Entries in the 'History' Category

June 16, 2008

Carve a Tiki Kit

Filed under: History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:10 pm
Carve a Tiki Kit, from the collection of 1961surf
Carve a Tiki Kit, from the collection of 1961surf

1961surf posted this little oddity on Tiki Central: it’s a kit for carving your own tiki, and appears to be from the ’60s or maybe ’70s.

On the plus side, it’s a tiki carving kit! On the downside… well, the example tikis are damned ugly. Plus side: world’s longest dash (“Easy ——— Fun!”). Down side: the only carving implement in the box is steel wool. It’s not so much carving a tiki, as it is chafing a tiki.

The rather lame contents
The rather lame contents

In addition to the lump o’ steel wool, the kit also came with a block, some linseed oil, and, uh… that’s about it. There’s an instruction sheet, but I don’t know what it says. Maybe it says “Go buy some real tools.” Regardless, it’s a very cool find!

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.

May 6, 2007

Two-Eared Bandit

Filed under: History,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:43 pm
Aku Aku slot machine, from the collection of AkuAku
Aku Aku slot machine,
from the collection of AkuAku

This slot machine was posted today on Tiki Central. It came from the Aku Aku restaurant that was part of the recently-demolished Stardust Casino (Aku Aku closed many years earlier, in 1980). It’s a little hard to tell, especially with this paint job, but this slot machine is in the shape of a moai. You pull one of the ears to play, and there’s a stern little mouth above the payout dish — too bad it doesn’t pay through the nose (har, har!).

The poster, appropriately named AkuAku, is looking for more information about this slot machine — especially its original paint job, so that it can be restored. He said this was likely placed within the Aku Aku restaurant, and sat on a stand of some sort. Loose Change Magazine apparently called it “the World’s ugliest slot machine,” and I won’t argue that — it’s definitely not a looker. But beauty isn’t everything, and this sucker is cool — I haven’t been so tickled to see an Aku Aku souvenir since I saw that extra-fancy moist towelette. Mr. Bali Hai is on the hunt tho help AkuAku learn more; hopefully we’ll get to see pictures of this in restored condition someday.

April 13, 2007

Baltimore Tiki History: the Hawaiian Room

Filed under: History,Tiki,Washington, D.C. — Humuhumu @ 11:27 am
Hawaiian Room swizzle, from the collection of Andy Johnson
Hawaiian Room swizzle, from the collection of Andy Johnson
Hawaiian Room mug, from the collection of kohalacharms
Hawaiian Room mug, from the
collection of kohalacharms

Johnny Dollar has a great roundup on the Hawaiian Room, including photos, collectibles, and a bit of the history. This piece of Baltimore tiki history operated in the Emerson Hotel in the 1960s, and had no relation to the Hawaiian Room in New York City.

My favorite part is a detail of a cocktail menu, which suggests that the diner “start a collection of Authentic Polynesian Mugs.” Y’know, just like the natives use. The Hawaiian Room actually does have one of the more unusual mugs, a grumpy Dr. Zaius look-alike. Tiki Centralite johntiki has been collecting items from and researching the Hawaiian Room for years, and he contributed images of his collection to Johnny’s post.

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 8, 2007

Mr. Bali Hai Goes Ballyhoo

Filed under: History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:07 pm
April 1935 issue of Ballyhoo
April 1935 issue of Ballyhoo
When the advertising men get there.
“When the advertising men get there.”

Mr. Bali Hai made a terrific find recently: this April 1935 issue of the humor magazine, Ballyhoo. As far as the humor goes in this issue, I guess you had to be there — seen with today’s eyes, it’s pretty un-funny stuff. Maybe it’s because some of the jokes are offensive, maybe it’s because humor was simpler back then, maybe it’s because there are references I just don’t get, or maybe it’s because even in April 1935 it was stupid. Regardless, it’s compelling stuff — it’s shocking sometimes to be faced with just how remote and exotic these lands were to the world back then, and how condescendingly the native cultures were viewed.

Setting aside, if you can, the really cringe-worthy take on island natives, there is some neat artwork. Mr. Bali Hai has scanned in the whole magazine to share. Be sure to look at some of the pages full-size to get all the detail. This cartoon here to the left is worth a closer look — it’s a sadly accurate prediction of what the future held, at least for parts of Hawaii.

Mr. Bali Hai has also posted about it on Tiki Central, where it has spurred a discussion on what this era is called — it definitely is part of the time when Americans were beginning their romanticised love affair with all things tropical, but it pre-dates the golden age of that era, when tikis ruled the scene. Sven calls it the “Pre-tiki Polynesian Pop era,” while I opt for the more shorthand “Bamboo Era” — there were a lot of cool old jazz bars done up in a tropical theme back then that were a neat mix of art deco and bamboo/rattan, and not a tiki in sight. Mr. Bali Hai wants to take it a step further, and asks what to call Victorian-era tropical fascination — he offers up Steamtiki, which suits me fine.

"There's been too damn much missionary work around here!"
"There’s been too damn much missionary work around here!"

April 7, 2007

Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog

Filed under: Drinks,History,News,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:16 pm
Sippin' Safari, by Jeff Berry
Sippin’ Safari, by Jeff Berry

Tikiphiles have been anxiously awaiting Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s new book, Sippin’ Safari, for many months now. The release is finally drawing near, and Berry will be giving seminars at both Hukilau and Tiki Oasis this summer. Now comes another exciting development: Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog. Yep, Jeff has added a blog to the site. Welcome to blogland, ‘bum!

I’m incredibly excited for Sippin’ Safari. Jeff has put incredible effort into rooting out the history of Polynesian Pop. It’s a colorful history, and has been well-documented in images — but there are a lot of stories to be told, and Jeff has been finding them, and documenting them. Those who were at Jeff’s seminar at last year’s Hukilau got a taste of what Sippin’ Safari holds. This is not a recipe book (though some recipes are included — thanks to his tireless efforts to track down original bartenders). This is a book about how tiki came to be — not about the world it grew up in, but how it actually, really came to be — how Don the Beachcomber built his dream into something that sparked the imagination of the era.

So, it’ll be really cool. You can preorder it now at SLG Publishing, and be sure to catch Beachbum Berry in person at Hukilau or Tiki Oasis if you can. And read his blog!

April 2, 2007

World Leaders and Their Tiki Mugs

Filed under: History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:51 pm
Ben Franklin loved a good Zombie
Ben Franklin loved a good Zombie

There’s a fun thread going at Tiki Central, started by TIKI-TONGA, inspired by the Reagan-tear brouhaha — various world leaders, with their tiki mugs. Naturally, Mr. Bali Hai threw in some great volleys. Above is my contribution, with my favorite of the founding fathers, Ben Franklin. I just know we’d be seeing ol’ Benny Boy bellying up to the bar at Trader Vic’s now and again.

March 2, 2007

After 20 Years, the Triumphant Return of Trader Vic’s to Dallas!

Filed under: Dallas,Florida Panhandle,History,Massive Moai,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 4:26 pm
Formikahini enjoys a Mai Tai at the Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Formikahini enjoys a Mai Tai at the Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Very, very exciting times in Dallas… the long-anticipated day has finally arrived, and the Dallas Trader Vic’s has reopened. The great news, the fabulous news, the pinch-me-I’m-dreaming news, is that they’ve worked hard to keep it intact. Some updates and repairs had to be made, but the architect working on the project, William Baker of Jones Baker Interior + Architecture, took care to preserve the original look as much as possible, including tracking down vintage fixtures, matching the original carpet, and having carvers reproduce original panels. (William Baker is also working on the interiors of the new Destin, Florida Trader Vic’s location.)

Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Tiki Centralites Kenike and Formikahini (pictured above) have posted their trip report from a soft-opening night at the Dallas Trader Vic’s. These two are hard-boiled tikiphiles, with a discerning eye — and they’ve come away more than pleased. The pictures tell the story: the Dallas Trader Vic’s is quite possibly now the best of the stateside Trader Vic’s. It’s gorgeous, people.

The bar at Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
The bar at Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike
Dallas Star cocktail, photo by Kenike
Dallas Blue Star cocktail, photo by Kenike

In keeping with Trader Vic’s tradition (hooray for Trader Vic’s tradition!), a new drink has been created to commemorate the opening: the Dallas Blue Star, pictured here in a photo from Kenike. The drink has tequila, agave nectar, cointreau, lime juice and is garnished with a star fruit slice — very pretty. Formikahini notes that the drink is a bit sweeter than is her preference, but points out that you get to keep this glass, a Dallas Trader Vic’s exclusive, which is essentially a taller, more slender variation on the classic Mai Tai glass.

Original massive moai at Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Original massive moai at Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Kenike and Formikahini were treated to a full tour of the restaurant, including a rare visit with this massive moai, carved by Barney West, which stood guard at Trader Vic’s for many years until the restaurant closed. The moai is not in the greatest shape, but is currently being restored with hopes of returning it to its proper post once more.

I could go on and on and on… this is so exciting to see. This is what a tiki bar should look like. Bravo to everyone involved in making this happen — it probably wasn’t always easy, and there probably was more than a bit of convincing involved. Thank you for your efforts! Thanks also to Kenike and Formikahini for doing such a wonderful job of documenting the opening for those of us who can’t be there in person. It’s making me want to check air fares to Dallas….

To see more of Kenike’s excellent pictures, and hear more details (including the fascinating backstory on that Barney West moai), be sure to check out this thread on Tiki Central. The Trader Vic’s Dallas website also has more pictures.

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

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies

Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures

I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog