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Snapshot of Don the Beachcomber Sign In Hawaii 1940s
msteeln
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 284
From: Ka'a'awa, HI
Posted: 2008-07-20 09:58 am   Permalink

Nobody does luau's like that any more, nor have they for decades, with only the rarest of excepted examples. That was one swanky get down. Even the mats and floor sitting is a thing of the distant past. I have similar shots of the Dillingham family at well to do Hawaiian luau's in the '40s/'50s, but even they didn't show up in such heavy tropical garb. This was deffinitely a 'come dressed in your finest' and put on a show for the cameras, to the highest degree, and in good taste.
Dig the atmosphere, wall coverings, and them Leeteg's! What fun!

Not that we can't create those type's of moments today, but where oh where have those times gone?!


 
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tikiyaki
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Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2710
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2008-07-20 10:29 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-20 09:58, msteeln wrote:
Nobody does luau's like that any more, nor have they for decades, with only the rarest of excepted examples. That was one swanky get down. Even the mats and floor sitting is a thing of the distant past. I have similar shots of the Dillingham family at well to do Hawaiian luau's in the '40s/'50s, but even they didn't show up in such heavy tropical garb. This was deffinitely a 'come dressed in your finest' and put on a show for the cameras, to the highest degree, and in good taste.
Dig the atmosphere, wall coverings, and them Leeteg's! What fun!

Not that we can't create those type's of moments today, but where oh where have those times gone?!



You make a really good point about sitting on the floor. Amazing, but THAT really would make a tiki event more like a "Luau"....you're right, no one does that anymore. (a light bulb is glowing above my head right now!)


 
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msteeln
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 284
From: Ka'a'awa, HI
Posted: 2008-07-20 7:24 pm   Permalink

It's all fun and games until the ants and centipedes decide you've had enuf!

They cheated and obviously have a low level table of sorts instead of everything completely on the ground, but it makes for less mess and convenience of serving and eating.

Tonight, it's time for some REAL haupia!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-20 7:50 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-20 09:58, msteeln wrote:
Even the mats and floor sitting is a thing of the distant past. Not that we can't create those type's of moments today, but where oh where have those times gone?!



Sitting on the floor was informal and special and liberating for a generation that had strict table manners beaten into them by their parents (see Tiki Modern page 80). The young 60s generation did away with that strictness. These Luaus were a predecessor to the Hippies' "sit-ins" and "happenings" in the park. Now we all can sit anywhere we like, eat while we watch TV, and full family sit-down dinners are the exception...(not in all households, but more than in the 50s), so sitting on the floor has lost its kick.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-21 10:39 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-18 12:33, Swanky wrote:
Quote:

On 2008-07-18 09:37, bigbrotiki wrote:
Swanky, two reminders:

Don The Beachcomber = Pre-Tiki

Tiki Culture = Tiki Mugs = Mainland, not Hawaii


Well, Don started here and went there later. When did the Tiki mug start? I always also assumed the Don bust mug was a Hawaii mug. The lamps on the table are the sort that are in later Tiki establishments.



I decided to make use of this opportunity to remind those folks who have the Book of Tiki of the "Evolution of Polynesian Pop" chart, and show to those who do not own it that there is a method to this madness (by the way, there is a hardcover on Amazon for 52.- bucks right now!)



Don, as important as he was to Polynesian pop, was never an exponent of Tiki style. His "Beachcomber decor" concept was born in the Pre-Tiki era (see chart) and even after the war, Don's franchises never used a Tiki as a logo and very little in their decor. Unlike Trader Vic, who, beginning in the mid-50s, allowed his Pre-Tiki "Trader decor" concept (more nautical than Beachcomber) to expand to the growing Tiki trend and started to use Tikis on his menus and in his restaurants. But even Vic never served cocktails in Tiki mugs, nor did Don. Tiki mugs (cocktail mugs depicting Tikis) did not come into use until the late 50s/early 60s. The Don The Beachcomber mug is just that, a Beachcomber mug, NOT a Tiki mug, (and was not used until the Getty-owned period in the 70s).

I think Don's move to Hawaii after the war befitted his "classic" Polynesian pop sensibilities, I actually would not be surprised if he looked down on Stephen Crane's Kon Tikis and other, newer Tiki joints as too overdone in the Tiki department.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-07-21 22:41 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-07-22 05:46 am   Permalink

Okay, but, let's not be so literal. "Tiki" mugs now include the Don bust mug, not just mugs with tikis on them. This whole thing of serving out of special mugs and bowls defines "Tiki" and when did it start? Whether it was a ceramic coconut or whatever. Who invented that "gimmick"? And I suppose a ceramic coconut is the least likely mug to define the genre. A hula girl bowl or something more unique and less simply a tropical substitute would be practical here. So, leave out coconuts, pineapples and bamboo mugs.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-22 08:17 am   Permalink

Soooo......IF we agree to my theory that TIKI STYLE (and the TIKI PERIOD) is defined by the use of the TIKI LIKENESS as a primary symbol for Polynesia (when before it was the Hula Girl and other icons) AND that the TIKI MUG is THE embodiment of that so defined TIKI STYLE, can you still, in good conscience, call the Don The Beachcomber mug a TIKI mug?

Just because e-bay and the general public (which really doesn't care about such pop culture history specifics) do, does not make it so. By definition, a Tiki mug is a mug that depicts a Tiki. All others are Hula Girl/Skull/Fu Manchu/whatever mugs. That is not being narrow minded, it's being logical.

The exact time and origin of the FIRST Tiki mug is shrouded in mystery. Was it a small home manufacturer that made the first one, or an Asian wholesaler, most likely OMC? Here are my observations:

Trader Vic was the first to introduce the Tiki cocktail vessel with his TIKI BOWL. Bob Bryant, who used to be Vic's bar manager (!), left him and opened Tiki Bob's in 1955. He might not have used the Tiki Bob mug right away, but even if he did only by 1957/58, that makes him a candidate for being the first.

Stephen Crane took over The Tropics and opened The Luau in 1953, and even though he used a Tiki as a logo on the menu cover, match books and glasses, the Luau did not use Tiki mugs. The famed Steve Crane mugs did not come into use until the opening of his Kon Tikis and Ports of Call in the late 50s/early 60s.

Since most menus do not have dates, it will be hard to pinpoint the first appearance of a Tiki-shaped mug, but my money is on the Tiki Bob.


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-07-22 08:57 am   Permalink

That's a nice theory you got going there, but I think a revisionist history muddies the waters a bit. The Tiki bar defines what is a Tiki mug and and by that definition we can call them all Tiki mugs, even without an actual Tiki.

By your definition, Don the Beachcombers may have never been a Tiki bar and Trader Vic's didn't become one until that Moai bowl showed up or something. The Mai Tai and Zombie were not created in Tiki bars... Most of those drinks weren't.

The only definite I have is via the Mai Kai, which is late to the scene, but does have the coffee grog with whatever that character is on the 1957 menu and the Mystery Drink bowl I have on a 1958 dated menu. They have Rum Barrels, but that goes with the coconut and bamboo as a sort of tropical depiction that is not exactly a "tiki" image. It's a sort of image of the decor and could be pre-Tiki.

So, maybe it's when was the first Tiki in a tropical bar? Surely there are post marked postcards out there to define that in a dated image. That tells us when we had a "Tiki" bar at least. Then, all mugs in that bar can be called Tiki mugs, or, at least we get an inference. Or, maybe a postcard with a mug in it will set a date.

So when was the first Tiki bar?


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-22 10:11 am   Permalink

On 2008-07-22 08:57, Swanky wrote:
>>That's a nice theory you got going there, but I think a revisionist history muddies the waters a bit. The Tiki bar defines what is a Tiki mug and and by that definition we can call them all Tiki mugs, even without an actual Tiki.<<

---I respectfully disagree. And I am not being "revisionist", I am not re-inventing the past, I am quoting historic fact. It is your point of view which actually muddies up the very clear delineations of a pop art form. If you follow down the path of your logic, thatched Florida beach huts are rightfully called Tiki Bars, also. I define Tiki from the point of view of an art historian, not a restaurant historian. What I aimed to do with the Book of Tiki was to prove that the trivial restaurant world could bring forth something that was approaching the status of ART.

It is ironic, but in a way I am facing the same situation today that Tiki faced in its heyday, being still viewed by the mass media (NOT so much here!) as bar and party culture only, while the art, architecture and design are being ignored because they are "kitsch".

>>By your definition, Don the Beachcombers may have never been a Tiki bar and Trader Vic's didn't become one until that Moai bowl showed up or something. The Mai Tai and Zombie were not created in Tiki bars... Most of those drinks weren't.<<

---Stylistically viewed, Don the Beachcomber was not a Tiki Bar, but a Polynesian Pop Bar, for most of its run. So was Trader Vic's. Only with the beginning of the Tiki period, which WAS to a large degree ushered in by the success of these too, did the Tiki image proliferate in their establishments.
Polynesian cocktails were never called "Tiki Drinks" until the Tiki revival. The Zombie cocktail is the perfect example: As I said in the Book of Tiki, the FIGURE of the Zombie was somewhat the predecessor of the Tiki as the symbol of the dark side of the Tropical paradise in the 30s and 40s. Was the Zombie cocktail EVER served in a Tiki mug? Not in any respectable establishment! So yes it was clearly a Pre-Tiki invention.
Which does NOT say that all these cocktails and decor did not form important ELEMENTS of the "Tiki" environment.

>>The only definite I have is via the Mai Kai, which is late to the scene, but does have the coffee grog with whatever that character is on the 1957 menu and the Mystery Drink bowl I have on a 1958 dated menu. They have Rum Barrels, but that goes with the coconut and bamboo as a sort of tropical depiction that is not exactly a "tiki" image. It's a sort of image of the decor and could be pre-Tiki.<<

---Yes, the Mai Kai certainly belongs in that pool of possible first Tiki mug introducers (but the mystery bowl does not count, if we do not accept the Trader Vic Tiki bowl as a Tiki mug...which I don't)

>>So, maybe it's when was the first Tiki in a tropical bar? Surely there are post marked postcards out there to define that in a dated image. That tells us when we had a "Tiki" bar at least. Then, all mugs in that bar can be called Tiki mugs, or, at least we get an inference. Or, maybe a postcard with a mug in it will set a date.
So when was the first Tiki bar?<<

---As I mentioned above, as far as I can tell, it was the THE LUAU, because it first used the Tiki as a logo, in 1953. It's name was still adhering to the Pre-Tiki concept, but The Luau is also a great example of the birth of the Tiki period because it took over the grounds from a Non-Tiki Tropical bar, Sugie's The Tropics!
Next in line is Tiki Bob's, because it used Tiki BY NAME first...and as an entrance statue, on the menu, match books...AND then, as a mug.


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-07-22 10:22 am   Permalink

It is a good way to define it historically and in a time line. Making it all demarkated by the tiki icon.

Even that tropical decor was invented by someone back then, maybe Don. But as an "era" you would have to define it with the iconic tiki. On the menus, on the table, in the restaurants. It was at a height when the Tiki bar was. But even places without tikis in that era can be called tiki bars. I suppose there is a calculus of factors that make it tiki or simply tropical.

I'd bet there is a parallel to when tourists started bringing home mass produced tikis from Hawaii, though that may have follow the mainland as it did with many other island traditions.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-22 10:32 am   Permalink

Yes, Don, Vic and Steve all imported their concepts and style to Hawaii, AFTER they had created it on the mainland.

Let's hear from some other folks on this, now!


 
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kohalacharms
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 39
Posted: 2008-07-22 12:23 pm   Permalink

I have a number of pieces that were made for and used exclusively at Trader Vic's. I've been able to date the pieces between 1940-1944 utilizing a 1941's original photo of a young Victor Bergeron standing behind a souvenir counter at his original establishment in Oakland. In the background, one can clearly see a Vernon Kilnís Scorpion bowl as well as the earliest version of a Samoa fogcutter. Another source of information is a September 4, 1944 Life magazine article which displays several early mugs and bowls (PB2Y Gremelin bowl, Samoa fogcutter, skull mug, Kava bowl, Scorpion bowl) used at Trader Vicís. Iíve narrowed down the manufacturer of these early pieces to either Tepco or Vernon Kilns based upon Bergeron's historic record of utilizing both companies for his drink ware. (The skull mug was at some point also manufactured by Red Wing.)

There is also a bamboo mug used by Don the Beachcomber which is unlike any of the more commonly seen pieces: very crude, most likely sculpted by hand without the use of a mold. It is has an engraving which denotes it as being from the Hollywood location. I have not been able to date it yet, but I wouldnít be surprised if it pre-dates Bergeronís ceramic drink ware.



 
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1611
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2008-07-22 12:29 pm   Permalink

WOW!!!

Thanks for posting this valuable information Kohalacharms.

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-07-22 12:43 pm   Permalink

Sven calls all those early bowls and mugs Pre-Tiki. Good stuff to know. Any idea when the actual mug shaped like a tiki first showed up? The places with logo designs are perhaps most likely candidates. Big Bro, you mentioned 1953. What confirms that date?

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-22 4:54 pm   Permalink

Well that's when The Luau opened. No Tiki mugs in sight then. And I bet you the Trader did not call those mugs Tiki mugs either.

Thanks for chiming in, Frank. The patent for the skull mug that you see in Tiki Modern was filed by (or granted to) Vic on Nov. 14, 1939. The Tiki stem glass patent however was applied for on July 9th, 1958, and patented March 22nd, 1960. (What, did they have to TEST it for over a year? ). Another one of the numerous proofs of my Pre-Tiki/ Tiki-period time frame theory.

Still a bummer about that lost OMC connection, wonder if there would be someone who could actually say: "This is the first mug we made that looked like a Tiki, and we made it in 19??".



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-07-22 16:56 ]


 
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