Sunday, June 29, 2008


Disneyland Bank of America Illustration, 1955
“MEET YOU ON MAIN STREET! We’ll be there. Just as you enter the magic realm of Disneyland you’ll see Bank of America in an authentic, turn-of-the-century setting. Bank of America is proud to be a part of this unusual new California community –just as it’s proud to be a part of 330 other communities throughout the state. While you’re at Disneyland please plan to stop in and say hello – we’ll guarantee you a real, old-fashioned welcome!”

Disneyland Bank of America Illustration, 1955
“SPECIAL SOUVENIR MONEY ORDERS! As a memento of your Disneyland visit, Bank of America has provided special, souvenir money orders which may be purchased at the Disneyland Branch in $1, $5, and $10 denominations. Convertible into cash at banks and stores everywhere, they make a picturesque, yet practical, gift to send to the family at home.”

Does anybody have one of THOSE in their box of keepsakes?

Disneyland BofA Illustration

Friday, June 27, 2008

Disneyland Main Street Lamplighter Illustration, 1955

"THE 90'S REVISITED; Twilight on Main Street is marked by the old lamplighter who makes his evening rounds to set the gas lamps glowing. Living memories for a few, a new adventure for most. Here along the gaslit stretches of Main Street will be found the ice cream parlor of grandmother's day, re-created in authentic detail from the almost forgotten past. Bridging the years for both young and old who visit this Disneyland creation is the name Carnation. Founded before the turn of the century, the Carnation Company continues to this day to provide ice cream comparable to the legendary quality of those wonderful confections of the home freezer."

Disneyland Main Street Lamplighter Painting, 1955The final painting was also used as one of Disneyland's first souvenir postcards.

Disneyland Main Street Illustrations, 1955"Here in the unhurried atmosphere of this 19th century setting, visitors to Disneyland can enjoy giant sundaes and satin-smooth sodas made with famous Carnation Ice Cream and Fresh Milk...just as did "Victorians" of another era enjoy ice cream in similar parlors. Those of this generation will find the past recaptured and blended with a modern-day tradition --the enjoyment of fresh dairy products of a quality that has identified Carnation for more than half a century. Such wonderful flavors as Rainbow, Fresh Peach, and Pineapple are but a few of the countless tempting treats that will be served up in the gracious manner of the 90's to all who pause for refreshment during a day at Disneyland."

Disneyland Tikis on Main Street, 1960
And speaking of Main Street...Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room marked its 45th Anniversary with a special merchandise event on Main Street this week. Apparently this wasn't the first time a Tiki could be purchased outside of shown by this little news item from Vacationland Magazine, 1960.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Guided by the sun....
Ahoy Crew!
We've just docked in our home port after an adventure in paradise (ie, the Hukilau event in Florida!) As always, it takes several days -or even weeks- to recover from the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale. If you have not had the sheer pleasure of experiencing this authentic vintage Tiki-temple, start booking a voyage now!

Mai Kai Restaurant Foyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL
As soon as you enter through the heavy wooden doors (with portholes in them!), you know you are in for a treat. The Mai Kai's interior is sumptuous. Spots of colored light from fixtures of every shape and construction are reflected in the flagstone floor polished to a shine from decades of foot traffic. Chinese lattice tiles are used to create partitions between dining room spaces, and museum-quality artifacts behind glass give the curious guest much to appreciate.

Molokai Bar Detail, Mai Kai Restaurant
The details are staggering here.
Nautical artifacts abound, from a suspended ship model to lanterns, ropes , chains, and tackle. The mossy green volcanic rocks and ferns glimpsed through the window are actually an indoor diorama complete with swirling waterfalls. The effect is dazzling, even if you aren't enjoying one of the Mai Kai's potent cocktails.

Pu Pu Platter, Mai Kai Restaurant
Nothing goes better with your cocktail (Cobra's Kiss? Deep Sea Diver?) than a hot dish of deep-fried deliciousness. Isn't this gorgeous?
Here's what we have here: Vegetable Egg Rolls, bacon-wrapped Szechwan Chicken, Crab Rangoon, and Cheese Tangs. Dipped in hot Chinese mustard and cocktail sauce, you've got something to write home about.

Gift Shop - Restrooms, Mai Kai Restaurant
An incredible interior - anywhere you look. Here we are at a crossroads: You may turn left and enter the Gift Shop, turn right and enter the restrooms (also themed beautifully), or head straight to the Mai Kai's private offices. The tiki pole railings in the foreground were made by Oceanic Arts in Whittier California.

Watch Your Step at the Mai Kai, Florida
One of the pleasures of a visit to the Mai Kai, is an after-dinner stroll through the restaurant's indoor and outdoor gardens. Along the way you will cross bridges, encounter blue-lit pools and waterfalls, duck though caves and grottoes, and enjoy an incredible display of Tiki artifacts. Watch your step! You don't want to anger the gods by stepping off the path into the water.

Mai Kai Restaurant, 2008To get this view, you must get down low on your hands and knees and look under the footbridge in the indoor garden. The inner-explorer in me wants to wade waaaay back in there!

Main Dining Hall
Originally uploaded by chipandandy

My friends Chip and Andy have posted some incredible vintage photos of the Mai Kai on Flickr. Check them out! It's really surprising how little has changed over the years.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


As a hopelessly lost fan of the TV show, I've been dreaming of making this ceramic mug for years and years and years....

Coming in late 2009...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

TIKI TV at The HUKILAU, Saturday June 14, 2008

Cricket Blake in the Shell Bar - Hawaiian Eye 1963
A plug for my upcoming show at HUKILAU in Fort Lauderdale, Florida THIS SATURDAY. 12:30 to 1:30 (a last-minute schedule change!)
Hope to see you there!!

TELEVISION AND TIKI – two phenomena that appeared in American pop-culture at exactly the same time. As the A-frame and gas torch were sprouting on the urban landscape in the 1950s, the TV set was fast becoming a new member of the family at home. Armchair voyagers and would-be beachcombers could enjoy a round-trip ticket for the imagination via the glowing tubes of the magic box.
Robert Conrad and Myrna Fahey on a soundstage beach, Hawaiian Eye, 1963
Behind the scenes, the designers and movie magicians of Hollywood were busy turning studio backlots and the surrounding hillsides into the tropics. Artificial blue lagoons and lush gardens were fabricated on indoor soundstages, and Los Angeles’ burgeoning Chinese and Filipino communities were called upon to portray the exotic inhabitants of faraway lands – both real and imagined.

Join artist Kevin Kidney for a highly entertaining hour of vintage televised Tiki Style through the seldom-seen classics ADVENTURES IN PARADISE and HAWAIIAN EYE. Often glamorous, always stylish, (and sometimes really hokey) clip highlights from the shows themselves guarantee this to be the most fun you’ll have watching TV in a long time!

TIKI TV at The HUKILAU, Saturday June 14, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June has finally busted out all over, and there are some great tropical happenings coming up on both ends of the mainland.

Original Poster Art - Disney's "Lt. Robin Crusoe USN"

Next week we'll be in FLORIDA for HUKILAU (June 12-15) - the world's biggest and best annual Tiki event - and this year will be the last one!  We wouldn't think of missing it! Lots of great entertainment this year with Charles Phoenix, Beachbum Berry, live bands, and an historical tour of America's most incredible Polynesian restaurant, the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale. I will be hosting a special "Tiki TV" presentation on Saturday the 14th.

One week later (Sunday June 22), Jody and I will be at DISNEYLAND for the ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM 45TH ANNIVERSARY GALLERY EVENT, with our new collectibles.   The event will take place at the Disneyana Shop and in the Main St. Cinema, 8AM to 11AM.

Then, on Saturday July 26, it's the 4th Annual LUAU NIGHT AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATER in HOLLYWOOD, presented by the American Cinematheque. The program, which will be announced practically any minute now, will include a movie, catered California-style luau dinner, Tiki-themed short subjects, live music, and a tropical vendor market.  More on that soon!