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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » Origins....
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Origins....
Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2177
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2014-01-13 2:38 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-01-13 12:23, nomeus wrote:
true but i meant on a commercial level....the blend of cocktails (rum) and tiki idols




You aren't going to find a proverbial Patient Zero, or in this case Tiki Zero because there isn't going to be a specific origin point. At least not one that can be tracked so specifically.

Donn and Vic's original designs were simply escapism. Places that were unlike the work-a-day world where you could get away from it all but still be home in time for the Late Show.

People who traveled through the Pacific would have seen things, brought back things, photographed things, and shared them with Don and/or Vic. And any and everyone else who built a tiki bar. "Hey, Donn! I just got back from Bora Bora and found this cool thingie that made me think of you and your bar...."

Let me share a quick story....This won't help your quest to find Tiki Zero, but it will give you an idea of what you are up against and maybe some ideas of where to look for more information....

Bob and Jack Thornton wanted to build a "tiki bar." They weren't yet called Tiki Bars but to keep the story simple. They did some research, found a deal on some land, and then built the Mai Kai which opened its doors at the end of 1956. Before the Mai Kai opened, the Thorton brothers went on a buying junket through the pacific going to many of the islands and filling shipping containers with stuff to decorate their bar. Some of the stuff they bought were tikis. Masks and/or idols mostly, stuff that would be displayed on the walls as 'house gods' from whatever island. A pacific themed bar should have things that were actually from the pacific, no? And of course your average company man at the time, especially in Florida, had only ever seen this kind of stuff in the pages of National Geographic.

The Thornton brothers weren't the only ones to do this kind of buying. All of the 'big' places did. Or went to wholesalers who shopped the pacific.

Each place that opened wanted to outdo what came before so each place needed more bamboo, less fabric in the waitresses outfit, bigger fountains, taller tikis.... a kind of frenzied one-upmanship that made it so none of the bars had any actual tikis and then suddenly all of them did.

I hope this tiny sliver of information is helpful in some way. Your quest is a worthy one and I wish you the best of luck in your journey.


 
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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-13 3:04 pm   Permalink

yea i get you there... thats a good way to put it.


when it comes to the mai kai though, i think most of their stuff if not all came from oceanic arts. its known that OA outfitted the mai kai.
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2014-01-13 4:22 pm   Permalink

Keep in mind that both Donn and Vic would trade items from visitors in exchange for food and drink. Vic earned the moniker 'Trader Vic' specifically because of this habit. The text about swapping old shrunken heads and such on old placemats and the like was more than just marketing copy.

 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7441
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2014-01-13 7:41 pm   Permalink

If only my Grandfather Eli Hedley could speak, now would be the time!!!
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creativenative
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 193
From: Island of O'ahu
Posted: 2014-01-14 4:07 pm   Permalink

Sorry for chiming in so late. Interesting tread. Finding the exact moment or place of the origins of "Tiki". I don't know if it possible myself but I've thought about it before and I've also thought how difficult it was to do so. Considering if it wasn't for an "outsider" like Sven who realized that "Tiki" existed in the first place in America because us Americans took it for granted or something. Very similar to the nonrecognition by America of the genre of South Seas Cinema, it very much existed but not acknowledged. Because of this same nonrecognition, especially during its origins, it would be hard to pin-point the beginnings of "Tiki", and it could of have had a multiple, over-lapping, or gradual nature of development. There is no documentation, yet to be discovered anyway. Like most "styles" today, they are more of an evolvement, that happens without an exact origin.

Finding who brought in the first tiki to American for the purpose of commercial décor is also difficult to trace. Many European museums and societies brought in and had Oceanic artifacts since the late 1500s and the general public has been fascinated by them ever since. The exploitation of the Pacific culture has happen since that first public fascination. "The Market" of Polynesian artifacts or copies of artifacts has been long lasting. The direction of this market has come from all directions of the globe, from the Pacific, Japan, China and from within America. Again the origin is hard to be exact.

Because of this non exactness, there two items I would like to clarify in this thread. The first one is the Don Beach background of the Caribbean. While he did travel around the Gulf, with his family, in his childhood and did live in Jamaica for a short while, this only influenced him in the rum aspect of his first bar. It was more a combination of factors. At 19 he help crew and transport a newly built yacht from Florida to Australia, stopping at Hawaii and Tahiti. Then on his return, he visited many South Seas islands, acquiring many island mementos on the way. He than went to visit is brother who was a career extra in films in Hollywood. There, with his collection, he became a prop assistant an a consultant for the many South Seas films in production at the time. Being wise, he took advantage of his South Seas collection, the fact that prohibition was being lifted, and his knowledge cheap Jamaican rum - wa-la! A Polynesian themed bar was open. Tiki came later but this pre-tiki moment is one of many factors in the future development of "Tiki".

The other clarification was in the Wikipedia article which stated:“California's World Fair in 1939 - the Golden Gate International Exposition celebrated for the first time Polynesian culture in the United States”. I don't know if the author meant the celebration of existing Polynesian culture in the U.S. because it certainly wasn't the first time the Polynesian culture was recognized in America. My research of researchers (academic joke in America-no original thought) has, so far, the first "hula hula" nationally recognized tour of the U.S. in 1850. The whole race to colonized the Hawaiian islands for American started before that which was on the national agenda and news. Other World Fairs, or Exhibitions at that time had Hawaiian pavilions and demonstrations since since 1893. 1939 was way later.

Sorry to bore you guys but I hope some of you gain something.

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[ This Message was edited by: creativenative 2014-01-14 16:09 ]


 
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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-14 4:56 pm   Permalink

no, thank you for adding to this thread! what is south seas cinema? also that is really interesting about donn beach...i never knew that.

 
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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-14 5:28 pm   Permalink

check this post i just made here...


http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=46753&forum=1&0



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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2014-01-14 5:48 pm   Permalink

The love for Polynesia certainly started before the likes of Donn Beach. Mark Twain spent four years in Hawaii starting in 1866 and wrote a series of very popular articles for The Sacramento Union. It's now available in a couple of books. They're WAY better reading than Michener's tome on the subject.

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Twain-Hawaii-Roughing-Sandwich/dp/0935180931

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Twains-Letters-Hawaii-Twain/dp/0824802888/ref=pd_sim_b_1

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[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2014-01-14 17:49 ]


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creativenative
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 193
From: Island of O'ahu
Posted: 2014-01-15 12:02 am   Permalink

Right on TikiTacky. I was going to add on this list of note worthy acts of national attention in regards to pre-1940 Pacific Island issues in America.

Pacific works of great writers:
Herman Melville (1841-48)
Mark Twain (1866)
Jules Verne (1868-73)
Robert Louis Stevenson (1888-92)
Jack London (1907-09,15 & 16)
All traveled the Pacific first hand but Verne
Gauguin (1891-1903)
Traveling Hula Hula shows (since 1850)
Hula Hula Peep shows (Mutoscopes) (1890-1910)
Hula shows in World fairs & Exhibitions, carnivals, vaudeville, VIP (1893-1939)
Documentaries/Shorts/Travelogues/Silents (1898-1929)
Birds of Paradise (1912) hits big on Broadway then off Broadway
The popular Ukulele (1915-present)
Hawaiian sheet music (Honolulu & Tin Pan Alley) (1911-1964)
and the new 78 disc recordings of Hawaiian Music
Toots Paka quasi hula dancer Vaudeville Headliner (1916)
The Pineapple & Sugar Industries and their commercial art in ads
National win a trip to Hawaii sweepstakes
Duke Kahanamoku Surfing (1902-1968)
Artists Charles Bartlett, John Kelly & Arman Manookian (late 20s)

Start of the Golden Years:
Massie trials (1931)
Don the Beachcomber (1934-)
Oscar winning Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Hawaii Calls radio (1935-75)
Pan Am Clipper (1935-45)
Lexington Hotel NYC Hawaiian Room (1937-66) other nightclubs
Trader Vic’s (1937-)
“Sweet Leilani” sung by Bing Cosby wins Oscar for best song (1938)
Art Deco Artists Gill, Macintosh & Savage (1930s)
Golden Gate International Exposition Hawaiian Exhibit (1939)
New York Worlds Fair Hawaiian Exhibit (1939)
Georgia O'Keeffe in Hawaii (1939)

For Nomeus:
The Donn Beach info is from a rare interview about his life, only found in the Hawaii State Archives and in the UH Library in a low access security section, which I have clearance.

South Seas Cinema is the film & TV genre of productions set in the Oceania or the Pacific Islands of Polynesian, Micronesia and Melanesian. See southseascinema.org for more information or check out this thread on the subject.
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=44887&forum=1&9


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nomeus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 273
Posted: 2014-01-15 06:05 am   Permalink

i forgot about the popularity of the ukelele in the 20s/30s

 
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Fez Moai
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 01, 2013
Posts: 268
From: Parts unknown
Posted: 2014-01-15 12:39 pm   Permalink

It seems like its just been one looonnngg evolution with certain periods. Birds evolved from dinosaurs, but its hard to give the exact date when it happened, it just did (no offense to Creationists). This site is great, but it is in a forum/thread format. I would love to see something where you can type in "Tiki Ti", for example, and get everything on one page -History, pictures, mugs, comments, link to business website, etc. That would be the bees knees. It could be something inside of Tiki Central.

 
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Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3031
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2014-01-15 12:46 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-01-15 12:39, Fez Moai wrote:
... I would love to see something where you can type in "Tiki Ti", for example, and get everything on one page -History, pictures, mugs, comments, link to business website, etc. ...



Perhaps something like this?
http://critiki.com/location/?loc_id=93

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Fez Moai
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 01, 2013
Posts: 268
From: Parts unknown
Posted: 2014-01-15 1:59 pm   Permalink

Like Critiki, but 10X more. It's not as comprehensive as it should be, which is the gist of what I'm talking about. That page doesn't mention that Ray Buhen worked for Don the Beachcomber, and thus has one of the most authentic Mai Tai recipes. That's interesting. You still have to browse a dozen sites to get all of this information. I use Critiki (I'm King Moai there), but it's not all encompassing with information. This site has a lot, but it's spread out. That's why a "wiki" type of page would be cool where ALL known information is there in one spot. This will cut down on someone posting a question only to get a reply that it's been covered in a thread six years ago. It's my 2 cents, but hey, I'm used to doing research anyway and I enjoy going from site to site. Cheers!

 
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kenbo-jitsu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2011
Posts: 199
From: Southern CA
Posted: 2014-01-15 2:01 pm   Permalink

Quote:
On 2014-01-15 12:46, Hakalugi wrote:
Perhaps something like this?
http://critiki.com/location/?loc_id=93


I love Critiki! It's wonderful. Three cheers for Humuhumu! The interface is sooo much better than the clunky Locating Tiki forum here on TC. I especially like it for trip planning, searching, seeing what places are in an area, what places are near other places, etc.

The only bummer is that Critiki is not collaborative. Apart from entering reviews (your "critiki's" ), any other input you want to make; new sites, new photos, corrections to information; all this stuff has to go through the administrator. This is good because the administrator does a great job and everything ends up being very high quality, but it is also bad because the administrator invariably becomes a bottleneck. This is no fault of the administrator, mind you, it's just the nature of this type of web site.

So, for better or worse, the TC Locating Tiki forum continues to be the most current and complete repository of information about tiki destinations despite its clunky-ness. I don't see this changing anytime soon either. Yes, a "Tiki Wiki" would be great, but with TC being the product of thousands of people over the course of nearly a decade and a half, it's hard to imagine another site ever catching up to or surpassing its content.


 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2014-01-15 2:28 pm   Permalink

Critiki is nice, but it's also broken. No new users can register, and it's been that way for months. It's also incredibly short on info.

I wholeheartedly agree that a new collaborative resource is needed, and Nomeus and I are trying to see what we can make happen in that regard. Tiki Central has a wealth of information on it, but finding what's relevant is a chore. A lot of the information is also outdated.
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