FEATURES | MUSIC | BOOKS | DRINKS | FORUMS | GAMES | LINKS | ABOUT


advertise on Tiki Central

Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
  [Edit Profile]  [Edit Preferences]  [Search] [Sign Up]
[Personal Messages]  [Member List]  [Help/FAQ]  [Rules]  [Login]
Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Don The Beachcomber Obituary
Goto page ( 1 | 2 Next Page )
Don The Beachcomber Obituary
pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1564
From: Mass.
Posted: 2007-08-02 04:13 am   Permalink

I couldn't find this on TC so here it is. From 10 June 1989. Let's raise a glass to Don tonight because we probably didn't do it then.



_________________
"I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver."
Phil Harris


 
View Profile of pappythesailor Send a personal message to pappythesailor  Goto the website of pappythesailor     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
danlovestikis
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4861
Posted: 2007-08-02 4:32 pm   Permalink

Thank you very much for this interesting yet sad post, Wendy

 
View Profile of danlovestikis Send a personal message to danlovestikis      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1290
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2007-08-02 4:42 pm   Permalink

I think it's especially odd that the L.A. Times didn't make more of a big deal that DtB was a chain that began in Hollywood. Perhaps there was a followup story a few days later?
_________________
"I am Lono!" -- Hunter S. Thompson


 
View Profile of arriano Send a personal message to arriano      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
tikipedia
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 25, 2004
Posts: 490
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-08-02 5:30 pm   Permalink

A curious thing about the article. Nowhere is the word "Tiki" used.

Is it possible that, by 1989, Tiki was so far in decline that the word did not even come to mind when the obit was written?
_________________
The Tikipedia
www.tikipedia.com


 View Profile of tikipedia Send a personal message to tikipedia  Goto the website of tikipedia     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Koolau
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 23, 2006
Posts: 323
From: Oahu, Hawaii
Posted: 2007-08-05 5:46 pm   Permalink

I was surprised to read in the obit that Donn is buried at Punchbowl. It's a beautiful Sunday, so I drove up there.

I'll be darned -



Donn's grave is just to the left of the flag pole, close to the main gate. Punchbowl cemetery is such a beautiful place:



I thanked Donn for the Zombie, and a lot of good times I've had with friends enjoying his creations and inspirations.


 
View Profile of Koolau Send a personal message to Koolau      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1290
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2007-08-05 6:49 pm   Permalink

While we're on the subject...two questions came to mind today while I was reading "Sippin' Safari":

1. Why "Don the Beachcomber"? Why not "Sam the Beachcomber" or "Ted the Beachcomber" -- or for that matter "Ernie the Beachcomber"? Why did Ernest Gantt choose the name Don?

2. Why when Ernest changed his name did he spell Donn with two "n's" rather than one as it was in the restaurant name?

Inquiring mind wants to know.



_________________
"I am Lono!" -- Hunter S. Thompson


 
View Profile of arriano Send a personal message to arriano      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-08-05 8:56 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-08-02 17:30, tikipedia wrote:
A curious thing about the article. Nowhere is the word "Tiki" used.

Is it possible that, by 1989, Tiki was so far in decline that the word did not even come to mind when the obit was written?



Is that some kind of trick question...?

If it is not, it hits the nail on the head, and simply shows how nowadays most people have no memory of how utterly devoid America was of Tiki, both the TERM, and the IMAGE, for decades. And of the fact that "Tiki" was never named that, because it had never been recognized and defined as a style. There was NOTHING...NADA...ZILCH out there!

You kids think the concept of urban archaeologist came to me as a fluke? That's what it was before the Internet: digging and unearthing and combing the neighborhoods and thrift stores for years! The mere discovery of the the four letters T-I-K-I was a sensational find! There was no memory of it left, to people I talked to it was like a forgotten, hazy dream.

This was the case until the mid-90s: In the early years of the Internet, if you would put in the search word "Tiki", you would get TWO results: One for the Baseball player Tiki Barber, and another for some woman's website she had made for her dog named Tiki.

Nowadays everybody behaves like it has always been there, to which I can honestly reply: No, it hasn't. It never even "existed" as a pop phenomenon, because it never was taken seriously in its own heyday.

It still is like that to a certain degree, being that we are a relatively small group of cookes compared to the big picture, but that does not compare to Tiki's virtual non-existence only 10/15 years ago.

Aaaw, kids today, tiz tiz...



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-08-05 20:58 ]


 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
telescopes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 567
From: Palm Springs
Posted: 2007-08-05 9:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-08-05 18:49, arriano wrote:
While we're on the subject...two questions came to mind today while I was reading "Sippin' Safari":

1. Why "Don the Beachcomber"? Why not "Sam the Beachcomber" or "Ted the Beachcomber" -- or for that matter "Ernie the Beachcomber"? Why did Ernest Gantt choose the name Don?

2. Why when Ernest changed his name did he spell Donn with two "n's" rather than one as it was in the restaurant name?

Inquiring mind wants to know.




It's Donn, as in the Godfather. That's what his early regulars referred to him as... Remember all the talk about being a bootlegger, etc.

_________________
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

[ This Message was edited by: telescopes 2007-08-05 21:44 ]


 
View Profile of telescopes Send a personal message to telescopes      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Koolau
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 23, 2006
Posts: 323
From: Oahu, Hawaii
Posted: 2007-08-05 10:03 pm   Permalink

To be fair to the Times, I don't know that Donn considered himself or his restaurants "Tiki" - the images he seemed to use were much more polynesian- caribbean-nautical as opposed to the tiki-heavy look of Steven Crane's Kon Tiki or even Trader Vic. I just looked at that 1941 menu currently on eBay, and not one drink has a tiki name. His drinks seem to have come in glassware or the ceramic coconut or rum barrel, not a tiki mug. So maybe Don the Beachcomber was the source of tiki, but not particularly tiki itself.

Bigbro - I grew up in Rosemead, so I recognize I have a warped perspective, but tiki never disappeared for me. Tiki torches were always called tiki torches, big apartment buildings had lava rocks, bamboo and waterfalls, and there has always been a Bahooka.


 
View Profile of Koolau Send a personal message to Koolau      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-08-05 10:39 pm   Permalink

You are correct on all counts, Sir:

"To be fair to the Times, I don't know that Donn considered himself or his restaurants "Tiki" - the images he seemed to use were much more polynesian- caribbean-nautical.... I just looked at that 1941 menu currently on eBay, and not one drink has a tiki name."

--See Book of Tiki, page 46, the Evolution of Polynesian Pop: Don the Beachcomber was created in the PRE-Tiki era, which lasted until the 1950s. Before Steve Crane and Tiki Bob's, there never was a mention of the term Tiki, or Tiki Mug (exception: Trader Vic's Tiki Bowl)

" I grew up in Rosemead, so I recognize I have a warped perspective, but tiki never disappeared for me."
--It just never was CALLED Tiki before the early 90s

" Tiki torches were always called tiki torches"
--Very true. The TIKI TORCH is the ONLY product where the term became a lasting coloquialism...mainly because it was the manufacturer's brand name.

"big apartment buildings had lava rocks, bamboo and waterfalls"
--but were not called "Tiki" either...maybe, by some contemporaries, referred to as "Kon-Tiki style", or "Polynesian" apartment buldings

"and there has always been a Bahooka."
--which technically was never "Tiki" per se, but more Beachcomber/nautical style. And never mentioned the term Tiki anywhere until the Tiki revival.

And I know you are an exception, but people drove by these places and did not see them. It was the great Tiki memory loss in the consensus consciousness.


 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1564
From: Mass.
Posted: 2007-08-06 6:19 pm   Permalink

Koolau, thanks for visiting Don's final resting place and sharing the pics.

 
View Profile of pappythesailor Send a personal message to pappythesailor  Goto the website of pappythesailor     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
naugatiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 836
From: Port Angeles, Wa
Posted: 2007-08-06 6:22 pm   Permalink

Quote:


This was the case until the mid-90s: In the early years of the Internet, if you would put in the search word "Tiki", you would get TWO results: One for the Baseball player Tiki Barber, and another for some woman's website she had made for her dog named Tiki.




Tiki Barber retired last season so hopefully we'll less and less of his sports memorabilia when you do an ebay "tiki" search.
I remember Tiki the dog he was a link on someones family page. I think Otto had a stripped down version of his site out too. I hope some mug maker with too much time on their hands will immortalized Tiki the Dog, the original tiki party animal.


 
View Profile of naugatiki Send a personal message to naugatiki  Email naugatiki Goto the website of naugatiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2011-05-01 4:44 pm   Permalink


latimes.com

Don the Beachcomber helped launch wave of Polynesian restaurants

When the owner opened his Hollywood eatery in 1937, he was gambling that in those Depression years diners would enjoy spending a few hours in a South Seas fantasy world.

By Steve HarveySpecial to the Los Angeles Times

May 1, 2011

advertisement

Nobody knows why Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt decided to call his restaurant Don the Beachcomber.

Maybe he just thought Ernest the Beachcomber wouldn't roll off the tongue quite as easily.

In fact, as his Hollywood eatery and watering hole became famous in the years after its 1937 founding, he would change his own name, first to Donn Beach-Comber, then to Donn Beach.

He would also play a key role in introducing Polynesian restaurants and tiki bars to America.

"If you can't get to paradise, I'll bring it to you," Beach liked to say.

As a young man, Beach had sailed around the globe, working odd jobs on steamships while developing a love for the South Pacific.

When he landed in Hollywood, he found work as a bootlegger and speakeasy proprietor until the repeal of Prohibition.

Then he opened a new style of restaurant, gambling that in those Depression years diners would enjoy spending a few hours in a South Seas fantasy world, amid tiki carvings, thatched roofs, bamboo furniture and rain falling on the roof.

He graciously supplied the rain, produced from a garden hose, theorizing that drinkers tended to hang around for another round if it was pouring outside.

While "demon rum" had long been derided as a cheap intoxicant, Beach popularized it with such colorful concoctions as the Zombie, the Missionary's Downfall and the Vicious Virgin.

The Zombie - so named for the trance-like state it induced in imbibers contained the equivalent of more than three shots of the demon stuff; Beach, ever the marketer, decreed that customers would be limited to two per person.

He also claimed to have introduced the mai tai Tahitian for "good" or "best" an accomplishment that was disputed by a later rival, Vic Bergeron, founder of Trader Vic's.

A New York newspaperman became a regular at Beach's restaurant and touted it to such stars as Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and David Niven, who hung out at the Beachcomber on McCadden Place, just a few blocks from Beach's old speakeasy.

Beach's career was interrupted by overseas service in World War II, and upon his return he found that his wife had expanded the operation from two to six restaurants.

Beach wasn't as ambitious and they divorced. She acquired the restaurants in the United States, so he moved to Hawaii (not yet a state) and opened his own Don the Beachcomber. Its most famous regular was a myna bird that chirped, "Give me a beer, stupid."

Beach died in 1989 at the age of 81.

Over the years, the restaurants passed through a series of owners, and most have disappeared. Today, a hotel on the island of Hawaii owns one Beachcomber. Another, in Huntington Beach, is owned by former Los Angeles City Councilman Art Snyder.

Snyder became involved because his wife, Delia, knew the Beach family. He bought the rights to the name and in 2009 turned Sam's Seafood on Pacific Coast Highway into a Beachcomber.

The interior is a replica of Beach's creations. "I had a customer from Florida the other day, an older lady, who was amazed at how similar it was to the original," said bartender Robert DeMoss.

The same drinks are served, including the Zombie (still limited to two to a customer), in the Dagger Bar.

The somewhat intimidating bar name refers to a piece of World War II booty, a reproduction of an imperial Roman-style Puglia knife that Beach brought back from Italy. It has had an interesting after-life.

Sometime in the 1950s, a bartender who had been fired stole the dagger from Beach. Its whereabouts were unknown for half a century until the bartender's son sent a note to Snyder.

The son wrote that his father had kept the dagger "in a wooden box in the closet and never talked about it. Before he died, he finally opened it up and showed it to me."

The son said he didn't want his children to think that Grandpa was a thief, so he returned the dagger to Snyder on the condition that Snyder "never give my name or my father's away.... I hope I never see it again.''

The dagger, locked in a glass case, now hangs on the wall behind Snyder's Beachcomber bar, out of the reach of Zombie drinkers.


 
View Profile of christiki295 Send a personal message to christiki295  Email christiki295     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
SpaceAgeCity
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 17, 2002
Posts: 59
From: Orange County, CA
Posted: 2013-07-10 10:38 pm   Permalink

I just found another piece of the Donn Beach story that I haven't seen in print before. I've posted it on my local history blog at
http://ochistorical.blogspot.com/2013/07/keeping-costa-mesa-safe-for-democracy.html
Looks like Don the Beachcomber had more of an Orange County connection than we knew.

Chris


 View Profile of SpaceAgeCity Send a personal message to SpaceAgeCity  Goto the website of SpaceAgeCity     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Phillip Roberts
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2003
Posts: 1603
From: OAHU/Seattle
Posted: 2013-07-10 10:44 pm   Permalink

Aloha,

Yes, I'll be going by tomorrow. Probably around 9:33 AM after work...
_________________
Waikiki Tiki; Art, History, and Photographs.
Available now from
Bess Press Hawaii.

 View Profile of Phillip Roberts Send a personal message to Phillip Roberts  Email Phillip Roberts     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Goto page ( 1 | 2 Next Page )
U-Moderate:
  
v1.5

[ About Tiki Central | Contact Tiki Central | Advertise on Tiki Central ]
(c) 2000-2014 Tikiroom.com (tm), Tiki Central (tm)

Credits & copyright infomation