‘Legends of Hawaii’
films are at libraries
and available on VHS
Question: What ever happened to the PBS films about Hawaiian legends that were shown to students in elementary schools in the 1970s?
Answer: Although "Legends of Hawaii" are no longer aired on PBS, the public still has the opportunity to view them.
Most of series is available as VHS videos at the main branch of the state's public libraries. Other public libraries also have copies for borrowing.
The videos also are available at the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library. However, access is restricted to university students and staff. The public may purchase $60 community cards in order to borrow items.
"Legends of Hawaii" videos are also available for purchase from the filmmaker, George Tahara, 533-2677.
Tahara transferred about 50 movies from 16-millimeter film to VHS format, and is transferring them to DVD format. One 10-minute VHS video costs $53, and one 30-minute video costs $83, Tahara said.
Some films also are available at public libraries on the mainland, Tahara said.
Libraries across the nation asked for Tahara's films after one of his films, "Kioni's Poi Pounder," was shown at the New York World's Fair in 1960, Tahara said. The film tells the legend behind the formation of Chinaman's Hat.
Tahara started making the "Legends of Hawaii" films in 1941. He calls his films "docu-dramas" because they feature actors who "dramatize stories in areas where the legends supposedly occurred," he said.
The films used to run regularly on PBS in the 1970s as part of educational programming by the Department of Education, according to Ed McNulty, vice president of programming at PBS Hawaii.
Tahara, who retired 15 years ago, said he is setting up a program to offer scholarships to youths who want to learn to make movies. He's especially interested in students who wish to learn the "Hawaiiana filmmaking trade," he said.
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