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The Beachcomber TV Series, 1962

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On 2011-12-22 16:14, PlainOtiki wrote:

On 2006-03-24 08:53, bigbrotiki wrote:
I ALWAYS wanted to get a look at Cameron Mitchell as the "Beachcomber"! He was a great character actor and I can really imagine him in that part. Have never glimpsed a scene or still of that series so far, it might be lost without a trace.

I didn't find this posted anywhere else, but just in case it hasn't popped up yet:


This is a 6-minute introduction to "The Beachcomber" by Cameron Mitchell himself. The poster included a link in the description to a website where you can purchase two episodes.

[ Edited by: PlainOtiki 2011-12-22 20:49 ]

Thank You PlainOtiki! I thought this series deserved its own thread, as a gathering place for more information about it. It seems like it forms the perfect Triad together with "Hawaiian Eye" and "Adventures in Paradise", all three being created and broadcast at the peak of Tiki culture.

For years the only info was this IMDB link, with no links to footage or photos:


(The only stuff I found was about the OTHER, non-Tiki related Canadian TV show "The Beachcombers":"The Beachcombers are firmly associated with Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast. Although the popular TV series is long over, it remains imprinted in the memories of Canadians who grew fond of the quirky stories of the scenic seaside village, on the edge of Canada and away from big city life. Filmed in 'real time,' the series spanned 19 years and holds the record for Canada's longest running TV show. It can now be considered an important piece of Canadian film history, as well as valuable documentation of life in Gibsons. The popular series was viewed in over 60 countries around the world and ran for 387 episodes from 1972 to 1990.")

But back to OUR "The Beachcomber":
I fondly remember Cameron Mitchell from watching him on TV as a teenager in Germany on "High Chaparral", a really cool Western series. I loved and still love that soundtrack:


Here's Mitchell as "Buck":


The premise of "The Beachcomber" as seen on the U-Tube clip posted by PlainOtiki really shows how alive the whole "South Seas" Escape" notion was still in the early 60s in the old post-war generation.

A couple of months ago I stumbled across an estate sale that sounded interesting: At the home of Walter Newman, a veteran Hollywood screenwriter:

Newman had passed away 8 years ago, and now his wife had followed him. I googled his name and found THIS:

The creator of "The Beachcomber" was Walter Brown Newman, who was nominated for an Oscar three times. Newman's films included "Ace in the Hole" (1951), "The Man With the Golden Arm" (1955), "Crime and Punishment, USA" (1959), "The Interns" (1962), and "Cat Ballou" (1966). He is said to have worked on the script for "The Magnificent Seven". He also received an Emmy nomination for an episode of "The Richard Boone Show" (1963). A very interesting talent. I'd like to know more about him.

Some pretty great movies, Newman was attached to, Sven.


The Beachcomber had plenty of Tiki as seen in a few shots here. Besides Hawaiian Eye, Adventures In Paradise, this series was among many in the Golden Age of Tropical Tv. Let's not forget The Islanders, Follow The Sun, and the Aquanauts (later to become Malibu Run).

Wow, Witco in the South Seas! :D

That looks like the classic Witco Drummer, early version:

Happy New Year you guys! :)


Outrageously cool! Thank you for sharing.


Here is a February 25, 1962 publicity photo of Cameron Mitchell, star of “The Beachcomber” TV series, with “Polynesian beauty” Laya Raki...

Now for an “Outer Limits” moment of discovery… Laya Raki was born Brunhilde Marie Alma Herta Jörns on July 27, 1927 in Hamburg, Germany, hometown of bigbrotiki!

According to Wikipedia, “As she was an admirer of the famous dancer La Jana and liked to drink raki, she assumed the stage name Laya Raki.” The article went on to say “She appeared in revealing outfits in film and photographs, and captured men's attention like no other German showgirl in the 1950s. She modeled for postcards, pin-up photographs and magazines all over the world. The Broadway columnist Earl Wilson noted her preference for scanty clothing: “You should have seen Laya Raki. Even if she is dressed, she looks like, as if she only wears the zipper and has forgotten the material”. “

More to come on “The Beachcomber”...



Continuing from the prior post, this publicity photo of Cameron Mitchell posing near the exterior street set of “The Beachcomber” reveals something else I never knew... “The Beachcomber” TV series was filmed in Winter Park and Sanlando Springs, Florida!

A 1990 Orlando Sentinel letter to the editor elaborates a bit on the production filming...

The “Visual Ephemera” web site by Rich Kilby posted a great article about Sanlando Springs in May of 2009 here.

Chuck posted the following comment to that article on March 30, 2012...

“Family owned property at Sanlando Springs. I lived there from 1957-1967. Property was sold to developers. Gilligan’s Island was not filmed there, but the Beachcomber TV series was during those years. What a great place to grow up and meet all kinds of people like the Webb brothers, Wilbur Houston, Danny Hawkins, Jim Headley, Linda Gayle Westbrook, Terry Deitz, Jennifer Schumack. One of the highlights was the night "Ring of Fire" dive into the spring "boil". There I learned to bounce on a trampoline and was part of blanket tosses!”

Here’s an excerpt from an article titled “3 Fresh adventures: dip your toes in cool Florida water this summer” by Brett Fitzgerald, Larry Kinder and Tom Levine that appeared in the June 1, 2009 issue of Florida Sportsman...

“Reminds me of the swimmin' hole of my youth--Sanlando Springs (twixt Sanford and Orlando). It was a great spot, big swimming area surrounded by woods, the run flowed on down to the Wekiva River. Had nature trails, a nice beach, a diving board over the boil, a raft in the middle and a slide the likes of which you've never seen since. The slide was tree-canopy high with water jets squirting out at the very top. You got up so much speed that if you were lying down like you weren't supposed to be but most everybody was, you'd skip halfway across the spring like a flat rock skimmed by the Jolly Green Giant. Palm trees on the shore, grassy hills for picnicking under oaks, all for a small fee. They filmed the TV series "The Beachcomber" there as well as some Everglades series I can't quite recall. "Developer" bought it, put in townhouses and kicked out the public. The people who live there rarely use it.”


[ Edited by: TikiTomD 2013-08-19 03:04 ]

Outstanding! Stellar excavation, Tom, as always! Now I have to find pin ups of Laya Raki....

Here's an action still news wire pic I recently got off e-bay:

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-08-18 10:52 ]

Here's something about Laya Raki's musical career:

"Laya Raki took her twist song “Oh Johnny hier nicht parken” (Oh, Johnny don´t park here) even further. It sounds like Johnny is not supposed to park on her. It is the most sexually charged German twist song ever recorded. Although it sounds tame today, I´m not surprised that in 1964 it was ” banned by a Nuremberg court who thought her ecstatic moaning was imitating coitus“.


"Laya Raki was born in Hamburg in 1927 and started her career as an exotic dancer in the late 40´s and early 50´s. She appeared in various German films until she went to England in the mid-50´s and became one of the most popular pin-up girls of the era. She continued to play in British and American movies and on TV into the late 60´s, mostly in seductive supporting roles. Laya Raki probably still is the most glamorous person ever to come from Hamburg."

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-08-18 12:16 ]

Whoa!...OK, derail warning, but I don't know where else to post this, I cannot see anybody objecting to the photos :D, and after this little Laya Raki detour we shall return to THE BEACHCOMBER tv series!

Laya Raki was quite an Exotica Girl it turns out. Here only a few of her saucier stills:

I had always loved this German South Sea movie poster:

"Demons of the South Seas" 1954

She played a part in this Maori caper, and it's obviously her on the above poster!

Her PR stills for the film are great too:

Laya - I'm in love!

Her character's name was "Moana" !!!

Turns out, I already OWN a poster of the British release of the film with a changed title:

Much tamer :( The New Zealand release had yet another title, "The Seekers"


Couldn't help myself, I just bought this vintage German movie program:

I am weak...

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-08-18 12:15 ]

Apparently, she also appeared on "Hawaiian Eye":

1959 Hawaiian Eye (TV Show) as "Betty Dudoit"

This bio says/ has it all:


[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-08-18 13:03 ]


Wow, Sven, what a visual treat! There seems much more to explore here, so I hope you will continue to share your findings :wink: Wonder if Laya Raki still lives in Beverly Hills or the Los Angeles area? Her husband evidently passed away in Los Angeles in 2005.

It’s a little difficult to veer back to the main thread after that gorgeous bit of exotica, but I’ll try. While interviewing Faalia (Barney Lee) earlier this year, he revealed to me that he had been part of the pilot film for “The Beachcomber.” One day he and two other knife dancers were flown from Honolulu to Kauai, where they were filmed while performing with their knives in a luau scene at night. After filming, they were promptly flown back to Honolulu. He never did see it, but remembers that they were told Cameron Mitchell was the star and that, if successful, a TV series would follow.

In a list of movies filmed in Kauai, there is an entry for “The Beachcombers (1960)”; I suspect a typo was made in listing the name with a plural form. The year is in the correct timeframe.

Faalia studied hula with Eleanor Leilehua Hiram and knife dancing with John Pi’ilani Watkins while living on Oahu. He went on to perform as a fire knife dancer at the Hotel Lexington Hawaiian Room in New York City, Yankee Clipper Polynesian Room in Fort Lauderdale, Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, South Pacific in Hallandale, Luau in Miami Beach and Tahiti Village in Key Largo, as well as many club dates all over the country, but primarily in South Florida. He appeared twice on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Faalia retired to Palm Bay, Florida, where he currently lives. It is an honor to have been a guest in his home, a veritable museum of Tiki.

Here is a young “Prince Faalia,” the only fire knife dancer to perform with three knives, until one eventful night in the Polynesian Room (a story for another thread)...


Bummer, about 19 months a ago some hoodlums broke into my SUV and stole my laptop, of course it was awhile since I backed up all my files. What I lost, among other things, were an image of the BEACHCOMBER press photo and a nice clip of Laya doing her seductive native dance in LAND OF FURY. We knew the dance was not authentic but sexy never-the-less. Now that we know her background (thanks guys) it all makes sense. Hope I can find the hard copy of the press photo and I know I have the FURY in DVD. Thanks for the other euro titles Big Bro with them and other titles we have, I found more poster images. Enjoy these:

Note neat Maori carvings in those Italian poster above

Wow!! Thanks for jogging my memory - I saw that film on TV when I was a kid. Now I'm going to have to track it down on DVD.

Land of Fury is available on DVD as "The Seekers". There is a brief topless scene with Laya which was almost unheard of in 1954. Not sure if that scene was cut originally and restored for DVD release. You can read my review in the latest issue of Tiki Magazine. Thanks for all the information.

Thanks for that info! They chopped the nudity on the afternoon TV version I saw in New Zealand. As an impressionable pubescent lad at the time, I would definitely remember if Laya Raki had shown off her not inconsiderable charms. LOL

Thanks too bigbrotiki for the info about The Beachcomber. Another series I hope to see one day.

THIS is why I love Tiki Central!!! :)

Thank you Bongo for the tip to buy SEEKERS DVD. These multi-title films are tricky. I had a grey market LAND OF FURY DVD-R but as usual the quality was not so great and most importantly the topless Raki scene was cut out. Like most grey market privateers they get their source content off TV or cable so I had the censored version. I love this new disc, I try to buy the studio releases when they come available because of the quality.

Areola nui, I mean Aloha nui again Bongo


Here are a few more Laya Raki visuals... the first is a 1954 lobby card for The Seekers (aka Land of Fury). That is Laya Raki running in the foreground.

Next is a 1954 press photo of a scene from the same movie... the caption reads “Laya Raki stares in horror at the prostrate form of Jack Hawkins, whose life has just been spared by the Maori chieftain Inia Te Wiata in this scene from Land of Fury, a tense adventure story of the struggle of early British settlers against fierce Maori natives in New Zealand, filmed in Eastman Color.”

That press photo appears to be a black & white version of the color image used in the Italian movie poster previously shared by creativenative...

On 2013-08-19 01:56, creativenative wrote:


Here's a newer YouTube Link for the great intro by Cameron Mitchell for the premiere episode of The Beachcomber: https://youtu.be/NQFbN2DYEYw

"Have you ever had the urge to kick over the traces and get out of the rut you're in? Do you have a dream of adventuring beyond the immediate horizon..." - Cameron Mitchell, The Beachcomber

Beachcomber TV Show 1962

[ Edited by Tyber Tiki on 2022-06-15 12:06:48 ]

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