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Tiki Central Forums Ľ Ľ Locating Tiki Ľ Ľ Don the Beachcomber (Hollywood), Hollywood, CA (restaurant)
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Don the Beachcomber (Hollywood), Hollywood, CA (restaurant)
Ratzaroony
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 29, 2007
Posts: 72
From: Dublin, Ohio
Posted: 2008-03-07 2:31 pm   Permalink

So where are the current Don the Beachcomber locations? How many are left?

 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2008-03-07 4:46 pm   Permalink

I think there's one in Kona and I've heard they have plans to open one in So. Cal., possibly Malibu area.
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-03-07 5:59 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-03-07 14:31, Ratzaroony wrote:
So where are the current Don the Beachcomber locations? How many are left?


No original ones left. The one in Kona on the Big Island is a newer establishment. I know some here like it, but I found it to be barely passable. The view of the ocean, however, is outstanding.

My daughter and me hamming it up on the back patio of Don the Beachcomber's last year:




[ This Message was edited by: GatorRob 2008-03-07 20:36 ]


 
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Tattoo
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 231
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2008-03-12 1:08 pm   Permalink

Browsing through Los Angeles Public Library Photo Database and found this crazy picture:



"Advertising on the outside wall of the Don the Beachcomber restaurant."
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-03-12 7:04 pm   Permalink

It's not so crazy. I was planning to use that as a perfect illustration for the beginning devolution of Tiki. That '69 Chevy or Olds puts it in and around 1970, and that's what Don The Beachcomber had become by then: A cheesy $4.95 buffet place that would scream "Mai Tais! Zombies!" and nobody cared.

 
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Bora Boris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2588
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2008-03-12 8:14 pm   Permalink

I agree with you Bigbro but that time period also saw a change in that part of Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood sign was falling apart and things in that neighborhood were starting to get scary. Thanks Filthy Hippies!



Iím sure they were doing everything thing they could to compete with other tourist traps in the neighborhood just to hang on. (Which is what you were saying) Also this is just a guess but Iíd think that the people who enjoyed Donís were probably dining in Beverly Hills at the Luau or Vicís.

When did the Marina Del Rey Donís open?

[ This Message was edited by: Bora Boris 2008-03-12 20:15 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-03-13 11:28 am   Permalink

Good points. Like all things, the reality of Tiki devolution was more complex, it was not a "Tiki Fever today- Tiki devolution the next day" situation, but a parallel shifting of tastes and generations, just like today there is a Tiki Revival, while Tiki places keep on shutting down at the same time. I checked, and the (by then Getty owned) Beachcomber chain made one more grand effort just around that time, with opening Corona Del Mar in 1969, Harbor Island San Diego and Marina Del Rey in 1970.
Like then and now, it is a question of different social strata. Like you said, Hollywood as a neighborhood had gotten dingy, and the Island Shack/Hideaway quality of the original Beachcomber locale had become dated, not cool and hip as it had been to the 30s/40s film crowd. But there still was the older generation, the yacht owners and the "Marina Swingers", that lived in places like Marina and Playa del Rey, who were fond of the fully decked out Polynesia Americana/Beachbum Burt style...while their kids laughed at them as "the establishment".


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-03-13 12:04 pm   Permalink

It is often the case that the inventor of an idea doesn't reap the rewards that the copiers do. Vic and Crane joined up with high end hotel chains and made it right. Don didn't get that gravy train.

I tell you, if I opened a place today, I would not even hint at those guys. My Zombie recipe would not say invented by anybody. I'd not bring up the past. People today want new. Even if it is repackaged old. Act like you thought of it yesterday and they'll dig it. Tell them it started 50 years ago and they'll sneer. The future of the Tiki bar is a cross between TGIFridays and Trader Vic's and Cozymel's. And it can Evolve rather than Devolve.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-03-13 1:27 pm   Permalink

Jeez Tim, you're so depressing! T'is kinda true though. Look at the movies: STAR WARS is a vintage classic to most folks, anything before that doesn't really exist, and if so is only watched as a (often way inferior) contempo remake.

But we Tiki snobs follow our own drummer, don't we now! We are the proud fools on the hill (ancient pop music reference)

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-13 13:40 ]


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-03-13 1:38 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-03-13 13:27, bigbrotiki wrote:
Jeez Tim, you're so depressing! T'is kinda true though. Look at the movies: STAR WARS is a vintage classic to most folks, anything before that doesn't really exist, and if so is only watched as a (often way inferior) contempo remake.

But we Tiki snobs follow our own master, don't we now!


Well, regrettably, there is a stigma to tiki as well all know here. Unfortunately, the word "tacky" is linked to the the word "tiki" now and it gets more and more so. I actually think that's what a lot of people want. But, at the exact same time, there is a strong tropical trend and we are seeing very nice and stylish furnishings and decor aimed at a sort of beach setting. Everyone loves the beach. So you have to sort of pull them in with their flip flops and pink flamingo hawaiian shirts and slip them a Navy Grog instead of a Corona and then lead them from the tropical lanai to the dark mysterious Tiki bar and they just go "cool! great drink!"

Hey, we're living in Margaritaville baby, gotta swim with the current! You just don't have to go where it leads...


 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-03-13 3:12 pm   Permalink

I hate to continue to derail this thread, but what the hell. I threw a picture of myself in here.

I pretty much agree with Swanky. Find the hook that brings them in and then give them something they weren't expecting, but hopefully will like. But I'll tell you... the only reason I think the Mai-Kai survives to this day is tourism. If it was in Chicago or Seattle or Dallas, it would have been gone long ago. Tourists stream into the Mai-Kai mostly to gawk at the "tacky tiki stuff" and see the show. They don't know or care about the history of the place. The Mai-Kai tried the Gauguin Room as a "hip" and upscale dining room and it failed. Why? Because the tourists just wanted to see the show. There aren't enough people like you and me to make that sort of thing successful. At least not on a grand scale like the Mai-Kai or any of the other long-gone tiki palaces. So the Mai-Kai is pretty much an anomaly.

So (back on topic), could a Don the Beachcomber's survive today? My conclusion is yes, if it is in an area where that sort of decor, drinks, music, etc was acceptable to the public (i.e., tourist areas mostly). But if it's going to survive in a typical non-tourist city, it has got to present itself in a different way that draws in the locals.


 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-03-13 3:14 pm   Permalink

You're right, Sven. This is depressing.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-03-13 9:58 pm   Permalink

Don't tell me...I just got back from a demonstration of the RedCam, a new hot digital movie camera that is supposed to be as good as Motion Picture FILM cameras...and I couldn't help but think how all that "It's just like Film!" mantra is B.S. (it STILL does not look as good as film) but nobody wants to say it, because everybody knows " the rise of the machines" is inevitable, and eventually digital will replace film, NOT because it was better, but because it was cheaper and more convenient, and soon thereafter nobody will care to remember the difference...I was trying to give my friend Ueli Steiger, D.P. on 10 000 BC, the analogy of the top mixer versus blender: Nobody remembers why the mixer was phased out of mixology and that there WAS a difference, the blender was just more convenient and so that is that. Just look at how excited the kids get at the discovery of a just recently built, cheaply done re-enactment of a Don The Beachcomber, a shadow of what once was....god bless'em, but ALL that is depressing to me.

 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2008-03-14 06:14 am   Permalink

The really huge thing that has changed is that everyone wants to be "comfortable" all the time now. That means, shorts and flip flops or "warm-ups" which is another word for sweats. Dressing up or even dressing decently for dinner is way out. So, the glory days of all the major Tiki places is long gone. They were all high end places back then. Coat and tie required.

Last casual Friday here at work, I wore a tie in protest...


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-03-14 08:23 am   Permalink

You're such a rebel, Tim!
Here again, Polynesian pop history is more complex, and both is true. On one hand Swanky is right, the swank "evening dress" was more the rule of the day still, on the other hand the Aloha shirt for the first time allowed the males to dress "casual" but yet appropriate for the occasion: No tie, collar unbuttoned and NOT TUCKED IN! Plus eating at a Luau with your hands while sitting on the floor was daringly informal, sort of a pre-hippy rebellion activity!


 
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