This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal rights of this material remain with the Outrigger Canoe Club. Anyone wishing to reproduce it or quote at length from it should contact the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions that are not factual.
An Interview by J. Ward Russell
July 18, 1986
WR: This is Friday, July 18, 1988. I am Ward Russell (WR), past President of the Outrigger Canoe Club and currently a member of its Historical Committee which is conducting oral interviews with same of the old- timers in the Club. This morning it is my distinct pleasure to interview Alan “Turkey” Love (AL), considered one of the most colorful persons on Waikiki Beach, and the last beach boy remaining from the pre-World War II era. Turkey, I‘m sure, has many recollections of Waikiki and this morning we hope to get some of these for the historical records of the Club.
Turkey, before we get into some of the details of your background, I’d like you to explain what has been happening in the press recently. You were referred to, in an article, not so long ago as the “late Turkey Love. What was that all about?
AL: Oh, somebody started that, I don’t know who it was; it was embarrassing but at the same time it was kind of funny. Evidently the rumor was started about six months prior to when the article was written. The man who wrote it received many calls to stop it, and he admitted he had made a big mistake. I was mad in a way, but at the same time I laughed about it.
WR: Then there was something in the paper the other day, I think it was in Don Chapman’s column, where your daughter was involved in setting the record straight.
AL: Oh yeah. She got mad as heck.
WR: Oh, she did!
WR: What did she do?
AL: She called him – the guy who wrote the article. In fact a lot of guys called him; and Chapman found out about it.
WR: Well, I can certainly testify that you are very alive and active. (Laugh) Speaking of that, being alive and active, when were you born?
WR: Here in Honolulu?
AL: Right here in Honolulu, Piikoi Street, just off King.
WR: What were your father and mother’s names?
AL: My dad’s first name was Eugene. My mother’s first name was Annie.
WR: What was her maiden name?
WR: Oh, she was a Mossman! You are related to the Mossman family?
WR: A very illustrious Island family, so are the Loves. How many were there in your family?
AL: There were three boys and a girl.
WR: Can you give me their names?
AL: The boys; Malcolm, Walter and me, and my sister Winona.
WR: Oh, yes, Winona. She was a wonderful person, I knew her so well and, of course, she was famous in Hawaii’s history – famous for her personality and particularly for her beautiful dancing.
AL: Hula dancing.
WR: Where did you go to school?
AL: Roosevelt. Incidentally, exactly 50 years ago, back in 1936, that school won the first football championship – after being in the league (ILH) for three years.
WR: I remember that.
AL: 1936. We are going to get together on August 16.
WR: You played on that team?
AL: Yes – 50 years ago.
WR: What position did you play?
WR: You were end on that team. Who did you beat for the championship that year?
AL: McKinley. In those days there was only Roosevelt, McKinley, St. Louis and Kam. That’s all.
WR: You forgot my school, Punahou.
AL: Oh yeah, excuse me, that’s right, Punahou.
WR: Don’t you remember the paint brush rivalry?
AL: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s right, it was for years.
WR: I remember when Roosevelt and Punahou played for the first time in 1933. We went to assembly one morning at Punahou and the President of the school got up on stage and said, “Now keep calm everybody, don’t do anything. We don’t want any retaliation.” I didn’t know what he was talking about until someone said, “Hey, take a look out the door there.” I looked out and saw that the dome of Pauahi Hall had been painted a different color. The night before the Roosevelt kids had come over and painted it the colors green and yellow for Roosevelt – the dome was green and yellow instead of buff and blue.
AL: Yeah, I remember that.
WR: However, we did retaliate. A bunch of Punahou kids went over one night and threw buckets of buff and blue paint on the outside of the Roosevelt auditorium!
WR: That started the paint brush rivalry. [Laughter]
AL: Yeah, yeah.
WR: Tell me, how many of your brothers are living?
AL: They are all alive.
WR: Malcolm, I know . . .
AL: Yeah, he’s still alive.
WR: And Walter? What does Walter do?
AL: He’s retired. He was a fireman.
WR: Malcolm is retired now, too, isn’t he?
AL: Yes, he’s been retired for eight years. . .
WR: Wasn’t it, one of the oil companies?
AL: Shell Oil.
WR: Shell Oil, that’s right.
AL: He retired when he was 62 – he was with Shell for 30 years. No, 40 years. He started when he was 22 years old.
WR: Now let’s see. When you were going to Roosevelt, what sports did you participate in other than football?
AL: That’s about all. I tried to swim, but back in the old days we didn’t have a coach.
WR: That’s right.
AL: In fact, I used to swim real fast but making a turn – I just didn’t know how to make the turn. I’d beat the guy going down, but then on the way back he’d beat me because of the turn. I used to love to swim.
WR: You said you were born on Piikoi Street, I think earlier when we were talking about it you said you moved to Waikiki. When did the family move to Waikiki?
AL: 1927, the summer.
WR: And where did you live in Waikiki?
AL: On Koa Avenue.
WR: Ah, not far from the beach. When did you first hit the beach?
AL: From that time on.
WR: Let’s see in ’27, you were born in 1919, you were eight years old.
AL: I was eight year’s old.
WR: When did you first start to surf?
AL: When I was eight year’s old – redwood boards.
WR: Redwood boards – who taught you?
AL: Nobody would teach you. You taught yourself. I remember I had a big redwood board. The darned thing was so heavy and nobody would help me. To get it into the water I would lay it flat, grab one end and swing it down towards the beach. Then I would grab the other end and swing it around, repeating the maneuver until I got the board to the water. When I got through I had to bring it back the same way.
WR: Same way?
AL: Same way.
WR: Whereabouts on the beach did you first learn to surf?
AL: Moana Pier.
WR: Oh, yes.
AL: Kids were only allowed to surf in that area, they couldn’t get past the pier.
WR: You were restricted to the pier area.
AL: That’s all.
WR: And you had to pick it up all by yourself.
AL: That’s right.
WR: Who were some of your buddies at that time when you were learning to surf?
AL: The Wai boys, Robert, Francis, Conkling, Lambert – you remember Lambert?
WR: Oh, I sure do, very well…..
AL: …..Billy Spitz, Wayne Sterling, Leon Sterling, oh, a lot of guys in my age group.
WR: Those were a great bunch of guys.
WR: I knew them all so well. Then when did you progress beyond the pier? When were you…
AL: I was probably about 13 years old, 12 or 13 years old.
WR: How did you dare venture beyond the pier? Was it with the approval of the old timers, or. . .
AL: Yes. We would venture outside and retreat in case anybody said, ’’Get back in.” We did it until nothing was said, Then it was QK.
WR: I remember one day when I was learning to surf and I ventured, out too far Willie Whittle said, “Get back in there.”
AL: Kick you in the ass. (Laughter)
WR: Finally, he allowed as how I could surf; he finally accepted me.
AL: I guess we were about 13 or 14 years old.
WR: When I graduated from high school I went back to Hilo so there was a long period when I didn’t surf. I really didn’t start surfing again until after World War II.
AL: You learned the same way I did – on your own, right?
AL: There is a good board, go ahead.
WR: Yeah, that’s right. We used to borrow boards. We used to change clothes under Steiner’s house – the old Steiner home….
AL: Oh, yeah. (Laughter)
WR: That was ‘31, ’32, ’33.
AL: All the years I was on that beach there I never owned a board.
WR: Never owned a board?
WR: Did you borrow?
AL: Borrow all the time. When I think back, I never owned one.
WR: I am going to come back to the beach, but I’d like to talk a little about your business career. After high school, did you work – did you get a job?
AL: A&B (Alexander and Baldwin), I used to work for.
WR: You worked for A&B?
AL: I was an office boy for the summer of ’36. In ‘37 again I was office boy. I was working full time when I went to Maui on a weekend to watch a football game. Now, this was the summer of ’38. I went to Maui to watch this game, and after the game we were going through downtown Wailuku and I stopped to watch a fight. I was standing on the side holding the crowd back and the Filipino guy who was on my left didn’t like me holding them back because his friend was in the fight; the guy stabbed me.
WR: Stabbed you! Stabbed you!
AL: Yeah – in the stomach. So I spent a week more there in Maui. A&B didn’t like that, they thought I was in the fight – and ever since then it was the end of A&B and me, or me and A&B.
WR: Did you work any place else after that?
AL: I worked in a laundry. Fort Armstrong Laundry, you remember that?
WR: Qh, yeah. When did you do?
AL: Than I went back to the beach again.
WR: When did you hit the beach on a full-time basis?
AL: After the War.
WR: After World War II?
WR: About ‘46?
AL: ’46, ’47, ’48, ‘49 and the summer of ‘50. Francis Brown and my sister didn’t want me on the beach. They had a ranch on the Mainland, so I went to work on a ranch up there. A cowboy.
WR: Where was that, in Hollister?
AL: Carmel Valley.
WR: Oh, I remember that, I once went up there to the ranch with them, to Carmel Valley.
AL: I worked there for two-and-a-half-years. Then it got bigger, and I was just new at that life. Francis got to be a bigger rancher so I stopped and came back home.
WR: What year was it you came back to Hawaii?
AL: ’52. Is that when you were at the beach pretty much on a full time basis?
AL: I hit the beach again.
WR: When you say you worked on the beach again, what was your first job on the beach?
AL: Instructor. Surfing instructor.
WR: How about canoe surfing?
AL: Second captain.
WR: Second captain, surfing instructor. What services did you work for on the beach, was it just for the Outrigger Beach Service?
AL: No. The Moana Gang first.
WR: Moana Gang – you were with the Moana Gang first.
AL: I did that for years.
WR: When did you join the Outrigger?
AL: I joined the Outrigger in 1942. The reason I joined was because I didn’t have anywhere to go after the sun went down. All the friends I had were in the Club, so to go with my friends I had to join the Club. In those days it cost $100 to join.
WR: And about $6.00 a month or something like that for dues.
AL: I had this camera that I sold.
WR: You sold the camera to join the Club?
AL: Yeah, I sold the camera to join the Club.
WR: I’ll be darned.
AL: A movie camera. Back in those days you couldn’t buy that kind of stuff and I had one, and this guy I know, he wanted that camera so for one hundred bucks I sold it so I could join the Club because I didn’t have anywhere to go after it got dark.
WR: You said you were with the Moana Beach Gang, giving instructions surfing instructions, paddling… and you were second captain of the canoe…and captain later…..
AL: After the War that’s when it started.
WR: [When Turkey said “after the War”, he showed me a picture of a group of eleven beach boys.] Just who are these Turkey?
AL: “Panama” Baptiste, Harold Robello, “Blue” (Baldwin) Makua, Louis Kahanamoku, “Kalakaua” (Simeon Aylett) , and me, “Laughing John” (Kauai) “Curley” Cornwell, Earl King and “Sally” (Louis) Hale. The Filipino, man, in the foreground, I can’t think of his name.
WR: He used to clean the beach.
AL: He used to clean the beach, I can’t think of his name.
WR: Now, this was Beach Service. . .
AL: 1946 – the summer of 1946.
WR: And this was the group who worked for the Outrigger Canoe Club.
AL: Yes, It was called the Waikiki Beach Patrol.
WR: Waikiki Beach Patrol.
AL: That was the old name of it.
WR: And, they used to take care of the guests at the Royal, didn’t they?
AL: The Royal Hawaiian, the Moana, anything. Back in those days we never used to go down the beach and hustle. The system was different, we made them come to us.
WR: You handled it discreetly.
AL: We never hustled. Nowadays on the beach if you don’t hustle you’re dead.
WR: Oh, really.
AL: That’s the difference between the old timers and now.
WR: I want to find out a little more about that. Now this Waikiki Beach Patrol — at the same time as the Waikiki Beach Patrol was in existence was the Moans Gang still in existence, too?
AL: That’s prior to World War II.
WR: I see.
AL: Before World War II there was the Moana Gang and the Waikiki Beach Patrol at the old Outrigger. This is the third Outrigger …the old, then the second one, this is the third Outrigger.
AL: At the old one, there was a beach gang there, too.
WR: You worked for that group?
AL: No. Mullahey started that. Bill Mullahey started it.
WR: The Moana..
AL: He took the best beach boys from the Moana Gang and brought them down to the Royal Hawaiian area.
WR: I see, I see.
AL: That’s how Hawkshaw, Paia and Chick Daniels went down there to work and also Sam Colgate, Frank Telles – he got all the best boys, Moana boys, to work down there.
WR: Was that the end of the Moana group?
AL: No, no.
WR: They continued to operate. . .this was before World War II. Now when the Waikiki Beach Patrol was in existence, what happened to that other group?
AL: That was the end, after the War.
WR: I see, they didn’t reorganize after the War.
AL: No, no.
WR: They were defunct during the War.
AL: Yeah, yeah.
WR: …. and then, after the War, . .I see. . .
AL: There were a lot of boys who used to hang around the beach that after the War they never came back to work, they found other jobs.
WR: That’s right. Turkey, you showed me another picture taken prior to World War II. . .
AL: This is around 1932 or ’33, this picture.
WR: Just what is this picture?
AL: It’s a get-together between the Moana Gang and the old gang at the Outrigger Club. In fact, back in the old days the Moana Gang and the Outrigger gang were not too friendly, in other words they stayed on their side of the beach. This is a get-together.
WR: You say their side of the beach, this is down by the Moana Hotel.
AL: The Moana guys stayed there… and the Club members, they stayed on their side – they weren’t too friendly in those days.
WR: This is an annual get-together – there must be a good 50 or 80 fellows here. A wonderful picture. The fellows are really having a good time. [Turkey has volunteered to let the Club have this picture. We are going to make a copy of it and will try to identify as many as we can in the picture.]
WR: There’s another picture you showed me, what group is this?
AL: The Moana Gang.
WR: This is another picture of the Moana Gang? This is the same vintage.
AL: This was taken about 1946. This is after World War II at Christmas time. We used to get together every year and drink on the beach.
WR: Annual Christmas party?
AL: Willie Whittle stopped it.
WR: Oh, that ‘s right – the liquor inspector – and parttime beach boy.
AL: The liquor inspector…..
WR: He stopped you from drinking on the beach.
AL: . . . after three years. That son of a gun. Instead of staying away that one day, no, he‘d come down and give us a bad time. You remember him?
WR: (Laugh) Oh, I sure do. There was Willie, and Benny, Lei and Jimmy, they were all on the beach. Were you on the beach during the period when the first group came down from the Reef Hotel? Remember – what was her name, she was running the Reef Hotel’s operation?
AL: “Spaghetti” and “Splash” Lyons…..
WR: Yeah.,..and they tried to infiltrate our beach.
AL: Yeah. Yeah.
WR: What happened there?
AL: They went back – they tried to operate.
WR: They went in opposition to your group, as I remember.
AL: Yeah. Yeah.
WR: What happened? The Royal had contracted for their services, I think – because I was having discussions with the manager of the Royal at the same time with respect to the entire beach services operation.
AL: I think at that time I wasn’t there – that was the time I was on the Mainland.
WR: That’s right, it was about that time. I had quite a session with the Royal to get rid of that group because it was creating a lot of disharmony among the beachboys. They were really hustling and it was destroying the friendly atmosphere that had existed.
AL: We never used to hustle – the people would hustle us – we had more pride or- something, I don’t know.
WR: You came back from the Mainland, was that ’52?
AL: Late ’52.
WR: So you have been on the beach full time since then, haven’t you?
AL: Oh yeah.
WR: Could you tell me where you have been working in that period from 1952 up until the present?
AL: I stayed on the beach until January of 1956. I used to be Henry J., Mr. Kaiser’s beachboy. Every time they came into town they’d look me up to take their friends surfing, or canoeing, or . . .
WR: This was Kaiser’s family?
AL: Yeah. Then Mr, Kaiser started to build down the beach (Hilton Hawaiian Village). They were looking for a beachboy to take care of the beach, so I was their boy and he asked me in a good way, so I went down there.
WR: To the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and you’ve been there since?
AL: No, I was there for 17 years.
WR: 17 years?
AL: Now, I’m on my own there.
WR: You’re on your own now.
AL: Yeah. At the Waikikian Hotel, next to the Hawaiian Village.
WR: You’ve been at the Waikikian for how long?
AL: 13 years.
WR: I remember vividly when you were at the Hawaiian Village – for 17 years?
AL: Yeah. I was there for 17 years.
WR: Now you are at the Waikikian, Who’s working for you at the Waikikian?
AL: I work alone. It’s a small beach, it’s enough money for one person.
WR: Guess you are out of business at the moment since Hilton is refurbishing the pond and beach in your area.
AL: That’s Hilton. It gets my goat.
WR: What are they doing there?
AL: They are redoing their whole ground area, they are spending about $80 million to redo the whole ground area – where the restaurants are, they are knocking them down – where the front office area is they are knocking that down, putting in new swimming pools. It’s a year-and-a-half job.
WR: How much longer will it be before you will be able to get back to your beach operation?
AL: Well, this is the second week, I have four more weeks.
WR: Four more weeks to go before the beach opens in that area.
AL: Yeah. They picked the wrong time, right in the heat of summer.
WR: Of all the times to do it.
AL: That’s how I make my money. Can’t they wait until September?
WR: Yeah. (Laugh) Right at the height of the summer season – right when the kids are back from school and the tourists are here, it doesn’t make sense. I just didn’t realize how extensive. . .
AL: Remember this [shows another picture) the wee golf course. Now, no wee golf course – the parking lot of the old Outrigger Club, you see the building there? (circa 1946)
AL: That’s the parking lot. Across the street
WR: Oh, right next door, between the Moana and the old Club.
AL: This picture was taken about right here, [pointing] just inside of the fence line. There used to be a fence line right back here. You see this picture shows the Moana Hotel in the background? This picture shows the Outrigger Club in the background – remember the parking lot?
WR: Yep, I sure do.
AL: There was one on this side and one across the street, too.
WR: Sunshine – he used to take care of the parking lot.
WR: Sunshine, the beachboy.
AL: [Pointing to picture of Waikiki Beach Patrol] I tried to think of this guy’s name – it gets my goat, can’t think of it. All of a sudden it’s going to come to me when I leave here.
WR: Yeah, we’ve reached that age. (Laughter) For all the years you have been on the beach there must have been a lot of colorful beachboys that you came in contact with. Can you name some of them? Tell me a little bit about some of the boys you used to know – will this list help you any?
AL: The guys I used to hang around with a lot were, Kalakaua (Aylett), Louis (Kahanamoku), Harry (Robello). Panama (Baptiste) used to be my roommate – I used to live with him.
WR: He passed away.
AL: Yeah. You know how he died? Right in the water.
AL: He was instructing this girl surfing – with the coconut hat that he wore all the time. He shoved the girl on a wave. The girl paddled back to him – the coconut hat was on top of the water. Panama was underneath.
WR: Well, he went the way he would want to.
AL: He died right in the water. He just had a heart attack and sank down – with the coconut hat on top.
WR: I can remember some of his Famous sayings – malapropisms. He was a character.
AL: Oh, that guy, I remember him so well. I used to get so mad at that son of a gun for some of the crazy things he did, but you could never stay mad at him for long.
AL: Speaking of surfing. You ask the modern day kid what is the hardest part of surfing, they cannot answer you. All they talk about are the turns that they make and all the fancy maneuvers they go through.
WR: Hot dogging.
AL: Yeah. That is not the hard part of surfing. What is the hardest part of surfing?
WR: Well, I guess – my hardest part of surfing is the balance.
AL: No, no, no. You, too, forget what the hardest part of surfing is to catch the wave.
WR: Oh, yeah, oh yeah.
AL: That is the hardest part – (laughter) – the rest is easy.
WR: That’s right. Catching the wave – I remember that first wave I caught – hallelujah!
AL: Ask the modern day boy and they cannot answer that. In the modern way of surfing if you don’t make it look hard — you’re a bum. Now, in any sport, you know, the best make it look easy. Why make it look hard? What is the easiest part of surfing? It’s after you have caught the wave.
WR: Yeah. Catching the wave.
AL: It’s catching the wave.
WR: You joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1942. Right?
WR: How long were you a member?
AL: Til the year after the Club here opened.
WR: I see.
AL: When was that?
WR: That was ‘64. We opened January 4, 1964 here. So that was 23 years.
AL: So 23 years I was a member.
WR: Why did you resign?
AL: I just didn’t like it. Just lost interest.
WR: I can see your point. It had moved away from your old stomping grounds. You were there 24 hours a day on the beach…..
AL: My two kids are here in the Club.
WR: In the Club, now?
AL: Yeah. They’re members. I come here every now and then with them as their guest.
WR: I see you here. How old are they now?
AL: One is 22 and one is 18.
WR: They are working.
AL: One’s working, one’s still going to school.
WR: 22 and 18. A boy and a girl?
AL: No. Two girls.
WR: Two girls.
AL: [Pointing to 1934 and 1946 pictures] These guys, the guys who used to hang around the beach – they were guys who made money off the beach. Now three-fourths of these people that you see here were not beachboys.
WR: I see.
AL: Actually beachboys – Splash Lyons he was a beach boy; “Tough Bill” (Horner) he was a beachboy, Johnny Hollinger hung around but Johnny was never a beachboy.
WR: Oh, Johnny was never a beachboy?
AL: No. He used to work downtown.
WR: For the record, beachboys were those who made their living off the beach – who were paid to teach swimming, surfing, paddling and steer canoes. They eventually had to be certified as instructors and steersmen.
AL: See, most of these fellers were not. Kahanamoku was, this man wasn’t – ’’Squeeze” Kamana, he used to entertain, and he also worked for an ambulance service, that’s how he made his living.
WR: That’s right.
AL: Louis (Kahanamoku) was a beachboy. This is Ah Tuck. Beckley is the last. “Zip” Hong, “Scootch”Mant, ”Tough Bill” (Horner) was a lifeguard. Harry Field – remember him?
WR: Harry Field, sure do.
AL: Freddie Steere, remember him? Sargent (Kahanamoku) Joe Akana, Ernie Lishman. That’s Tony Guerrero’s brother (Joe), Monty Blue . . .
WR: How many of the old beachboys that you worked with during the 30 years you were there are still on the beach today?
AL: You mean that came before the war?
AL: I am the only one.
WR: Isn’t Harry Robello still there?
AL: Harry is not on the beach, he owns a concession but his son operates it.
WR: I see.
AL: He’s had skin cancer and he’s afraid of sun.
WR: Oh, I didn’t realize that, I know he plays golf and I notice he always wears a shirt when he plays.
AL: He doesn’t go down to the beach anymore – he’s afraid of sun. For years he used to come in the morning, set things up and leave, then at four o’clock in the evening he’d stop by and pick up the money and everything. Now, he doesn’t even show up.
WR: Rabbit or Jamma (Kekai brothers) …..
AL: They came after World War II.
WR: They came after the War. How many of the fellows who came immediately after the War, during the 1950’s are still active?
AL: Rabbit is still around. “Steamboat” (Mokuahi) is still around. That’s the only two that go down the beach now.
WR: Blue Makua. Ah – Blue doesn’t come around. How about ”Mene”?
AL: “Menehune”? Yeah, he’s still around.
WR: He’s still there? How about ”Wata”? (Watanabe)
AL: Wata is still there, but, you see, they came in the sixties.
WR: Who are the principal beachboys now? What is the concession situation?
AL: There are more concessions on the beach now, right in front of the Outrigger Beach Hotel there’s a concession. The Surfrider Hotel, there’s a concession. Then you go down to Kuhio Beach, there are three main concessions; down across the Zoo there’s another concession.
WR: That’s a far cry from what I remember.
AL: Right, there are six concessions.
WR: It must be a dog-eat-dog arrangement.
AL: No – the people – you go down there on a weekend – you go down there any day. The crowd that’s there! They are supporting the concessions.
WR: Are they all making money?
AL: They are all making money.
WR: Lessons, renting surfboards, canoe rides…..
AL: Chairs, the air floats, surfboards and canoe rides.
WR: Is it pretty congested out there as far as surfing…..
AL: Oh, yeah. But the surf, as I say, is not the same.
WR: What’s happened to the surf?
AL: They put too much sand…they filled the beaches too much and the sand has ruined the contour of the ocean floor which controls the surf, and it’s ruined the surf.
WR: This is particularly where?
AL: Moana, right in front.
WR: Right in front of the Moana and the Royal I remember that’s where I learned.
AL: That’s where I learned, too. It’s just not the same, the waves break all over the place. The wave breaks here, it breaks there, it breaks all over the place.
WR: That’s interesting.
AL: I don’t know what’s going to happen – they aren’t doing anything. They CAN, but they won’t. They are probably going to keep adding sand – make it worse.
WR: That’s too bad. Now, let’s talk about your recollections of things that used to occur at Waikiki. Before our interview you mentioned the early luaus.
AL: Prior to World War II there was only one luau – the commercial luau, you are talking about. The Bray Family had that, I got a picture of all the family – the Bray family.
WR: Oh, yes.
AL: Kalihl-uka – that’s up in the mountains.
WR: This was up at Kalihi-uka – who put this one on?
AL: Daddy Bray and family. That’s the only one in those days.
WR: That’s right, I remember Daddy Bray’s luaus. As I told you earlier, his youngest son is married to my first cousin.
AL: I take that back – there was also another luau. Remember – it was on the corner of Paoakalani, and Kalakaua. It was called the Leilani Village, I think.
WR: Oh,yes, yes. I remember that.
AL: Across from Ibaraki Store, Aoki store was on the other corner.
WR: Yes, it was called the Leilani Hawaiian Village.
AL: Yes, that’s the one. Leilani Hawaiian Village.
WR: I’d forgotten all about that.
AL: I’d forgotten about that one, too – they were the only two.
WR: What was the name of that structure across the street on the beach?
AL: The restaurant on the beach?
AL: Dean’s by the Sea.
WR: Dean’s by the Sea. That’s by . . .
AL: The Old Stone Wall it was called in those days.
WR: And then further down the street was the Waikiki Tavern.
AL: Waikiki Tavern, Steiner’house . . .
WR: Yeah. How that place has changed.
AL: Yeah, the Moana Hotel.
WR: Do you remember the bowling alley that was built there?
AL: Yeah. Yeah.
WR: The bowling alley would be right about where the Surfrider is. They tore down the . . .
AL: Where the Surfrider is, that used to be a field. The bowling alley was next to the field. I used to play football there – we used to play touch football.
WR: Where the Surfrider is?
AL: Yes. Diamond Head side of the Moana Hotel there was a field.
WR: That’s it.
AL: That’s where when I was a kid I used to play ball.
WR: I was reminiscing with Cline Mann the other day and I told him I was going to interview you. He said to ask you if this meant anything to you . . .The Battle of the Buckets.
AL: The Battle of the Buckets?
WR: Well, he said it was on a Fourth of July when there were two Outrigger canoes participating in the same race and you were the steersman for one and Tommy Kiakona was steersman for the other…..
AL: Oh, I remember that race. The surf was big that day and I was, this was 1958, I think, and I had already stopped paddling but I got a call from work to come down and steer the boys-under-16 race. The surf was big breaking First Break and everything, and I remember that race so well. We were ahead by six or eight lengths ’til we got to the surf and I told the crew to stop paddling – the kids wanted to kill me. I’ll never forget that. They called me all kind of names. Why, why, had we stopped? I decided we couldn”t go because the waves were too big, and so I waited for the waves to stop and then we paddled out. Kiakona thought he’d go around on the other side – the Royal Hawaiian side, you know?
WR: Yes, yes.
AL: Go around, and come through the small surf – but he swamped there. Everybody swamped.
WR: Except you. Except me.
WR: You won the race.
AL: Won the race. Just one boat.
WR: Just one boat.
AL: But the kids wanted to kill me.
WR: Thought you were chicken, eh. Instead of Turkey, you were a chicken, (Laughter)
AL: But we won!
WR: What Cline was referring to was also a Fourth of July race in which Outrigger had entered two senior crews. You were steering one crew and Tommy Kiakona was steering the other. Hui Nalu had pulled out of the race because they felt it was unfair to have two senior crews in it from the Outrigger.
AL: Oh yeah, yeah. I remember that.
WR: And, according to Cline, both of you caught the same wave and both of you swamped, and as he remembers it was your skill . . .
AL: Oh . . . getting the boat up, yeah.
WR: You were the only one to get the boat up and get the paddlers back in the boat and you won the race.
AL: Yes, Right, The Battle of the Buckets, it was called – and I won.
WR: I have seen some pictures of you and some of the crews that you steered for. Did you . . .
AL: You know, I got my name on . . . I can brag about this. I got. my name on the Walter Macfarlane cup more than anyone else.
WR: On the Macfarlane Trophy? Really?
AL: You count names. I am on there six times. This would be the annual Fourth of July race – as steersman.
WR: I remember you were one of the great steersmen for the Outrigger Canoe Club.
AL: The second guy on there has five times.
WR: That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Nobody’s going to repeat that. Nobody’s ever going to break that.
WR: What races did you participate in other than the Fourth of July? Were there any? Did you paddle in any?
AL: Back in the old days the Outrigger only raced June 11, Kamehameha Day, and July Fourth. Some of the guys from the Outrigger paddled for other clubs in the early Molokai-Oahu canoe races.
WR: I remember they started up . . .
AL: In 1952, Molokai crew won the first race. But the Outrigger Club, back in those days, never were into it. ’’Toots” Minvielle was as mad as hell. Because he’s the one who started it.
WR: Oh, Toots, yeah, he’s the one who started it. He was the father of the Molokai race.
AL: He got mad at all of us, because we wouldn’t go into it. We finally did and have probably won more times than any other club.
WR: Oh, you were talking about an incident that occurred at the Hilton Hawaiian Village involving Wilford Godbold, [Earlier when we were preparing for this interview Turkey looked on the wall of the Club’s Board Room here and saw a picture of Wilford Godbold. It recalled to him an incident that occurred at the Hilton Hawaiian Village]. Can you tell us about that?
AL: The Hilton had a volleyball court at the beach and it seems that after it was there about six or eight years they didn’t want it on the beach anymore, and they had it stripped. Godbold, who played there often, got as mad as hell, he went to speak to them and made them put it back on the beach. I believe it went to court and Godbold won because Hilton forgot the law, once you implant something on State land the State owns it, and you as an individual cannot break it up. So they had to stick it back on the beach.
WR: Is that still there, by the way?
AL: No, it’s all gone.
WR: I remember that incident.
AL: The crowd on the beach now is getting so big you can’t have stuff like that on the beach any more.
WR: Turkey, we’ve certainly covered a lot of ground. Are there any other little incidents or anecdotes that you can think of that would be of interest for the record.
AL: Some day I’ll try to sit down and make a list of the old guys who used to hang around on the beach – you tried to list them here, but that’s only a fraction of them.
WR: Yes, good.
AL: [Referring to the pictures] It’s strange after World War II many of these old timers stopped coming to the beach.
WR: Well, these pictures are extremely valuable. I didn’t realize that you had them in your possession, particularly one of the Moana Gang. What year did you say this was?
AL: It’s about 1948, ’47 around there.
WR: Some of them were beachboys but for the most part they all had other jobs. Is that right?
AL: Yeah. You can see how early it was – you see that guy was still in.
WR: Still in service uniform – yeah – (Laughter] There’s Freddie Wilhelm, is he still around?
AL: Freddie Wilhelm died. He used to work for the phone company.
WR: Yeah, He worked for me.
AL: There’s a screwy story about his death. He went to this home to fix the phone, the lady was there. OK he was fixing the phone and he dropped dead. What would you do if you were the lady? The phone was dead.
WR: That’s right, I’d forgotten about that – I was a Division Manager and he was one of my station installers. Now, let’s see if there’s anything else we can cover. [At this point Turkey brought out a copy of the old ’’Snooper”, The Honolulu Snooper,- a publication, was an institution on Waikiki Beach for years!]
AL: It was the first one that started.
WR: Traylor Mercer published this for years.
AL: To advertise . . .
WR: This was the first bit of advertising for Waikiki beach?
AL: That’s right.
WR: For example contents here are – the Snooper Says; More Snooping; Snooper Spots; Cocktail Lounges; Shopping Guide; Oriental Shopping Guide; Hawaiian Things; Accent on Cuisine – Oriental food, American Food, Hawaiian food. Was this a free publication?
AL: I don’t remember. I think so. He also was paid for the advertisements. That’s how he lived. Look through it – it has some good old stories.
WR: This will go into our archives ~ this is something we should have for the records of our Club. Thank you very much for this.
AL: He got hit by a golf ball – then he got well. Six months after that he had a stroke.
WR: That’s right. Is he still alive?
AL: No, he’s gone.
WR: He was certainly a colorful character and a good friend. I noticed the Snooper mentioned Hawaiian Town. Was that in Waikiki?
AL: Not in Waikiki. Kapiolani – Pan American building, right across the street where the bank is now. Back in those days, everybody used to go there at night. And after that, when that was shut down, we went to Queen’s Surf.
WR: Yeah. Oh, my. The Barefoot Bar. Many a night I spent there.
AL: Mayor Fasi – that’s the only reason why I don’t like that guy. He knocked it down. Do you know why? He went to see Spencecliff.
AL: Fasi asked him for some money for his campaign to be mayor. Spence Weaver refused. I’ll fix you. He really fixed him.
WR: He got rid of the Queen’s Surf?
AL: That’s the only reason why, because Mayor Fasi went to see him for money. I know that story. That’s the only reason why I don’t like that son of a gun, because he took away our night spot.
WR: He sure did. (Laughter] Many a good time I had there.
WR: I have a question I forgot to ask – what was the history behind that picture of the get-together between the Outrigger and the Moana Gang?
AL: The Outrigger guys and the guys at the Moana Hotel. Back in the old days they were not too friendly. The Moana Gang stuck together by themselves. They would not mix with the old Outrigger gang. This was a rare occasion where they got together to take one picture. It was a successful get-together and sort of broke the ice.
WR: Many of the guys in the picture are very familiar to me. They participated in the first canoe races they had over in Kona when canoe racing was re-established. I went over with the Hui Nalu group – this was in 1934.
AL: I was there, I skippered the Boys-under-15.
WR: Were you with the Boys-under~15?
AL: We won the race. And, do you know something? After the race I had my first drink – a glass of wine, and I threw up. I got so sick.
WR: Were you steering the Boys-under-15?
AL: No, 1 wasn’t steersman. ”Barbed Wire” was the steersman, I was the stroke.
WR: You were the stroke, this was the Outrigger Boys-under-15?
AL: No, no – Hui Nalu. Back in those days I was with Hui Nalu.
WR: You joined Hui Nalu, too?
WR: You paddled for both Hui Nalu and Outrigger then. I went over with the Hui Nalu gang on the Humuula. I spent, the weekend there. I stayed with the Childs right opposite the Kona Inn and I went back on the Coast Guard ship.
AL: I was on the same ship – I threw up, all the way because of that wine – the Itasca.
WR: The Ithasca. That’s right, we came back on the Ithasca. I wasn’t paddling then, I was working that summer, and I got off work an extra day so I could go over and watch the races. I had to get back Monday so I came back on the Ithasca Sunday night. The only reason I got on the Ithasca, Dad Center took pity on me and invited me to return with the Outrigger gang.
AL: I remember, after the race we slept in the lumber mill over there, and we slept on the lumber.
WR: The Amfac Lumber Yard.
AL: Yeah, that’s where we slept. (Laughter) You slept there, too, eh?
WR: No, I slept on the Childs’ lanai – they had a punee on the lanai. A whole group of us landed in the Childs’ house.
AL: The Hui Nalu gang was in the lumber yard. Oh, we were all over the place that night. That night, after the races I remember there was a big party at Kona Inn. Chick Daniels was the life of the party – got smashed – and kept the Hualalai, which was anchored off-shore, waiting for him to be rowed out. He barely made it in time.
WR: Yeah, I remember that. Turkey, we’ve covered a lot of territory this morning. Let’s call it pau for now. However, if there is anything more that comes to mind that you’d like to add, don’t hesitate to let me know.
AL: Will do.
WR: Oh – a very important item I almost overlooked! How did you ever get the nickname ’’Turkey”?
AL: When I was very small I was covered with freckles. Actually, I was speckled – like a turkey egg – and some of the kids started calling me ’’Turkey Egg”. It wasn’t long before that was shortened to ’’Turkey” – and I’ve been ’’Turkey” ever since practically all my life.
WR: Turkey, it has been a great fun interview. Thank you very much.
AL: Thank you.