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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food History of the Test Pilot
History of the Test Pilot
mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 127
Posted: 2012-10-07 12:15 pm   Permalink

A recent thread on space age and tiki got us thinking about that perennial favorite, the good old test pilot -- because if you think about it the very name is much more "space age" (or at least proto-"space age") than "tiki." (Really the only thing "tiki" about the name is the South Pacific WWII air force connotation of the time and also the idea that a test pilot at the helm of some modern new supersonic aircraft might be able to get you to your paradise island, stat.)

According to the Grog Log and as also mentioned in a 2006 article
here, it was invented by Donn Beach somewhere around 1941. But can anyone say exactly when or where it was first served?

And could this Clark Gable film from 1938 also have had an influence in the name?



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rev_thumper
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 10, 2007
Posts: 366
From: Koala Kabana, New England
Posted: 2012-10-07 12:58 pm   Permalink

Since it originates in 1941 it is definitely not intended to be a space age reference.

In 1938 lots of Hollywood celebrities were hanging out at Don the Beachcomber so maybe the film had influence. I think it is worth noting that Hughes Aircraft was in Culver City in Los Angeles County at the same time so it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to think that the cocktail might have been a homage to Howard Hughes or his pilots. After all, Donn Beach did name the Q.B. Cooler in honor of ye Anciente and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen so he seems to have had a thing for aviators.

All the inevitable attempts to copy the cocktail came after the war so they seem to all have a jet age or space age variation on the name.

-Rev


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5038
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2012-10-08 09:55 am   Permalink

Rev is right, Donn was an fan of the airmen and he held private parties (no wives) for the astronauts after splashdown. When he passed, he had BVD make sure he got full military honors with 21 gun salute, flag draped coffin and a missing man fly-over. He had a strong connection there.
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2012-10-09 06:14 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-10-08 09:55, Swanky wrote:
Rev is right, Donn was an fan of the airmen and he held private parties (no wives) for the astronauts after splashdown. When he passed, he had BVD make sure he got full military honors with 21 gun salute, flag draped coffin and a missing man fly-over. He had a strong connection there.




BVD?


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5038
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2012-10-09 08:16 am   Permalink

Bob Van Dorpe. first manager of the Mai-Kai and inside man at Don the Beachcomber's Chicago who aided the Thornton's in hiring away the staff and starting the Mai-Kai.
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2012-10-09 08:25 am   Permalink

Funny thing is, I'd never heard of the "Test Pilot" movie until this post, and then last night I find it on TCM!


 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2012-10-09 09:23 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-10-09 08:16, Swanky wrote:
Bob Van Dorpe. first manager of the Mai-Kai and inside man at Don the Beachcomber's Chicago who aided the Thornton's in hiring away the staff and starting the Mai-Kai.




Ah. A story I have not heard until now.


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5038
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2012-10-10 09:56 am   Permalink

In the DVD of Tiki, which you should all own, there is fantastic footage of our own Donn with Clark Gable...
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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 127
Posted: 2012-10-21 6:54 pm   Permalink

Great education here everyone. BVD was new to us as well. Wish we would have seen your last message a little sooner, Swanky -- while we don't own the DVD of Tiki, we just sent it back to John-O who let us borrow it ... and still have yet to see this Test Pilot film from the beginning of the thread!

 
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