Entries in the 'Disney' Category

May 11, 2007

Fulton Burley, Voice of Tiki Room’s Irish Parrot, Has Passed Away

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,News,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:00 pm
Michael, photo by Biotron2000
Michael, photo by Biotron2000

Fulton Burley, who was the voice of Michael the Irish Parrot at the Enchanted Tiki Room, passed away this past Monday at the age of 84.

Wait, wait, we forgot to wake up the glee club!

Burley was better known for his many performances as the host and master of ceremonies at the long-running Golden Horshoe Revue. Burley was honored as a “Disney Legend” in 1995. He was married to his wife Terry for an amazing 62 years, until she passed this past January.

Laughing Place has a nice, long tribute, with quotes from his performing partner Wally Boag. [via The Disney Blog]

Adventureland Tiki, 1958

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:57 pm
Tiki in front of Disneyland's Adventureland Bazaar, from Daveland
Tiki in front of Disneyland’s Adventureland Bazaar, from Daveland

Dave over at Daveland just posted this neat photo taken in Disneyland’s Adventureland in June 1958. This is the most traditional tiki I think I’ve ever seen at Disneyland, it’s pretty cool. I believe that when this picture was taken, Eli Hedley would have been running the Adventureland Bazaar which is right behind the tiki, and he may have been responsible for procuring this tiki. That’s just a wild guess, though.

April 9, 2007

1968 Photos of the Enchanted Tiki Room

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:38 am
1968 photo of Maui at the Enchanted Tiki Room, from the Daveland blog
1968 photo of Maui at the Enchanted Tiki Room, from the Daveland blog

I can never get enough of old pictures of the Enchanted Tiki Room. Dave over at Daveland has just posted some lovely ones, taken in December of 1968, with modern-day pictures for comparison. Above is vintage Maui — poor Maui is much bluer today, with a pretty garish turquoise paint job. Overall, the refurbishment that was done about a year ago was great, but I wish the paint colors had been a little bit better. Dave also has a whole bunch of vintage and current Enchanted Tiki Room pics at his website.

April 5, 2007

The Kona Luanii — Home Tiki Bar Excellence

Filed under: Art,Denver,Disney,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:37 pm
A battered sail from the Kona Luanii
A battered sail from the Kona Luanii
Fountain, tikis and tiki birds in a corner of the Kona Luanii
Fountain, tikis and tiki birds
in a corner of the Kona Luanii

I’ve mentioned ZuluMagoo’s Denver home tiki bar in passing, when pointing out his amazingly spot-on Enchanted Tiki Room birds. It’s turning out so well, the whole room deserves to be showcased. It’s still just under development, and all the photos so far have the dreaded ambience-killing flash, but it’s already awe-inspiring. I cannot wait to see pictures of this bar once it’s completed and he can take some beauty shots.

The attention to detail, combined with a fab sense of design and a great use of different textures, makes the Kona Luanii stand out already. The scale of the items being used is just right — not too big, not too small; I can almost hear the gasps of surprise people will be uttering when they enter this space for the first time. The bar is themed in a nautical-meets-tiki style, and has a whole backstory… this is the shipwreck of the Kona Luanii, which sailed around the world, bearing tiki cargo to great Poly Pop restaurants everywhere. The room looks darned-near seaworthy. It’s chockablock with riggings, pulleys, masts, lanterns, lots of rope, and of course a beautiful figurehead. The tiki elements are well done, too, and are very inspired by the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Be sure to look through the Tiki Central thread for the Kona Luanii, where ZuluMagoo is posting his progress pictures, including some step-by-step work.

Barrels of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice
Barrels of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice

November 8, 2006

Tiki Research Adventure: Disney Studios & Pago Pago

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,Research,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:47 am
Disney artist's rendering of the Walt Disney Studios in 1947, from the collection of Matterhorn1959
Artist’s rendering of the Walt Disney Studios in 1947,
from the collection of Matterhorn1959

I love being able to watch as bits of tiki history are uncovered — and it’s especially fun when a bunch of tikiphiles work together to unearth the past. This week is one that especially appeals to me — a rumored hangout of Disney artists in the ’40s and ’50s, called the “Pago Pago Club.” I am a freakin’ massive Disney nut. You all know how much I love tiki — I love Disney more. Old Disney, especially. So, this one’s right up my alley.

It all started with a postcard belonging to Matterhorn1959 (if you love vintage Disney, too, check out his blog Stuff from the Park — it’s hardcore vintage Disney porn, and it’s updated daily). The above postcard has a watercolor and ink sketch of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, and was mailed in 1947. The written note at the bottom describes life at the studio, and makes mention of a nearby “Pago Pago Club.” After being posted on the Stuff from the Park blog, an anonymous commenter said:

I used to work at the studio… The pago pago was the local “studio” bar across the street from the studio East of the corner of Buena Vista St. and Alameda. (even warner bros. had their watering hole as well) Its now an unmarked Disney building that holds the travel office. (If you drove the alley to the pago, one would see all the studio work bikes parked in the alley).

This piqued Matterhorn1959′s interest, as he’s a tikiphile, himself. He posted a call for more information on Tiki Central a few days ago. I personally knew of a few unrelated Pago Pagos having existed over the years, including spots in Long Beach, Portland and Tucson, but not in the San Fernando Valley. With such scant, and quite possibly unreliable, information to work from, it seemed entirely possible that this place might not have actually existed, or perhaps was not called Pago Pago, or perhaps was at another location entirely.

A few of us tried to pin down which block it may have been on, based on what had been learned so far — a spot across the street from the Disney Studios, near the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista, with an alley nearby. Still wasn’t much to go on; the buildings in that area have pretty much all been rebuilt. Sven Kirsten chimed in, saying he’d heard a rumor of there being an underground passage to the bar, something he didn’t take seriously. Freddiefreelance had a distant memory of possibly seeing a sign for Pago Pago at that spot, “caddy corner to St. Josephs” (the medical center that is also at the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista) when he used to ride his bike through the area to work in the ’80s. Matterhorn1959 found an older post on Tiki Central that quoted an interview with Paul Page, where he said he’d played off & on at a bar in the San Fernando Valley called the Pago Pago Club for ten years. Still, nothing solid, but a few more smidges of info indicating that this place once existed. So tantalizingly close!

In comes Naomi Alper to the rescue. Naomi owns the 8-Ball store in Burbank, and has some serious researching chops (she’s also Sven’s girlfriend). Naomi tracked down an address from a 1952 Burbank City Directory for a Pago Pago Club — 2413 W. Alameda Ave. Bingo! That address maps to this location, directly across from the Walt Disney Studios, diagonal from St. Joseph’s, and a stone’s throw from the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista:

Likely location of Pago Pago Club
Likely location of Pago Pago Club

Naomi also learned a bit about that sign that Freddiefreelance remembered:

One of the librarians who assisted me in the search recalled hearing that a Disney animator liberated the Pago Pago sign when the bar closed. This story was corroborated by this blurb that I found in the LA Times archives from an article dated 1/23/1994:

“A sign in the back yard reading “Pago Pago” offers a clue to the party’s origins. “It used to hang outside this bar across from the Disney studios, in Burbank, where the old-time animators met and drank,” says Dave Spafford, a Disney vet himself before forming Spaff Animation with [Debbie Spafford] in 1989. Among their credits: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and Woody Woodpecker’s Oscar presentation for Best Animated Short Film of 1990.”

To get more than that excerpt, you have to pay for the full article; I haven’t decided if I want to pony up the $3.95; it may not say anything more about the Pago Pago than that blurb does. If you’re curious, you can find it here.

I’ve now added Pago Pago Club to Critiki. The next step is to see if any emphemera or other documentation of this place is out there — naturally, something with some images would be highly desired! Chisel Slinger thinks he may have a matchbook from there in his collection.

Even without having any real way of knowing if there was anything truly tiki about this place beyond the tropical-sounding name, I love the idea of it. I get to daydream about hanging out with Disney artists in the heyday of Disney animation, at a tiki bar across the street. That suits me just fine. Many thanks to all the wonderful Tiki Centralites who have pitched in on this one!

September 15, 2006

Homemade Enchanted Tiki Room Birds

Filed under: Art,Disney,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:47 pm
Homemade Enchanted Tiki Room Birds
Homemade Enchanted Tiki Room Birds, by ZuluMagoo

ZuluMagoo (publisher of the Rocky Mountain Tiki Newsletter) is currently working on his new home tiki bar, the Kona Luanii. One of the projects for his room are these fantastic birds, inspired of course by the ones at the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. He took inexpensive feathered plastic parrots from Party City, mounted them on some garage-sale-find rattan plant hangers (which, when turned upside down, become perfect perches), and added a few decorative elements, including hats and shells. To cap it all off, he named his birds “Otto” and “Sven” as a tribute to Otto von Stroheim, creator of Tiki News, and Sven Kirsten, author of the Book of Tiki. A very inexpensive project that turned out to be impressively spot-on. You can see his post about the project, and his work on his home tiki bar, on Tiki Central.

August 26, 2006

My Travels: Walt Disney World

Filed under: Disney,My Travels,Orlando,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:38 pm
Adventureland at Walt Disney World
Adventureland at Walt Disney World

Ah, another August goes shooting by. Earlier in the month, I was in Internet-free Downieville, a wee little almost-ghost-town a few hours from pretty much anything, in the Sierras. It’s very pretty, but it ain’t tiki, so that’s all I’ve got to say about it here.

After that, we headed out to Walt Disney World for a whole week. My two previous trips to WDW have been woefully short, and the last one was curtailed by an unfortunate double-whammy of a terrible cold and an asshole who thought it would be funny to s#!t all over Tiki Central, requiring us to spend the day in the hotel room doing emergency cleanup duty. But this was a much happier trip — a whole, solid week, happily unencumbered by illness or delinquents. Even with that much time, we felt we had about a week more in us — there was still so much to see and to do. It was hard to leave.

The reason for our trip — not that it really would take a reason to bring us to a Disney park — was to visit with some old friends from Hanford’s LucasArts days, who are now working on an R & D Imagineering project at Epcot. The project was being tested with the public, and we came out to be guinea pigs, and to spend some quality time with them. The project is called Team Possible (based on the Kim Possible animated series on the Disney Channel), and it’s an interactive all-over-the-park game that uses a handheld “Kimmunicator” (actually, a high-end cellphone) to send you on a scavenger hunt of sorts. I don’t want to give away any more than that, but I will say that it was really fun, even though we’re not acquainted with Kim Possible. It was very well-integrated into World Showcase, so that anyone not playing the game would never know there was anything new there. It was a great way to see the park, and we saw all sorts of things we otherwise would have missed. Our experience was great, and hopefully they’ll use the concepts and technology they had in this test for a more permanent game of some sort. If you’d like to know more, keep an eye on Hanford Lemoore’s blog, he’ll likely be making a more detailed post about it soon.

Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki

But on to the tiki… we passed on seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room show there (the “Under New Management” version there is painful, simply painful, watch it at your own risk), but we did spend some time at the building it’s housed in. The building itself is very impressive, and full of delicate details — and, the lanai plays Exotica classics in a loop, including Martin Denny. The pre-show on the lanai is very different from the one in Anaheim, but there are a few of the Anaheim lanai tikis to be seen there. In addition, the entrance to Adventureland has a number of great tikis and shields, and there are some fantastic tall slit-drum tikis that spit water near the Enchanted Tiki Room.

'Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
‘Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles
at the Polynesian Resort

The best Polynesian Pop to be seen at Walt Disney World is at the Polynesian Resort, near the Magic Kingdom. The Polynesian Resort has been there since WDW first opened in October 1971. It’s a large resort, with over 800 rooms in 11 different “longhouses” named after Polynesian islands. The pool area has a volcano with a built-in water slide. The main building houses ‘Ohana restaurant (which also has a bar, serving tropical drinks including a Tropical Itch, complete with backscratcher), and has some neat tikis, masks, war clubs and other carvings, and plenty of bamboo. The hotel also has a luau and Polynesian floor show, called Spirit of Aloha, in one corner of the grounds.

Bar at 'Ohana restaurant
Bar at ‘Ohana restaurant

That’s about it for tiki at Walt Disney World… should I also mention the nearly-tiki stuff? (Shades eyes with back of hand) Wait a minute… (folds ring finger down) I love that idea.

Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon

There are two more things at Walt Disney World that are not quite tiki, but tiki-friendly, to be sure: Typhoon Lagoon, and the Adventurer’s Club. Typhoon Lagoon is one of WDW’s two water parks, and it has a well-executed shipwreck theme. The vegetation is thick, and vintage surf tunes are played throughout the park, except for the fish & chips bar (where they sold “fish & chips w/fries” — no joke), which plays great sea shanties. Who doesn’t love a good sea shanty? The Adventurer’s Club is one of the nightclubs in Downtown Disney, and is themed as a 1937 private club for, well, adventurers. A crew of talented improv comedians mingle and entertain through the whole evening, putting on periodic shows. The walls are positively encrusted with dusty artifacts, including a few tikis, and even a decidedly post-1937 pupu platter in the Treasure Room.

Adventurer's Club
Adventurer’s Club

I could go on and on about all the great things at Walt Disney World (Expedition Everest is beautiful! Canada is a lifetime journey for the traveller! Mocking Steven Tyler is fun!), but I won’t. Instead, take a gander at photos from my trip, and check out the updated entries on Critiki.

April 9, 2006

Re-Imagineering on WDW’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Filed under: Disney,Orlando,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:57 pm
The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management at Walt Disney World, photo by Humuhumu
The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management at Walt Disney World, photo by Humuhumu

Re-Imagineering is a blog written by a group of current and former Disney Imagineering and Pixar employees, who turn an often critical eye to Disney’s current Imagineering efforts, contrasted against How Things Used to Be Done, and How Things Could Be. While it will take time for recovery from the horrid mis-management of the last decade or so of the Disney parks, things are looking up with recent changes in park management, and hope is in the air with the injection of Pixar into the Imagineering picture. Re-Imagineering can at times read as much hopelessness and despair, but they have some interesting perspectives.

Most recently, Mr Banks has written an insightful item looking at the parallels between the recent mis-management and the tone that was introduced to Orlando’s version of the Enchanted Tiki Room when it was redone in 1998. This new incarnation is called “Under New Management,” and it is one of the most universally reviled bits of Imagineering in the history of the company. Adding insult to injury, Under New Management has the gall to actually mock its predecessor, and thus also mocks the many, many Disney guests who still adore the original. Thankfully, when the Anaheim Enchanted Tiki Room was in need of refurbishment recently, Imagineering decided instead to faithfully restore it. This has paid off handsomely in not just a beatiful looking and sounding Tiki Room, but also surges in attendance of the attraction, and in related merchandise sales — clearly demonstrating that Orlando’s Under New Management is the one that is out of touch.

Also take a look at pariartspaul’s call for the return of the Tahitian Terrace at Disneyland. Naturally, I wholeheartedly agree with that idea, not just because tiki=good, but even more so because the Aladdin structure looks so very out-of-place amongst the other Adventureland buildings.

April 7, 2006

The Conclusion of the Great Enchanted Tiki Room Dress Story

Filed under: Disney,News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:28 pm
Enchanted Tiki Room Dress on DisneyShopping.com
Enchanted Tiki Room Dress on DisneyShopping.com

Last night, the new Enchanted Tiki Room merchandise went up for sale on DisneyShopping.com, and if the message board chatter I’ve seen is any indication, it’s selling like hotcakes. Look ma, I’m a Disney model!

Here are links to the items on DisneyShopping.com:

And here’s the Great Enchanted Tiki Room Dress Story, from beginning to end:

April 2, 2006

Rare Trader Vic’s and Disneyland Items on eBay

Filed under: Disney,Shopping,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 11:32 am

There are a couple of rare items up on eBay at the moment that may be of interest to tikiphiles:

Trader Vic's display case
Trader Vic’s display case

This item is available only for pickup, which is great if you live in the San Francisco area (the item is in Oakland), not so great if you’re across the country. It’s an outdoor display case, probably used for displaying menus at a Trader Vic’s. It has the modern lettering on it, so it’s probably not too old. According to the story it came with, a janitor for Trader Vic’s took it when the location where it was used closed. If the janitor worked for a restaurant here in the Bay Area, that would mean it was the San Francisco location; however the Trader Vic’s warehouse is in the East Bay, so if the janitor worked for Trader Vic’s headquarters, it could have come in from any of the locations that have closed over the past ten years or so. It’s certainly an unusual Trader Vic’s collectible!

Vintage Enchanted Tiki Room Host Shirt
Vintage Enchanted Tiki Room Host Shirt

The other item is this very rare original, vintage Enchanted Tiki Room Host Shirt, in green. This is the shirt that will be available in reproduction form next week from Disney, but there’s nothing like owning the original. The fabric pattern on the original shirt is a little bit smaller, and a little bit brighter. I prefer this green version to the purple version, which I’ve seen more often.


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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu
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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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