Book Review: Hollywood to Honolulu: The story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company

Hollywood to Honolulu book with LASSCO cup. photo Martin Cox

HOLLYWOOD TO HONOLULU: The story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company

Book by Gordon Ghareeb and (MaritimeMatters publisher) Martin Cox

Review published in Sea Classics, April 2010 by Rod Redman
Travel nostalgia lovers will be thrilled by this well-illustrated tribute to one of the most celebrated regional steamship lines of the Roaring Twenties – The Los Angeles Steamship Lines. Every Saturday for well over a decade, a gleaming white ocean liner would sail from the Port of Los Angeles Berth 156 to the cacophony of hooting whistles and cheering well- wishers as the steamship embarked for the majesty of the Hawaiian Islands. With the vessel’s band playing to the strands of popular jazz rhythms and the ever-popular Aloha Oe as the ship inched away from the dock, everyone present knew those aboard the liner were destined to enjoy an unforgettable vacation in a tropic wonderland. With a puff of smoke and belch of its whistle, the liner would emerge from the sea of confetti and colored streamers and soon begin its near 3000-mile romantic trek across the broad Pacific

In this distant era, it is difficult to believe now that in the 1920s, the only way to get to Hawaii was by one LASSCO’s gleaming white liners. The regal well-appointed ships were known for their haute cuisine, superb service, and leisurely comfort. From Hollywood film stars to island-bound missionaries and well-heeled vacationers, LASSCO’s fleet of ships set a standard that made everyone know Los Angeles was fast becoming a major world class harbor.

This delightful book shares the stories of this era in an easy reading style largely gleaned from the pages of the Los Angeles Times. As such, it covers all of the tempestuous stories of the day including the major and minor scandals about the crew’s misbehavior and periodic drunkenness. It pulls no punches and relives the era of prohibition that was in itself no stranger to garish headlines and scandals. This is a fun book for serious armchair travelers who delight in reliving what was and what might have been as America and the Hawaiian Islands came of age.

HOLLYWOOD TO HONOLULU: The story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company By Gordon Ghareeb and Martin Cox — 286 Pages, over 100 illustrations, 8.5-in x 11-in, Hardback. ISBN: 978-1889901-44-2 – List price $35.00 (Steamship Historical Society of America – Book Store)

Book Review republished courtesy of Challenge Publications, Sea Classic Magazine, April 2010.

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