The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Fritz Herman and the Kodak Hawai‘i Hula Show

For this issue, we flipped back 65 years to see what the city was buzzing about in July 1958. 


Fritz Herman and the Kodak Hawai‘i Hula Show

A profile in Paradise covers Fritz Herman, Kodak Hawai‘i Ltd.’s vice president who was also involved with the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and many other organizations. But it wasn’t Herman’s prowess as a businessman or community leader that gained him this feature— it was his support for Hawaiian culture as the founder of the Kodak Hawai‘i Hula Show. The free hula show ran from 1937 to 2002, only halting during the height of World War II. It began as a weekly performance at Kapi‘olani Beach Park near the Waikīkī Natatorium War Memorial and by the end of its run was held four times a week at the Waikīkī Shell.

Fof Fritz HermanHerman established the show to provide tourists with a daytime opportunity to photograph hula and showcase Hawai‘i’s natural beauty. There was a small photo service booth set up at the performances, which offered film supplies and assistance to photographers of all levels. According to the 1958 article, each performance resulted in the exposure of approximately 200 rolls of color film, 100 rolls of black and white, and 25,000 feet of color movie film. Kodak ended its sponsorship of the show in 1999, but performances continued for three more years under the Hogan Family Foundation.


Beach Boys of Waikīkī

July 1958 CoverThis month’s cover features a photo of a Waikīkī beach boy leaning against an outrigger canoe. A corresponding picture inside captures a bustling Waikīkī Beach with the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the background. A description of the beach boys reads, “He’ll assist you in finding a comfortable spot on the beach; he’ll bring you a beach chair, suntan lotion, and an umbrella; he’ll arrange canoe rides for you, carry your surf board, teach you how to swim and surf, and he’ll even rescue you, if necessary.”