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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Tonga Lei, Malibu, CA (restaurant)
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Tonga Lei, Malibu, CA (restaurant)
Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2569
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2010-10-31 11:18 pm   Permalink

Ok here are some 1980 aerial shots of the address, Not really sure what I'm looking for but there are some parking lots and an A-frame type structure.






[ This Message was edited by: Bora Boris 2010-10-31 23:33 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-01 07:22 am   Permalink

Thanks B-man, that was swift. Dang, that is hard to tell...Bongo will be better qualified to analyze these, as a builder-type. Looks like the number 2 photo is the one that shows it, and that the building next to the restaurant that might have a higher roofline and might be the motel is NOT attached, so that would blow away my theory....Ron?

 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1538
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2010-11-01 5:59 pm   Permalink

Cool stuff but more questions than answers. I can't decipher anything from the aerial photos but the newspaper articles need to be addressed. Built in 1961. Movie released in 65 probably shot in 64 when the Tonga Lei was fairly new. No bushes or trees in the movie, but when the Coopers bought it in 77 they cut them down? There was the logo Tiki in 64/65 but it seems the Coopers bought Tikis From The Sea & Jungle shop in 77. My Theory: The Aloha Room entrance/Motel/landscaping is just to the South of the building as (not) seen in the menu renderings and movie and the Tiki seen in the photo & Bananbobs post was added in 77 or ? Looks like it had some Tiki style but embellished when the new owners saw the Bali Hai? I'm confused by all of this. Are the menu/matchbooks dated? No logo mugs?

Also 2 story motel with 9 rooms? 5 on the 1st floor and 4 on top? 9 over the restaurant? Tahitian decor out of style? the movie (Beach Ball) shows some interior scenes but appear to be a set. Would like to see photos of the area where the "dancing" was. Who is up for looking at all the episodes of the Rockford Files for more video?

Bad timing for Don The Beachcomber who bought the Tonga Lei & The Trade Winds in Oxnard about the same time and only lasted a couple of years at both locations. Help!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-01 7:27 pm   Permalink

If someone please would let me use their time machine, I promise I won't touch or change anything, just have quick look, please!

 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-11-02 5:46 pm   Permalink

bongofury - thanks for taking the time to do those screen-captures. I love seeing the real evidence of that logo tiki and sign.

From the days of its opening in 1961, the ads for the Tonga Lei all list the motor hotel along with the restaurant. I have a feeling that my black-and-white photo might depict a separate lounge at the hotel, completely unattached from the main restaurant.
_________________


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2569
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2010-11-02 10:46 pm   Permalink

The Rockford Files: Season 1 episode 3. The Kirkoff Case with Abe Vigoda and a creepy James Woods. Oh and part of the Tonga Lei Sign!



The Rockford Files: Season 1 episode 4. The Dark and Bloody Ground.



Thanks Midnite for the tip on these.

If anyone else can get a more in focus shot of the second one, please do.

[ This Message was edited by: Bora Boris 2010-11-02 23:34 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-03 09:19 am   Permalink

Although I am a big fan of the show because of its Chandler-esque characters and the way it showed L.A., making it really the quintessential L.A. show on TV, I never paid attention WHERE his trailer/mobile home was actually located. Next to the Tonga Lei? Down a couple of lots? This blog gets into the specifics and places it by a restaurant called "The Sandcastle" (see replies):

http://www.cavalier92.com/anotherdelcoguy/2008/11/the-view-from-jim-rockfords-trailer.html



The irony is that not only (very much in L.A.style) none of the buildings around it seem to be left, even the BEACH has washed away to some degree!
I would love to see this episode, the very last of the series, which plays in Hawaii:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0688072/


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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-11-03 09:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-02 22:46, Bora Boris wrote:
If anyone else can get a more in focus shot of the second one, please do.



Bora Boris,

Oh my god, I think that the second photo is a shot of the Tonga Lei after it became Don the Beachcomber! The sign that has been added under the original Tonga Lei sign sure looks like a Don the Beachcomber sign to me.




Look at the shape and the lettering. We need a better screen grab to confirm the first visual evidence of the Don's transition.

Do you know what year that episode was shot? Based on the article posted previously in this thread, Don's moved in sometime after 1977.

I need this for my Don the Beachcomber locations thread!

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-11-03 11:39 am   Permalink

OK, I guess I jumped the gun a little on this one. I've got Don the Beachcomber history on the brain this week.

I found this info regarding the location of Rockford's trailer location on Wikpedia

In early episodes in the shows first season, the trailer is located in a crowded parking lot alongside the highway and near the ocean; for the rest of the series, the trailer is at Paradise Cove (address 29 Cove Road), adjacent to a pier and a restaurant.

So it looks like the episode the photo was taken from was the from the first year in 1974, well before Don the Beachcomber moved in. Damn.

DC


 
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1961surf
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2007
Posts: 1919
From: Newport Beach, Ca .
Posted: 2010-11-22 10:20 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-17 20:09, bigbrotiki wrote:
We won't believe a word until you show us a still frame frame of that!



As promised Sven ....here's your proof .A vid clip instead of a still .

The film used only the name likeness "Tonga Lei" for the name of their sleazy bar- no tiki .

Good ol'e 80's .This B movie "Losin It " was originally titled "Tiajuana" was shot in 1981..sat on the shelf for two years and then Embassy pictures sold it to 20th Century Fox.I did not even know who Tom Cruise was at the time when he was on the set.He had only done The Outsiders and Taps .Film also stars ...Jackie Earle Haley and Shelly Long . This was only my second film I had any screen time.Scroll half way thru the clip, and check me out filling the rubber up with water Yes that's me ! I will try and follow up with a scene from the Tonga Lei.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwDyLtased0

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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-12-19 08:51 am   Permalink

Another matchbook style from the Tonga Lei spotted on ebay.





DC


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2569
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2012-07-24 7:06 pm   Permalink

Who doesn't love some 1965 Big Tiki Goodness on PCH?







From the book M a l i b u - A r c a d i a - P u b l i s h i n g . They did a nice job on the M a l i b u book but the Redondo Beach Pier b o o k stinks!
No need for this to show up in a Google search.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-07-25 7:21 pm   Permalink

Great stuff Bora Boris!

Here is another peek at the sign from the Rockford Files "The Countess" episode. Really shows how close Rockford's trailer was to the restaurant site.



And a fuzzy image of a 1976 Malibu Phone Directory ad for the Tonga Lei.



DC


 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1538
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2012-07-27 5:34 pm   Permalink

Nice photos guys.....Boris I guess we still have a mystery here as we thought this was the Tonga Lei spruced up but I don't think so...

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=43023&forum=1&hilite=sip%20n%20surf

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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2013-12-14 08:07 am   Permalink

Spotted this nice little take out menu from the Tonga Lei.







Like all good Chinese restaurants they ended up serving food to go.

Still looking for some evidence of the Don the Beachcomber presence at this place.

DC


 
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