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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Whoa, great to see these exist! Now WHERE is that photo of a severed head mug in action back in the day... :D

I want to see that crazy cauldron mug with tripod !!

Ren Clark had his own one-off bourbon whiskey made by the Graham Distillery Company in 1936 and bottled in 1944.

This article has some more interesting history about him.


Cool find. One of the greater Tiki mysteries, the Ren Clark story...

Found this Polynesian Village rarity recently at flea market near Fort Worth and was thrilled to add it to my collection. Not sure I've seen it on any of the forums as of yet. I'd love to talk with any DFW area historians about the place. I've accumulated a pretty sizable collection of artifacts, history and photographs of the old Western Hills hotel and was excited to hear about some potential publishing projects. Look forward to talking more soon.

[ Edited by: TikiToddler 2014-12-16 11:04 ]

[ Edited by: TikiToddler 2014-12-16 11:04 ]

Very nice find. Was it made by Sterling China by any chance? It would be great if you could add the photo to this thread and welcome to TC.

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2014-12-16 14:09 ]

Swizzle sticks.


Thanks for trading me one of the swizzles, very happy to have one in my collection. Found a few ads from the Polynesian Village.

And, I picked up a matchbook with another Polynesian Village knock-off from the Blue Hawaii in Norfolk.


The business of Tiki can sometimes be ugly. Currently listed on ebay are the Texas court books chronicaling the lawsuits between Ren Clark and the other investors in the Western Hills Hotel. The auction is a buy it now, so I'm pretty sure I'm not ruining anyone's chance of scooping this up at the last minute at a bargain. Figured it should be posted here so that it has a chance to find its way into the hands of a TC historian instead of the general public. A few pages are visible in the auction listing and are copied here. This gives some good insight into the Polynesian Village timeline. Being 340 pages long, I would imagine that there's some reference to the business side of the Polynesian Village during Ren's brief majority ownership of the hotel. Perhaps GK is interested for the book on Texas/DFW Tiki establishments? Any progress on this book?

Here is the text from the listing description with a few screen caps:
"A rare set of civil court books from the estate of Hank Green, owner of Western Hills Hotel and Green Oaks Inn, eventually escalated to the Supreme Court of Texas, around 340 pages in length between the two books, very good and clean, external spots. Unique addition to library."


*** I posted this as its own subject in Collecting Tiki but wanted to add it to this thread so as to keep all things Ren Clark in one place***

I have always been intrigued by the similarities between the Ren Clark's “Black Woman” and “Widowmaker” mugs to the Mauna Loa Mexico versions of these mugs. I thought it be worth digging a little deeper...

To the left is the Ren Clark “Widowmaker” and to the right is the Mexico Mauna Loa “Guerrero de Fiji”

To the left is the Ren Clark “Black Woman” and to the right is the Mexico Mauna Loa “Tonga Tabu”

There are 2 versions of both these mugs by Ren Clark. One being a more handmade version and the more glossy OMC versions. Like most of the Mauna Loa mugs, their versions all seem to be unique individually handmade.

It would seem that Mauna Loa’s version are inspired by the more detailed Ren Clark versions. Although I’m not sure since the Mauna Loa (est. 1940s I believe) actually predates Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village (1960-1969). Either way, there does seem to be a connection between the 2 places and digging a little deeper, we find that they have quite a lot in common. Helping us get some great new insight!

Mauna Loa Mexico Drink Menu Placemat

Looking at the Mauna Loa drink menu, on the bottom we see the “Black Lady” as the “Tonga Tabu” and the “Widowmaker” as the “Guerrero de Fiji.”

But as we look at the other pictures, we also see an actual picture of the Pago Pago.

Which is a copy of Ren Clark’s "Pago Pago" bowl.

And, most intriguing, we find the Festin Salvage (Para 4 Canibales)

Which happens to be a perfect representation of Ren Clark’s mysterious "Cannibal bowl."

Finally we have a glimpse as to what these never before seen Ren Clark drink presentations might have looked like!!!!

I can only hope someone might be able to get us a better close up of the "Pago Pago" bowl and the "Festin Salvages."

There is actually a connection between these two establishments as documented by Sven. He discovered that Ren Clark used Mexican carvers who worked on the Mauna Loa.

On 2008-07-17 15:02, bigbrotiki wrote:

On 2008-07-13 00:06, bigbrotiki wrote:
...but I wouldn't be surprised if the Tikis for the Mauna Loa were carved/sculpted by local Mexican artisans. Mexican craftsmen were sometimes even hired to contribute their skills to American restaurants, like at Ren Clark's Polynesian Village in Texas.

How soon does one forget: I myself wrote this in the Book of Tiki, page 249, (about Milan Guanko):

"...and Ren Clark's Polynesian Village...for which Guanko and two Mexican carvers, Juan Razo and Fidel Rodriguez (WHO HAD ALSO OUTFITTED THE MAUNA LOA IN MEXICO CITY) carved over 200 Tikis..."

I knew there was something like that...but forgot how dead on it was. :)

One can only guess that these carvers must have seen these mugs and brought them to the attention of the Mauna Loa. They might very well have carved the "Pago Pago" bowls for both places. But who really knows who inspired who here. Maybe Ren Clark visited the Mauna Loa Mexico which inspired him to create the Polynesian Village. Unfortunately, this is all just speculation. Like most of these restaurants of this era, they all liberally borrowed ideas from each other.

Which brings me to yet one more interesting oddity in the Mauna Loa menu. Looking at it, we also see the "Copa Coatl" on the right.A mix between the Oceanic Arts "Cobra Fang" mug and the Los Angeles Islander "Cobra Fang" mug by Spurlin. But with an added bonus of the straw hole going through the head :)

So is there a connection between the Mauna Loa or the Mexican carvers and the LA Islander as well? The Los Angeles Islander Vicous Virgin could be seen as an inspiration for the “Black Woman” mug.

Do they have a common designer in common like Florian Gabriel was for the Luau and the Detroit Mauna Loa? Would love to hear other people thoughts, theories and maybe find some more connections between these places.

[ Edited by: Tattoo 2018-04-17 10:03 ]

A couple of cool discoveries:

A brochure with a floor plan that included the Polynesian Village area as well as the adjacent Ming and Jade conference rooms.

And a photo from ebay showing the interior bar and dining room (copied from the Book of Tiki)



While going through some things I'm probably moving on with...I discovered per the above legal documents, that Ren did sell to the Weissberg Corp in 1961 and the Polynesian Village lived on as just that...no Ren...which begs to question, is that why the mugs are so rare? Has anyone come across ones that don't say "Ren Clark's Polynesian Village"?
Also I believe I found out the mystery of the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore Ren logo Tiki on it's swizzle. That Hotel was also owned by the Weissberg Corp, along w/ @8 more Hotels.
Then @1968 the PV still lived on (prior to the fire) as the Key Club Polynesian Village.

This recently sold on Ebay for about $32. The seller was in the UK.

Something else that I found online.


Found a few more pics in my files...here is the bar...in Ren's last gasp prior to fire...The Key Club Polynesian Village. aren1 (2)

[ Edited by Or Got Rum? on 2022-08-05 12:29:28 ]

Ren Clark's had two versions of the signature tiki, the skinnier one depicted in the die cut drink menu that also appeared as salt and pepper shakers, on the food menu, cloth napkin, matchbooks, dinner/serving ware, etc and then the squat, wider version that appears in some advertisements and interior photos, the statue of which surfaced in the home bar sale. Curious if one pre-dates the other and why the imagery changed or if they co-existed.

This statue was part of Matt Hull's collection. Can anyone verify if this is legit vintage from PV?


Mike, you and I have talked about this briefly, but since then I've learned that Ren had an elaborate home tiki bar he maintained long after the fire that took out his Polynesian Village. After his death the contents were sold off in an estate sale, as is often the case. I haven't found any photos that place this tiki there, but it would make a lot of sense. As far as I know, everything carved specifically for the Polynesian Village was lost in that fire.

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