The real story behind those photos of Duke Kahanamoku’s visitors

Back in August, I posted a series of photographs of a lifesaving demonstration at Makapuu, and a reception at the old Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki. The events seemed to revolved around several visitors, including this blond beauty. The visitors were escorted by Duke Kahanamoku, giving the event a certain pizzaz.

The problem was that I had no information about the event, who the visitors were, or why all this was being done.

Woman with lei On the beach at Makapuu

Then I found some clippings describing a lifesaving demonstration at Makapuu that was held as part of a 1953 bodysurfing competition. It was the only event of its kind that I had found described in my dad’s papers, so I attributed the photos to that day in 1953.

Turns out I was wrong. The mystery was solved when I came across two 1959 columns by then-Honolulu Advertiser sports editor, Red McQueen.

The first, dated Friday, April 24, 1959, is headlined: “Paging John Lind”. It says Duke Kahanamoku received a letter about an upcoming visit by Miss and Mr. Australian Surf, Jan Carmody and Colin MacFarlane, accompanied by Australian model June Dally-Watkins.

Here’s the pitch: Duke’s Aussie friends thought it would be nice if a reception or some kind of exhibition, possibly for some charity, can be arranged during their stay.

Duke and yours truly readily agreed that your live-wire Waikiki Surf Club would be the logical organization to carry the ball.

The next day, another McQueen column announced: “No sooner said than done.”

No sooner had The Advertiser hit the street yesterday with word that Miss and Mr. Australian Surf would pause here for four days on a world tour than the handsome WSC presxy had plans in motion to entertain the visitors and also show them in an exhibition….

Moving with the swiftness of a Makaha wave, Lind had a meeting with Duke Kahanaomku yesterday and if initial plans are carried out, the visitors from Down Under will have something to write home about.

Do an online search and you won’t have trouble finding more background on the visitors.

One article earlier this year had this mention of Carmody:

Jan Carmody, a former Sydney model now in her seventies and living in Bangalow, remembers a Pill ‘story’ with fondness. Jan was one half of ’60s celebrity couple Jan and Peter Hanlon. Jan was a successful June Dally-Watkins protégé while her husband Peter was considered Sydney’s most successful hairdresser.

“In 1966, there was a popular television show called The Marriage Game,” Carmody says.

“Couples had to answer questions about each other – questions the other, apparently didn’t know they were being asked. The producer took us into a room to brief us on the questions that they would ask us. He then told us what one of the questions would be: What was the last thing you do before you go to bed? In the rehearsal I blurted out that I took the Pill.”

According to Carmody, the producer thought it was a great response; it was sure to get lots of media attention and boost ratings.

The next day, all hell broke loose. A headline in the leading Sydney newspaper of the day said ‘dreadful’– in capital letters. The editorial piece went on to say that it was a good thing Australia still had black and white televisions as the compere’s blush was in full technicolour.

In any case, now that you know the story, you might want to take another look at those photos.

2 responses to “The real story behind those photos of Duke Kahanamoku’s visitors

  1. This is so awesome that you’re able to put it all together Ian. You’re a terrific detective.

  2. I love how they put that: “did you spark Jan’s picture…?”

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