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

Pages: 1 2 3 4 187 replies

I recently acquired an old brochure from the Stardust in Las Vegas that had a wonderful artist's-rendering of the interior of the Aku-Aku. I wanted to share it with the group, since so many of you own the various mugs that were unique to this place, but like me, might have always wondered what it looked like.

I'll start though, with a photographic postcard of the exterior, showing the famous giant stone Moai and one of my favorite Tiki Signs of all time.

Here's an artist's rendering of the complex, showing the Aku Aku to the left of the Stardust, with three large moai out front.

Here's the view of the interior of the Aku Aku. Did the artist idealize the place or was it really this cool?

And a a view of the Neptune Dining Room, which also has a nice tropical feel to it.

Did anyone here ever visit the Aku Aku before it was torn down? I'd really be interested in hearing what it was like.

Sabu

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2008-01-15 22:43 ]

You've done it again Sabu. You never cease to amaze me with your finds. Very nice.

Anyone have any stories or recollections of the Aku Aku in Vegas?

Sabu

Sunset Park, Las Vegas 12/29/05. Last remaining Eli Hedley carved, Aku Aku Moai. Had a lil' family time out there the last few days.

My Mom and I ( first time she's seen it since it was being carved behind Disneyland!!!)

Mrs. Bamboo and Tiki Man Jack !

Myself with Banzai Blake and my Brother Ski, who lives in Las Vegas now and is a photographer. We'll see what pics he comes up with.

My Mom Ba ( pernounced BAY) reflecting on her past incredible life as a Hedley, aka Daughter of the Original Beachcomber Eli Hedley.

Long Live the Aku Aku !!! ( Moai!!)

S


By the Caddy in this picture, I guess this is about 1957

By the pink Caddy in this one, I know it's a 1959.

Anyone else know the other cars enough to guess these years better?

That's one awesome sign, and it sure looks like the Hedley carving in the park with it's family...

the first card has a black 60 cadillac leaving the parking lot.
so I would say late 59-60.

p.s. not to be vain, but do our profiles look alike or what!?!?!

Maybe I should change my name to Rev Aku Aku !!! :wink:

Carved? What was used? Ol' General Sherman redwood?

How was this bad boy put together?

Wow! The Aku-Aku! What a legend. It's hard to believe (because I love that time period) that places like these existed. I mean we live in such a fast paced, super size world that if it weren't for tiki-files like ya'll swingers we'd have no imagination and nothing to remember today!

On 2005-12-31 12:43, TikiGardener wrote:
Carved? What was used? Ol' General Sherman redwood?

How was this bad boy put together?

You can see Eli work on ONE of the Aku Aku moais on p.74 of the BOT. It clearly shows the two parts of rock that pieced it together. And the above one is seen in all his glory on p. 114.

MD

Its just a bit later, the little mercury meteor cruising the strip in the second picture, (right under the sign and maoi) is a 62-63. Love those things.
I sold my 50 merc, kept my 50's soul, but I bought a 64 Galaxie, I figured that it fit more into my version of a perfect tiki life. Inject me and my car into that picture and cut the cord baby!!!!!

The Aku Aku restaurant is long gone and the tiki escaped. Now the Stardust will be torn down to make way for Echelon.

T

Johnnie Velour wrote: "The Aku Aku restaurant is long gone and the tiki escaped. Now the Stardust will be torn down to make way for Echelon."

How 'bout just Eccccchhh.

I am still amazed that the Stardust is still around. It was old and tattered 20 years ago.

T

Maybe they'll put in something like a tiki bar in the new place? If the stardust must be sacrificed, a little hope won't hurt, right?

M

The red car (you only see it sticking out its nose) is a 1964 T-bird...?

Very cool postcards!

/makutiki

M
mbonga posted on Sat, Jan 7, 2006 5:00 PM

Sabu--
Can you restore those first pictures you posted and are now broken? I missed them.

Another image discovered while going through my Disneyland photo collection- the Aku Aku sign taken as a snapshot. Probably taken the same time period as the postcards.

That is very cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for posting Matterhorn!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff

S

Just seeing the candid picture gets me excited, I can't imagine if it was still there and I saw it. Well, I sort of can. I recall the first time I saw the Mai Kai on the highway...

O

Very cool Materhorn, We stayed at the Stardust whenever Ione worked on her projects there.
Just before Aku Aku was open, Eli Hedley was installing his work and allowed me to pester him with kid questions for a few minutes. Ben's picture from the park in Vegas where the two of them posed together,
reminds me of that day.


Life is a state of mind

[ Edited by: ojaitimo 2007-01-29 11:08 ]

On 2005-12-31 06:58, Swanky wrote:

...

[ Edited by: icebaer69 2008-01-12 10:25 ]

Hey now!! Cool pic Icebaer69. Any idea of the time frame? Goes to show how the place grew up in a very short time. I love the drive-in in the second pictue. Thanks for posting.

WOW! Where did you get those pics?!?!?!?

O

Thanks for the great pictures icebaer69, those are awesome! From the late sixties? Hard to see the year of the cars.

Not a [email protected]&*ing import in sight...

Saw a window sticker at Bob's Toluca Lake a while ago, it said:

"If you're driving an import, you're pretty much dead to me."

I bought the guy a Big Boy.

SOK

Wow...those are amazing pictures Ice, thanks for posting them. You don't see any desert sand in many pictures nowadays with all the modern structures crammed together. Great thread!!!

S

I'd say that's 1969-70ish by the cars I see. Great to see some perspective on the place visually.

On 2007-01-28 06:53, Matterhorn1959 wrote:

[ Edited by: icebaer69 2008-01-12 14:01 ]

Holy Moley icebaer, those pictures are spectacular! I had not seen aerial shots of the place like that. The Aku-Aku sign looks so small and lonely out there in the big ole desert. Big mahalo for posting these!

Sad though to be once again reminded of what Vegas was compared to what it is today... (don't want to reignite that flame war though)

...but you are right, Rob. I have turned my back on that city, I never wanna go there again, I got to experience too much of it in its classic state, even still in the 80s it was there...

The evolution/devolution of the Aku Aku documented in these postcards and stills is amazing, exemplifying the "bigger is better" boom town policy of Vegas:

First (ca 1959) the small shield sign, that is in proportion to the giant Eli Hedley Moai...

...then, (not much later), comes the "hey we need a bigger sign!" crossed spear sign, dwarfing the Moai..

...then, in the mid-60s, it is "hey the STARDUST needs a bigger than big-ass sign, and let's expand and envelop the Aku Aku with more slots and money milking stuff!"

Though I really would love to see a close up of that 60s box sign, those Moai with the sun look great! Aaaaah, time machine, where are you!!!

Here's one for Eli:

My first visit to Vegas would have been about 1973 when I was 8. I fondly remember gazing up at Vegas Vic, waving down at me. And I recall being at Circus Circus, looking down at the casino floor, wishing I was old enough to gamble. Then the next visit would have been the late 80s. The old hotels were still there, but had been expanded a lot. But they were still miniscule compared to what would come in the 90s. Since then, I've been two more times. I've been in most of the large themed hotels, but they just don't do anything for me. But, given the power to do so, I'd gladly turn back the clock to the Vegas of old when there was more desert than buildings and when the rat pack was playing the lounge!

Not to veer of the subject too much, but just to share my favorite Googie neon place that was still around then:


My dad, visiting from Hamburg, in front of Del Webb's Mint in 1985!

The Mint in 1957:

Now THAT was Vegas!

...sorry, one more pic:

Yours truly at the YESCO sign graveyard, 1995 :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-01-12 13:12 ]


r.i.p.

[ Edited by: icebaer69 2008-01-12 15:02 ]

G

Okay.... that was just depressing. Go back to the earlier post!

On 2008-01-12 12:58, bigbrotiki wrote:
Not to veer of the subject too much, but just to share my favorite Googie neon place that was still around then:


My dad, visiting from Hamburg, in front of Del Webb's Mint in 1985!

The Mint in 1957:

Now THAT was Vegas!

unbelievable :)
i just switched on tv ... and saw "the mint" !!!
in the 1971 James Bond film "Diamonds are Forever"

On 2008-01-12 14:36, icebaer69 wrote:

Why did the Stardust change its logo? Should have kept the same signage - and the globe.
Such a shame.

I wish I had seen it back in the day, but at least the moai is still a silent sentinel at Sunset Park.

Preach on brother Kelbo! I drive a 1959 Chev Impala!!!!

Ya'll need to get that Stardust Memories book.

O

My brother had this painting in a show about twenty years ago. It was a scene of the ocean far below and a small island with palms.

A transport plane with its wing on fire is surrounded by P-38's and going down. To the right these cryptic letters in rows of 8 letters in a graph box.
A
T
O
Y
O
T
F
O
H
T
R
I
B
E
H
T
O
T
O
M
A
M
A
Y
F
O
H
T
A
E
D
E
H
T

It took me a while to fiqure it out, it seems to be true.

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2008-01-13 19:35 ]

On 2005-12-31 11:21, RevBambooBen wrote:
p.s. not to be vain, but do our profiles look alike or what!?!?!

Maybe I should change my name to Rev Aku Aku !!! :wink:

Maybe your brow and nose but the forehead.........you should sleep with a 2 x 4 tied to your forehead to help push it back.

On 2008-01-13 19:34, Jungle Trader wrote:

On 2005-12-31 11:21, RevBambooBen wrote:
p.s. not to be vain, but do our profiles look alike or what!?!?!

Maybe I should change my name to Rev Aku Aku !!! :wink:

Maybe your brow and nose but the forehead.........you should sleep with a 2 x 4 tied to your forehead to help push it back.

JT,

Did they kick you out of Bali Hijinks?

T

[ Edited by: TikiPug 2008-01-13 22:00 ]

No.

On 2008-01-13 21:43, TikiPug wrote:

[ Edited by: TikiPug 2008-01-13 22:00 ]

Why?

Carry on, don't mean to derail the thread.

T

On 2008-01-13 22:06, RevBambooBen wrote:

On 2008-01-13 21:43, TikiPug wrote:

[ Edited by: TikiPug 2008-01-13 22:00 ]

Why?

What?

I went ahead and restored the links to my pics on the first page of this thread. They're awfully small. I'll see if I can take some clearer, larger photos of those items.

Thanks Matterhorn, Icebaer, and Bigbro for the additional eye-candy!

Sabu

Pages: 1 2 3 4 187 replies