Hilo’s Palace Theatre, 1925.


The astonishingly beautiful Theatre was just completed, and it was dedicated [hoau ia] in the evening of this past Monday, and a great crowd filled this very first opening.

A Hawaiian established this beautiful building here in Hilo, and it can accommodate 813 guests. It is divided up into various sections, and there are proper seats located everywhere, and the moviegoers at all times will sit in true comfort. Continue reading


Robert K. Bonine film, 1921.

Leper Settlement is Shown in New Aspect

An attractive and unusual film of scenes from the Molokai settlement has been displayed to a party of friends by Robert K. Bonine, Honolulu photographer and pioneer in the exposition abroad of Hawaii through the moving picture, reports the Advertiser. Among those at the “first night” at Mr. Bonine’s studio in the Oregon building were Dr. A. L. Dean, president of the University of Hawaii, Frederick E. Trotter, president of the board of health, and Dr. G. A. Barton. Continue reading

Swim to be held at Punahou, 1922.

A Scene from Preparations for a Swim at Punahou

The picture above [below], beginning from the left is of Duke P. Kahanamoku, the world champion swimmer, Mrs. David Wark Griffith, Oscar Henning, the manager of Kahanamoku, and Dad Center. Mr. Kahanamoku entered into a contract for him to perform some astonishing feats to be made into a movie under the direction of Mr. Henning for the success of that endeavor, and it is believed that a company will be started here to produce Kahanamoku’s movies.

(Kuokoa, 2/10/1922, p. 5)

He Hiona no ka Hoolalaia Ana o Kahi Auau ma Punahou

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LXI, Helu 6, Aoao 5. Feberuari 10, 1922.

Waikiki Wedding and Bing Crosby, 1936.



HOLLYWOOD, Sept. 1.—Mr. Bing Crosby will be landing in Honolulu next Thursday aboard the steamship Lurline, one of those who are writing the script of a movie called “Waikiki Wedding.” The news was heard from his studio that on this trip he is searching for a very famous woman in ancient Hawaiian hula, that understands the hand motion and the foot movements, as in ancient Hawaiian history; the hula of Hawaii that made it famous and was seen as one of the things that were taught to all women of Hawaii during those days. Also they are on the search for famous young musicians of Hawaii nei that know the proper mele for the hula foot movements of women, who know the string instruments and drums of the Hawaiians, and are not just handsome to look at, but true to the history that is written about: the ti-leaf whistle, the kilu drum, the puhenehene flute, the jew’s harp and bamboo ukeke. Continue reading

Bonine brings movies to Kalawao and Kalaupapa, 1909.


On Thursday evening last a new miracle happened at Kalaupapa. On that evening R. K. Bonine, the moving-picture expert, threw his first picture on the screen before an audience of a thousand lepers, and there was a great gasp of awed astonishment and keen delight when the pictures really moved and did things. Cheers, tears, gasps and soul-satisfying laughter greeted the pictures in turn, and when the reels put aside for the first entertainment had been exhausted, the people of Kalaupapa and Kalawao, in a body, cheered their thanks to the man who had brought these wonders to them and to those in Honolulu who had through their contributions made these miracles possible.

It was a great day for the people of the Molokai Settlement, and it was a great day for Bonine. To the lepers had come a new marvel, greater far than the sight of the mighty White Fleet, which maneuvered past their shores last summer, greater than anything that had come to them. No place the world over have motion pictures made such a hit. Continue reading

Hot air balloon in Paris, riding a camel in India, then an elephant in Egypt…, 1911.

[Kakauia mai]

I Parisa aku nei au
I ka lele baluna poniuniu
A Inia aku nei au
I ke kau kamelo holo pupule
A Aigupita aku makou
I ke kau elepani ihu peleleu
Kupanaha e ka hana kahi kii doll
I ke ki malalo oni a o luna
Alawa iho oe a o ke kuene
Palamimo e ka lima i ka naau-kake
Hainaia mai ana ka puana
Ke kii onioni a o Kalawao
—K. Glee Club.

[Movie of Kalawao

I was in Paris
On a dizzying hot-air balloon
I was in India
On a camel that went along crazily
We were in Egypt
On an elephant with a long trunk
Amazing is the action of this doll
Turn the key below and it moves above
Look at that waiter
Skilled are his hands with the sausage
Let the story be told
The movie of Kalawao.

Kalawao Glee Club.]

[Here is a mele about places far away, written it seems down in Kalawao after a movie of clips of various scenes was shown there. For the version more widely known today, see also “Palisa” in Na Mele o Hawaii Nei, pp. 84–85.]

(Au Hou, 8/24/1910, p. 12)


Ke Au Hou, Buke I, Helu 17, Aoao 12. Augate 24, 1910.

Diamond Kekona writes home, 1908.


This past week, Mr. D. K. Kekona received a letter from his child Dimond Kekona [Diamond Kekona], written in the city of Philadelphia, United States of America, telling of how they are doing and their progress of their work in the foreign lands.

These are Hawaiian boys who left the beloved shores of Hawaii nei and sailed to other lands in search of fortunes through singing and playing music with their various instruments. According to what he reported, their work is going well; they receive around $1,425 every week.

They are under the direction of a haole that shows movies named Mr. Lubin, and on the first night that showed the movies in the city of Philadelphia, along with their singing of Hawaiian songs, they received a huge sum of money, and on that night in their estimation, there was about ten-thousand people or more gathered there to see the performance of the Hawaiian boys which they heard about.

In their band is seven actual Hawaiian boys; each of their names are: Dimond Kekona [Diamond Kekona], Charles Kalahila, E. Davis, Frank Forest [Frank Forrest], Harry Parker, Sam and Willie Jones. There are many other Hawaiian bands in America and they travel all over the place.

Here is the gist of the letter:

To My Dear Papa,

Mr. D. K. Kekona, Aloha to you and all the family:—I have found the perfect time to write to you this letter to tell you how we are and how our work is here.

We opened a show in the city of Philadelphia before a large group of people that numbered about ten thousand. Mr. Lubin is our leader, and he shows movies with our assistance in our singing Hawaiian songs along with playing instruments. Hawaiian songs are very popular. The audience was filled with delight and were pleased until the time when the program let out for the night. The money we make is about $1,425 a week and we earn very good wages for the week. We will be touring other places with our singing.

There are just seven of us Hawaii boys. We are all doing good and are in good health. It is very cold here.

(Kuokoa, 11/20/1908, p. 4)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XLIII, Helu 47, Aoao 4. Novemaba 20, 1908.