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UT

A few pics I dug up about the long gone Tur Mai Kai. Sorry for the quality. I don't have a scanner so these are pics of photo copies. The first one shows the OA Tikis out front one 10' and the other 8' tall.

An ad from the 1969 phone book


The Lum's (owners) at the carved front doors

The interior "village" area designed by OA at a cost of 75,000 in 1969! kind of a grainy pic but it's all thats left.

A couple of news clips showing artist drawings.

Another news clip of what would become the menu art. and the grand opening.
The news clips talk of the watrer fall over the cocktail hut and the fish laden stream with a bridge over it. Many seperate theamed huts to dine in and fresh fish and fruit flown in daily from around the world. Sadly the Lum's sold the Tur Mai Kai in I belive 1979. The place lived on as the Peking Palace until it was closed and torn down a about two years ago. It still had drinks in mugs and tiki could still be seen. It sure would be nice to stop by for a "Hawaiian Orgy" cocktail on a snowy Michigan day like this but I have to settle for my old TMK menu and my home lounge.



"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2014-12-20 18:38 ]

C
croe67 posted on Fri, Dec 8, 2006 7:19 AM

Thanks for posting - I used to go there as a kid in the 70's & the decor was fabulous!!! Now when I drive by the site where it used to be, it just bums me out. (I'm from Kalamazoo & we go back a couple times a year.) There don't seem to be any other tiki spots to visit when I'm in town that I have found - are there any???

UT

Hi croe67. Not a tiki to be found. The old GUM-HO on Portage Rd. used to have a polynesian theam a long time ago in the bar area but GUM-HO is done gone.

T
teaKEY posted on Fri, Dec 8, 2006 8:11 AM

I live in Ann Arbor, and that places looks like a nice oasis in the desert. Now Michigan pretty much is all dried up. That is very interesting to know about that place and I bet not too many people knew it existed.

UT

Not to much left up here. Kinda tough to find any TMK items. I have a matchbook and a menu. I know of a hurricane glass with the logo on it but not much else. Years of looking and still can't score the hurrican glass! Still a few items here and there come up from time to time.

On 2006-12-08 08:11, teaKEY wrote:
I live in Ann Arbor, and that places looks like a nice oasis in the desert. Now Michigan pretty much is all dried up. That is very interesting to know about that place and I bet not too many people knew it existed.

..i heard the carters knew of it's existence for a long time...but dave has had a history of keeping places secret from others till he's done plundering tiki items from them...sorry, dave, but you really burned us with that "beyond the reef" tiki bar years ago...we would have loved to spend more than one evening there before they tore it down...i'm sure others would have too.....

UT

A couple shots of the menu for ya.

C

That menu has some striking similarities to the Kahiki menu....wonder if they used some of the same mugs? Like the Hoffman Moai that seems to be pictured? I've got the hurricane glass (thanks to my Grandma, who still lived in Kzoo), but haven't, yet, managed a menu, though I am hoping to someday....

Good eye on the Kahiki connection. I have a Kahiki menu and sat down one night and took a look at both. The TMK is a direct ripoff right down to the Kahiki picks for the fruit to garnish the drinks. Same names, artwork, even the number of leaves on the mint sprigs. Looks like they took a negitive and turned it into a two color print.

great pics Trav. I recently lost that menu in an auction... any chance you can post some high-rez scans someday?

-Z

PS- is it true that quality of Bilbo's Pizza is not what it once was?

P

Here is the hurricane glass. Great info Uncle Trav. Believe it or not I won two Polynesian menus on eBay and the seller gave me the Tur Mai Kai menu as an extra. You never seen two people jump for joy like we did. that day.

UT

On 2006-12-08 18:59, Feelin' Zombified wrote:

post some high-rez scans someday?

PS- is it true that quality of Bilbo's Pizza is not what it once was?

I try to get some high-rez scans out of the menu at some point. As for Bilbo's I think it's still great.

UT

On 2006-12-08 22:07, pa'akiki wrote:
Here is the hurricane glass. Great info Uncle Trav. Believe it or not I won two Polynesian menus on eBay and the seller gave me the Tur Mai Kai menu as an extra. You never seen two people jump for joy like we did. that day.

Wow Like buying two bars of silver and get'n a gold bar for free. Thanks for postig the hurricane glass pic...!!

Uncle Trav-

GREAT urban archeology!!
That place was a treasure, and I really appreciate getting to at least see all the artifacts together.
Thanks for all your hard work researching, collecting and posting.

Wistfully longing to have seen it in The Day,
F

Excellent work..places such as this and the Mahi Mahi in Nashville would be lost to the record forever without research like this...Mahalo!

S

Amen! Represent! Love this stuff! Keep up the great work. Mana'o!

Thanks for the kind words. The research I did can be done by anyone. Many local libraries have local history rooms with people that are very helpful. Also local newspapers have old pages on microfilm which you can browse and make prints. By talking to people that have been to a certain place photos can be found from old b-day parties and get-togethers. Doesn't seem like much but some of these photos are all that are left. Take the Mauna Loa for instance, how many of us have seen interior photos from there? A lot of info can be had with just a phone call to the local library or historical society and those people love to help out. It's like a trip to the flea market and finding more than could have hoped for. Thanks

..actually i have seen the mauna loa...sort of....i have copies of the original blueprints of the place direct from the architect who designed the place....

On 2006-12-12 12:12, Tipsy McStagger wrote:
..actually i have seen the mauna loa...sort of....i have copies of the original blueprints of the place direct from the architect who designed the place....

George Nakashima?

He sent me his Mai Kai blueprints, including the wine cellar that was never built.

Did the blueprint fairy visit anyone else?

On 2006-12-12 11:08, uncle trav wrote:
Thanks for the kind words. The research I did can be done by anyone. Many local libraries have local history rooms...

So true. But people have to DO it! And they have to be local. That's why TC is so great, with its help we have Tiki agents in so many places now...even KALAMAZOO!

James, I think Nancy from Cats Meow in Detroit got a set of those too. What a shame to loose George at the point where he was just sharing his stuff.

This post needs a good exterior photo. Though architecturally not that amazing, this is a beautiful dusk-for-night shot of the Tur Mai Kai (from an oversize postcard, courtesy of OA archives):

UT

WOW!!! Thanks for posting the pic Bigbro. Great to see the Tur Mai Kai in all it's glory. Every time I drive by the spot where it stood I get sick by what is up in it's place. Just down the street was a great mid-century motel neon sign. Progress just killed that to. Any chance I could get a good scan of the TMK for my collection? And thanks again.

UT

A closeup of the match book.

UT

BUMP. Here's a couple close up scans of a 1969 article about the features of the Tur Mai Kai when it opened. Good reading. Enjoy


C
croe67 posted on Mon, Jun 4, 2007 9:20 AM

Very nice article!!!!
I'd love to see what those mugs looked like.......wonder if they were off-the-shelf or custom? All I have been able to find is the Hurricane glass, which I would guess they moved to later (?).

Here's a pic from the local paper of the Tur Mai Kai about four years before it became the Peking Palace. Not a very good pic but you have to take what you can find these days.

Very nice research, Uncle Trav. Mahalo!

Wow, that SIGN ! I never knew that existed, it had never been documented before! Can you make out what is on the left end of it, the palm trees maybe? Looks more like a starburst though....
Is there any way to get ahold of the original photo?

that sign is hot!! looks like a small moai head in upper left just like the matchbook...says exotic cocktails on the bottom and i'll bet that's a martini glass in neon in the middle of the starburst on the right.... it's too symetrical to be palm trees...

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2007-07-14 17:57 ]

Thanks Tikibars. It was nice to chat with you about the Tur Mai Kai at the Mai Kai during Hukilau. I know you had people all over after you but I enjoyed the short chat. Bigbro I hope to have a better pic by next week. This is the first time I have seen the sign as well. Also I am on the trail of some interior shots from 1973 during a birthday. May have some good stuff in the background. Tipsy you got it right. A martini glass in the diamond. The moai like mask is a little different than the logo in the adds and has a 3D effect almost coming out of the sign. As soon as I get a better pic I'll post it. Man! I love the hunt!!

Here's a pic of the old Tur Mai Kai a couple of days before it's death sentence was carried out. As you can see painted on the window "EVERYTHING MUST GO". And everything went including the building. I'll have better pics of the Tur Mai Kai sign this week so stay tuned.

C

So what happened to he contents? Was anything decent left by then? Or had much of the "tiki" stuff been disposed of long ago? Did the good stuff get preserved, I hope!?

That's a touchy subject here. Apparently, a certain respected member of the Tiki community had discovered that while the name and ownership had been changed to a generic Chinese restaurant for many years, the interior had remained fairly intact, with bridges, artifacts and the whole works.
Unfortunately, motivated by a desire to protect the discovery, this find was not shared with the rest of the local (and nationwide TC) brethren. The irony is that, as so often happens, no notice was given to the protector upon the closing of the place, so that the auction and sale happened without ANY and all of the neighboring Tikiphiles in attendance. Because of that, the whereabouts of the artifacts are since unknown, (as far as I know).

On 2007-07-16 16:27, croe67 wrote:
So what happened to he contents? Was anything decent left by then? Or had much of the "tiki" stuff been disposed of long ago? Did the good stuff get preserved, I hope!?

That's where the fun starts. I talked to a guy who was the second one through the door the first day of the sale. GONE! no tiki to be found. Much was taken down through the years and the rest went????

Hmmm...So someone other than my friend must have struck before the official sale was announced? Sounds like a mystery open to much speculation.

The secret was so well kept that I passed by the place at least twice a week and never stopped in. It looked like every other Chinese place and my wife and I had a favorite place on the other side of town. As fate would have it I found out that it was basically the Tur Mai Kai by another name by a friend who was hired to drain the refrigerant from the air conditoning equipment prior to the demo. By that time it was too late. Cruel cruel fate.

Arrrgh... I feel for you. This even happens to seasoned Urban archaeologists. I can claim ignorance as excuse that for years in the early 1980s I used to drive by the original Don The Beachcomber on Mc Cadden via Highland Avenue, the main road to my first Hollywood pad, and never went in. I was just a wild and crazy lad from Germany then with no inkling of the grandeur of the Tiki empire.

But to have passed by many times the China Trader in Burbank, even while on Tiki missions, and to only find out AFTER its closing that it was all decked out in Tiki by Oceanic Arts carver Ed Crissman, and that not only the complete Hawaiian Eye cast used to hang out there after shooting the show (Doug Mossman even became a partner in the place), but also luminairies like Lee Marvin and the husband and wife team of Jack Webb and Julie London...that still hurts.

C

On 2007-07-16 16:50, bigbrotiki wrote:
That's a touchy subject here. Apparently, a certain respected member of the Tiki community had discovered that while the name and ownership had been changed to a generic Chinese restaurant for many years, the interior had remained fairly intact, with bridges, artifacts and the whole works.

Ah, yes, now that you mention it, I have heard that story & had forgotten about it. Will have to ask about what was left next time I see that person & talk tiki :wink:

Well things are starting to come together. I received an e-mail from Bob and LeRoy at Oceanic Arts with some good information. They said the TMK was converted from an old coffee shop in front of the old Southgate Motel back in 69. No architect was involved as all the interiors were designed by Leroy Schmaltz himself and installed most of the decor himself with the help of a local cabinet shop nearby. They also enlisted the help of the Filipino bartenders to wrap wood tiles into frames. Bob stated that they never prepared professional plans but rather drew sketches to show the owners. They also stated the Tur Mai Kai was named in honor of the owners wife Turmy Lum. A BIG BIG thanks to Bob and LeRoy for all the information. Thanks

Here's a much better pic of the sign. Enjoy!

I'v got a line on a couple of folks involved in the original conversion of the coffe shop to the TMK back in 1969 and hope to have some stories and maybe some pics of the interior and exterior soon.

That sign is mighty fine. I hope I can use it some day for one of my Tiki tomes. :)

UT

Here's a close-up of the sign. Not much new to report. Found the wife of the contractor that built the Tur Mai Kai. She said she remembered the place well. My sister wrote her a nice letter with copies of the info I have found and copies of a few of the photos. My sister and brother-inlaw have contacted her twice and the second time she was kind of standoffish. I believe a family member was telling her whoever was one the phone was trying to run some kind of scam! Man, that hurts. I haven't pushed the matter. Maybe after a while we will give it another try. I also called every name in the phone book with the former owners last name. No luck on that either. I did a search of the state records and found that Mr. and Mrs. Lum have both passed away. Looks like a road to nowhere on the research end of things but I'll keep digg'n. Thanks


"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2007-10-03 17:40 ]

Trav, I feel the pain. During my years of research, the hardest thing was to get the old geezers (or geezettes) that had survived the Tiki cataclysm to fork over some info. They all thought I had some kind of scam going to profit from whatever little they had or new about the past, just because A.) Why the hell would anyone have any interest in this and B) Why with so much enthusiasm?
It is especially frustrating when you send 'em stuff that they should be glad to get, and they just get weirder. Oh boy.

UT

Thanks Bigbro. I'll give the gal some time and try one more time. I also have a line on a little place here in Michigan that is little if at all known to the tiki world. I still have a bit to do on that one and a few folks to talk to. Things look good at this point. A big thanks to my sister and brother-inlaw (aka Kabuddhabuddha) for thier help in the hunt. Thanks

PS.My Tiki Modern book came today.....OUT OF THIS WORLD.. Thank you..Thank you.


"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2007-10-03 17:31 ]

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2007-10-03 17:32 ]

Great job uncle trav!! :)

Being born and raised in Michigan, I find all this Tiki Archeaology very fascinating!!

Keep up the good work!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff

A bunch of new finds. Enjoy

Some more. Man I love this stuff!


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