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Aloha Jhoe's, Palm Springs, CA (restaurant)

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Name:Aloha Jhoe's
Street:950 S. Palm Canyon Dr
City:Palm Springs

Restaurant created by Lyle R. Wheeler, a Hollywood art director. The the famous sculptures that decorated the grounds were sculpted by Jim Casey, who also did work for Disneyland and Pacific Ocean Park.

This photo comes from a late-60s cookbook I found at a garage-sale:

A copy of the giant hornbill carving on the roof exists (or existed) in the backyard of Jim Casey's house in Venice, CA. He also owned the original molds.

Please feel free to add more history and photos if you have them.


Hmm...I was just about to do a post about Aloha Jhoe's.

I went to the Palm Springs public library yesterday and took some photos of the following ads.



I wonder how much longer they stayed open after 1966....if from 1967 on there were no ads, it's a good indication they had closed, I always thought it lasted only a brief period.

Sabu, I remember that expedition to Jim Casey's well, because the lab messed up all my shots by developing the film in the wrong soup. My shot of the hornbill would maybe work as an Aloha shirt print:

He also had that PNG Crocodile from Aloha Jhoe's on the roof of his shed, for some reason this shot turned out halfway OK:

But remember I climbed up the rickety steps to get a better shot? Here it is !!!:

With this solarization effect the backyard looks like some Denge fever vision...

...as seen by Colonel Kurtz in Apocolypse Now....

...with a touch of Alice in Wonderland on LSD...

This mask came out OK too:

I wonder what happened to all of that stuff....?

Here's a crisp shot of the Bird in situ in 1962:

...and who was "Nano" ?:

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-08-11 23:35 ]

Great post. Sven I messed around with a couple of your over exposed photos to see if I could get some more detail out of it. Just to satisfy my own curiosity. They came out with a vintage feel.

Thanks Trav, that B&W option could make the pics somewhat usable indeed, especially this one with the sign:

Here is another slide that the survived the wrong soup it was developed in a little better (with the sign in the b.g.):

And since DustyCajun is doing such great work in making individual "Locating Tiki" posts as complete as possible, here are some more Aloha Jhoe's artifacts, clipped from the collection of passionate Aloha Jhoe's collector Bongofury. All this stuff is quite rare, since the place only existed for a brief period:

Two different ashtrays:

The standard Moai mug with the logo:

The especially rare Sascha Brastoff candle holder!:

And here those highly coveted 3D slides that came up on e-bay a while back:

..of which this one proves that the top knot of the logo Tiki served as a torch!

What we are missing now are any shots of the INTERIOR.

Hmm..now I really feel inspired to share my extensive Duk Duk research on TC.... (which led to a scandalous revelation!)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-07-13 03:14 ]

Cool stuff there Bigbro. I didn't see all of the items Bongofury had when I visited the Rincon Room. Will have to make it back for another look-see. Awesome slides.



here's a souvenir menu mailer:

Awesome menu! I love paper sculptures.

Ok, it is time to straighten this out:
Though I do spend a lot of time digging in Oceanic Art books and researching the origins of American Tiki icons, I am not immune to being led down the wrong path and making mistakes. This is especially painful when I know better (like stating in Tiki Modern that Martin Denny recorded at the Kaiser Dome) or I repeat a mistake. Now here is one of the latter:

Being a fan of Palm Springs modernism AND Tiki, I immediately fell in love with the whimsical design of Aloha Jhoe's when I found photos of it at Oceanic Arts. I researched the artist of the main sculptures (Jim Casey, --O.A. contributed wall masks and smaller decor) and I found out that South Pacific (the movie) art director Lyle Wheeler did the design. In a promotional book for the film I found some great cartoon drawings that I attributed to Wheeler, and I added them to the double page on Aloha Jhoe's in the Book of Tiki:

And it was from this point on where I went wrong: I saw the cartoon drawing of the dancer, compared it to the Aloha Jhoe's logo Tiki (palm frond skirt, conical shape, frilly stuff on top) and went looking for its origin. I immediately came up with Duk Duk images, because the Tolai people ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duk-Duk ) live in what used to be a German colony, as the name Bismarck Archipelago still suggests.

Here's the Kaiser at the opening of the German Colonial Museum in Berlin:

A third of my Oceanic art sources are German, and the Germans LOVED the Duk Duk, so I found ample imagery of their ritual outfits:

Here's an especially beautiful rendering:

Even their construction was explained:

Note how at the bottom their set up in front of the ceremonial hut is shown

They toured from island to island to perform their dances:

A Duk Duk beaching:

But as I began to amass more and more Duk Duk images, I couldn't help but notice that there really was no variance in their design: They were all STRAIGHT cones, and the facial features, found mainly on the female (Tubuan) masks, were very simplistic.

This Duk Duk group photo, and this great fabric design that popped up on TC, sealed my conviction that I had been wrong by calling the Aloha Jhoe's mask a Duk Duk:

Too many of the same design, and not enough like my fave Palm Springs Tiki ! Damn...
Now the "basket mask with palm front skirt" concept was used by several Papua New Guines tribes, like the Sulka:

...these constructions being among my favorite:

The closest costumes to Aloha Jhoe's I could find were these two:

..of which this mask from the PNG Gulf has the frilly top, and the forehead design and ears shown in some of the Aloha Jhoe's renderings (while the one above has the grinning mouth):

Unfortunately the origin and use of these masks are not as well documented as the Duk Duk ritual, so I can only call the Aloha Jhoe's Tiki a "Papua New Guinea Gulf mask" now -not as much fun as the "Duk Duk secret society"

Last not least a theory: I wonder if Alfred Jarry, like many modern artists in the earliest 20th century, was inspired by the Duk Duk in his original designs of Pere Ubu:

...like these art students at the Hamburg Curio Haus in the 1920s:

..and I like to applaud those contemporary Tiki artists that have been inspired by Aloha Jhoe's...

...and the Duk Duk masks:

I apologize for having published shoddy research on this subject in BOTH of my books, and can only excuse it with the liberal attitude towards authenticity that prevailed in Polynesian pop and Tiki style. :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-07-19 07:04 ]

Interesting to compare the drawing from the brochure Tiki Kate posted for the Shelter Island Inn in San Diego.

It looks like the artist pretty much copied it from this image you posted Sven.

[ Edited by: Tiki Shaker 2009-07-19 09:29 ]

Yup! Good find, Shaker-man!

But is that all? NO reaction otherwise? Outrage!, Scandall in the Fuhmeelie!, amazement?...anything? Sometimes TC is such a dead duck: I spill all this research on here, and all I get is "Duh":

Oh well: The sad fact is, who has time for this esoteric crap nowadays!? If it doesn't involve buying something for oneself, like a new mug or such, or partying, it's too much to squeeze in while being busy with the survival game. Heck, my own wife doesn't even read my e-mails. The overkill of communications is killing communication in the 21st Century. :)

Fantastic post. Often times I do not reply to your in-depth posts because the only input I can add is WOW! The amount of information and research material you have at your disposal and the ability to cross reference it all is the best. A question on the Sulka and other PNG tribes without derailing the main subject of the thread to much. Is the tradition of the costumes still around or did it die out like so many customs have? I noticed that most of the photos are turn of the century era or there about. Thanks.

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

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2009-07-21 14:04 ]

TikiG posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 2:02 PM


I do read these posts and yeah I'm guilty of the occasional "duh...&!%@^!?"..

..but the value of these posts, at least for me, is the occasional gem I discover when I'm really doing research for personal benefit.

Sometimes I have no idea how valuable certain info is until I go hunting for specific esoteric subjects.

Thanks from me too, Sven.

Great stuff, exhaustive as usual. Was trying to dig up some additional info to include, but you covered everything!

Also nice to see someone own-up to past misconceptions.


Aw ghee, Scott and Trav, you guys certainly can count yourself out of that rant, your regular scanning and posting here has been keeping this place alive!

P.S.: Trav, some of those traditions are still alive, even if only for tourist business. If you follow the Wikipedia link at the bottom, you can find this:

"The Hamamas Hotel offers 'Simpson Harbour Boat Tours' of the fascinating 'Vulcan' and 'Mt Tavurvur' volcanoes and 'Walkabout' tours of the incredibly destroyed Rabaul Town and for the keen angler and scuba diver, the Hotel has a small and a large fishing boat, and a Captain for hire.

Vibrant culture...

The excitement of the fire dancers and the 'dukduk' ceremony as well as a visit to the 'bung wantaim' arts and crafts market will provide a taste of the local culture. 'Hamamas' means happy in Pidgin, and this is reflected in the caring service and genuine hospitality of the Hamamas Hotel."

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-07-21 14:34 ]

GROG posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 2:51 PM

Great research Sven! Thanks for all the info.

But, Dukduk is ugly. :)


Excellent eye for detail, Sven.

I would have easily though the Aloha Jhoe's designs were inspired by the Duk Duk.

I always look for your posts on TC and read every word because of the solid content you provide.

On 2009-07-13 02:54, bigbrotiki wrote:

The especially rare Sascha Brastoff candle holder!:

Another pair of those candle holders:

And Sascha Brastoff himself, from a 1954 issue of "The Playgoer".


Cool article, here is a Sascha Tiki ashtray.


DC - Very cool ashtray. I have 2 vases in that motif as well. There's a whole line of ceramics that Sascha Brastoff released in the "tiki" pattern. I put tiki in quotes because some of the faces look tiki, like that one, while others are stacked like totem poles and have other Native American features. It's almost as if Sascha was dipping into both cultures as he painted them.

Bigbro - Another of those mask variations shows up at the Daydream Island resort in Australia during the early 1970s:

It bears some slight resemblance to this photo you posted:

What do you think? Poly-Pop creation with Flower-Power daisies around the eyes? Or actual artifact from nearby PNG?

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-09-15 20:39 ]


I re-read this topic and it's so cool to see all the images of these strange looking characters and how they were used in modern time (Well...Tiki Heyday anyway) renditions and in places where they represented far off native places. Makes you think about of all the images, symbals and characters these designers/builders could have used why this particular style was chosen.
Very cool!

Here is a different shot of the unique ashtray:



Now back to one of my favorite Oceanic Art pieces, the Duk Duk. I picked up this old advertising card that features the Duk Duk dance.



Interesting DC, I get a rough translation of bird meat extract in the can and religious dance ceremonies from the French at the bottom. It also says see the reverse side for an explanation. Can you post a picture of the back?



[ Edited by: WestADad 2012-03-24 06:48 ]

I am sorry to say that I cannot concur on your classification of the very beautiful postcard above, DC. At first I thought they got the architecture wrong, with the upturned gables looking more Asian, but then I looked a the robes the people in the background are wearing, the flute and the drums...they seem more Pacific Asian than New Britain style. Here is the photo of the Duk Duk I used in Tiki Modern: The drum his attendant is holding is a hand drum in the traditional PNG hour glass shape:

I am particularly sensitive to this matter since to my embarrassment I had to correct the Tiki Modern assessment that Aloha Jhoe's logo Tiki was a Duk Duk mask (on the previous page here on TC):

...because as I was collecting Duk Duk images, I could not help noticing how rather UNIFORM the actual Duk Duk society masks were:

...and I had to realize that the Aloha Jhoe mask was SIMILAR in style, concept and geographic vicinity, but not Duk Duk specifically.
The dance costumes in your postcard are also similar, but differ in the fact that in Duk Duk costumes, the "plumage" does not cover the whole body, the face is never exposed, and there is a cartoony mask painted on them.

Here's an old illustration of a Duk Duk dance:

Unfortunately I was unable to find any imagery that matched the elements on your postcard. There is a remote possibility that all the above incongruities hail from the fact that it is an embellished fantasy based on a Duk Duk ceremony, but there seem to be too many specific differences present for that.

(---this info stamped with the official German Colonies Bismarck Archipelago Seal) :)

Can anybody translate the French writing on DC's postcard?


Meat extract from the Company Liebig
Bird feathers and the handling thereof

Religious dance in the Pacific Isles

Reproduction prohibited See explanation on back

Westadad and Club Noname,

Thanks for the translation. Here is the back of the card. What does it say!

Bigbro, thanks also for all of the info, you seem to be right on all accounts. Although the two figures lying on the ground with the gray feathers seem to be more like the Duk Duk in design.

Still a good excuse to explore Duk Duk once again!


On 2012-03-25 18:17, Dustycajun wrote:
Westadad and Club Noname,

Thanks for the translation. Here is the back of the card. What does it say!

Bigbro, thanks also for all of the info, you seem to be right on all accounts. Although the two figures lying on the ground with the gray feathers seem to be more like the Duk Duk in design.

Still a good excuse to explore Duk Duk once again!


But now we gotta find out WHERE they do this "symbolic combat bird dance", darn it!


On 2012-03-25 22:50, bigbrotiki wrote:
But now we gotta find out WHERE they do this "symbolic combat bird dance", darn it!

No mention on the backside where this takes place unfortunately.

Here's my best attempt to translate what's in the boxed area, I apologize in advance, my French is horrible.

"Religious dance to the Pacific Islands. In the islands of the South Pacific Ocean. we discover the various species of birds that are distinguished by their dense plumage, with various colors including Cockatoo, the Hummingbirds and Paradise. The natives have the feathers. (Cant make sense of this sentence) ??? are especially during religious ceremonies. Our picture shows three men wearing the mantle of Capuchin made using feathers of Cockatoo and Hummingbirds. they engage in a symbolic struggle of "good spirit" against the "evil spirit" who, dressed in a dark plumage, is represented to you. This fight gives rise to an annual solemnity. Single men can attend."

I'm still searching for the where this took place.

[ Edited by: WestADad 2012-03-26 06:10 ]

Hope to find our more about that bird dance.

Now this old German postcard is a Duk Duk.

When is a duck not a duck? When it's a Duk Duk!


Nyuck nyuck!

Tried for this very cool Aloha Jhoe's drink menu on ebay.

The drinks.

Some interesting drink names.

They had a nice clam-shell bowl.

And the Aloha Jhoe's Punch (Mystery Drink?)

Rhum story.



Thanks DC for bumping this - fun to reread the Duk Duk discourse from bigbro, and nice to see that menu. Funny coincidence because with no knowledge of that ebay menu you showed, just last night I happened to scan the Aloha Jhoes drink menu page from a 1963 Palm Springs desert menu book. Here tis...


Here's a photo from the Palm Springs Historical Society that was mistakenly attributed to Don The Beachcomber's in an online article about the renovation of the old Don's property. The photo gives a rare glimpse of the inside of Aloha Jhoe's:

You can see the clamshell-shaped "Aloha Jhoe's Orchid Bowl" from the menu photos that DC posted. Also the famous Sascha Brastoff candle holder, (though I'm wondering now, could it have been used as a holder for a tall collins glass instead?). I love the elaborate hat that the waitress is wearing.

Here's the article about Don The Beachcomber's, that posted the photo:


Oh yeah - the folks sitting at the table are Janice and Frank Bogert, (the former mayor of Palm Springs).

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2014-09-08 10:34 ]

Good call, Tim! Those crazy Aloha Jhoe's hats! :)

On 2009-08-08 09:32, Dustycajun wrote:

Cool article, here is a Sascha Tiki ashtray.


I thought this was pointed out some years ago, but I don't see mention of it so.....

This is from Sascha Brastoff's Pacific Northwest line & is in fact an "Indian Totem Pole" image
and not a Tiki, I am a collector of Brastoff & have this same piece in brown (and yes, it is still cool)
but facts are facts.

Some more history on Aloha Jhoe's.

Opening from November of 1961.

And the article that had the picture Sabu posted.

The mayor of Palm Springs inspecting the Tiki with his daughter.

More drinks.

The chef.

Here is a series of newspaper ads.

The last ad I found was from 1964, so it appears that Aloha Jhoe's had a bright but short run.



[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2015-03-23 14:52 ]

Indeed - but not for lack of advertising!

Here is another great photo of Mayor Bogert and owner Milton Kreis with the Aloha Joe's Tiki.

From this Tiki article in Palm Springs Life that includes Shag, Sven and Murph.



NICE photo of The (Caliente) Tropics! Quite an exhaustive read :)

A few more photos from Aloha Jhoe's

This photo from the Palm Springs Historical Society and accompanying article from the Desert Sun show two large renderings of the interior and exterior of the restaurant. An impressive A-Frame in the dining room!

Photo shows owner, manager, designer and architect.

Here is a rendering of the building from the architect William Cody.

And a photo of the towering totem sign out front (with a human for scale!).


Great find on all the Palm Springs Historical Society photos Dusty! Interesting change between the designers drawings and the finished product. I wonder why the large tikis in the design turned into the carved poles holding the Aloha Jhoe's sign and it doesn't look like that building had that giant A-frame built in it... to expensive maybe?

Man, I'd love to know what happened to those two original artist's renderings.


Los Angeles Times Sunday Dec 10, 1961


Came across this Desert Sun 1969 piece about Kreis, stating he sold Aloha Jhoe's to Sherman's (?) SO...still operating in '69.

" Mr, Kreis has maintained his interest in Rim Rocks while selling his former restaurants, Aloha Jhoe's and Jeffrey’s last season to Sherman's. He still operates M.F.K. in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and will soon reopen its adjoining Signature Room."

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