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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Tiki history - Sea World and The Reef restaurant...
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Tiki history - Sea World and The Reef restaurant...
Tangaroa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2002
Posts: 1563
Posted: 2003-10-30 6:09 pm   Permalink



Last week I did an interview with George Millay - creator of Sea World in the early 60s (which was the intent of the interview) - and found out some other interesting things as well....

- He was co-owner of The Reef in Long Beach and The Castaway in Burbank

- The Reef opened in August of 1958, his original designer for the interior was Bobby Mavis

- The genesis of Sea World came from an idea he had to create a tropical / underwater restaurant, and "submarine" bar actually located under water in Long Beach harbor - next to The Reef!

- The original designs for Sea World were done by Moffitt & Nichol engineering, but the design was not to his liking. He wanted landscaping as well as Polynesian theming, and to get away from the "concrete tube" look - prevalent at Marineland. So he hired Victor Gruen & Associates - Ben Southland and Kenny Norris were responsible for Sea World's design, and heavy Polynesian look...

- During the 2nd or 3rd year of The Reef opening, they created some Hula Grounds & he hired a young man (he didn't remember a name) to carve some large Tikis for the restaurant. When he came to see them, they were beautiful - but 3 or 4 of them had a 6 inch dick! He told the artist, "Hey - take the dicks off - we got customers with kids!" The artist refused, citing his artistic integrity. "That's censorship!", he said. Millay responded, "OK - I'll make you a deal - leave the dicks on - but I ain't gonna pay you!" Needless to say - the dicks came off...

I asked him, "Why do you think all the Tiki bars went away?" (Yeah, I know Sven has already answered this...) His opinion? "Two things - the price of booze, and that wine stuff is what killed booze in restaurants. But I'm not so sure that these things couldn't come back - they are very pleasing, colorful and restful!"

He was a real character, and a lot of fun to interview!

George Millay and son, recieving a lifetime achivement award at this years THEA awards.

Anyone have any good pics of The Reef from back in the day...?


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"Oh mystic powers - hear my call...
From my limbs, let new life fall..."




[ This Message was edited by: Tangaroa 2006-02-17 14:23 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11605
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2003-11-01 07:23 am   Permalink

Good work, Tang. Did you get (or at least see) any cool pics/brochures/paper epehemera?
Most of these entrepeneurs unfortunately saved diddleysquat from their ventures...
Or threw it away when they moved, or the like.


 
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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 290
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2003-11-01 10:28 am   Permalink

Thanks for posting the great info on the Reef. Here's a few pics of a small souvenir menu :









[ This Message was edited by: puamana on 2003-11-01 10:29 ]


 
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Tangaroa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2002
Posts: 1563
Posted: 2003-11-01 4:39 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2003-11-01 07:23, bigbrotiki wrote:
Good work, Tang. Did you get (or at least see) any cool pics/brochures/paper epehemera?
Most of these entrepeneurs unfortunately saved diddleysquat from their ventures...
Or threw it away when they moved, or the like.



He was hard to get an interview with - it took me about a year - and he cut it short just when I started to ask him more specifics about the Hawaiian Punch Village & Atlantis Restaurant..... Bummer! Anyway, I asked him about pictures of him developing/at Sea World and at the Reef as well - he said that his wife had all that stuff, and that he was planning on doing a book on his life himself (like so many people I interview claim to be, then the book never seems to happen...) - anyway, I sent him some pictures of Sea World he requested (like you said, he didn't save much) - and asked him if he wouldn't mind sending me some pix from his wife's stash - so we'll see if he reciprocates! Thanks again Puamana for the great menu! I haven't been able to find anything vintage on The Reef on the web... BigBro - am I missing something in your book? Or Sabu - do you have anything...?

Oh yeah - he had a Witco world map haging in the hall. His comment - "My wife won that damn thing in Hawaii back a long time ago.."

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"Oh mystic powers - hear my call...
From my limbs, let new life fall..."
http://www.christophermerritt.com




[ This Message was edited by: Tangaroa on 2003-11-01 16:42 ]


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Tangaroa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2002
Posts: 1563
Posted: 2006-02-17 2:53 pm   Permalink


http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/obituaries/20060207-9999-1m7millay.html

Well, I'm sad to report that George Millay passed away earlier this month. He was a character, that's for sure! The amazing Poly-pop & modern architecture that made up Sea World in the early years happened because of him... I'll long remember the day I went out to interview him, and how hospitable he was to my family afterwards.



I also just came across this:


He mentioned that he was hoping to do a book - but so many people are, and few of them get made!

You can learn more about it here:
http://www.casaflamingo.com/wavemaker.html

but the ordering links seem to be dead, so I'd suggest Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1893951081/

I'll post again when I recieve & read it - but I'm sure it's a great read! I hope the book has some of those photos of him at The Reef, Castaways, and Sea World that he was holding back.

Rest in Peace, George - and thanks again for the time you spent.

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Tangaroa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2002
Posts: 1563
Posted: 2006-02-17 3:29 pm   Permalink

Sorry to double up - but I just want to post a link to these photos again:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=1801&forum=1&vpost=81809

Anyone unfamiliar with how great Sea World was back when George started it, should read that thread!
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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-02-17 5:01 pm   Permalink

How about triple up? Here's another scan of the aerial view postcard you posted, except larger...

http://www.simnia.com/places/USA/CA/SDC/SD/SW/SW1/C22323_aerial_050.jpg
http://www.simnia.com/places/USA/CA/SDC/SD/SW/SW1/C22323_aerial_100.jpg

...and one of an Ama diving lady at Sea World...

http://www.simnia.com/places/USA/CA/SDC/SD/SW/SW1/D.303_ama_050.jpg

I should have more vintage Sea World pics arriving in a few days. God I miss the old Sea World with the Hawaian Punch Village, Water Fantasy show, ama diving ladies, and more. Very sorry to hear the news. If only he hadn't cut the interview short...


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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1560
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2006-02-17 10:35 pm   Permalink

Great posts Tangaroa. Too bad we lost George. Last month we went throuh my
Mom's photo collection. There were lots of theme park stuff, but she had a flood
and most of the good ones were damaged. I will try to post the Sea World ones.
There is a shot of the volcano and a Polynesian floor show among other things.
PM me if you want to see "The Big Mouth".


 
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cynfulcynner
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1799
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Posted: 2006-02-17 11:32 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-02-17 17:01, mbonga wrote:
How about triple up? Here's another scan of the aerial view postcard you posted, except larger...



Sea World and Marineland always seemed so much larger when I was a kid. <sigh>

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BryanDeanMartin
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 31, 2005
Posts: 88
Posted: 2006-02-18 02:01 am   Permalink

Rest in peace, Mr Millay. Sea World was a HUGE part of my childhood growing up in San Diego, thank you for that.

May you find pleasant company and a peaceful eternity. I can't say it enough, thank you.


 
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TikiTikiTavi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 121
From: Exotica
Posted: 2006-02-18 04:27 am   Permalink

Quote:
Sea World and Marineland always seemed so much larger when I was a kid. <sigh>



I remember going to Marineland of the Pacific as a kid and think back upon how sterile it seemed. Concrete and painted concrete made it look like some sort of water treatment facility by today's standards. I heard they used it as the fort in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie?


 
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TikiTikiTavi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 121
From: Exotica
Posted: 2006-02-18 04:28 am   Permalink

Tangaroa,
Thank you for the great pictures and story.


TTT


 
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Tangaroa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2002
Posts: 1563
Posted: 2006-02-18 2:31 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-02-18 04:27, TikiTikiTavi wrote:
Quote:
Sea World and Marineland always seemed so much larger when I was a kid. <sigh>



I remember going to Marineland of the Pacific as a kid and think back upon how sterile it seemed. Concrete and painted concrete made it look like some sort of water treatment facility by today's standards.



Well, Pereira & Luckman designed it - pretty famous moderinist architects! However, I used to feel the same way about the designs of Marineland - then Charles Phoenix showed me the error of my ways....! The more I look at the building, the more I love the stark, modernist design... All a matter of taste I guess!

Quote:

On 2006-02-18 04:27, TikiTikiTavi wrote:
I heard they used it as the fort in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie?



Well, yes and no. They built sections of the fort on the bluffs that used to house the amusement park...
Cynfulcynner posted this link to an aerial photo taken during the Pirates shoot on the earlier Marineland thread:
http://www.californiacoastline.org/cgi-bin/image.cgi?image=4461&mode=sequential&flags=0&year=2002

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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-02-18 5:56 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-02-18 14:31, Tangaroa wrote:
Well, Pereira & Luckman designed it - pretty famous moderinist architects! However, I used to feel the same way about the designs of Marineland - then Charles Phoenix showed me the error of my ways....! The more I look at the building, the more I love the stark, modernist design... All a matter of taste I guess!



As I suggested in another thread, these two architectural styles both deal with the oceanic theme with a slightly different emphasis: the Pereira et al. design is apparently the midcentury futuristic style whose success is largely in the contrast between primitive nature and high tech structures of man, whereas the Sea World design is the Oceania primitive style whose success is largely based on the compatibility of different natural elements. I love them both.

1967 era Tomorrowland also relied on the midcentury futuristic contrast between primitive and high tech. That was their reasoning behind putting exotic, showy, tropical plants like Schefflera and Strelitzia alongside the futuristic buildings like Inner Space and the Tomorrowland Terrace. I say it worked great! The Marineland buildings, especially the beamed, slant sided, orange-sided Oceanarium complex, remind me of the 1967 World's Fair architecture, which was also often vividly colored and had unusual geometrical shapes. That '67 expo was possibly the peak of midcentury style. My only complaint about the Marineland architecture is that is looks so devoid of landscaping and plants! At least that's what the photos I have show. If they had just added some palm trees and Disneyland type plants alongside the buildings and maybe a few flowerbeds and gardens, it would have made a world of difference in aesthetics. Just my opinion.

I'm currently scanning another Marineland brochure at the following location, though it will probably take me 2-3 days to finish, so check back in a couple days if anybody's interested in that photo set:

http://www.simnia.com/places/USA/CA/LAC/PV/ML/ML2/

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cynfulcynner
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1799
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Posted: 2006-02-20 12:16 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-02-18 17:56, mbonga wrote:
I'm currently scanning another Marineland brochure at the following location, though it will probably take me 2-3 days to finish, so check back in a couple days if anybody's interested in that photo set:

http://www.simnia.com/places/USA/CA/LAC/PV/ML/ML2/



What's the date on that brochure? Do you have any from when Hanna-Barbera owned the place?



 
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