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John Wayne visiting with Chief Dan Liu

HPD History


In 1952 Hollywood came to Honolulu to film the movie "Big Jim McClain". The movie starred John Wayne and James Arness as investigators for the House on Unamerican Activities sent to the islands to investigate allegations of communist activity.

Several HPD officers had cameo roles in the movie such as the late Chief Dan Liu who played himself and the late detective Joseph Jones and Sterling Mossman "the singing cop" both had parts in the movie as well.

The paranoia and stigma attached to the term "communism" was a real thing during those days. Even in Hawaii, it was not uncommon for local union leaders and politicians to be labeled as a result of the heightened fear of communism following World War II during the McCarthy era and Cold War.

Story and photos courtesy of Retired Assistant Chief Joe Aveiro