Prohibition is Fanaticism!

The Outdoor Circle recently complained about the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile that’s been rolling around Honolulu, calling it a “mobile billboard.” Seems a little grinchy to us, but the local environmental organization has been keeping a hawk’s eye out for any and all forms of outdoor advertising since 1926, when it successfully lobbied the Hawaii Territorial Legislature to ban billboards in the Islands.

Hawaii has been advertising-free for so long, it’s hard to imagine what a billboarded Honolulu might look like. So I was excited to run across these photos at the Hawaii State Archives of an ad campaign protesting the looming alcohol prohibition. (The photos are undated, but it was an unsuccessful campaign in any event; the national prohibition would crunch down in 1920.)

The sight of political billboards on the streets of Honolulu is a novel one, and it’s fascinating to note that more than half of them were in Hawaiian—a compelling reminder of just how many native speakers used to be around.