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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Magic found! Possibly a Danny Balsz Tiki near old The Tiki's Monterey Park location..
Magic found! Possibly a Danny Balsz Tiki near old The Tiki's Monterey Park location..
Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2008-12-04 9:44 pm   Permalink

Today I went in search of tiki with my girlfriend today, and found quite a hidden gem. I went to the old location of where "The Tiki's" built by Danny Balsz once sat. Not just because I wanted to view the current storage facility that now sits there with smaller business suites/warehouses, but right next door, and according to google, there was supposed to be a Goodwill thrift shop in the very next driveway. I figured I might be able to hit paydirt, if in fact there was any to be had, it would be this specially located "Goodwill" store. Anyhow, there was no Goodwill to be seen, not even a drop center.

So, as I was leaving and heading out on the main street, I saw my girl rubbernecked over towards my side, and I asked "Whatchu lookin at Willis?"...She said "I think I saw a tiki or northwest style totem pole..." Needless to say, I about threw a u-turn as she was saying nevermind, just keep going straight. But it bugged me so, that I was thinking ":::We are too close to a legendary tiki icon for it to be a N.W. style totem::::"...And at the very next corner I made that u-turn anyhow, against my girfriends advice to keep driving down Potrero Grande... I needed closure on the thing my girlfriend spotted and that I missed while driving.

As I pulled up to the cactus laden front yard of the duplex...There it was, as if standing guard all these years quietly hidden from view and the street by palm leaves and trees, with cactus grown all around it. The tiki was painted in a pretty horrible earthtonesque scheme, it almost blended with its surroundings. The tiki in the private property yard was only 1 block from the original Danny Balsz "Tikis" location, and I wondered if Danny had owned this property at one time..? Good thing I had my camera with me, so I shot 2 pics quickly, as one of the owners were coming to the front to apparently grab their mail.

My question to any Danny Balsz tiki experts (Sven? Bosko?) know if this could really have been carved by him? Or could this have been a fan and neighbor of Danny's tiki themepark, who lived here at one time and carved the idol themselves in a display of acceptance and approval?

If you look very closely at the google map link below, you can see the tiki looking very subtle as he peeks out to Potrero Grande...If you pull up the google link, and it points you at the cemetary, just rotate the view 180 degrees, and use the zoom to catch a glimpse...If you were to blink while driving by, you'd probably miss it!
Danny Balsz Original Carving?

And here are the photos I took...

and a close up for the experienced eyes:

By the expression on this tiki, it looks as if he waits patiently, anticipating the reopening of "The Tiki's" polynesian playground...


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11267
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-12-04 10:17 pm   Permalink

Tom, I appreciate that you made the pilgrimage to the old site of "The Tikis", I bet many Tiki newbies do not know of the grandeur of that place, or who Danny Balsz was. But I don't think Danny ever carved any Tikis himself. He was a wizard in concrete and plaster landscaping and sculpting, building waterfalls, volcanoes, grottos and the whole moonscape of "The Tikis", -TWICE!. But his Tikis were OA supplied or carved by others. And though some of the Tikis at "The Tikis" seem rather whacky, this one seems so simplistic in its execution that I would guess it's home-made.
Mahalo for bringing up the memory of "Mr. Tiki", Danny Balsz, again.


 
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procinema29
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 474
From: los angeles
Posted: 2008-12-05 11:13 am   Permalink

Okay, yes, that Tiki pole, or whatever it is, has been in that area since the 70's, and actually, I think it was on someone's front lawn (on Potrero Grande Dr.) for many years, and plainly visible from the street. I remember it was the neighborhood impression that this was a surviving piece from the Tikis club, but I don't have any confirmation on that. Certainly, though, its presence so near the club's original site is no accident.

 
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Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2008-12-05 3:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-12-04 10:17 pm, bigbrotiki wrote:
Tom, I appreciate that you made the pilgrimage to the old site of "The Tikis", I bet many Tiki newbies do not know of the grandeur of that place, or who Danny Balsz was.


I had to see the site and area for myself Sven, and also search for some thrift mart finds! It was a real treat to drive up and down the immediate area in search of tiki, and we found one extremely close to the original entrance to Mr. Balsz "The Tikis" adventure park.
But I also find it hard to believe that this tiki was planted literally one short block away on the same street as the original location, and is purely coincidence? I don't know, but I do agree that this tiki definately has an amatuerish look to it. But to me, it is reminiscent of the illustrations and postcards I have seen of the Monterey Park locale. In any case, I must thank you for giving me some information to work with. The chapter in Tiki Style you did on Mr. Balsz was very interesting, and well done(although I feel it should have been at least 15 pages longer! ). It's a part of the reason I wanted to take a trip to the location.
Quote:

On 2008-12-05 11:13 am, procinema29 wrote:
I remember it was the neighborhood impression that this was a surviving piece from the Tikis club, but I don't have any confirmation on that. Certainly, though, its presence so near the club's original site is no accident.


That's exactly what I had thought. The tiki itself has aging, and looks old, so 1970s or even pre-70's doesn't seem like an unreasonable timeframe to me. Also, The style doesn't seem to be that far off from the illustrations/postcards I've seen with tikis in them(refer to Sven's "Tiki Style" published by Taschen on pg 101 and look at the matchbook). Highlighted red lips and hands held close together, almost interlocked, The tiki still stands in the yard facing Potrero Grande.

[ This Message was edited by: Tom Slick 2008-12-05 15:45 ]


 
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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 2858
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2008-12-05 5:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-12-04 21:44, Tom Slick wrote:

I shot 2 pics quickly, as one of the owners were coming to the front to apparently grab their mail.

could this have been a fan and neighbor of Danny's tiki themepark, who lived here at one time and carved the idol themselves in a display of acceptance and approval?




Did you think to ask the guy who lived there about the tiki in his yard? He might have known something about it...


Buzzy Out!
_________________


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Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2008-12-05 5:17 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-12-05 17:00, Bay Park Buzzy wrote:
Did you think to ask the guy who lived there about the tiki in his yard? He might have known something about it...


Buzzy Out!



Actually, I did say hello to her, and realized instantly there was going to be a language barrier problem. I didn't pursue it, so I wound up snapping the second shot, and I got back in the car and drove off. It is a duplex unit, so I'd probably have better luck at finding out who the owner of the actual property is, and asking them about it.


 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2008-12-08 7:21 pm   Permalink

Hey Tom it really is great that you took the time out to go and do some real urban archeology.
I wanted to post earlier but what ever I could have added has since been said, it totally looks vintage, I am guessing its made of phone pole material(?) it is nice that the current owners feel the need to maintain (repaint) it.
When I spoke with Danny he was telling us about hiring guys to do carving for the Tikis so obviously he had other people doing that for him.

Keep it up, thanks

Bosko


 
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procinema29
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 474
From: los angeles
Posted: 2008-12-09 07:50 am   Permalink

And as I recall, living in that neighborhood at the time, that pole made its appearance just after the Tikis club closed...like, maybe a few months later. Everyone driving by the tiki generally would make a remark like, "Oh, look, they saved one of the tikis from The Tikis!" Anyway, this is the chronology as I remember it.

 
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polynesain dancer
Member

Joined: Nov 10, 2013
Posts: 1
Posted: 2013-11-10 8:14 pm   Permalink

danny did not do the poles the mans name was jon he worked with my granddad doing them my mom donna and her sister pam woolman danced at the tikis and my granddad harry woolman did the fire Special Effects for the shows and hes wife alma helped the girls in the dressing room.

 
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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 402
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2013-11-10 8:36 pm   Permalink

Good infor Dancer. Does your family have any old photos of the place?

 
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