I love the Tiki Room, but haven't specifically studied the history of the Tiki Room artwork, and so my questions may be obvious or known to some, but I'll ask anyway...
Who designed the tiki gods on the poster?
DesignToscano.com has the same (similar) gods made of resin for sale on their website and they named them the "Gods Of The Three Pleasures". What are the "Three Pleasures" that they mean and is that what Disney called them too?
The first picture (above) of the Tiki Room poster, to my understanding is considered "Version B", the one below, I was told, is "Version A":
There is also another poster that was out (sorry, I don't have a picture) that had "United Airlines" across the middle area of the Enchanted Tiki Room poster....is that "Version C"? Also, are there any other versions of the Tiki Room Posters out there that I haven't covered?
Again, I'm trying to learn a little about the poster art for the Tiki Room, so please excuse all the questions.
Oh, SugarCaddyDaddy, I'm so happy I have some answers for you!
First of all, both of the posters shown above were designed and painted by talented Disney illustrator Paul Hartley. Hartley worked on some of the finest modern design Disney projects of the 1950s and '60s including the elementary school library book classic "Our Friend the Atom" (find it on ebay!) I firmly believe that Hartley also designed the graphic custom fabric for the Tiki Room Cast Member costumes (The purple and green shirts with all the tikis, flowers and birds on them, see Sven Kirsten's Book of Tiki page 195). He illustrated several amazing Disney record album covers (like 1957's "Tutti's Trumpets") and created graphics for early Disneyland guidebooks, etc. It's too bad he's so unknown - he was a forebear of Shag.
Anyway, I'm not so sure that the posters are officially distinguished as A, B or C. The "Stouffer's" poster that lists the Tiki Room as one of Disneyland's newest restaurants is the oldest of the three. As we all know, the Tiki Room has been food-less since it opened, even though early on it was intended to be a "dinner and show" experience. Today Disneyland guests still sit on restaurant chairs clamped together to view the show, rather than bench seating, because the chairs had been ordered before it was decided to nix the restaurant idea. (Can you believe that there was actually a brochure printed touting "Stouffer's fabulous Bird Room, Disneyland's first 'by reservation only' dining facility, with a complete show that's literally put on by the birds - for you!"
(Don't look for this one on ebay, because I'M looking for it!)
When Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room opened on June 23rd, 1963, it had no outside corporate sponsorship. The show was literally owned by WED Enterprises (Walt's special group of "Imagineers" set aside to design Disneyland's attractions) and tickets were sold for 75 cents each- not included in the park's usual ticket book. The "A" poster shown above is The Tiki Room's original attraction poster. It was displayed in front of the attraction itself and on the fence out at Disneyland's Main Gate entrance. A short while later, it was decided to add a corporate sponsor, United Airlines. (Early contenders were RCA and Coca Cola). The new posters were similar but with the added tag-line "Presented by United Air Lines "the Extra Care Airline" printed in white.
The tikis that were "borrowed" for the "Gods of the Three Pleasures" totem pole were actually copied from a blue paper flyer that was handed out to park visitors in 1963 (and conveniently shown in the Book of Tiki on page 193). I'll wager a Pineapple DoleWhip that the creators of the "Three Pleasures" might have had Mr. Kirsten's tome handy. The three tiki fellows stacked up in the 1963 flyer illustration actually don't exist in the real Tiki Room. Marc Davis' "audio-animatronic" totem poles in the room's corners are only two tikis high and Paul Hartley's poster shows only two as well. Roly Crump designed the eight talking tiki gods (pure brilliance) that decorate the outside garden and he and Collin Campbell sculpted all of them in the parking lot at WED's Glendale facility. According to Rolly, the first piece of sculpture he ever did in his life was "the tiki that spits water in the bamboo" - Maui.
I sure hope you can join us on Monday, SugarCaddyDaddy as a bunch of us migrate to Disneyland for the Tiki Room's 40th Birthday. You'll find me there wearing a fetching shirt designed by Mr. Paul Hartley!