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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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you nailed it.


Notice how the palm fronds are completely painted in! Photoshop 1930's style, they wanted that lush look.


Funny, I was just noticing the same thing!


What is that second flag? Hawaii State?

That would be the "U.S. Territory of Hawaii" at that point.


I have to say I am really enjoying TikiCentral, you just send out those messages in a bottle...and the tide brings back the answers!

I found the missing box of additional photos from the back room at the Marina Del Rey Restaurant. As BigBroTiki surmised, these were taken at a Luau party at Donn Beach's house in Encino. What a window into a lost scene...

Donn Beach, in his Element!

Sunny Lund disrobes Frank Morgan, Keenan Wynn needs a refill!

Gary Cooper chilling with friends (is that Lionel Stander or a movie exec?)

It's a party

Keenan, Sunny and Donn.

Plantains and Yams!

Anybody hungry? (is that Hoagy Carmichael on the left?)

Van Johnson stands tall!

Donn offers, She accepts!

and my all time favorite...Skelton Begs, Cooper Provides! (a yam that is...)

those are incredible!

(hoagy c. on the right in that one photo)


Thanks! originally wanted to keep these photos in their original frames, but they are very simple, cheap and falling apart. Thinking about making individual bamboo frames and arranging them as a single piece.


yeah, that would look great.

you can find 1/2 inch bamboo molding or just get some 1 inch diameter bamboo, split and hot glue over a simple metal frame to get the effect.

if you still have the old frames, i'd shore them up and hot glue the split bamboo on that.

oceanic arts has pre-split bamboo available.


Yes! Individually framed but displayed as a single piece, a 'moment in time' narrative...

The Last Batch!
Back from the party to the restaurant...

Donn contemplates the elements of his world,

1939, Donn still has eyes for Sunny!

Down on the mixin' floor, keepin' them fellas churning out the concoctions!

A few words on the miracle of modern off-set printing!

and a close up...

Great stuff as usual Tigertail,

Is that a Cannibal ashtray?

WOW! :o

No: "Is that a Tiki in your lap or do you just like me?" :)

That's one of his Cannibal carvings. They MUST have been sort of "Lucky Tikis" for Don: He had them in his house in Encino..

in his Hollywood bar...

and in his place in Waikiki:

The funny thing is that Don was really Pre-Tiki: He did not use these Tikis or any others as his logo, as mugs, menus, matchbooks, etc

  • BUT his imitators that decidedly drew on his concepts, the Mai Kai and Steve Crane did:

Here is more clear proof of the shift from the Pre-Tiki South Seas joint generation (Don and various "Beachcomber" joints, Skipper Kent, various "Tropics" joints, and the like) to the "Tiki" generation: Don had those Tikis with him, but did not use them: The time was not ripe for Tiki to become the figurehead of Polynesian pop. Then, in the mid-50s, a new generation of restaurateurs tapped into the iconic properties of the Tiki.

BigBro, do you have any close ups of the celebrity chop sticks in their individual tubes? Clearly there was an 'inner circle' of valued guests/friends who appear in these photos and on the chopsticks in a photo from The Book of Tiki, but I can't make out about half of the names...

The maddening thing is I remember BIDDING ON THOSE CHOPSTICKS AT THE AUCTION!!
But they went too high for our wallets at the time, we had already spent all our dough.

I feel your pain...I missed the whole damn AUCTION, I only heard about it afterwards from Stella at KXLU.

No, no better pics. There are postcards and magazine article photos with them in it, but in even worse resolution:

This one won't help you either, I would think:

Did they go one by one, or did someone get the whole bunch? Do you remember how many there were?

They went as a set, as far as I recall. They exist SOMEWHERE, in a closet or garage. Hanging in Uncle's den...
BTW, here is a photo of a photo of the (original?) Beachcomber gift shop.
notice what the sales girl is handling...

close up...

Cool! These Tikis were tourist carvings from Tahiti - here is one at the Trader Vic's store in the original Oakland location:

...and here's the "Everything you ever needed to know about the Tahitian Cannibal Carvings and didn't know how to ask" thread:


The very first set posted there by Tiki Kate are the best examples I know of. When she died of cancer, she bequeathed them to Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove, where they stand guard to this day.


Tigertail, how did I miss this thread until now??? Amazing stuff you've posted. I can't stop looking at/comparing the two pics of Donn's place ay 1727 McCadden. So cool.


Ok! I have conjured these chopsticks out of the mist...

I am seriously thinking about recreating this cabinet of celebrity utensils holders!

Ha, got you on a trail there...nice idea!

So now we're even lusting after Ava Gardner's used chopsticks. She'd love it, no doubt.

5244a5f5 This is actually Virginia Fields. Sunny never set foot on Donn's Encino property.

Many of these pictures you posted are from Encino. Most of the celebrity pics. Interesting they should be at the restaurant years later since Sunny was no fan of those parties!

Thanks for bumping this thread Swanky. Don't think I've ever explored this one. I can't say how thrilled I am that TC is back and I can fall down these rabbit holes.

And I can't wait to see what all you've unearthed for the doc.

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