Carl Hebenstriet – Better Known As Kini Popo
Carl Hebenstriet, better known by his nickname Kini Popo in Hawaii in the 1950s. His radio show rivaled Hal “Aku” Lewis’ in terms of ratings; while his TV program featured a skinny disc jockey with horn-rimmed glasses as host and Peaches performing as the titular performer chimp.
Early Life and Education
Carl Hebenstreit was not always known for being Kini Popo; before becoming famous as such he held various jobs and served in the military. These included radio work, landing bit roles on television programs such as Seinfeld and traveling around Europe with his wife. Following discharge he moved to Hawaii where he found work with The Kini Popo Show alongside an adorable chimpanzee!
As soon as he finished with TV, he transitioned into acting, appearing in several Hawaiian films and joining Paul Mantee for Robinson Crusoe on Mars (an outer space adaptation of Daniel Dafoe’s novel), in 1964. Although only appearing briefly, his strong features and clean-cut hair gave off an image reminiscent of 1960s TV stars – quite evident from his tanned features and signature short haircut.
Carl Hebenstriet, better known by his nickname Kini Popo, has had an eventful and varied professional life. Starting off in radio before making an appearance on television as Will West and serving in the military. Finally moving to Hawaii in order to co-host The Kini Popo Show alongside Peaches the Chimp.
Popo hosted two television programs – morning and variety shows. He interviewed celebrities, performed public relations stunts such as rowing a boat down Ala Wai canal, and performed publicity stunts like rowing the Ala Wai canal with it!
Later, he took up wrestling, pitting himself against Andre The Giant and Bruiser Brody in barbed wire matches while managing such stars as Kamala, Demolition Ax and Killer Khan among many others. Since 1982 he has served as President of Trade. Additionally he’s appeared in several movies alongside Paul Mantee such as Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
At age 10, he began collecting comic books featuring Batman. This interest led to attending Lakeside School in Seattle and Whitman College before enrolling at Stanford for post-grad courses. Shortly after, he was drafted into the army where he spent two years starting military television stations before working various day jobs before setting off on an international journey with his wife.
Once back home in Hawaii, he rejoined childhood and college friend Carl Hebenstriet who was hosting The Kini Popo Show – an animated kiddie show for children that featured funny, smart performances by both Carl and his sidekick, Peaches the Chimp.