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What is the quintessential tiki movie?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-06-23 07:07 am   Permalink

Yep, compared to the wild melange of native art in South Seas movies, late 50s/early 60s Tiki bars and were positively scholarly places of research and knowledge regarding Polynesian art.

I like the idea of playing "I.D. the Idol" in Hollywood film sets, let's do it with Hoola Boola!


On 2013-06-22 22:49, Bruddah Bear wrote:
Pal kept the style close enough that we can see the idols in "Hoola Boola" were inspired by Oceanic cultures.

Well, he certainly had a knack for "primitive art", and the main Idol...

...could be seen as derived from a Solomon Islands canoe prow head:

...which is indeed part of the Oceanic art genre.

But the horns of the idol are more of an African feature:

...and the multiple hands/ arms are more often found in Hindu or Balinese art:

So we must concede that two of three features of this fantasy idol are NOT of Oceanic origin:

This is certainly also true for the other big idol:

...which reminds me more of an African Fang reliquary figure:

The three idols in the middle of the ceremonial plaza are perhaps the most Tiki-like:

...but only because they are so basic in their design. I actually feel hard-pressed to come up with a Polynesian likeness. Perhaps someone can find some Papua New Guinea look-alikes for them? They are more Tiki Modern (i.e. akin to the stylization found by the moderns in primitive art), and in that simplicity not too far from some authentic African masks like this Eastern Nigerian Ijaw water spirit mask either:

Last not least, the jumping witch doctor in the piece:

...is clearly base on a Duk Duk, or more precisely a Vanuatu ceremonial mask:

...which is Oceanic again

Perhaps the title of the film says it best:

While "Hoola" is most likely based on the Hawaiian "Hula", the word "Boola" sounds more African to me

It is an example of the simplified native gibberish that American pop culture produced for amusement and entertainment:

Hollywood movies took place in the vague territory of the "South Seas", which not only included Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, but also Indonesia and the Philippines, and their art directors, prop makers and costumers borrowed from all these cultures.

...this was still the South Seas!

And how did African art like in Hoola Boola get into the mix? My theory is that, in addition to the much mentioned affinity of artists to ALL primitive art at the time, the less Caucasian-looking natives of Melanesia and their art had a closer likeness to African tribes, and so the geographic borders fell, and cultural authenticity was left behind for dramatic effect.

But American Tiki temples were created at a time when the popularity of Polynesian culture, aided by Hawaii and Kon-Tiki, was much higher, and so the recreations of artifacts they used were actually more "authentic" than most Hollywood productions. Yet still, they had an American spark and style of their own.

Finally, let's not forget one of the main figures in Hoola Boola:

(Actress Martha O’Driscoll with George Pal in the Paramount commisary, with “Sarong-Sarong")

We certainly all know who SHE was based on :

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-06-23 07:18 ]

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The Blue Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2013-06-23 08:33 am   Permalink

I really like where this thread has gone! The "Name That Influence" photo comparisons are great! Those influences really cover the globe - Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, South Seas . . .

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Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 831
From: NorCal
Posted: 2013-09-19 11:33 pm   Permalink

So back to the greatest Tiki movie...
of the 1980s is "Back to the Beach" with Frankie and Annette and Connie Stevens
Bridges the generations, has several Tikis and Tiki mugs (Tiki Bob, black Easter Island, pineapple mug), cameos by The Surf Punks (Drew), Fishbone, Dick Dale, Pee Wee Herman, Rodney Bingenheimer, Gilligan (Bob Denver) & The Skipper too, Beaver Cleaver, Edd Kookie Byrnes, and more.

soundtrack includes "Lonely Bull" by Herb. I've already stated the connection between Herb and Exotica. Soundtrack kept alive Surf and Frat rock during the 1980s when NEW music was all that mattered.

These are just two of the Tiki sightings in the movie

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Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 831
From: NorCal
Posted: 2013-09-19 11:42 pm   Permalink

...and Gary Usher consulted for music, and long time Tiki fan Mark Cunningham was part of the "Ocean crew"

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