Hawaii Calls – Alfred Apaka (Part 1)

Alfred Apaka appeared nearly weekly on the Hawaii Calls radio broadcasts through the early 1950s. This is the first in a series of posts featuring some of Apaka’s 1951 appearances – rarities since Hawaii Calls was not recorded to magnetic tape in this era (so there are no “masters”), and most radio stations broke and disposed of the shellac copies of their shortwave transcriptions after each week’s broadcast (since there were no “reruns” of the program). 

This time around we look at songs Apaka would eventually record on LP records later in the decade. 

From time to time Hawaii Calls would take the show on the road – broadcasting from a remote location on another island for a change of atmosphere. From the broadcast dated March 3, 1951 recorded live at the Volcano House on the Big Island, Apaka sings the Mack Gordon (nominated nine times in eleven years for the Academy Award for Best Original Song) and Harry Owens (of “Sweet Leilani” fame) composition “Sing Me A Song Of The Islands.” Composed for the 20th Century Fox film Song Of The Islands and originally sung by Betty Grable, Apaka would eventually record the song for Decca Records for the album by the same title. 

From the February 17, 1951 program, Apaka sings from the usual setting of the Hawaii Calls broadcasts – the outdoor stage of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. “The Palm Trees Sing Aloha” was composed by venerable steel guitarist Andy Iona (who was chronicled here at Ho`olohe Hou in our series on the Lexington Hotel’s “Hawaiian Room” in New York City where both he and Apaka once held court (although not at the same time). Apaka recorded the song on his last ever LP, Hawaiian Village Nights. 

Next time: Alfred Apaka waltzes through a few more episodes...


Alfred Apaka at the Lexington Hotel's "Hawaiian Room" in NYC


Direct download: 01_Hawaii_Calls_-_1951-1952_Alfred_Apaka_Hoolohe_Hou_Edit.mp3
Category:50s and 60s -- posted at: 5:37am EDT