Whatever Happened...

An update on past news

Wednesday, November 27, 1996

‘King of pidgin’
Lippy died in 1975

What ever happened to longtime Hawaii used car dealer Lippy Espinda?

David A. "Lippy" Espinda died at 61, on June 7, 1975.

He owned and operated a service station and used car lot for 26 years at 1752 Kalakaua Ave.

He was best known for appearances on radio and television, giving his used car commercials in rich pidgin.

In the early 1970s, he was emcee of his own show, "Lippy's Lanai Theater." Much sought after as a benefit auctioneer and banquet speaker, he appeared in "Hawaii Five-O" and "Brady Bunch" segments and had minor parts in some movies.

As an island entertainer and television personality, he became famous for his gift of gab and delightful nonsense. His salutation, "Shaka, Brah," was his trademark. He popularized the "shaka" sign, though some questioned whether he invented it.

His free-wheeling commercials and flights of fancy with the English language rankled some schoolteachers, but most TV viewers loved it. He became known as the "King of Pidgin" and called himself "the poor man's friend."

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