Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / California Events / Tiki Caliente May 9th-May 11th 2008 in Palm Springs

Post #379383 by bigbrotiki on Sat, May 10, 2008 11:36 AM

You are viewing a single post. Click here to view the post in context.

Wish I was there too, but I am far away. All I can contribute at this point is to continue my little history lesson I began here:

So, for those who bemoan the loss of the original Reef bar:

Though it was obviously a fine, Oceanic Arts equipped Tiki bar, it was NOT the original establishment that opened the Tropics Motel. Before there was The Reef, there was the CONGO ROOM Steak House...

Now...this must have been another fine watering hole for the modern primitive set, one might think. Not so! The interior designer that Ken Kimes hired for this hang out somehow had a vision of the Congo that was decidedly closer to "I Dream of Jeannie" Exotica than to African primitivism... or maybe he thought the Congo was in India:

As I can understand that this visual does seem incredulous, here is a close up of the view from the Congo Room onto the Tropics pool area that demonstrates the connection:

...with its classic SUNDRELLA pool umbrellas

And to further cement the claim of this odd environment having existed at the original Tropics, let's zoom into the bar area of that brochure photo. In the corner we can make out some wall hangings...

...that seem a little out of place. And indeed they were, being WITCO depictions of turn-of-the-century gas lamp posts!

What WERE they thinking !!? ...someone must have thought just that, as these frames were found during the Tropics' renovation, stashed behind the vending machine in the hallway to the Reef!.... and later given to me by new proprietor Casey in appreciation of the BOT inspiring the preservation of the Tropics' Tiki theme.

Last not least, to honor the artist who carved the original Tropics Tikis, here is a gallery of some of his fine carvings that are no more:

I really dug this one while it was still around the pool area.

Now last time I checked the one below was still around:

...but what has disappeared was the unique name plaque that, in small letters on the bottom, read "Carvings by Crissmann", a rare example of a mid-century Tiki artist actually getting credited for his work by name.

Good job Ed, and may the remains of your Tropics Tongue Tiki live on for many years more!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-05-10 22:46 ]