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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 324
From: Drifting on my outrigger canoe
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.

Tiki Movies & Tiki TV @ southseascinema.org

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

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