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Tiki Central Forums Bilge What If Tiki had Never Diminished in Popularity?
What If Tiki had Never Diminished in Popularity?
White Devil

Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Posts: 0
Posted: 2013-10-03 1:40 pm   Permalink

The tiki revival owes its existence (and persistence) to the fact that Polynesian Pop died out by the 1980's. Without death, there is no resurrection. So what would the world look like today if that had never happened? What if Americans (in particular) had never sold off their Exotica LPs, never donated their souvenir mugs and Coco Joe's figurines, never quit visiting all the defunct tiki bars, restaurants and tourist attractions?

What if the hippies of the 1960's had found it in themselves to accept Don Ho into their lives instead of John Lennon? In all likelihood, this would have to mean that The Beatles never happened. No British Invasion, no longhair music, no synthesizers, no disco, new wave, punk, heavy metal...

Eden Ahbez would've cut his hair and begun doing residencies in Las Vegas, alongside Frank Sinatra, and would eventually have done his album with The Muppets. Both Les Baxter and Martin Denny would've had their own Saturday evening TV shows, temporally displacing "Hee Haw" into nonexistence, along with country music's entire time-line. Johnny Cash would've essentially evolved into Jimmy Buffett, and Elvis would still be alive, fit and doing island movies with Ann-Margaret and Brigitte Bardot.

Lawrence Welk and Liberace would've been forced to reckon with Polynesian Pop, thereby forcing bored Lutheran Mid-westerners to join the mainstream. Lutefisk would appear on every tiki menu.

Tiki restaurants would've continued to become more mainstream, covering their exotic architectural facades in stucco and painting their tiki carvings beige. Families would cart Grandma & Grandpa to the Tiki Buffet once a month or so, where they could dip into large steamer trays of poi and dry, overheated spareribs.

Though we'd still have the original restaurants with us, their ceramics would continue to become more and more sloppy & featureless as the molds exhausted themselves, with bored ceramicists gravitating away into Freemason and Elks Club decanters.

All the great tiki bars would still be around, as aging and tired as the original seventy-five year old Mystery Girls still working in them. (No need for teeth when they don't smile anyway!)

Tiki drinks would be as bland, watered-down and boring as any you get at any Tipsy McStaggers nowadays, with corporate tiki taking the form of a slightly-tribal Outback Steak House.

Home tiki bars would still exist, much like the plastic-covered coffee table Bible, and just as invisible. Every home would have a set of six plastic tiki tumblers for their annual outdoor family cookout, but no one would show up for it.

The mugs, figurines, menus, carvings and memorabilia of the 1950's and 1960's would never have appeared in thrift stores, because they would all be moldering at home in crawlspaces, attics and basements. Mugs would crack in dishwashers and be discarded. Menus would've been discovered and colored in with Crayolas by the young ones, the carvings returned to the earth they grew out of as they succumbed to mildew, termites and temperature variations. Barney Wests would've found new use as scarecrows in vegetable gardens. Witco carvings painted pink to adorn the sewing room.

Old Florida tiki destinations would still exist, but Disney World could never have existed. Vacations there would still involve 36-hour driving expeditions on the same two-lane highways that opened the state up to the tin can tourists of yore. Tiki Gardens and Trader Frank's would still be alive, but would've long ago converted into The Bongo-Bongo Beer 'n' Buffet. The tikis for sale in the store would come from Party City.

Tiki would've remained within the language of popular culture, and television shows such as "Dark Shadows", "Bonanza", and "Welcome Back, Kotter" would've had their tiki episodes. IZOD would offer golf shirts with small, tasteful embroidered moai heads, and once a year you could, for a limited time only, get a Tiki Tako at Taco Bell.

"I Dream of Jeannie" would become the longest-running sitcom in history, and Barbara Eden would be the widely-recognized First Lady of America, with her own postage stamp, National Park museum and online marital aids website.

August Holland prints would be so prevalent as to frequently line cat litter boxes.

Spam would come out in "limited, collector's" tins once a year. McDonald's would offer McTiki Birthday Parties for children (though few of them would be able to spell m-c-t-i-k-i). Every high school that has an industrial arts program would routinely incorporate tiki carving into its entry-level curriculum project list. The Enchanted Tiki Room would've vanished into history as a result of tiki's mainstream existence: not sufficiently exotic to sustain interest (and pricey real estate) in luxury vacation resorts.

Tiki Swinger's Night at Howard Johnson Hotels.

A glimpse of what-might-have-been, or the fevered nightmare from a dark corner of some forbidden, rum-soaked bender? Perhaps the answer is only to be found within the silent, inscrutable gaze of that very peculiar carving that seems to follow you as you pace back and forth within your dimly-lit back room in...The Twilight Zone.

Tiki Misanthropologist

[ This Message was edited by: White Devil 2013-10-03 20:18 ]

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Jungle Trader
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3755
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2013-10-03 3:44 pm   Permalink

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 503
From: Western Australia
Posted: 2013-10-03 6:03 pm   Permalink

No doubt at some stage some kind of Tiki Tax would've been implemented,
which may well have kept things rolling along for millennia.

aahhhh, what could've been.

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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 4089
Posted: 2013-10-03 7:21 pm   Permalink

This thread is winning!

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