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  • Aku

    It's been more than 20 years since Hal Lewis (more popularly known as "J. Akuhead Pupule" or simply "Aku") passed away after reigning supreme on KGMB radio's morning show for many, many years. This guy as far as I remembered was king of morning drive in Honolulu radio and was paid big bucks by Cec Heftel who owned both KGMB radio (AM & FM) as well as KGMB TV in those days to remain at the station.

    In the 1960s and 70s, I was mostly a kid and later teenager and even later college kid and did not listen to Aku as I did to other announcers on the "rock n roll" stations. Still when I did listen to Aku, he always had something interesting to say about some issue of the day. Fact is, the morning show he hosted on KGMB was more talk radio then music radio, though music played a big part of it. And Aku never played rock music and would not even touch The Beatles.

    Ivan, you would have loved the music Aku played on KGMB. Mostly big band and popular standards.

    Everyone also remembers KGMB's "Coconut Wireless" news and the long jingle that went along with it. His news was so popular that it also aired on KMVI radio in Maui for a while and on Cec Heftel's station in Hilo, KPUA which at that time was on 970 AM.

    One of the fun things that I liked about his show were the daily visits with "The Story Lady" and "Chicken Man," (he's everywhere, he's everywhere) the latter of which Mike Buck brought back on his radio show while he was at KGU a few years ago.

    So, does anyone here remember Aku and have memories to share with our readers? Post them here.
    I'm still here. Are you?

  • #2
    Re: Aku

    Aku would tell me jokes in the hallway when the station was at 1599 Kapiolani Blvd. above Victoria Station (remember the red caboose?).
    They were funny, Vaudeville type jokes and when I laughed at them he seemed surprised. He would usually say something like, "Kid, that joke is about 120 years old," to which I'd reply, "Yeah but this is the first time I've heard it and it's funny."

    In the few years before his death he got his hands on an album by what I gathered was a new artist named "Billy Fields" (or something like that). It was sort of big band-style music and he just loved it and played several cuts FREQUENTLY.

    He would also get requests for a funny comedy song called "Luna Mezzo Mare" which he referred to also as "The Golf Song." Recorded by Gaylord and Holliday it was a funny song full of phallic double-entendre.

    On that note, it's back to work!
    **************************************
    I know a lot less than what there is to be known.

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    • #3
      Re: Aku

      My dad and I used to listen to Aku in the car on the way to work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In addition to "Chickenman" and "The Story Lady", Aku's show was my first exposure to Allan Sherman's novelty songs, long before Weird Al picked up the torch. Thanks for the laughs, Aku.
      Last edited by Glen Miyashiro; July 28, 2004, 02:37 PM. Reason: Found a URL for Chickenman!

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      • #4
        Re: Aku

        "So, does anyone here remember Aku and have memories to share with our readers?"

        How about the time he announced an April Fools Day parade along Ala Moana and Kalakaua Boulevards? What year was that? I was just a kid, but I do remember he got into a whole lot of trouble for that one. I also seem to recall a lot of people lining the route for a parade that would never come.

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        • #5
          Re: Aku

          I have vague memories of "J. Akuhead Pupule," the voice, the jingle... but I was just a small kid at the time, trying mostly to sleep during the rush-hour drive in the back seat of our family's cramped Mazda. I paid more attention to Captain Erwin, if I recall correctly.

          Was there more than one "parade" hoax? If not, I definitely remember the one Etoain Shrdlu (not Etaoin Shrdlu?) mentions. Though I remember seeing folks lining the roads as far west as Nimitz Highway by Chinatown. Would've been one hell of a parade if it went that far!

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          • #6
            Re: Aku

            No its, [url="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&c2coff=1&safe=off&q=Etoain+Shrdlu&spell=1"].


            talofa

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            • #7
              Re: Aku

              You guys are probably remembering the infamous Easter Parade that happened sometime around 1983 during April fool's day weekend. Aku had a "live broadcast from the studio" about an Easter parade that was supposedly coming down Ala Moana Blvd and continuing into Waikiki. Many people lined up and waited for the parade to come. It never did. The non-event was covered on the local TV news and the station, already known I think as KSSK took the heat for the stunt big time.
              I'm still here. Are you?

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              • #8
                Re: Aku

                Originally posted by mel
                You guys are probably remembering the infamous Easter Parade that happened sometime around 1983 during April fool's day weekend. Aku had a "live broadcast from the studio" about an Easter parade that was supposedly coming down Ala Moana Blvd and continuing into Waikiki. Many people lined up and waited for the parade to come. It never did. The non-event was covered on the local TV news and the station, already known I think as KSSK took the heat for the stunt big time.
                Hey Mel...there was even earlier than that sometime in the late 60's or early 70's.

                Speaking of Aku, at one time he was the highest paid radio personality in the US while working for KSSK at the time KGMB-AM or K59
                Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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                • #9
                  Re: Aku

                  Originally posted by craigwatanabe
                  Hey Mel...there was even earlier than that sometime in the late 60's or early 70's.

                  Speaking of Aku, at one time he was the highest paid radio personality in the US while working for KSSK at the time KGMB-AM or K59
                  Tell us about it Craig! I am sure he pulled off a lot of stunts on the radio. Fact is stunts were kind of a big thing in the 60s and 70s.

                  I also remember at one time Heftel considered changing the call letters of KGMB AM to KAKU. Also do you guys remember that the word "Aku" was also lit in neon on the KGMB TV tower on Kapiolani Blvd?
                  I'm still here. Are you?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Aku

                    I cannot remember the date but it was very much like the Easter Day parade that was mentioned earlier. I do know that there was a major parade joke pulled well before the 80's by Aku.

                    When I was a young teenager in the early 70's I delivered the Hawaii Times. Several of my customers lived in the recently built Kahala Towers apartments on the corner of Waialae and Kilauea Avenue. This one male jumped from the terraces and landed in the bike racks where I would lock my bike to deliver those papers. On that day, this male jumped while I was delivering and I couldn't get to my bike to finish off my route.

                    I learned later that this male was Aku's son. I never got that confirmed however it was nerve wracking non the less. I had just locked my bike and he must have hit the bikes about five minutes later missing mine by one bike.
                    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Aku

                      I was digging thru some old cassette tapes recently and found a cassette of Aku & "Kimo Leahi" spots, reporting on the old Hawaii Islanders. Listening to the spots, it seems like it was from 1978.

                      I grew up in So Cal. My Grandpa would tape stuff off of K59 and send me the tapes. I would listen to Story Lady, Chicken Man, Kimo Leahi, Rap Repllinger, etc.. With Aku commenting on most of them.

                      We moved to Hawaii in 1981. I got to listen to the last couple of years of his morning show. One of a kind. Listening to that tape brought back some great memories.

                      DXer

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                      • #12
                        Re: Aku

                        I did some research for a paper a looooong time ago, while I was at UH. I seem to remember that Aku did an April Fool's at a bank. Something like show up at the bank and you win $1000. Lots of people showed up, of course, to find out it was a hoax.

                        That's a recollection of some reading I did 20+ years ago. Does anyone remember these from actually hearing them?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Aku

                          The big "parade" was a replay of a Kamehameha Day Floral parade (or Aloha Week parade) or something like that. At least, that's what was played on the air, via reel-to-reel tape.
                          So many people were "inconvenienced" because that particular April Fool's Day also happened to be Good Friday, a holiday.
                          The first call I took in the newsroom was from a woman who heard that the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick were among the first groups in the parade. However, she knew the Friendly Sons were not marching in any parade that day as her friend was a member of the group ... so she figured out it was a joke and praised the station for providing great theater of the mind. She could "see" the parade, she said.
                          Every call after that was negative. "I packed up my kids and drove all the way in from Waianae ..." etc. It was awful.
                          I stepped out for lunch and upon returning to the station that day learned there had been a bomb threat. No surprise there.
                          Then of course there was the on-air apology for the trouble that had been caused.
                          But please note, more than 20 years later, we still remember it!

                          Kimo Leahi, BTW, was (and is) Jim Leahey.
                          Last edited by Erika Engle; August 24, 2004, 11:17 AM. Reason: I wen fo'get som'tin'
                          **************************************
                          I know a lot less than what there is to be known.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Aku

                            On Kaua`i, my dad had the radio tuned to KGMB practically every weekday morning (Saturdays were for Notre Dame football!) and, at breakfast, gave me my first exposure to J. Akuhead Pupule. I still remember vividly operatic tunes, some of bird calls and xylophones, and the old classic, "...three little fishies in the itty bitty pool, and they swam and they swam all over the dam..."!

                            I never appreciated the music until I became much older (and wiser!)...

                            Aloha and thanks for the memories!

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