He’s the head kahuna

Sandra Dee as Gidget in the 1959 film, (VHS cover)

Sandra Dee as Gidget in the 1959 film, (VHS cover) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elaine Hatfield said this to me in the car the other day.  She immediately wrote it down so that we would remember it (sign of a good malaphor).  This is a mash up of “big kahuna” and “head honcho”, both meaning the person in charge.  The use of the term “big kahuna” in reference to surfing can be traced back to the 1959 film Gidget, in which “The Big Kahuna“, played by Cliff Robertson, (Martin Milner in the TV episode), was the leader of a group of surfers. The term then became commonplace in Beach Party films of the 1960s such as Beach Blanket Bingo, where the “Big Kahuna” was the best surfer on the beach


2 Comments on “He’s the head kahuna”

  1. dikdikpellek says:

    In Hawaii, the term “big Kahuna” has been in vogue for decades…..after all, a kahuna is synonymous with chief or boss and is, in actuality, a Hawaiian word.

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