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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki The Jungle-style Thread - Pop Culture Iconography of the Dark Continent
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The Jungle-style Thread - Pop Culture Iconography of the Dark Continent
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-11-29 3:06 pm   Permalink

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom. Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.
Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom. Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.....

Listen Tikiphiles, what that's sound? It's tribal drums beating out from the deepest darkest part of the jungle. They're calling out to your inner Modern Primitive soul. You're Tarzan of the Apes, swinging on a vine to your cozy treehouse "bachelor pad". There your leopard-skinned betty waits to make hot jungle love and Cheetah is mixing up an Uga Booga cocktail.



OK, did I get your attention? Some of you might be asking, "So what does this have to do with Tiki?" Well, it has a lot. If you've studied your "Tiki Modern" then you know that African Pop Primitivism has always played a supporting role in Tiki-style.

BigBro explains the cross-cultural relationship in Chapter 10:

"Although leopards and tigers never roamed the Polynesian islands, they were associated by proxy. The equation here was: Native environs = teeming jungles = big cats. This kind of mixing of stylistic influences was characteristic of the fantasy world of Tiki Modern, in which the spirit of whimsical savagery reigned, leaving boring authenticity to the stuffed shirts. Anyway most white folks didn't know better, or didn't care."

Now BigBro includes some 1950's cheesecake shots of starlets and models wearing the leopard skin. But when did this exotic appeal of the Dark Continent really begin? We need to go back to the early days of Pre-Tiki when sound in motion pictures was first introduced. The early 1930's were host to a film genre called the "Jungle Picture". These films ranged in subject from expeditionary documentaries, to straight adventure, and horror.

The best example of the sexual allure of these films is the Tarzan series starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. Well actually not the whole series but the first two films (they were pre-code, but I'll get to that in a minute). Although Tarzan is a jungle adventure story, it has an underlying sexual premise. Jane Parker, a proper English lady on expedition, gets all hot and bothered after experiencing Tarzan's ape man charm. She then decides to abandon civilization and "go native". This is well shown in the superior 2nd film "Tarzan and His Mate" (1934), where she's prancing around in one of the skimpiest jungle bikinis in cinema history. It consists of a leather string supporting two narrow animal skins covering her front and back, but leaving her hips completely bare. She's obviously not wearing anything underneath.



Also Tarzan and Jane got to enjoy a sexual relationship outside the bounds of Christian matrimony. Note the title of the film - "Tarzan and his MATE". Who in the jungle was there to marry them? This was some hot stuff for a 1930's American movie audience. Especially eye-popping was Jane's nude swim scene.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f33Xhkfz6Ek

While not a Jungle picture, the most iconic (albeit politically incorrect) example of Africa's mid-century erotic appeal is Marlene Dietrich's famous nightclub scene in "Blonde Venus" (1932). Here she's dressed in a gorilla suit being lead around by a chorus of dancers in blackface. She sheds the suit and jumps into the song "Hot Voodoo".



Here's a sample of the lyrics:

Hot voodoo, black as mud
Hot voodoo, in my blood
That African tempo, has made a slave

Hot voodoo, dance of sin
Hot voodoo, worse than gin
I'd follow a cave man, right into his cave

Got voodoo, head to toes
Hot voodoo, burn my clothes
I want to start dancing, just wearing a smile

Hot voodoo, makes me wild
Oh fireman, save this child
I going to blazes
I want to be bad!

Here's the full scene - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyVrH1OfVjw (And yes that's Cary Grant).

Actually the first several years of movie sound were a hotbed for some pretty racy films. Not to get off my topic, but here are some of my favorites:

1. Public Enemy (1931) - James Cagney showing that crime does pay (until the last 10 seconds of the film).
2. Freaks (1932) - The main characters were actual circus freaks !! The ending is a shocker even by today's standards.
3. Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) - Boris Karloff in yellow face as the good doctor and Myrna Loy as his S&M loving daughter.
4. Baby Face (1933) - Barbara Stanwyck literally sleeps her way to the top of a bank.

Eventually all of this caught up with the movie studios. In 1934, based on protests from church groups and local decency organizations, the Hayes Code was enforced. The code was a list of industry censorship guidelines that put an end to the glorification of crime, extramarital sex, and gruesome horror.

Here's a picture comparing the pre-code Jane to the code-enforced Jane. And from that point on all of the Tarzan pictures switched from being suggestive adult fare to wholesome family entertainment.



OK so after that, where did all of the hot jungle action migrate to? That will be the topic of my next post where I cover the "Good Girl Art" Jungle Girls of the 1940's.

Please feel free share your comments but please let's not turn this into a cheesecake image thread just yet. Yeah I know you love Bettie in her leopard skin and your Exotica album art, but don't worry we'll get to that. Right now I'm trying to focus on subject matter that hasn't been covered on TC before and I'd like to keep the time line intact. I'll tell you right now though, I don't want to see any Hula Girls showing up unless they're being eaten by a lion or being boiled by African cannibals.

So for now "Umgawa" (Which in the Jungle pics meant either "Goodbye" or "Lead me to the elephant graveyard or I'll shoot your monkey").

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-02-10 12:00 ]


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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-11-29 3:24 pm   Permalink

No Hula Girls?????


Seriously, this is a great thread! I love safari and "dark continent" style!

I am big into the books of that era, "Green mansions", "Heart of darkness", "frontiers of enchantment: an artist's adventures in Africa" (by W.R. Leigh) and of course the original "Tarzan."

I see little difference between the intention of this style and that of Tiki. masks, bamboo, Jungles, exotic drums....it all ties in and give me a fake zebra rug anyday!

Now onto movies, "Mogambo" "hatari" and "african queen" (which Walt Disney loved so much he built a ride based on it)

Music...so much of Les Baxter is more pseudo-african style (not authentic african of course, but cinematic versions of hollywood Africa), like "tamboo"...

great thread! Let's see some pictures of bachelor pads done up jungle/Safari style!

[ This Message was edited by: lucas vigor 2009-11-29 15:26 ]


 
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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-11-29 3:36 pm   Permalink

this might drive some people crazy, but since this sound is featured in darn near every jungle movie ever made...enjoy!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc_-icFHwQo

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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-29 3:53 pm   Permalink

That's fake! Some guy behind that rock wall is doing those!

Very cool. Some of it even sounds like monkey. The Tikiyakis need one as additional band member.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-29 5:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-29 15:06, JOHN-O wrote:

OK so after that, where did all of the hot jungle action migrate to? That will be the topic of my next post where I cover the "Good Girl Art" Jungle Girls of the 1940's.

Please feel free share your comments but please let's not turn this into a cheesecake image thread just yet. Yeah I know you love Bettie in her leopard skin and your Exotica album art, but don't worry we'll get to that. Right now I'm trying to focus on subject matter that hasn't been covered on TC before and I'd like to keep the time line intact.




Nice sub-SUB-genre of Tiki, more Exotica-style than Poly pop. But I am slightly kerfused: You're gonna do Jungle Girls next, but don't want cheesecake? How about cheekcate, then?


...in a nice leopard skin wrapper!

But the territory is very wide here, African pop goes beyond Jungle to Safari and African primitive art...
So: Which aspects relate to Tiki most?

There were some cool Safari motels and bars out there in Tiki times, like this amazing place in Sunnyside, Washington:


(Has anybody been there yet, Humu?)

And the first pop culture "Trader" was not Trader Vic, but Trader Horn, in 1931:



..a film that featured "the cruelest woman in all Africa"!




The name stuck and actor Harry Carey even made it into Buena Park's Movieland Waxmuseum with it:


...which by the way was a great example of mid-century modern kitsch:


But Trader Horn's fame waned after he was spoofed in 1970 with this exploitation epic:


While the South Sea Trader was certainly as much a historic figure as the African Trader, Victor Bergeron might have been just the slightest bit influenced by the popularity of the 1931 movie character in the choice of his monniker.


 
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Bora Boris
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Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2588
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2009-11-29 5:28 pm   Permalink

Don't forget 1932's Trader Mickey -





 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-29 5:55 pm   Permalink

Very good! That shows how much of a pop icon he was, perpetuating another spin off. And the history of the character is the history of 20th Century American pop culture in a nut shell:
From Hollywood hero, to Cartoon, to Sexploitation flic!

We will never know if Vic (or Vic's wife) was influenced by the movie's popularity, but what would you do if you start a business (or re-name it) to appeal to a new target group that is supposed to to equate you with adventure and exotic recipes: You pick something that is already associated with that.

Just like Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gant perhaps, who, opened a business as DON The Beachcomber -5 Years after Don Blanding had become popular with his "Vagabond's House" and other tales of exotic ports of call in the South Seas.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-11-29 19:35 ]


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6190
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2009-11-29 6:44 pm   Permalink

Now you have done it John-O, you have broken out the "Bettie Page", Now reap the whirlwind!







 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6190
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2009-11-29 6:47 pm   Permalink

What did you say the thread was about, again......Trader Joes, the what?

Bettie...........


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6190
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2009-11-29 6:52 pm   Permalink

More Whirlwind Johnny boy!






 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-29 7:22 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-29 18:47, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
What did you say the thread was about, again......



Well, he did say this:

Quote:

On 2009-11-29 15:06, JOHN-O wrote:
Please feel free share your comments but please let's not turn this into a cheesecake image thread just yet. Yeah I know you love Bettie in her leopard skin and your Exotica album art, but don't worry we'll get to that.



 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6190
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2009-11-29 8:09 pm   Permalink

I know, I went off topic, sorry John-O, but it was the whirlwind......it is stronger then you know....

 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-11-29 8:56 pm   Permalink

I forgive you ATP, but keep in mind Jungle Bettie didn't spring directly from the 1930's Jungle pictures. There are a couple of Jungle Girl evolutionary steps in between. BigBro touched upon it but I'll be following up more in a future post. I'm glad you got that out of your system.

Also I'm hoping to see lots of pictures of Jungle-themed bars, restaurants, and motels. That's the point of this thread. Bring em' on !!



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-29 8:57 pm   Permalink

John-O, it is generally unwise to post pictures of something and then say "Don't post anything like this!" The Pavlovian conditioning is too hard to supersede.

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6190
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2009-11-29 11:18 pm   Permalink

Well Thank you Sven, I think? and John you just let me know when Bettie is pertinent to the topic,until then consider me in the Doghouse,
Now in the immortal words of Mr.Pop "I Wanna Be Your Dog "

P.S. Sven do you have a new book in the pipeline?


[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2009-11-29 23:20 ]


 
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