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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Trader Vic and the Copycats
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Trader Vic and the Copycats
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-10-08 3:38 pm   Permalink

Shifting Trader Vic's copycat gears a little here.

This is an old Trader Vic's illustrated menu.



And this is a copycat from the Pago Pago in Tuscon. They just pasted the name Pago Pago over the cover and even cut the guys face of!



Another copycat with a reversed image from the Leilani.


DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-10-09 08:45 am   Permalink

I would like to take this opportunity to delve a little deeper into the Copycat Custom in Polynesian Pop, or the tradition of Tiki transmission as I like to call it. I was inspired by D.C.'s recent find of this N.Y. Trader Vic's photo to pull out my Kon Tiki Montreal slide (BOT page 61):


Trader Vic's New York (at the Savoy Hotel), 1958 ------------------------------------------------Stephen Crane's Kon Tiki Montreal, 1958

An, as they say, UNCANNY similarity, wouldn't you say? Don't ask me which was built first, I could not ascertain the month for either so far.
I would guess Vic's. To explain why, here a little transmission tradition history. It all began with this famous "Fall from Grace", or "Eternal Sin", freely admitted to by Trader Vic in his biography:



Eventually, as it is an unwritten law that "He who rippeth off will have so done upon him", this led to such no less (in)famous, funny menu text confessions as the following by Reno's Trader Dick:



When Tiki temple building heated up by the end of the 50s, Business Week Magazine took notice in this article in 1959:



Inspired by the fact that both Vic and Steve were almost parallel opening places in Portland and Chicago too, they profiled the two entrepreneurs and their similar styles. Though it worthy to note that Vic moved in on Steve's neighborhood first, when he opened his Beverly Hills Vic's in 1955 just around the corner from Crane's Luau (which he has converted in 1953 from Sugie's Tropics), Crane lost no time to benefit from this:

When Florian Gabriel applied for a job at Stephen Crane Associates in the mid-50s, Crane sent him to Vic's, to sit there and sketch a corner of the restaurant as a test. This amazing example of industrial espionage was given to me by Gabe in the 90s, here it is:





So Vic took Don's concepts, ran with them, and because he was so successful with it all, it led to others copying him, and Voila!, we got Tiki culture!

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-10-09 08:47 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-10-10 07:58 am   Permalink

Bigbro,

Thanks for that great bit of history. So, from the very beginning, the Polynesian Pop and Tiki movements were based on the timeless Tiki Transmission Tradition! From the decor to the drinks to the names to the matchbook and menu art. I always found this to be one of the more interesting aspects of the era.

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-10-15 4:08 pm   Permalink

Here is another copycat - Trader Ku's.

Here are a few menus from Mimi Payne's website.







In addition to borrowing from the Trader Vic's name, they also copied the illustration style used on Trader Vic's Outrigger menu from Seattle and on the Trader Vic's ashtrays.


There were several other menus that copied the Trader Vic's illustration style, including the Islands in Phoenix




The Aku Tiki in Omaha




DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-10-18 3:44 pm   Permalink

I just got this oversized postcard from the Luau Restaurant in Miami Beach showing Trader Syd being served in style.



The back of the postcard has an article from the Miami Herald describing the restaurant. They even had a Children's show on Sundays at 6:30, how cool is that.



DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-01-04 7:54 pm   Permalink

A couple more for the record. Of course the new and exciting Trader Sam's Tiki Bar at Disneyland.




And another Trader Jack's, this one from Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Florida - sporting a Witco.




DC





 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-12-11 12:42 pm   Permalink

Time for a little Trader update. First, some images from Trader Joe's Trade Winds in Inglewood to replace the ones that Sabu posted and are now gone.



Turns out that this one was owned by Joe Chastek of the Zamboanga and Vagabond's House fame. See more here:

Trade Winds

The Polynesia Restaurant in South Miami was run by Trader Joe Elvena.



He also worked at several other Tiki palaces, as discussed here:

Polynesia

Came across this menu from the Pago Pago in Albany that was run by two traders - Trader Hal and Trader Mitch.



And finally, an exciting new one I found called Trader Lee's located in Eugene, Oregon. It opened in March of 1966.



Check out the Tiki sign in this ad. Need to find out more about this place and that sign!



DC







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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2014-01-14 5:43 pm   Permalink

Here is another copycat, Trader Glick's.



The even stole the classic menu image!


And, slightly off topic, a play on Don the Beachcomber.




TTT

DC


 
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howlinowl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 148
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2014-02-18 05:52 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-10-06 18:04, Dustycajun wrote:
Trader Dick's (Number 2)
A matchbook from another odd Trader Dick's located in Kansas City. A reciprocal private club?





I know this post is a few years old, and you may have discovered what the "reciprocal private club" was, but I figured that I'd chime in....

I used to live in Kansas 30 years ago. Back then, restaurants could not serve alcoholic drinks with meals. Bars served drinks (unsure if they were allowed to serve snacks, but no meals) and restaurants served meals with non-alcoholic drinks. The only exceptions that I knew of was the Pizza Hut and Kens Pizza. They were allowed to serve 3.2 beer. I don't know if the other restaurants were allowed to serve 3.2 beer and chose not to, or if there was a exception to the law that allowed the pizza parlors to serve.

Private clubs, however, could sell alcoholic drinks with meals to members and guests. Our Holiday Inn restaurant had a private club and a restaurant. The kitchen serviced both. If you were a member, you could eat in the club, if not, you ate in the restaurant. The motel even extended membership privileges to guests of the motel....rent a room and you could enter the club.

I'm not sure when the "reciprocal private club" thing started. In the early '80s, our city had 2 more private clubs open. Both were "reciprocal". They belonged to a group of clubs across the state that would reciprocate privileges to the other members. If you belonged to a club in Topeka, and went to Wichita, you could visit a club there that belong to the same group.

I'm not sure if they still have them. Before I moved out of the state, they kept putting "liquor by the drink" laws on the ballots to allow restaurants to sell drinks. I know that it was defeated once and was placed on the ballot during the next election, but I moved before the election. My old hometown now has an Applebee's and I can't imagine they would put one there if they couldn't have the bar, so I imagine at sometime the law passed.

howlinowl



 
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