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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » El Tiki, Imperial, CA (restaurant)
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El Tiki, Imperial, CA (restaurant)
Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3178
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2014-09-22 10:37 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-09-22 09:57, MadDogMike wrote:
...
PS - Teresa mentioned in the article is now my wife




Ha! That's great!


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-01-14 6:57 pm   Permalink

I posted a picture a page back of a tiki that Ben Wilson, the El Tiki owner and now my father-in-law, sold after El Tiki closed. It has been guarding the driveway of a house down the road from me for 25 years. I had always admired it but never thought about buying it. Last month I noticed it was leaning and in danger of falling so I contacted the owner of the property and we made a deal for me to buy it. At 10 feet tall, it is heavier than I expected - I estimate it to be about 300 lbs. It was carved in the 60s so it is close to 50 years old, but is in great shape due to our dry desert climate.

Ben had cardiac bypass surgery and does not yet know that I bought this tiki, I wanted to get it all set up before I showed him. After he is feeling a little better I will take a picture of him next to his tiki and post it here
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hiltiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 3286
From: Reseda, calif.
Posted: 2015-01-14 7:01 pm   Permalink

Lucky guy.

 
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bigtikidude
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9107
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2015-01-17 07:45 am   Permalink

congrats on gettin that Mike.



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11398
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-01-17 1:27 pm   Permalink

Does anyone in the family have photos of the house when it still was "El Tiki"?

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6663
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2015-01-17 1:34 pm   Permalink

Very cool!

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-01-17 2:05 pm   Permalink

Thanks guys, I'm excited to show the Tiki to Ben as soon as he is feeling better
Sven, I am trying to track down some photos but have not had any luck yet


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-01-22 2:38 pm   Permalink

I had seen and posted the first part of this story a while back, now I found the exciting conclusion of the story.

April 9, 1963 - Imperial Valley Press
A 6-foot tiki god, which weighed more than 300 pounds, was stolen from the front of El Tiki Restaurant in Imperial. Ben Wilson, the restaurant's owner, said he was busy with customers most of the afternoon and when he went outside at 7 p.m. to turn on the outside lights he discovered the tiki missing.
April 12, 1963 - Imperial Valley Press

El Tiki Restaurant’s tiki god is home-complete with a new and brighter face.
The 6-foot, 300-pound-plus wood image had a black face and orange eyes when it was stolen from in front of the restaurant Saturday.
Ben Wilson, restaurant owner, said he found the tiki god in the driveway of the restaurant when he opened this morning. He said someone had done a “terrific job” repainting its face with brighter colors.

So was this the beginning of the devolution of Tiki? Brightly colored Tiki faces in California in 1963? Maybe we can't blame it on Florida or Jimmy Buffett?
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-01-25 8:24 pm   Permalink

1969 ad


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11398
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-01-26 02:28 am   Permalink

Says it all!

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-02-09 7:29 pm   Permalink

Finally got Ben over to the house to see the Tiki he carved back in the day. He recognized it immediately like an old friend. Ben is 86 years young, recovering from a recent triple cardiac bypass and getting stronger every day.



 
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hiltiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 3286
From: Reseda, calif.
Posted: 2015-02-09 7:43 pm   Permalink

Nice, love that tiki.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11398
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-02-10 06:24 am   Permalink

Wonderful! Were any photos taken of El Tiki back in the day?

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7669
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2015-02-10 07:23 am   Permalink

Sven I have been trying to find pics but no luck. Ben can't seem to find any. I put out a call on the local "I remember" our town on FaceBook - got lots of fond memories but no pics Ben lives 100 miles away, one of these days I'll get to his house and help him look.

 
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