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Origins....
nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-12 8:12 pm   Permalink

so we know that tiki comes from the polynesian islands. seems that the french destroyed most, if not all of the tikis a very long time ago. fast forward to 1930s hollywood, california. donn beach opens his first location after spending time in the caribbean. the first "tiki" location? where does tiki in california originate from though? is it safe to assume that don beachcombers had more of a caribbean/island flair and not tiki? at some point in time there wasnt any tiki in the united states but then there was. was it a carver? an artist maybe? would love to hear the stories, speculations, assumptions and everything in between.
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 992
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-01-12 9:00 pm   Permalink


You're right, California was a hotbed of poly-pop and tiki and played many roles. Have you done any searches here on Tiki Central, or looked at any of the books which have been mentioned and discussed here in other Tiki Central threads? The whole mid-century poly-pop tiki universe is pretty well documented here in Tiki Central and in various books. Your question is very broad, kinda made me want to do a big "copy and paste" of all of Tiki Central into a single reply, heh...


 
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-12 9:05 pm   Permalink

i have book of tiki and tried a search here but im sure its not an easy question to answer. as far as i can tell, it begins with don beachcomber but that doesnt really answer the first appearance of tikis in california or any other state for that matter. i think its safe to assume that california had the first tiki art e.g. sculptures, paintings, mugs etc..


im only assuming but it seems that the original beachcomber probably had an island theme but not tiki theme.

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[ This Message was edited by: nomeus 2014-01-12 21:13 ]


 
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-12 9:27 pm   Permalink

*maybe there were some tikis in cali brought from hawaii pre 1950? another question is, who decided to mix the polynesian tikis with drinks from the caribbean? a lot of drinks are from cuba, jamaica, haiti. i dont think the polynesian people were blending rums and adding fruit juice while sitting underneath giant tiki gods.
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 992
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-01-12 9:38 pm   Permalink

Got it, very good. Book Of Tiki is a great start. Jeff Berry's cocktail-centric books discuss a number of things as well. But the history of tiki is not simple and not single-dimensional. It is multi-faceted in that there were several major "vibes" which contributed to the development of tiki. These vibes intersected, overlapped, and synergized together. For example:
- Post-prohibition euphoria
- The fortuitous availability of rum (and pricing situations) after prohibition
- World wars with military personnel having traveled to many tropical locales
- Increased post-war access to more-easily affordable air travel to tropical destinations
- Entrepreneurial activities which capitalized on the above
...and more.

Tiki evolved. It is a hybridized blend of things which came together at a very unique series of points in American history. It was shepherded by a handful of very talented people (several luminaries were, as you pointed out, from California) who were creative visionaries and very good at advancing their concepts. Their concepts later developed even further beyond just tropical and into full-blown poly-pop. These are things which various books, in addition to the content of various threads in Tiki Central, help illustrate. It's good stuff.



 
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-12 9:43 pm   Permalink

yea i get all of that but what im saying is...at one point there werent any tikis in the US. idols, statues, carvings.....and then there was. did beachcomber have tikis on opening day? did donn set that trend by having idols in his first establishment? thats what im trying to figure out. there had to be one person somewhere who said hey! you should put this guy somewhere over there in the corner and bam, there was a big tiki statue. someone somewhere had the be THE first to have a tiki in their bar/restaurant. maybe it started in a more private setting at someones home then carried over commercially? i dont know but i do know that there was a defining moment when tikis appeared in the states.




but when and where was that moment?
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 992
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-01-13 04:45 am   Permalink

I dunno, good question. There may not have been a distinct moment, or a single act, of bringing a carving into the US and putting it on display for a fun/decorative purpose. (Interestingly, other world travelers, museum curators, and historians may have already done so ahead of the development of the tiki craze) but for moment that's all I can do - a wild guess. The association I have always made is that carvings were present in tropical cultures and with increased travel, and post-war nostalgia, people started bringing stuff over to the US in a very general touristy way and started decorating with these things. But then you had Donn Beach and Vic Bergeron who were into this stuff, and who also traveled, who may have brought some of this stuff back into their restaurants well ahead of everyone else. I don't think I have ever seen a good compendium of what the interiors of the old restaurants looked like and what they contained. So I will have to leave this for others here on TC to attempt to answer.

 
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2816
Posted: 2014-01-13 07:35 am   Permalink

"maybe it started in a more private setting at someones home"
Yes this is how I think it started, don't know for sure.
But back in the day rich folks would go to far away places and bring back items they saw
that were oddities and place them in their homes.
Once saw a show that said that Lionel Barrymore had a room that had a shrunken head in it
in fact shrunken heads got so popular that the head shrinkers started taking orders.
Heads with tattoos were ones that people really wanted so they were harvested most.
________________________________________________________________________________
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_________________________________TIKISKIP_________________________________

Lights for home and
commercial TIKI bars.
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 07:57 am   Permalink

i dont think we will ever get a true answer but i do know that in ww2, US had a base on bora bora. there were probably already tikis associated with restaurants/cocktails before the war ended.

need to see some interiors of the beachcombers hollywood.


 
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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 08:10 am   Permalink

not a whole lot of tiki here but then again we arent seeing the whole place

http://imgur.com/a/J00r4



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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2816
Posted: 2014-01-13 08:15 am   Permalink

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When Westerners created an economic demand for shrunken heads there was a sharp increase in the rate of killings in an effort to supply tourists and collectors of ethnographic items.[5][6] The terms headhunting and headhunting parties come from this practice.
Guns were usually what the Shuar acquired in exchange for their shrunken heads, the rate being one gun per head. But weapons were not the only items exchanged. Around 1910, shrunken heads were being sold by a curio shop in Lima for one Peruvian gold pound, equal in value to a British gold sovereign.[7] By the 1930s, when heads were freely exchanged, a person could buy a shrunken head for about twenty-five U.S. dollars. A stop was put to this when the Peruvian and Ecuadorian governments worked together to outlaw the traffic in heads.
Also encouraged by this trade, people in Colombia and Panama unconnected to the Jνvaros began to make counterfeit tsantsas. They used corpses from morgues, or the heads of monkeys or sloths. Some even used goatskin. Kate Duncan wrote in 2001 that "It has been estimated that about 80 percent of the tsantsas in private and museum hands are fraudulent," including almost all that are female or which include an entire torso rather than just a head.[4] By 1919 the price in Panama's curio shop for shrunken heads had risen to £5.[7]
Thor Heyerdahl recounts in Kon-Tiki (1947) the various problems of getting into the Jνvaro (Shuar) area in Ecuador to get balsa wood for his expedition raft. Local people would not guide his team into the jungle for fear of being killed and having their heads shrunk. In 1951 and 1952 sales of such items in London were being advertised in The Times, one example being priced at $250, a hundredfold appreciation since the early twentieth century. [7]
In 1999, the National Museum of the American Indian repatriated the authentic shrunken heads in its collection to Ecuador.[4] Most other countries have also banned the trade. Currently, replica shrunken heads are manufactured as curios for the tourist trade. These are made from leather and animal hides formed to resemble the originals.

link to site.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrunken_head

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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 08:16 am   Permalink

according to wikipedia, trader vic had tikis whereas donn beach had more of the polynesian rattan theme


"Tiki culture in the United States began in 1934 with the opening of Don the Beachcomber, a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood.[1] The proprietor was Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, a young man from Louisiana who had sailed throughout the South Pacific; later he legally changed his name to Donn Beach. His restaurant featured Cantonese cuisine and exotic rum punches, with a decor of flaming torches, rattan furniture, flower leis, and brightly colored fabrics. Three years later, Victor Bergeron, better known as Trader Vic, adopted a Tiki theme for his restaurant in Oakland, which eventually grew to become a worldwide chain.[2] The theme took on a life during the restaurant's growth in the Bay Area. The Trader Vic's in Palo Alto even spawned architectural choices, such as the concept behind the odd-looking Tiki Inn Motel,[3] which still exists as the Stanford Terrace Inn.[4] There also currently exists a modern sculpture garden from Papua New Guinea [5] that was made to celebrate the modern form of art that was a large part of the original inspiration for tiki culture.[6]

California's World Fair in 1939 - the Golden Gate International Exposition celebrated for the first time Polynesian culture in the United States. The Theme of this Fair was "Pageant of the Pacific" primarily showcasing the goods of nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. The theme was physically symbolized by "The Tower of the Sun" and a giant, 80-foot statue of Pacifica, goddess of the Pacific ocean."





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiki_culture
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11139
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2014-01-13 09:31 am   Permalink

Whoever wrote this for Wikipedia did a fair job, especially by pointing out the difference between Don and Vic. But it's not clear enough:

OK, you have the Book of Tiki. So you must be able to look at the Evolution of Polynesian Pop chart. In it you see a very clear distinction between PRE-TIKI and TIKI style. It clearly shows that Tiki did not start until the 1950s, so how can Don The Beachcomber be "Tiki"? Show me one piece of text that says Don The Beachcomber IS or WAS Tiki, in my or Jeff Berry's work, please.

Since I made up that chart, things have become even more focused: Tiki did not start until around 1955, and the end came around 1965. It's creative peak was between 1960 and 1964. Everything after was repetitious, and the work of Tiki veterans who were doing their thing.

Sorry for the rant, I don't have time to explain it further, if others please would chime in I would be most grateful.


 
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 09:37 am   Permalink

beachcombers had a few tiki elements according to that photo but like i said (via wiki) it had more of a polynesian feel and vics had more tikis.

ill revisit the chart.
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nomeus
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 10:21 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-01-13 09:31, bigbrotiki wrote:
Show me one piece of text that says Don The Beachcomber IS or WAS Tiki, in my or Jeff Berry's work, please.




im not challenging you and even with forgetting about the chart, i had assumed beachcombers was too early. im still trying to pinpoint a defining moment when the tikis appeared in restaurants and homes/home bars. i suppose people were traveling to and from hawaii prior to 1959 (hawaii became a US state) and had their own backyard luaus and most likely tikis.
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