Sunday, May 30, 2010

VJ Day Celebration in Hawaii - 14 August 1945

This video, showing the spontaneous celebrations in Honolulu after the victory over Japan, is from a Vimeo post by Richard Sullivan. The film footage sat in a can for 60 years before being found, scanned and edited into the presentation below.

The clarity and immediacy of the images really grabs you.

Richard Sullivan's describes it as follows:
65 Years Ago my Dad shot this film along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki capturing spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender. Kodachrome 16mm film: God Bless Kodachrome, right? I was able to find an outfit ( to do a much superior scan of this footage to what I had previously posted, so I re-did this film and replaced the older version There are still images from this amazing day, in color, at
It originally had no sound, but Mr. Sullivan did some foley work on it, and added perfect music by Jimmy Durante.

Some identification of places (from post comments):

:28 - South St. next to the Advertiser building
:38 - Kapiolani Blvd. seen from South St.
:47 - Halekulani Hotel Cottages where Navy officers were housed, apparently
1:05 - "Parade" goes from Victoria St. onto King St. with Thomas Square in background (with military buildings in it)
1:21 - Red tile roofed structure is Lippy's Service Station on Kalakaua
1:26 - Ala Moana Blvd. with HECO plant at back left
1:28 - Kalakaua Ave. nearing Kapiolani Blvd., with Kau Kau Korner at the intersection (later Coco's, now Hard Rock Cafe)
1:40 - Moana Hotel
2:05 - Looking up at viewers on the exterior fire escape stairs of the Moana Hotel
2:17 - Orange awning is the House of Coral store

Other than the Moana, all the other Waikiki buildings seen here are long vanished.

A final comment from Mr. Sullivan:
There is 50 minutes of footage or so including the official military parade downtown on VJ Day, September 02, as well as the return of the Pacific Fleet Armada to Hawaii, plus friends having fun as tourists. I used iMovie to put it together but it is very quirky and cannot handle large files. I've cleaned up the foley work a little from this version, but assembling the foley was the fun part, as many people believe this is actually a sound movie.

I hope he will post some of the additional material.

If the linked video above ever stops working, try this link.

1 comment:

  1. I would have liked to have been there --but I was in Adak. One would hope that some of the people shown in this video will get a chance to see it.