Mon, 1 December 2014
Host Webley Edwards changes the mood from the comic “Mama’s Mu`umu`u” to the romantic “Low Moon At Waikiki.” This number typifies the cultural and historical gaffs host Webley Edwards often made in writing his scripts. He announces the song title as “Low Moon At Waikiki,” but he is only half-right. When sung in the original Hawaiian, it is a love song entitled “Pua Rose” but which is often affectionately referred to as “Dargie Hula” for composer Henry Kailima`i dedicated the song to a haole woman he referred to only as Mrs. Dargie. The song is only called “Low Moon” when performed as an instrumental. And here Edwards falls down on the job a second time. If the song sounded eerily familiar to Hawaii Calls audiences, it was likely because this was the song played by steel guitarists Jules Ah See, Barney Isaacs, and others as the “connecting tissue” (in radio, often called “bumpers”) between songs as Edwards read the script. (Go back and listen to the previous snippets of the program I have published on this blog, and you will hear “Dargie Hula” on the steel guitar over and over and over again.) This performance is a family affair with the male vocal lead by Boyce Kaihiihikapuokalani with a little help from his sisters Nina, Lani, and Lahela. The song became associated with Boyce, and so he ended up recording it on the second LP by his family led by their matriarch, Auntie Vickie Sings (which sadly is no longer in print but which we will likely hear from here at Ho`olohe Hou soon).
Next the ladies trio – led by Nina – perform a brief snippet of “Hanauma,” a classic from the prolific songwriting team of Mary Kawena Pukui and Maddy Lam which extols the beauty of the Hanauma Bay area of the east end of O`ahu.
As Webley Edwards sends the cast’s guitarist and vocalist Sonny Kamahele off to Australia for a little while, he invites Haunani Kahalewai to sing a temporary farewell – in this case, “Some Enchanted Evening” from the then recent musical South Pacific. (The cast also frequently performed that musical’s set piece, “Bali Ha`i.”) Haunani has the assistance of the gentlemen of the chorus with a high harmony from Nina whose voice is so haunting here it sounds like a theremin (an experimental electronic instrument popular in that era).
The show closes – as it always did in that era – with “Aloha `Oe,” composed by Queen Lili`uokalani who intended it as a love song but which was co-opted nonetheless as a song of farewell.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at a complete Hawaii Calls radio program exactly as it happened 52 years ago today. But there was still a little over a decade remaining in the show’s run, and so we have just a little bit of tribute remaining too.
Next time: Hawaii Calls denouement in the 1970s…
(Click here to listen to Part 1 of this program.)
(Click here to listen to Part 2 of this program.)