Saturday, April 7, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Arbogast Hula Popper (1947)

The Ubiquitous Hula Popper

 Fred Arbogast did things a little differently than other lure manufactures. For one thing he quite commonly placed three or four ads in the same issue of a magazine. He also seemed to have been bitten by the urge to dream about Hawaii. Think about the many lure names that point to this. “Hawaiian this” and “Hula that” make up a good portion of the products introduced during Fred's lifetime. Doing things differently was also evident in the introduction of the Hula Popper. Almost without fail, the usual pattern for bait companies was to introduce a new bait casting lure and if it were a success, they would later introduce a flyrod-sized version. Not so with the Hula Popper. In the following ad from the April 1947 issue of Sports Afield we see that the Hula Popper was first introduced as a Flyrod lure.

The next year (1948) saw the introduction of a “new bait casting size Hula Popper”. The following full page advertisement from the March 1948 issue of Outdoor Life is a thing of beauty. Makes me want to go right out and buy one now.

 The Hula Popper was a standard in the average tackle box from 30 or 40 years ago and still is today. I regularly run into folks that swear that the Hula Popper is their favorite surface lure and they assure me that they have taken many a bass on them. I have a secret to tell --- I bought my first one in 1957 and still haven't caught the first fish on it. Most of the time it does not make the cut and you will not find it in my tackle box. Obviously I am alone in this regard as everybody and their brother seems to have owned one and I never hear a bad word about the Hula Popper.  LOL

-- Bill Sonnett



I didn't know that the Hula Popper began as a fly popper, although I have a few that I got in Grandpa's voluminous tackle stash.

In the last ad pictured in your post, I've caught lots of fish with the green and yellow Hula's, but never one with the red and white one. I've always done better with the Hula's on farm ponds,small lakes, rivers and creeks. Never on the big "bass lakes" in Texas like Lake Fork, Lake Livingston or Lake Conroe, although other topwater poppers in the same color do seem to produce on the big lakes. Go figure.

Maybe Fred used the Hawaiian verbage to make his products seem exotic and sexy. He made good stuff. Other than lures lost to snags, all the Arbogast lures I have are keeping on. I have ones I bought in the 60's-70's and ones my Grandpa bought in the 50's and 60's.

Wino On Broadway said...

Late to the party but my brother bought one of these ages ago for like $.75 at the local appliance store (yeah we live in small town were the washer and dryer store sold fishing equipment). Anyway he caught the biggest bass of our lives with a Hula Popper, my brother has passed away, but I will always remember that day and the Hula Popper.

Thanks for the memories Hula Popper

Unknown said...

I have a very old baby hula popper HAT PIN still in package ,does and one know of any others for sale .

Unknown said...

I have a wooden Hula Popper I bought about 40 years ago at an estate auction. Did they make any wooden ones or is this a prototype? copy?
Thanks for any info.
TJ in AZ