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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki The poetry of Don Blanding / Vagabond's House
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The poetry of Don Blanding / Vagabond's House
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-15 11:08 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-15 06:58, Bora Boris wrote:
I went by the other day and took a few pictures. I didn't notice this at first but it looks like they tried to incorporate some of the outside design elements into their 1950's logo. The building is covered in these guys.



Bigbro, the marquee no longer says Vagabond Theater it is now called the Hayworth Theater.



Thank you, Boris, you are a dedicated urban archeologist!
This proves the validity of the "Take a few minutes and photograph it" thread again. Now I cannot find one pic of the Vagabond exterior, only this lousy ad from the 70s when it was and art/revival movie house calling itself the NEW Vagabond:



Here's a quote from a patron of that period:
"While the Vagabond was the most rundown of all the revival houses I attended in my ten years in LA (compared to the Encore, Nuart, Sherman, Fox Venice, Vista, New Beverly, Tiffany, etc.), the prints were outstanding and the patrons interesting (I met several Directors there, including Rouben Mamoulian)."

Nice try with the facade-to-menu comparison, Boris, but the whole building housing the theater and the restaurant was built in the so-called ornate Churri#@$%&e (!) style, as it states here!:

"The Vagabond/Hayworth Theater (designated in 1983 as Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument 268) is representative of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, also called the ornate Churriqueresque style. The building was designed in 1926 by noted architect Stiles O. Clements, a major Los Angeles figure, who designed about 100 buildings along Wilshire Blvd."

...while the illustration on the menu clearly depicts the traditional shield of a Dayak warrior from Malaysia, Borneo:



Now you should have known that!

The choice of this logo is further proof that the restaurant subscribed to a broader Seven Seas/Ports of Call/Exotica concept (just like the poem) rather than being strictly Polynesian....(or, that owner and customers really did not care or notice )
Here are their rum cocktail offerings which run along the same theme:



Now here's a snag: If the Vagabond THEATRE opened in 1926, but Blanding's book was not published before 1928, how could it have been named after it? Here is my urban archeology theory:
Just as the theater has been re-named into the Hayworth recently, it must have opened under a different name, acquiring the Vagabond title only when the building was taken over by the Vagabond's House Restaurant in 1946.

...and last not least, a little off-topic:
Quote:

On 2008-07-14 22:42, Koolau wrote:
It's fascinating to find these type of people who were well known, productive and influential in their day, and are now all but forgotten (see bandleader Paul Whiteman).


Forgotten by many, but not by all:




[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-07-15 11:45 ]


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2535
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2008-07-15 11:27 am   Permalink

Ha Ha Oops!

I thought the little guy on top of the shield was an Owl so I was working off of that.


 
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congawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2008
Posts: 353
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2008-08-20 12:16 pm   Permalink

I bought "Tiki Modern" at Sven's signing at the Oasis this weekend. Besides being blown away by a what tremendous work of art overall the book is, I was pleased to see the matchbook from Joe Chastek's Vagabond's House, since my mother--who used to collect matchbooks in the 1950's and 1960's (I now have her collection)--has two books from Vagabond's House (she wasn't a smoker, so all the naked lady matches are intact). (Her collection also includes books from the Luau, Seven Seas, Outrigger, and other tiki restaurants--at some point I may try to scan some of them and post them).

I knew the address was on Wilshire, but until reading this I didn't put two and two together and realize the Vagabond's House became La Fonda, the famous mariachi HQ next to the Vagabond Theater (in the same 20's Spanish revival building). I used to go to the Vagabond Theater frequently when it was still going (it was the place to see 1930's/1940's revival films in the 1980's).

Anyway, I just searched the LA Times historical database for those addresses, 2505 and 2509 Wilshire Blvd., and here's what I discovered as far as previous history of that locale.

For 2505 (future Vagabond's House/LA Fonda), in 1928-29, it was the Annabelle Lee Hat Shop. Later on in the late 30's/early 40's, it may have been some kind of insurance office.

As for 2509 (Vagabond Theater, now Hayworth), in 1926 the address was headquarters for the Meglin Kiddies professional school for performing children. In 1927, the address was a photo studio. In 1932-33, it was the Martini Grill.

About 1946, 2505 became the Masque Theater, a live theater--Eva Gabor was starring in a play there then. Then in May 1950, the grand opening of the Vagabond Theater was announced, so it definitely followed Vagabond's House in having that name (if 1946 is the verified opening date). This architectural rendering was published on May 21, 1950. You can see just part of the Vagabond's House restaurant on the right:



If you look at the early photo of the front of the Vagabond's House, the entrance at the left is the entrance that became the Vagabond/Hayworth Theater (which you can see on Google maps street view). It's still not clear when 2509 became a full fledged theater, though the presence of Meglin seems to suggest it may have indeed been one from the beginning.

Brent


 
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congawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2008
Posts: 353
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2008-08-20 12:32 pm   Permalink

After I posted this, I realized the photo caption give the Vagabond address as 2511 rather than 2509. I seem to remember that there was some kind of little store front next to the theater, but apparently eventually became the address for the whole thing.

Looking up 2511 in the Times, in the late Twenties to early Thirties it was the Institute of Religious Science (where a lot of religious lectures took place), then in the late Thirties/early Forties it was the Jean Carol Studio of Costume Design.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-08-21 08:12 am   Permalink

'Preciate the thorough research, Congawa! That's a lot of different incarnations both places went through, sounds like a history of LA in a nut shell (a 1920s kids acting school, an Institute of Religious Science, etc.), wish I had a time machine.

That rendering is great, now we know that it was clearly named after the restaurant and thus after the Blanding poem.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4074
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-03-08 1:14 pm   Permalink

Time to bump this beauty of a thread.

I have this matchbook from the Vagabond's House and have never seen the feature matchsticks...




until This intact matchbook showed up on ebay.



Ooo La La.

DC


 
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Professor G
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 03, 2011
Posts: 328
From: the Tiki Wastelands
Posted: 2012-03-08 6:28 pm   Permalink

That is a great thread with a little something for everybody. I appreciate you giving it the bump, DC. I wish I knew a place were I could get Indian Curries and KC Steaks. Thanks again.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4074
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-03-13 12:28 pm   Permalink

I picked up one of the great Hibiscus die-cut matchbooks from the Vagabond's House.



The inside cover is kind of cool with a poker game you could play using the matchbooks.


I have never seen one of these before.

I also saw a different version of this matchbook with another great feature nude.



In doing a little more research on Don Blanding I found an image of the Paul Page album dedicated to Don Blanding that has disappeared from the beginning of this thread.



There was also another album that was recorded by Franklyn Mac Cormack reading Blanding's The Vagabonds House and Farewell to Vagabond's House poems.



And finally an old restaurant guide ad.






DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-03-13 12:44 pm   Permalink

Here's one of my favorite images of Don arriving in Hawaii in style



This photo graced several of the later editions of his various books.

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2012-03-13 12:45 ]


 
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Phillip Roberts
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2003
Posts: 1569
From: OAHU/Seattle
Posted: 2012-05-01 10:41 am   Permalink

Aloha,

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

Thanks Don Blanding!

_________________
Waikiki Tiki; Art, History, and Photographs.
Available now from Bess Press Hawaii.

[ This Message was edited by: Phillip Roberts 2012-05-01 10:42 ]


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Tangaroa-Ru
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 410
From: Surf's Up, Los Angeles!
Posted: 2012-07-15 4:12 pm   Permalink

I'm happy to see a few more people noticing Blanding's contribution to Tiki culture and style, and I'd like to further bump this thread! I grew up with Blanding's writings. My grandmother had all his books, and my mother often recited his poems to me. (She still does. Awww...)

Blanding's "Stowaways In Paradise" was one of the first books I read as a child, and I have no doubt that that novel, along with many of his poems, influenced my love for all things exotic and tropical. The fact that I read his books while lazing about in my grandparent's Los Angeles "lanai", complete with Tiki gods, seashells and hanging fuschia plants, upped the impact of his writing on me, no doubt.

I find it fortuitous and a bit cosmic that I met the future Editor-In-Chief of Tiki Magazine (Nick Camara) over a stack of Don Blanding books at a Hawaiiana collectibles show in Redondo Beach in 2002. (No, surely not! No one was even alive back then!) Anyway, I'm now happy to say that I'm finally getting to write about Don Blanding for the upcoming issue of Tiki Magazine. I have appreciated this thread (THANK YOU, SVEN!) very much to help my research.

Aloha to all you fellow Vagabonds!
~ Kari Hendler


 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1529
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2012-07-15 6:41 pm   Permalink

I am a big fan of his books and drawings. If anyone has a copy of the Paul Page or Franklyn MacCormack lps I would love to get a copy. Here is a short clip from the 1934 movie "Song Of The Islands" not to be confused with the 1942 Betty Grable version. Don Blanding narrates the rare 40 minute color film...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5A5irc8dWU

Ask Swanky about the Mai Kai connection to the film



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Tangaroa-Ru
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 410
From: Surf's Up, Los Angeles!
Posted: 2012-07-15 7:02 pm   Permalink

Thank you, Bongofury! I have seen this clip before, but not the whole film. Gee, I wonder if I know anyone who might have a copy I could watch sometime!?


 
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virani
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1437
From: Volcanic area of France
Posted: 2012-08-29 10:42 am   Permalink

Thank you sven, and Karen for the article in tiki magazine. i really enjoyed it a lot. I had no idea who he was (yes, it means I'm not a very good studeent !).

 
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forgotten tikiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 450
From: Forgotten Tiki Room. Pismo Beach, CA
Posted: 2012-09-01 10:17 am   Permalink

Great article about Blanding in the new issue of Tiki Magazine. I never knew about him but I am glad to know about him now and to be enlightend about his work and poetry in the pre-Tiki era.

 
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