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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » Does anyone know anything about the Zamboanga?
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Does anyone know anything about the Zamboanga?

Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Posts: 1
Posted: 2006-11-03 11:54 am   Permalink

This is fantastic! My son, Archipelago, informed me about the site, and I think I can make some interesting contributions.

My father, Joe Chastek, first was introduced to Polynesia when he and a high school buddy stowed away to the Philippines when they were both 17. After that, he became so immersed in the culture that it literally became his whole life until he died in 1995. He was one of the first to open a nightclub with the South Seas motif. His first was the Zamboanga, where he entertained movie stars and sports celebrities. The Zamboanga was featured on the TV Biography series that discussed early 1940's South Seas nightclubs in Los Angeles. His second nightclub was the Tradewinds. His third, the Vagabond's House was on Wilshire Blvd in LA, and was incredibly popular with, again, movie stars and sports celebrities.

I have been communicating with a man who is writing a book about Don Blanding, who wrote the original poem, "Vagabond House". He and my father were acquaintances, and I am fortunate enough to have some of their correspondence and a picture of Don. My son has posted a few pictures from the Zamboanga, which I was pleased to see. One of Joe's close friends at that nightclub was Johnny Weismuller. I have a very early picture of the two of them, and then have a later one taken at the Vagabond's House years later.

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Joined: Nov 01, 2006
Posts: 3
Posted: 2006-11-03 12:33 pm   Permalink

Here's some more...
This 1st pic is of Joe Chastek & Spike Jones at the Zamboanga. You can see the tailess monkeys in the background behind the glass.

Here's one of the menus...

And here's a Luau ticket...

More to come...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2005
Posts: 148
From: Oakland, CA.
Posted: 2006-11-03 3:00 pm   Permalink

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 2276
From: The Polynesian Port of NOLA
Posted: 2006-11-03 3:07 pm   Permalink

Holy Smokes! There were ACTUAL LIVE MONKEYS behind glass there?! Wow! You just would never see that now-a-days.

I find this incredibly intriguing.
"If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."
-Catherine Aird

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2005
Posts: 372
From: Lake Mojave
Posted: 2006-11-08 06:07 am   Permalink

My wife is from Zamboanga. It's a beautiful port city with lots of old charm, and is thriving despite the bad news often associated with it. One thing to bear in mind is that if separatist violence occurs, say, 100 miles from Zamboanga, the story will be "datelined" Zamboanga as it is the biggest city in the region. This often gives the impression that the problem occurred in the Zamboanga City, even when it didn't. To paraphrase the old Merril Lynch commercial, we're bullish on Zamboanga.

Of likely interest to many TCers, there is a famous bamboo tree house in Pasonanca Park in Zamboanga City. Google and/or Google Images " pasonanca park zamboanga tree house " and lots comes up. The following is from
http://www.jetlink.com.ph/~zambo/tree.htm :
at Pasonanca Park

Any visitor, foreign or native, who comes for a brief sojourn hereabouts may ask for a reservation of the Tree House through the Office of the City Mayor. The stay is for FREE, but it is only good for a night or two, to give everybody a chance, it being the one and only of its kind in the city and in the country...

Elizabeth Stafford
Pasonanca Park Tree-House
September 30, 1963

From the heart of an Acacia tree
Come these words from me to thee
In a tree-house I now stay
My third day, out Zamboanga way.

Leafy boughs frame screen-tight windows
and sky is etched in swaying palm-frond rows.

Beyond shines the Celebes Sea
while close around "my" tree
Brilliant bougainvilla reaches up to me.

The rainbow tips a bird's wing
While friendly Filipino voices sing.
In pretty Pasonanca Park
Where Tree-House living is a lark
A stream-fed pool
Invites a swim that's cool.

There's room for two
But one alone "can do"
With frig and lightss
And comfort for all rites.

At dusk and dawn
A cricket combo will help you yawn.
Rare fruits tease
Sun-sweet breezes please.

How much: much No price!
It's just to be nice
To City Guests who stay
Out Zamboanga way.

But of pesos -- leave a few
La Lavandera will wash for you.

This sweet little scheme
For enchantment - whose dream?
That of Cesar Climaco, a mayor
With imagination of his mind plus hair.

For every visitor out Zamboanga Way
This my heart is glad to say.

Impressions of other guests:

PAKISTAN AMBASSADOR MALIK: "To live on the tree top without being uncivilized is heavenly." 1963

American actor, JEFFREY HUNTER: "The perfect story of romance! An adventure in a tree-house in the distant reaches of the Pacific! Zamboanga, a name that fires the imagination, a name that is synonymous with friendly, smilinmg people. More wonderful than fiction is the fact that Zamboanga is now our most treasured memoir of the Philippines." 1962

PAULINE BUSS, 4-H Club, Michigan: "I will always remember my night in the tree house. It was so much fun. This house and park really add to the beauty of Zamboanga." 1965

**(end of quote)**

By the way, that ditty about the monkeys with no tails is suddenly and inexplicably sung by the female lead in the Frank Sinatra movie, A HOLE IN THE HEAD, which is rather corny but hey, is in Miami in 1959, which makes it cool despite it all. It was the first time my wife and I ever heard it and we suddenly turned to each other with shocked expressions (then rewound the video and relistened to it about five times to make sure). A funny moment.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2005
Posts: 372
From: Lake Mojave
Posted: 2006-11-08 09:27 am   Permalink

The more I think of it I'm proud, in a funny way, of the fact that the mean-spirited, racist meaning behind the "monkeys with no tails" thing (the idea that it's actually referring to the people, and therein lies the "joke," which now seems so obvious and unavoidable now that it's been pointed out) hadn't even occurred to me at first. Makes me feel like I was "innocent" in a good kind of way. And now the idea kind of fills me with a sour disappointment, though one easily dismissed, thank goodness.
**Edited to add: Lovely artifacts from the "other" Zamboanga presented here, and great discussion! I hadn't known about the establishment at all. I don't wish to derail the topic from that primary focus but there had also been some discussion of the actual city interweaved here as well.**

[ This Message was edited by: Thomas 2006-11-08 09:32 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1439
From: San Diego
Posted: 2006-11-08 2:30 pm   Permalink

Anyone know the recipe for a Tailless Monkey cocktail?

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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2617
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2006-11-22 6:54 pm   Permalink

I drove by the Zamboanga’s address to see what it looks like now as the Jackie Robinson American Legion Hall. The front still has the big wide curved line design. I don’t know what you would call that. Anyway I was taking pictures for less than two minutes before someone came out and half-angrily across 4 lanes of traffic asked, “What’s going on?” I replied with “Just taking pictures of the building.” I should have crossed the street and explained more but they went inside. I later tried to Google the Jackie Robinson American Legion Hall to see if they had an email address so I could explain and see if anything inside was still intact but couldn’t find any email.

According to some event calendars that I came across on Google they have live jazz there sometimes so maybe part of it is still intact.

[ This Message was edited by: Bora Boris 2006-11-22 18:55 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7928
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2006-11-22 7:10 pm   Permalink


On 2006-11-03 15:07, Haole'akamai wrote:
Holy Smokes! There were ACTUAL LIVE MONKEYS behind glass there?! Wow! You just would never see that now-a-days.

I find this incredibly intriguing.

Hey Red,

You got to go to the Kon Tiki Tucson and meet Thor. You can sit at the bar and watch him chill on his trunk. Big ass monitor lizard!

Bamboo Ben
Tiki Bars I've designed/built. Zombie Village SF, TikiCat, Royal Hawaiian, Kona Club, Frankie's Tiki Room, Pacific Seas, Don the Beachcomber,Forbidden Island, Kon Tiki Tucson, Ti

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Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 1
Posted: 2007-07-07 11:17 am   Permalink

I remember this place from my childhood. There was a huge gorilla, probably would have
stood about 8 feet tall, sitting on the parapet of the front wall. The sign, as I recall it,
said, "Zamboanga, Home of the Tailless Ape!" I never went inside, being a kid, and I didn't
know that Zamboanga was a Phillipine Island, rather than someplace in Africa. It sure would
be fun to see, if someone had a picture of the building with the ape in place.

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