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tiki bar scene in old (or not so old) movie

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thejab posted on Tue, Apr 2, 2002 3:38 PM

I just watched "Where Danger Lives" on the Encore Mystery Channel yesterday. It's a film-noir from 1950 starring Robert Mitchum and it has a scene where he hitches a ride on an ambulance (he's a doctor) to Oakland (the film takes place in the Bay Area). There is a night scene of the ambulance driving down what appears to be San Pablo Avenue but I can't tell for sure. The next scene shows the outside view of a bar called Coco Pete's with an amazing flashing neon sign of palm trees and coconuts and another neon sign down the street for Shanghai Lil's.

The next scene is apparently inside Coco Pete's because it's filled with bamboo, tropical plants, rattan chairs, hanging glass floats and puffer fish! You see much of the restaurant area as the camera visits different nooks and crannies of the interior. Then Robert Mitchum and Faith Domergue are shown drinking from hollowed-out coconuts that are held in these pedastal holders. After she leaves, Robert Mitchum orders two more for himself saying "This tastes like water. Bring me 2 more." The waiter replies "Sir, you've already had four and the limit on this drink is two per customer." The waiter ends up bringing them anyway. No tikis were spotted.

I don't know if this movie is on video or DVD but I recommend it highly. I taped it for the "keeper" pile.

The tagline for the movie was:
"She's tempting in a penthouse and dangerous in a bordertown dive!"

[ Edited by: THEJAB 2010-07-27 13:31 ]


There's a good tiki bar/restaurant scene in the 1961 Bop Hope picture "Bachelor in Paradise" ... Lana Turner even does a sexy hula dance. Here's the plot summary: A. J. Niles is the author of a series of 'Bachelor Books'. These books describe the romantic life of a bachelor in various cities of the world. But when he runs into trouble with the I.R.S. for back taxes, he needs to write another book fast, to pay them. His publisher decides a book about life in the American suburbs would be a hit, and settles him into Paradise Cove. One bachelor plus lonely housewives equals many angry husbands.

In perhaps my second favorite movie after "Being There" we see in the 1960 Jack Lemmon hit "The Apartment" a couple of scenes that take place in a moody NYC Tiki Bar. Here's the plot summary: Bud Baxter is a struggling clerk in a huge New York insurance company. He's discovered a quick way to climb the corporate ladder - by lending out his apartment to the executives as a place to take their mistresses. He often has to deal with the aftermath of their visits and one night he's left with a major problem to solve.

I have been told that there is a funny little indie film made a few years ago about 2 slackers who are starting up a tiki bar... They apparently fly to easter island and one of the gods comes to life or something and comes back with them?! Does anybody know the name of this movie? Or was my friend smoking crack?


The indie film you describe could be "The Secret of Easter Island" by Beachbum Berry. A Moai comes to life and travels to the mainland and finds the modern world is no place to be worshipped. Here's a link
It's really good.

I was just watching the original 'Oceans 11' last night when a piece of dialogue jumped out at me, "Remember those rum drinks we used to have at the Trader's?".

Later on there was a scene where a fantastic Tiki mask on a stand could clearly be seen in the background.

Is there a website that deals with Tiki in movies? Someone actually wrote a book that details moments in film where famous actresses remove their clothing(!), so I'm sure there would be some interest for something similar with Tikis.

Trader Woody

In "The Apartment", Fred McMurray and Shirley Maclaine go to a tiki bar.


Theres a great "Afrocana" tiki bar scene in "Guide For the Married Man" avail on video at amazon (frikkin awesome btw)

also, Elvis's "Girl Happy" has an incredible tiki-bar BRAWL scene with guy's getting thrown down the bar konking into tikis, etc

Blue Hawaii also has Elvis brawling in a Tiki Bar! If I owned a Tiki Bar in the 60's, I'd have put the scorpion bowls under the counter if the King walked in!

Trader Woody

not necessarily a tiki bar - the bar in "from here to eternity" is way cool, as is that movie, as is the cast (sinatra, lancaster, clift, etc). & those guys wear the coolest aloha shirts in that movie!

What about Donovan's Reef with the "Duke" and Lee Marvin....? I know John Wayne runs a bar called Donovan's Reef in Hawaii or some other south seas paradise, but haven't seen the movie. My local video stores don't have it, and I'm loath to buy it on DVD without seeing it first. Anyone care to review it?


Don't forget the Bahooka scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas!

Since no one has seen Donovan's Reef (including myself), here is a description from an e-bay listing for the DVD:
Widescreen collection. 1963/color/108 min./US NR/CAN GDescription A snooty Boston girl arrives on a tiny South Pacific isle in search of her missing father and encounters two old salty-dogs. The mismatched trio creates an abundance of lighthearted fun in this last Ford-Wayne pairing. Synopsis Navy hero Guns Donovan remains on a Hawaiian island after World War II and runs a saloon named Donovan's Reef. The island community has a lively mix of rambunctious Americans and Hawaiians and into this paradise arrives Amelia, a young, prim and proper Bostonian in search of her father, Dr. Dedham. Some years ago, he deserted his family and began a new life on the island. Amelia learns that Dr. Denham fell in love with a Polynesian princess and fathered three children with her before she died. Soon Amelia's chilly New England reserve is melted away by the amorous attentions of Guns Donovan and the beauty of the island and its people.

As for another newer film, you've got to include Goodfellas in which one of the finest scenes in movie history (Joe Pesci -"You think I'm funny? etc. etc.) is acted out in a Tiki Bar called the Bamboo Lounge. The greatest tragedy of the movie happens a few scenes later when the lounge is torched.........

Trader Woody


And there's the film with Robert De Niro as the mob guy who needs a shrink... Analyze This. There's a scene where he's talking to the shrink in what I beleive is Weeki Wachee Springs. Well, it's a bar with mermaids swimming in tanks behind the bar, and glass floats and nautical themed decor. Pretty nifty! I fell asleep after that part. Zzzzz....


The Jab and I visited that bar(which is in Ft. Lauderdale) last January. I was going to swim in the pool and BA the bar patrons but I took too much time shipping a cool old tiki lamp that I bought elsewhere in Ft. Lauderdale. The bar is called "The Shipwreck Bar" and the basic theme is that you are in a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.
The jab can tell you what hotel it is located in-I forgot!


It's called the Wreck Bar and it's in the Sheraton Yankee Clipper hotel.

I just had to dig thru my album collection and pull out my copy of "The Unpredictable Bonnie Anderson Wrecks 'The Wreck'" She's a comedy lounge perfomer in the style of Rusty Warren who performed at The Wreck in the late 60s. Cover has a great photo of the bar and the Yankee Clipper Hotel of the era.

Good album if you can find it....!



the wreck bar sounds cool- got any pics?


Sure, I have pics of the Wreck Bar from the recent Florida invasion by me and mrsmiley. Go to this site:
Select the view pictures button and there are 3 pics of the Wreck Bar in the first group of pictures.

Cool details in the wreck bar:
The bar is meant to feel like you're in a wrecked ship under the water. The ceiling of the bar is a large hole of jagged wood with blue indirect light shining through. On one wall are fish tanks that appear through jagged wood holes in the walls. On the other side behind the bar are the windows looking into the swimming pool's greenish-blue water. If one exits the bar into the hallway (the bar is inside the first floor of the hotel), the outer wall of the bar looks like the outside of a ship! The only drawbacks were the big-screen TV at one end of the bar that partially covered some of the details and the drunken frat boys that were there.

That's great info on the Yankee Clipper's Wreck bar. That's another reason for me to go. FYI: the same hotel also had (has) a Polynesian Room of which there are several large chrome postcards featuring various hula shows and a luau buffet.
The orignal Wreck Bar was at the now departed Castaways motel in Miami which was -- as has been reported by Bigbrotiki -- a notorious party spot in the sixties. For example, their ad in the 1969 AAA TourBook promoted nude sunbathing at the motel. How's that for an authentic South Seas atmosphere!!!? The Castaways also had a Tahitian Bar (Maybe the bar was only topless). Unfortunately, I have never seen any images of the Tahitian bar, but I have a couple of the swizzles.
Final note: Davy Jones Locker in Waikiki had/has a bar with an underwater view of the swimming pool.

I just scanned a pic of the Wreck Bar from early 70s:

The Wreck Bar



Cool pics. I like the one with the Queen Mary floating over the hotel.

Is there ANYTHING that drunken fratboys can't ruin? The harsh thing is that the subgroup is expanding - you no longer have to be in a frat (or even be a boy) to be a drunken fratboy. It's a state of mind, one that all to many people seem to have succcumbed to. They've spoiled a lot of fun for me over the years, and I'm on the verge of getting militant about it...


There is a tiki bar (supposedly in Reno) in the recent Sean Penn film "The Pledge" with Jack. Anyone else see this?



I also seem to remember the generally terrible 1989 film "Loverboy" with Patrick Dempsey ended in a tiki bar. It also features Kirstie Alley, Kate Jackson, and Princess Leia. Can anyone else confirm this?


thejab posted on Thu, May 2, 2002 6:43 PM

There is Trader Dick's at the Nugget in Sparks (near Reno). I haven't seen that movie so I don't know if that's the one.


It's definitely not Dick's in "The Pledge"

I'm almost embarassed to admit I sat and watched this (again) last weekend...

But have you seen "The Experts" with John Travolta like from the 80's?

Travolta & his friend are secretly sent to Russia to fix up an old Tiki bar in this 50's USA town (secret KGB experiment).

Naturally, they have to ruin the Polynesian establishment to create a "New York" style night club where Travolta and his wife show off their dancing techniques. It WAS dancing back then...I think.

If you HAVE seen this, don't be ashamed to post it here - it'd make me feel a helluva lot better about it.


I just recently re-watched Casino and there is the one scene where Ace Rothstein (DeNiro) is complaining about the lack of blueberries in his muffin and exits the table - he is seated in the Aku Aku or a re-creation of it and you actually see a green neon sign that says Aku Aku when he exits.

Johntiki :drink:

I managed to find a cheap copy of Rapa Nui as mentioned further up the thread and watched it the other night. Now that's what I call a bad film! While the presence of some great Moai kept the Tiki flame alight, the terrible acting & ham-fisted storytelling ruined a story worthy of filming. You find yourself not caring for any of the characters & the Easter
Islanders are portrayed as the selfish bastards (Long-ears) vs the endlessly rutting idiots (short-ears).

No wonder archaeologists who specialised in Easter Island were up in arms.

However, I did like the fact that when the evil long ear priest told the short ears to start adding beards
to the Moai, it started a war! Serves him right!

Trader Woody

I liked Rapa Nui. But then I probably would like any movie that features a cave of the virgins... When is this going to be available in DVD?

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2002-05-08 13:08 ]


I've been thinking of doing a tiki movie list for sometime, usualy after catching a small tiki scene in late night movie. But the real problem is what makes a tiki movie because the university of hawaii have a "Moving Images of the Pacific Islands ON-LINE DATABASE" at http://www.hawaii.edu/oceanic/film/graphics.html
but this is mostly concerned with movies made in the pacific, where as I'd like a list of movies that feature tiki as a pop-polynesian.
A list like in "CLUCK:THE TRUE STORY OF THE CHICKENS IN THE CINEMA by Jon-Stephen Fink & Mieke van der Linden
Published by Virgin. 1981" would be best with a tiki rating of one for a film with a scene set in a tiki bar or a line of dialouge about tiki bars e.g. "boogie nights" because the porn director has tiki bar by his pool. Where as "Rapa Nui" would score a possible five.


[ Edited by: DaneTiki 2009-08-30 19:36 ]

You probably all know this one, and it's not that good in any case -- but in "Terminator" Sarah Connor and Kyle Reece check into the Tiki Motel in their flight from Arnie -- it's where they find lurve, and where Arnie finds them. It has not an atom of anything tiki about it, apart from the name.

In a rerun of a "fresh prince of bel air" last night will gets a job in a pirate theme bar that looks pretty tiki and has a couple of New calidonia style sculptures in the background.
And in an episode of TJ Hooker a couple of weeks ago there was a bar with a tiki name but the interior of the bar was devoid of tiki.
A scaling system is definatly needed for these tiki sightings and I have to get a better taste in TV watching

Ive been spottin' bars on t.v. shows as well. On an episode of Gomer Pyle the boys go into a tiki bar an see luanne poovey sing. and on a late episode of the a-team they get stuck on an island that is inhabited with islanders and tikis.


Jesus, what kind of nightmare television programming are we sending to Scotland? We ought to be ashamed.


I recently caught Steve Martin's "The Man With Two Brains" on cabel and caught something I had always missed. At the door that goes into the laboratory where the brain transfers occur, on the floor to the right of the door there is a Moai about a foot and a half big. I love all the old Steve Martin movies and when I caught this I couldm't believe I had never seen it before.

The Great Rita Hayworth in "Miss Sadie Thompson" Columbia Pictures (1952)you can find a synopsis of it here http://members.tripod.com/~claudia79/sadie.html

It contains almost no tiki's but its an important depiction of the roots of suburban tiki, with G.I.'s living it up in tropical paradise, it has a proto tiki bar called "jimmys" in it run by a chinese man, (the bars the template for a hundred bamboo and fishing float places) and gratuitus hula scenes.

TCM showed a 1945 Joan Crawford movie last Sunday called "Mildred Pierce". There were several scences that took place in a California tiki bar. No tikis standing around, but lots of bamboo, rope, fishnets, glass fishing floats, etc. At one point, a lead characters says something like, "You know, I'm not sure why I come here. I hate this place."
In real life, Joan Crawford abused her daughter. In the film, the daughter abused Joan.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2002-08-14 14:40 ]

Endless Summer - the surf film from 1958 does mulitple closeup shots of a tiki when they get to Hawaii.

This may be stretching it a bit, but in the music video for ABC's "Poison Arrow", there are a few moia heads and a more oriental looking tiki lurking in the background of the bar scene. Gee, I miss the 80's.

thejab posted on Tue, Sep 3, 2002 9:59 AM

Remember the video for Haircut 100's "Love Plus One"? It was very tropical (or at least jungly). No tikis that I recall, though. Another good one is that old Elvis Costello and the Attractions' video (I think it was "Oliver's Army") set in Hawaii. It had a club scene in a dark bar with a wahine serving Elvis a tall blue tropical drink. There was also a scene of the band "playing" on Waikiki beach with Diamond Head in the background. I heard in an interview that they were returning from a Japanese tour when they stopped in Hawaii and shot the video (in 1977 or 1978).


I just rented 2 old movies on DVD last night - I AM CUBA (cause I heard there is a TIki scene in it) and Airport. Last night was Airport, tonight, Cuba. I will report all tiki scenes diligently. Can't remember where I heard about I AM CUBA - BigBro? Otto? Well, anyway, it was out on DVD at B****buster, of all places.

Had a blast watching AIrport. Dean Martin as the pilot? Cool! Kept expecting him to go into the john and whip up a martini though.

I also got excited when they had a scene with Dean talking to the Toronto Air Traffic Control people, but us Canadians are sad that way.

I've had a video for so long called "Tapeheads" with john cusak & tim robbins. It's totally 80's & really bad & I love it.
There is a tiki bar scene where cusaks' sleeve catches fire while reaching over a flaming scorpion bowl, which is a very real hazzard!
It's around the same genre as "the experts" that stingray wrote about. Another movie that is soo bad it's good.


"Th Endless Summer" was from 1964 (released to overwhelming success in '65). The soundtrack is definitely post-"Hard Day's Night," as the whole idea of Surf Instrumental was changing/fading rapidly.

Besides all of that, I have over thirty independant Surf films from 1950 to about 1971, and you randomly see Tikis ALL THE TIME! Also, the short educational film, "One Man's Challenge" (1962) has Surf band the Raindrops on stage in Asuza with a Tiki next to the drummer... that's one of the best examples of Tiki mixed with Surf culture that I've ever seen.


Thie first story is set in an uber-cool tiki bar... It's kinda like Eyes Wide Shut meets the Hala Kahiki... GIANT statues, bamboo everywhere, ladies in cocktail dresses, crazy dancing, gratuitous cigarette smoking, sexual tension, beat daddy-o beards - it's all there. Highly reccommended.

As for the plot, I managed to follow the first story, but the rest were difficult to follow. But who needs plots when you've got giant tikis?

The film is in Russian and English, dubbed and subtitled. Very odd.

On 2002-09-18 07:13, tikifish wrote:
Thie first story is set in an uber-cool tiki bar...

the bar is trader vic's in havana.

the film was made as propaganda by the soviets to bolster support for the cuban revolution.

tv's, apparently, is used to symbolize western/american/capitalist decadence.

the commie morals are sort of simplistic & lame...but the film is pure eye-candy to be sure!

some of the shots in BOOGIE NIGHTS are an homage to I AM CUBA, in particular, the scene w/ the bikini clad girl diving into the pool.

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2002-09-18 07:53 ]

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