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Frances Langford's Outrigger, Jensen Beach, FL (restaurant)

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Name:Frances Langford's Outrigger
Street:(Now operated as the Dolphin Bar & Shrimp House)1401 NE Indian River Drive
City:Jensen Beach
Phone:(772) 781-5136
Status:defunct, but still operating as a restaurant and bar

Frances Langford's Outrigger survives as the Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House. It is no longer a tiki restaurant, but the basic structure remains and a shrine to Frances Langford and the original restaurant is in a small room near the lobby. The full history of this restaurant is recounted in the March 2005 issue of Barracuda magazine. (The following was re-edited and expanded in Feb. 2010 - KG)

Frances Langford -- Tha Bamboo Blonde

Langford's Outrigger Restaurant designed and managed by Ed Lawrence, a hollywood set designer, seabee and architect who worked on the original Don the Beachcomber restaurants and did the set designs for Joan Crawford's "Rain".

A great early "sin in the south seas" film

Matchbook with graphics similar to those used on menus for Don the Beachcomber's restaurant.

an early menu amd newspaper clipping.

a few drinks were on the menu

the only style of mug known to be used by the Outrigger. A Daga bamboo mug

placemat and swizzle

Yes kids, adults were allowed to smoke

The original restaurant changed hands a few times, going through Jimmy Buffetization and eventually being brought back in a classier style that included a shrine to Frances Langford. The Outrigger is now the Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House. (These photos are from about 2003 - before the infamous hurricane season of 2004 included a hit on Jensen Beach.)

Langford was a Florida native and one of the first recording stars signed to Decca records. She recorded a number of Hapa Haole numbers backed by the same Hawaiian musicians that backed Bing Crosby on his early recordings. Her big hit was the song "In Waikiki".

Starting in the pre-tiki era ofthe 1930's, she began a successful decades-long career in radio, recording, film and television.

A young Frances Langford with a uke.

Various publicity shots

Langford, Hope and Sinatra.

Frances Langford and her first husband Jon Hall. Hall was the part-Tahitian nephew of the co-author of the book "Mutiny on the Bounty"; James Norman Hall. His first big movie role was in John Ford's The Hurricane, another book by Nordoff and Hall.

Hall was the star of numerous south pacific adventure films and most famously paired with actress Dorothy Lamour in The Hurricane. This is the film from which the song "The Moon of Manakoora" comes.

Lamour is best known today for her "on the Road" films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Based on the success of The Hurricane, she did her own Hapa Haole Decca album - although she never thought of herself as a singer.

Although they were paired again in the film Aloma and the South Seas, Hall and Lamour didn't get along very well. Despite their on-screen romantics, Lamour said Hall was tempermental and hard to work with. When Frances ariived on the scene, one can easily imagine her tendency to compete with Lamour's popular Polynesian film persona; especially given her her husband's own Tahitan background and the success of the Hurricane film. Perhaps this explains why the "Florida Thrush", as she was sometimes called, developed an obsession with Polynesia?
While Lamour eventually cast off the Polynesian type-casting of her early career, Hall did not. He went on to make a succession of South Sea adventure films; all of which would were basically b-pictures even though he played with notables such as Charles Laughton, Jon Carradine, Peter Lorre and Frances Farmer.

From a tiki / exotica perspective, one of his most interesting films is Forbidden Island.

In the opening scenes Martin Denny plays piano in a bar which appears to be the old Trader Vics in Waikiki.

Hall also released a pair of exotica / Hawaian jazz records under his name, including this one. They are both quite good; although whether he is actually involved with the recordings is unclear.

Hall and Langford met while appearing on a radio show called Hollywood Hotel and were married shortly before World War II. (Langford is on the right)

After the war started Langford toured with Bob Hope's show throughout the south pacific, and later in Korea and Vietnam. Hall joined the army during the war.

Although Langford had black hair in her early career as a singer, she went blond. After the war, she did a picture called "The Bamboo Blond" about a bomber pilot returning home from the south pacific.

Although Hall and Langford purchased the land and began developing the retreat that would become the Outrigger Restaurant before the war, the couple split up before the restaurant was built. Langford married millionaire Ralph Evinrude of boat motor fame, and constructed her Polynesian palace where she entertained locals and celebrities until the 1980's.

Langford and Hall remained friends until his death in the 1980s.

The full story of this couple that were at the heart of pre-tiki, polynesian pop and its eventual Jimmy Buffetization, as well the Outrigger Restaurant is in the March 2005 issue of Barracuda Magazine.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-03-31 20:50 ]

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2010-02-27 04:23 ]

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2010-02-27 04:49 ]


Wow -- awesome post. I have that record. It's really good and you can hear ambient noise (in a good way) -- there is interesting info. about the recording process I recall (can't find it now -- records all over the place (again)).


Great post, Kailuageoff !


Hey Kailuageoff-

I got all excited when I saw the location of where this place was, I have family in Jensen Beach and thought I would be able to go there on my next visit. It all made sense when I saw 'operational status:defunct', because I couldn't recall ever hearing about or seeing this place. Oh well. I'm just trying to figure out where the Dolphin Restaurant is. Maybe I have been there and not even known it. Thanks for posting all that cool memorabilia.

Swanky posted on Fri, Apr 1, 2005 8:27 AM

I have that record too. Great to have the back story on what looked like a rather kooky cover. I don't think I have even listened to the record. I took it to be another "Big Name Music Guy Does Hawaii" schmaltz adventure. Very cool KG!

Thomas posted on Fri, Apr 1, 2005 9:24 AM

I found the record; the cover is slightly different from the one you show; it is "Famous Motion Picture Actor Jon Hall Directs Music from Honolulu." I guess it is the second of the two you mention. Mine has him and that woman closer-up, but in the same outfits (same photo shoot apparently). The reason I got so excited about your post is, I have long considered this one of my best Hawaiian albums. It does indeed have a truly authentic feel and sound. On the back it has very detailed and sometimes humorous details about the recording process, "made at the bar in the La Haina Hotel without the aid of any soundproofing or acoustical advantages we have here..." (Interestingly, that's the La Haina Hotel in Maui (right?), therefore the album title referring to Honolulu is incorrect, no?) Anyway, to top it all off, my copy is in excellent condition and is signed, "To Loretta and Bill --- Warmest Aloha, Jon and Raquel." (I am nearly sure it's "Raquel" -- it's not 100% clear.) Can you shed any light on "Raquel" -- is it the woman pictured -- his wife at the time perchance? (I can google this too of course...) So thanks again for the excellent and colorful post, and it shows how one topic -- Polynesian restaurant "archaeology" and history -- leads to another, namely Hawaiian music and a little gem from my collection. I hadn't known a thing about Jon Hall -- figured it was all a bit of hype, really -- but now I guess the next step is to seek out some of those movies...

Thomas posted on Fri, Apr 1, 2005 9:38 AM

Sure enough, Raquel Torres, then wife. Should've Googled before asking. She was 2nd of 3; he married the 3rd in '69.

Yes, the title is contradicted by the liner notes on the album. I have both records and they are among the most unique Hawaiian music lps in my collection. I especially like the version of Quite Village because it so raw. Sounds like a bunch of local musicians banging out the latest hit tune - which they probably were. JungleTrader had both of these albums on a CD that he was selling at the Hukilau last year.

Frances was obviously the true musical talent here. I have 15 or so of her Hapa Haole 78 rpm recordings, plus some Hawaiian tunes released on an Australian 10 inch lp. They are very charming to listen to. I plan to put them on CD at some point because playing 78's is a pain even on a vintage Grundig console. When I do I'll probably make the CD available to TCers in some way.

As for Hall's movies, I have the Hurricane, Aloma of the South Seas, The Tuttles of Tahiti (based on another story by Nordoff and Hall) and South of Pago-Pago.

The Hurricane was released a few years ago as an excellent DVD, but it doesn't appear to be available anymore and the price of used copies has been sky high on ebay. South of Pago-Pago is available new on VHS and a poor copy of Aloma of the South Seas is available from an e-bay seller. Used VHS tapesof the Tutttles of Tahiti show up on ebay now and then.

The Hurricane is Hall's best film by far and I really like South of Pago-Pago. The Tuttles of Tahiti is a starring vehicle for Charles Laughton -- who played Captain Bligh to Gable's Mr Christian in the first Bounty picture. Aloma is just plain weird, but there is a sequence involving a crop of giant moai's that has to be seen to be believed and Dorothy Lamour is ravishingly beautiful. I really wish I had a better copy of it.

I forgot to mention I have a bootleg DVD copy of Forbidden Island which JungleTrader was also selling at Hukilau. It's not Jon Hall's best picture, but the scene with Martin Denny makes it worth having. Much of the film was shot near Haunama Bay on Oahu were I used to camp and snorkel as a kid, so that makes it special for me. The underwater scenes were done at Silver Springs in Florida which is fairly near my current home.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-04-01 19:35 ]


Found this menu today.

Judging from the menu, she certainly didn't want anyone to forget she was a celebrity. There's more emphasis on her than the food! A little more artwork would have been nice instead of the "Here's me with with Nixon and Bob Hope" pics. Speaking of the celebs, what's the deal with the pic of Bing Crosby dressed like a priest?

Nice find, Kenike.

Speaking of the celebs, what's the deal with the pic of Bing Crosby dressed like a priest?

Bing played a priest in Going My Way (1944) and Bells of St. Mary's (1945). But I wanna know what's the deal with the Mystery Steak? Does the Mystery Girl bring it to your table?

On 2006-10-23 17:36, Kenike wrote:
A little more artwork would have been nice instead of the "Here's me with with Nixon and Bob Hope" pics.

Posing with Nixon? To me, that's actually one more fine example of how Langford's career perfectly mirrors the rise and fall of Polynesian pop, that's the generation that did that.
And also, remember kids, to the proprietors of Tiki temples many of the things we love about Tiki style, like the cocktail illustrations and and mugs, were not "art", but just fun window dressing. The BOT portrays an idealized reality (of an idealized fantasy!) that as a whole, they were not primarily concerned with.


I have family in Jensen Beach and have been to this restaurant formerly known as The Outrigger. As shown in this thread they have a small but comprehensive shrine, it's almost like a mini museum, dedicated to Frances Langford. Nice restaurant, but too bad it's still not the original place. Apparently, Frances was somewhat active in the community and is responsible for the Peacocks that inhabit the town. There are official traffic signs indicating 'Peacock Crossing' and a hefty fine if anyone is caught harming them. I have been to Jensen Beach tons of times and never knew this until I was there a month or two ago and saw little packs of Peacocks everywhere. Kinda wild.

I guess Frances was pretty 'active' in other ways up until the end. She died at the age of 92, and married her last husband in 1994 at the age of 81.

km9v posted on Tue, Jan 9, 2007 11:25 AM

I worked at the restaurant from 1964 until 1966 as a busboy. Frances was a charming and gracious lady. Whenever she came in she would make a point to visit with the staff and was warm and friendly. I remember one of the waitresses commenting that Francis always remembered one's name after she meet them. She would sing in the bar sometimes when there was a band.


On 2007-01-09 11:25, km9v wrote:
I worked at the restaurant from 1964 until 1966 as a busboy. Frances was a charming and gracious lady. Whenever she came in she would make a point to visit with the staff and was warm and friendly. I remember one of the waitresses commenting that Francis always remembered one's name after she meet them. She would sing in the bar sometimes when there was a band.

I hope you were able to grab some memorabilia from there during the time you were employed.

I had the pleasure of dining there many times from 1975 to 1979. I always got a kick out of the outrigger canoe suspended from the ceiling . . . with the Evinrude motor on it!

Also, at the back of the restaurant, the view was of the Intercoastal . . . occasionally you'd see large fish (Marlin? . . . what do I know!) leaping out of the water. I'm sorry it's lost it's integrity and flavor.

I have collected several postcards from the Outrigger Restaurant and Marina.

This card has the best shot of the front of the restaurant building nestled in the palm trees.

Here are some views from the marina side of the building. Just pull the yacht right on up.

This oversized card gives a good perspective on the overall layout.

The matchbook.

Another page from the menu showing the celebs that frequented the place.


Great postcards as always, DC. Yeah, the first one was the one that menu rendering reminded me off. It makes sense that it might have been the inspiration to it, since it was also called "Outrigger".

Clearly a Pre-Tiki place, it looks almost unspectacular (compared to 60s Tiki temples) in its simplicity, but so perfect in its setting, too. I has all that one needs: A grass shack... in a palm grove... by the Ocean!

I wonder if that is Frances' boat, can you read the name on it? I just won an item on e-bay from a seller in Florida who knew the place, his name is Don and he is on Tiki Central, he wrote me this:

"I was there in the 80'S a number of times, and saw her sing once, she was still fantastic. I worked on her yacht "Chanticleer" a couple of times in the 1990's doing electrical work, she was a gracious lady, and a real pleasure to have met. The restaurant was amazing, lots of cool tiki, and that great poly-pop styling."


Cool story from Don about Jensen Beach.

Frances' yacht the Chanticleer was 110 feet long. The one in the postcard is about half that size. Here is a photo of her yacht which is still running in the area.

I also found this add for Don the Beachcombers in Chicago that also happened to have a listing for Frances singing at the Chez Paree - nice combo there. I'm sure she must have frequented DTB's while in town.

It would be great to see some photos of the inside of the Outrigger.


Hi all, I am the Don mentioned above. Thought you guys might be interested in this, which popped up on craigslist. I just noticed it this morning. It is the original bar from the Langford's Outrigger!


This deserves a good home, with a collector.

I am checking around to see if any of the other pieces of the restaurant are still in the area, as I live about 3 miles from the old Outrigger.

Hiya Don, thanks for the tip, I will forward it to our Frances Langford scholar Geoff Sundstroem.

Man, that boat looks like a nice place to entertain! I guess when you are married to Mr. Evinrude, you can need to boat in style. What a life: Go on a fishing trip with some friends and then dock at your own Polynesian grass shack for dinner from the catch!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-06-20 06:55 ]

MAN,you gotta love those old,classic BURGER yacht's.
and I am pretty sure the Chanticleer was 118' long

"Pets are welcome,Children 'MUST' be on leash" TD

[ Edited by: TIKI DAVID 2009-06-20 12:31 ]


Here's a nice January 1964 full page ad :down:

The small text in this ad reads "Aloha... After many trips through the South Pacific during the war years, I grew to love the exotic food and designs of the South Sea Islanders, and dreamed of the day I could have my own Polynesian restaurant. Some twenty years ago in Hollywood, I met Ed Lawrence who designed the original Don the Beachcombers restaurant and other Beachcomber restaurants throughout the world. Now Ed has created the 'Frances Langford Outrigger Restaurant.' My hope is that each of you will enjoy this bit of Polynesian Paradise here in my home state of Florida."

I guess from the size of this ad and the wording of this text, that this was an official announcement type of ad, and that it must have just opened?

Here's another January 1964 ad :down:

And I also found a small article about the Prince of Tonga visiting :down:

The article stated that the Prince "was most enthusiastic about the Evinrude's grounds and home and the Polynesian restaurant."

I didn't realize that this property started as just the private home of Langford, and originally consisted of 200 acres of citrus grove, home, a few rental cottages and small boat basin. Once they built the restaurant, they also had a private "Polynesian Hut" where cocktails were served before they went over to the restaurant.

And here is another November 1964 ad :down:

Tiki David,

You were right (sort of). Turns out Frances had TWO Chanticleers. The first was a 118-foot Defoe that came with husband Envinrude. She got the second, a 108-foot Burger, in 1973. Both very nice!


Great ads as usual. Can you find the missing Don the Beachcombers for me? I don't know how to use that time machine yet.

Internet research indicates that the Outrigger restaurant opened in 1961, so the 1964 ad would not have been a grand opening deal.


Actually, one of the Evinrude children still owns Frances's house, near the old Outrigger. I have had contact with her (Sheri Evinrude), through a local maritime museum that I do some work for. If I ever get a chance, I will ask and see if there is still any Tiki in the family.

I think her yacht is still on the family as well. I do miss passing it on the waterway, as Frances always kept it at the restaurant, even after she sold the property. I always enjoyed seeing her sitting on the back deck, dressed to kill, with a tall cool cocktail in hand...... I think that is a fitting way to remember her!


Mahalo for the correction, DC. I'll let you know if I find any Don stuff.

On 2009-06-20 13:24, Mo-Eye wrote:
....Some twenty years ago in Hollywood, I met Ed Lawrence who designed the original Don the Beachcombers restaurant and other Beachcomber restaurants throughout the world. Now Ed has created the 'Frances Langford Outrigger Restaurant.'....

Wonder what Ed Lawrence's story really is...

I recently acquired a few more items from The Outrigger.

A nice postcard showing the entrance.

A matchbook that I have not seen before.


In case anyone is interested, I noticed that there is a different photo of the Outrigger, showing the earlier Evinrude Yacht the 118ft Chanticleer, which Ralph owned when they were married. This photo is on the back of the record album "Frances Langford in Vietnam". I also noticed this record was produced by Outrigger Records, so I assume it was her personal record label? I would upload the photo, but my scanner croaked.


On 2009-06-20 04:56, Bahama Don wrote:
Hi all, I am the Don mentioned above. Thought you guys might be interested in this, which popped up on craigslist. I just noticed it this morning. It is the original bar from the Langford's Outrigger!


This deserves a good home, with a collector.

I am checking around to see if any of the other pieces of the restaurant are still in the area, as I live about 3 miles from the old Outrigger.

i have a pice of that bar top i sand blasted all of the wood in side of the bar when fred bought it he ownes couk e joes to

Anyone care to hear Frances singing hapa haole tunes on her old Decca 78s?

Where do you get those Hawaiian thing-a-ma-jigs? You know, those hula do-dads.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2009-07-24 18:53 ]

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2010-02-26 01:04 ]

My original post at the start of this thread has had the pictures re-sized and I have been expanded and updated some of the content.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2010-02-27 04:52 ]


Thanks for re-posting all of the old photos, I see that I duplicated some of your material when in too small to really see. Oh well, twice is good for the Outrigger!

Here is a USO photo with Frances and Bob Hope that was posted on the recent WW II thread.

Here is the link to the archives where the photo came from, I bet you could find some more photos of Frances in there.




Great stuff Geoff. Love those old photos. Glad you've restored them so I can put away the magnifying glass!


This post is a continuation of the Langford auction thread. The Elliot Museum in Stuart, Florida has a small permanent exhibit honoring Frances Langford. Some of her personal items on display related to the Outrigger:

:up: This really puts the "peacock" in peacock chair!

:up: Oceanic Arts shield on the right.

:up: Caption reads: "Frances Langford and Ralph Evinrude surveying their property with Ed Lawrence, designer of the Outrigger Restaurant. Circa 1961."

:up: Love that space age tram!

The Elliot museum is in the process of moving out of their current building and a new one, twice the size, will be built in its place. Among the announced highlights of the new museum:

"The Frances Langford Outrigger Cafe, an ocean view dining venue featuring exhibits of Langford memorabilia."

Looking forward to seeing how that progresses. It is a museum after all, so don't expect Mai-Tais and Zombies or mid-century Polynesian styled architecture. But all the same, it's good news.


One more:

Glad you posted these from our visit. As we discussed, the last photo totally rocks!!! It proves my point that Hall and Langford planned to build their tiki temple before their split and that Ralph Evinrude helped Frances indulge an unfulfilled dream from her first marriage. He must have been an exceptional guy - but then again everyone loved tiki back in the day.

Nice work Rob and Geoff. Would sure be nice to get a close-up look at that architectural plan!


On 2010-05-27 14:45, Dustycajun wrote:
Would sure be nice to get a close-up look at that architectural plan!

I pulled out my CSI "zoom and enhance" tools and here's what we've got:

Not too exciting, I'm afraid. Hard to make out the details, but it looks more like a plantation style house. A BIG one though.

I was thinking the same thing, DC, and did your zoom in, just didn't have a way to save it. Not to say that I was disappointed by the design, but it just drove home the fact that this was developed in Pre-Tiki times, and as such looks almost conservative, compared to the late 50s/ early 60s full-fledged, swooping A-frames at the peak (literally) of Tiki style.

It also doesn't look like this design was built...maybe they had a disagreement about it-Jon Hall, as being born Polynesian, wanted something more stately, to show that he had "arrived", and Frances, being the American who wants to go native, said "I want a real native hut!" ...and then went and got someone else that gave it to her? :)

I picked up another postcard with an aerial view showing the entirety of the Outrigger marina complex.

You can see Francis' yacht docked at the marina and get a true sense of its size. I wonder if that was Francis' house on the other side of the marina entrance?


Picked up another matchbook style from the Outrigger.


Here we have a very nice swizzle from The Outrigger I picked up in a trade with Bongo Fury.



Love those swizzle sticks, DC!

Here's an old ad I ran across in our Space Coast newspaper...

Florida Today December 24, 1972


A recent postcard acquisition showing the Frances' yacht in the harbor with the Outrigger building in the background.


Nice ad showing Frances in her peacock chair at the Outrigger (from ebay).


First, great thread Kailuageoff. More Langford & Hall trivia. The first photo on page one (colorized) of this thread is from the movie BAMBOO BLONDE her only South Seas movie where her character didn’t go to the South Seas. I posted a picture of nose art from the movie in the Nose Art thread. The girl on the nose is Francis but I didn’t mention it because I didn’t know she had this tiki presence.

John Hall has a lot of South Seas history as mentioned by Kailuageoff. But a couple more interesting facts about his part Tahitian relatives was that his cousin Benny Chapman who you sci-fi/monster fans will know him as the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He was a tall 6’6” Tahitian dancer so the creature was imposing. Another close relative (and maybe BigBro knows this already) is the famous late cinematographer Conrad Hall. Yes Conrad was part Tahitian.

last three from the southseascinema.org website

P.S. in Lamour's biography she states she later avoided Hall because he was a womanizer, a ladies man. Weren't they all in Hollywood?

[ Edited by: creativenative 2013-06-20 06:12 ]

Love this thread! I used to live up the hill from the Outrigger and kind of miss the fact that they have de-tikified it. has anyone reached out to the current owners to see if they would be open bringing some of the tiki back? or if they still have any of the drink recipes in the archives?

A nice photo from Matterhorn showing the impressive entrance to the Outrigger's thatched hut restaurant.


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