John Alexander Kneubuhl
|Born||2 July 1920|
Fagatogo, Pago Pago, American Samoa[a]
|Died||20 February 1992 (aged 71)|
Pago Pago, American Samoa
|Occupation||Writer and dramatist|
John Alexander Kneubuhl (July 2, 1920 – February 20, 1992) was an American Samoan screenwriter, playwright and Polynesian historian. He wrote for American television series such as The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, The Invaders and Hawaii Five-O. The son of a Samoan mother and an American father, Kneubuhl's multicultural heritage produced a distinctive artistic vision that formed the basis of his most powerful dramatic work.
An accomplished playwright, Kneubuhl "was a bicultural Polynesian who used the medium of theater to explore identity, loneliness and the craft required to bring them to the stage".
Childhood to war
Raised in Leone until his early teens, Kneubuhl was known as 'Sione Nupo' to his countrymen. His mother, Atalina Pritchard from Apia, was educated in New Zealand, and was a talented pianist, singer and painter. His father Benjamin F. Kneubuhl was a navy surveyor from Iowa who settled in Samoa, and later became a successful businessman.
He married "Dotsy" (Dorothy Schenk) in 1942, and soon after entered the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado, Boulder. When George H. Kerr was tasked to organize the second research unit of intelligence officers in 1944, aimed to gather information for compiling the Civil Affairs Handbook for Taiwan (Formosa), Kneubuhl was one of the officers recruited into this unit.
Returning to Hawaii in the mid-1940s, Kneubuhl won acclaim as a playwright with the Honolulu Community Theater, staging a play spoken in Hawaiian Pidgin English (The City is Haunted, 1947). Kneubuhl was also part of the theater's 1948 version of Harry Brown's A Sound of Hunting adapted to include the heroic role played by the 442nd Infantry Regiment of enlisted nisei, received with great fervor by the Japanese-American community. He was both screenwriter and director of the film Damien (1959), a biography of Father Damien that was based on his own play.
He then moved on to Los Angeles to write for television. In 1965, inspired by a magazine article on Michael Dunn, Kneubuhl created the arch-villain Dr. Miguelito Loveless for the series The Wild Wild West. The character became an immediate hit and Dunn appeared in ten episodes over four seasons. Kneubuhl wrote five of them.
Twenty years later he was back in Samoa, lecturing on Polynesian history and culture and writing plays, including the trilogy Think of a Garden: and other plays published by University of Hawaii Press. The other plays in the published trilogy were Mele Kanikau: A Pageant and the comedy A Play: A Play.
Kneubuhl died in Pago Pago, American Samoa, on February 20, 1992, the day before the first Samoan reading of his play "Think of a Garden" by his drama and writing group.
Kneubuhl's plays explore his Samoan heritage, culture and identity. In 1946, Kneubuhl wrote the play The Harp in the Willows based on the life of Lorenzo Lyons and This City Is Haunted (1947). He also wrote Mele Kanikau: A Pageant and the comedy A Play: A Play.
Think of a Garden, the last play Kneubuhl wrote before his death in 1992, has been called the most Samoan of Kneubuhl's plays-a candid look at the writer's bicultural upbringing that artfully weaves together family memory, history, and mysticism.
Think of a Garden notes
Think of a Garden opens in American Samoa in 1929 during the tumultuous colonial era of Samoa's struggle for political independence during the non-violent Mau movement. The play centres around the Kreber family; a matriarchal Samoan wife Luisa, her American husband Frank, and their only son David. Events unfold to a dramatic climax with the shooting in Apia of Samoa's leader, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, a distant relative of Luisa, by the New Zealand constabulary. The play is partly autobiographical. Kneubuhl's play is a devastating critique of the New Zealand administration's mismanagement of Samoa during these events.
The Samoan view of family, deference for the dead, behavior in times of mourning, even concepts of time - all are deftly etched beside the story of Samoa's early move toward independence. The effect is a story as textured as a fine mat.
Think of a Garden premiered at Auckland's Watershed Theatre in February 1993. John had died a year earlier, the day before the play's first reading in Pago Pago by his writing and drama group. The Auckland premier was directed by Nathaniel Lees and produced by Ann Andrews. The cast included Lani Tupu as The Writer~, Jay Laga'aia as Lilo, Martyn Sanderson as the Brother Patrick and John Callen as Frank. It was staged in Taki Rua Theatre, Wellington in 1995. At the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 1995 in Wellington, the 'Oscars' of New Zealand theatre, Think of a Garden won Production of the Year, Director of the Year, Taki Rua Production of the Year and Female in a Supporting Role award to Sima Urale who played the role of Luisa. The cast included acclaimed New Zealand actor Martyn Sanderson, the director of the film Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree based on the novel by Samoan writer Albert Wendt.
|1956||Hart of Honolulu||Screenplay By||Based on a Story by Louis L'Amour|
|1958||The Screaming Skull||Screenplay By, Produced By||Based on the short story by Francis Marion Crawford|
|The True Story of Lynn Stuart||Written By|
|1959||Doctor Mike||Written By|
|1965||Two on a Guillotine||Screenplay By||Co-Wrote screenplay with Henry Slesar|
|1968||The Sunshine Patriot||Screenplay By||Television Movie, Co-Wrote screenplay with Gustave Field and Joel Rogosin|
|1953||Your Favorite Story||Writer||1 Episode|
|1954||Rheingold Theater||Writer||1 Episode|
|1955||TV Reader's Digest||Writer||1 Episode|
|Fireside Theatre||Writer||2 Episodes|
|1956||Front Row Center||Writer||2 Episodes|
|General Electric Theater||Writer||1 Episode|
|1956-57||West Point||Writer||4 Episodes|
|1957||Harbor Command||Writer||1 Episode|
|1958||Studio 57||Writer||2 Episodes|
|Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Writer||2 Episodes|
|Lux Playhouse||Writer||1 Episode|
|1958-62||Have Gun – Will Travel||Writer||2 Episodes|
|1959||Behind Closed Doors||Writer||1 Episode|
|1959-61||Adventures In Paradise||Writer||6 Episodes|
|1961||Dr. Kildare||Writer||1 Episode|
|1961-62||Alcoa Premiere||Writer||2 Episodes|
|1962||The Beachcomber||Writer||1 Episode|
|1962-63||Kraft Mystery Theater||Writer||2 Episodes|
|1962-65||Wagon Train||Writer||5 Episodes|
|1963||GE True||Writer||5 Episodes|
|1964||Ben Casey||Writer||1 Episode|
|1965-67||The Wild Wild West||Writer||8 Episodes|
|1966||Felony Squad||Writer||1 Episode|
|The Fugitive||Writer||5 Episodes|
|1967||The Invaders||Writer||2 Episodes|
|Iron Horse||Writer||1 Episode|
|1968||Hawaii Five-O||Writer||1 Episode|
|Star Trek||Writer||1 Episode (Uncredited)|
|1969||The Virginian||Writer||1 Episode|
- "Trout3: John Kneubuhl". Trout.auckland.ac.nz. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Johnson (1997), "Portrait", in: Think of a Garden and Other Plays, p. 251
- Orr, Stanley (2017), "Welcome to the Fabled South: John Kneubuhl's Global Southern Gothic, 1959–1966", Small-Screen Souths: Region, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of Television, LSU Press, pp. 290–, ISBN 978-0-80716-716-8
- Kneubuhl (2002) Oral History Interview, pp. 1, 54
- Kneubuhl (2002) Oral History Interview, p. 54
- Sutter, Frederic Koehler (1989). "John Kneubuhl". The Samoans: A Global Family. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 211. ISBN 0-82481-238-7.
- "Ka Wai Ola Newspaper | Office of Hawaiian Affairs". Oha.org. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- "Huia Publishers - Maori, Pacific, New Zealand books". Huia.co.nz. June 24, 2013. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Kam, Nadine (November 3, 1998). "MELE: Hawaiian language takes center stage". Honolulu Star-Bulletin Features. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Johnson (1997), "Portrait", in: Think of a Garden and Other Plays, pp. 251–253
- Sensui, Hidekazu 泉水英計 (2013), "米海軍軍政学校における台湾研究 : 台北二二八紀念館所蔵カー文書による再構成" [Taiwan Studies in the United States Naval School for Military Government : A Reconstruction from Collection of George H. Kerr Papers in Taipei 228 Peace Memorial Museum] (PDF), Annual report - International Center for Folk Culture Studies Kanagawa University (in Japanese) (5): 83–100
- Cowan, Laing Gray (1954). A History of the School of International Affairs and Associated Area Institutes, Columbia University. Columbia University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780824818142.
- Johnson (1997), p. 254.
- Johnson (1997), p. 255.
- Kneubuhl, John (1948). "Theater in the Pacific". Paradise of the Pacific. 60 (12): 4–5. ISBN 9780824818142.
- Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series: Motion Pictures and Filmstrips. 4: parts 12–13. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. 1950. p. 10.
- Gevinson, Alan, ed. (1997). America Film Institute Catalog:Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960. University of California Press. pp. 248–249. ISBN 9780520209640.
- Kneubuhl (2002) Oral History Interview, p. 121
- "University of Hawaii Press". Uhpress.hawaii.edu. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Johnson (1997), "Portrait", in: Think of a Garden and Other Plays, p. 258
- Owen Baxter (October 20, 2005). "Theatre Aotearoa". Tadb.otago.ac.nz. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Kneubuhl, John (1997). Think of a Garden and Other Plays. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-82481-814-8.
- Kneubuhl, John (2002). Oral History Interview with John Alexander Kneubuhl, Samoan Playwright, Linguist, Historian. conducted in 1989 by John Enright; transcribed 2001-2002 by Marisa DeWees.
- Native American Authors site
- John Kneubuhl at IMDb
- Hawaii University Press
- Pacific Islands Writing book by Michelle Keown at Google Books