profiles Krauss upon his 50th birthday, comparing the columnist to a small-town Kansas banker, circa 1910. Krauss, pictured below, frequently wore a bow tie and sleeve garters, sported modified muttonchops and “a pinkish Bismarck moustache,” worked on an old rolltop desk and talked on a standup phone. “Turning 50 is like turning 20 except it’s not so painful,” Krauss tells the magazine. “If a person has survived this long he’s learned to capitalize on his strengths and avoid his weaknesses. It’s a lot like my 1952 MG. I could go out and get a spanking new car, but I won’t. The old car—like people—doesn’t go as far as it did, but it doesn’t make that much difference.”