Vintage Hawaii

Revisit Hawaii's heyday, when Hollywood, hula and the aloha spirit put it on the map. Follow the island paradise’s popularity over the years, from iconic movies to its landmark hotels.
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It's a Wonderful Life in Hawaii

In a scene from the 1964 British film Wonderful Life, pop star Cliff Richard plays the acoustic guitar while accompanied by Hawaiian dancers.

Hawaiian Honeymoon

Hawaii has always been a popular honeymoon destination. After it became the 50th state in 1959, this exotic island paradise became the place for many Americans to honeymoon without having to leave the country.

Halona Beach Cove

One of the most steamy beach scenes in film history was filmed in Hawaii. In the famous kissing sequence in From Here to Eternity, stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr roll around in the frothy waves on Oahu’s Halona Beach Cove.

Blue Hawaii

Music legend Elvis Presley, donning a Hawaiian shirt and lei, plays a ukulele in the 1961 film Blue Hawaii.

Air Travel to Hawaii

Air travel in the mid-1930s made it possible for tourists to come to Hawaii faster, without having to take a long ship journey as in times past. Suddenly, a week’s vacation in this island paradise became more feasible for many Americans.

Waikiki Beach

One of the best places in the world for beginner surfers is Waikiki Hawaii. Long rolling waves, no sharp reefs or rocks in the area, and little wind make it a perfect spot to learn to surf. In the 1950s, surfing in Waikiki became one of the most popular tourist activities.

Hula Dance

In ancient Hawaii, the hula dance was used to pass down history and myth from generation to generation. In the 1960s, the influx of tourists sparked renewed interest in this visual art form as a way to maintain the Hawaiian culture … and to put on a good show for visitors.

First Lady of Waikiki

With a prime oceanfront location on Waikiki Beach, The Moana Hotel, as it was known when it was built in 1901, is often referred to as the “First Lady of Waikiki.” With a $50 million renovation in 1989, the historic Moana Surfrider Resort and Spa, as it is known today, was restored with modern luxury in mind and continues to be one of the finest hotels in Honolulu.

Surf Like Gidget

In the 1960s, surfing films like Gidget (and the TV series of the same name) and Endless Summer inspired young Americans to not only learn to surf but to search for the perfect wave all over the world, including beautiful locations throughout Hawaii.

Brady Bunch in Hawaii

Proving that Hawaii is the ultimate American family vacation, The Brady Bunch filmed the “Hawaii Bound” episode in Honolulu in 1972, with the icon of Hawaiian entertainment, Don Ho, as guest star.

Led Zeppelin in Hawaii

Rock gods Led Zeppelin arrive in Honolulu in 1969. The band -- John Bonham, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page -- “get leid” as soon as they arrive at the Honolulu Airport.

SS Lurline

Women learn the hula aboard the SS Lurline during a voyage in summer 1954. The SS Lurline typically operated between San Francisco and Honolulu for the Matson cruise line.

Hawaii Five-O in Honolulu

Shot on location in Honolulu, the original police drama Hawaii Five-O aired from 1968 to 1980. The reimagined TV series, Hawaii Five-0 premiered in 2010 and is filmed on Oahu.


While no one knows exactly where Gilligan’s Island is (including Gilligan and the rest of the castaways), the pilot and first episode of this classic American sitcom were actually filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1963.

Diamond Head Crater

A young American couple honeymoon in Honolulu in the 1950s. In the background is the extinct volcanic crater Diamond Head, which became a National Natural Landmark in 1968.

Pineapple Island

In the late 1800s, sugar and later, pineapple plantations powered Hawaii's economy. James Dole turned Lanai into the world’s leading exporter of pineapple, earning it the nickname “Pineapple Island.”

Hawaiian Entertainer Don Ho

Legendary crooner Don Ho entertained tourists for decades and was one of Hawaii's best known musicians. He is best known for his show at the Waikiki Beachcomber, where he would perform his trademark "Tiny Bubbles." He died on April 14, 2007 at the age of 76.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Located on the famous Waikiki Beach, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel led the travel renaissance in Hawaii. Built in 1927, this iconic hotel remains one of the most luxurious hotels in Waikiki, after a long history of being the playground for Hawaiian chiefs and later, Hollywood’s elite.

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