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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Samoa Lanes Bowling Alley, Santa Monica, CA (other)

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Name:Samoa Lanes Bowling Alley
Street:5th and Broadway
City:Santa Monica


Here is another location from a genre that is one of my favorites - Tiki bowling alleys. I picked up this matchbook from the Samoa Lanes that was located in Santa Monica. You can see that there was a large Tiki-like figure on the top of the bowling alley sign out front.

The back of the matchbook lists the amenities - I am thinking that the lounge had to have some Poly Pop style.

Dr Z posted these award plaques from the Samoa Lanes that show a better image of the logo Tiki.

Sure would love to see a photo of that sign.

The sister location was the Civic Lanes that had a very cool mid-century design

I found a little bit of info on the developer:

In 1960, Lesser developed a bowling alley in Indio, California, at a cost of $750,000 (5,445,364 when adjusted for inflation). In 1959, he built the $2 million (15,069,874 when adjusted for inflation) “Beach City” Santa Monica Civic Lanes in Santa Monica, California, also designed to house the Santa Monica Civic Club, and Samoa Lanes at 5th and Broadway in Santa Monica, both with 24 lanes “equipped with automated pinsetters, a billiard room, children’s playroom, coffee shop, and cocktail lounge”.

By 1962, Lesser had developed nine bowling alleys. The biggest was Parkway Lanes in El Cajon, developed at a cost of $1 million with 60 alleys. It featured five acres for parking. The facility had “varied entertainment rivaling the best in night clubs”, according to the Los Angeles Times, with headliners such as Louis Prima, Lili St. Cyr, Johnny Ray, Frankie Lane, and Roberta Linn who appeared at Parkway, developed by Lesser with Irvin Kahn and George Hirsch.

Lesser and Ted Bentley developed Legion Lanes into a 44-lane bowling alley from the Hollywood American Legion Stadium boxing arena, at El Centro and Hollywood Blvd., for $2 million ($14,520,971 when adjusted for inflation). The facility included a playroom for children, cocktail bar, billiard room, and snack bar. NBC provided its lot for temporary parking during construction, and Milt Enright became manager of the facility.

From back in the day when bowling alleys were hip.


You know I never noticed that that logo Tiki mask sat on top of the sign! Now I wanna see a PHOTO! :D
And you would think that they had that face on other items than just those "awards"/ ashtrays, like menus or place mats, but I have never seen any examples.


Civic Lanes on Pico is now Bay Shore Bowl . Still a VERY cool example of MCM bowling Alley Architecture.


About a year or 2 ago, they used it in a few scenes in my favorite Showtime show "Dexter", and I'll see it pop up in tv shows occasionally.

Bowling Alleys rule.

Bora Boris took us on a little side trip to the Bay Shore Lanes during the Westside Nautical Crawl. Still a great looking sign and entrance feature. Bigbro took some nice shots of it. Here are a few web images.

Someone has to have a photo of the Samoa Lanes sign somewhere.


Was researching for another thread about Santa Monica on Facebook when I found this - don't have a photo of Samoa Lanes - but - along with Civic, El Dorado, King Pin, Mar Vista, Jefferson Bowl, etc. - I was literally raised in the Kiddie Areas of those places... Samoa Lanes had the coolest custom-made carpeting - with "Samoa Lanes" woven into it - sort of a light blue and tan - with palm-trees...

Thanks, Tiki Central...

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