Tiki Treasures from The Story of Disneyland Exhibition & Auction at Van Eaton Galleries

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Right now, the two-room space at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks (LA area) is so full of Disney treasures that it may be the next best thing to visiting The Happiest Place on Earth itself. (Also, it’s free and you’re probably less likely to catch measles.)

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It’s all part of The Story of Disneyland: An Exhibition and Sale, one anonymous person’s massive collection that will be auctioned off piece by piece on February 28 & March 1, 2015. A substantial portion of the items are on view to the public through February 27, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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The colorful castmember uniforms ($400-$600) from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room were so popular that the fabric was sold in Adventureland stores. There were a few different patterns, with my favorite being the one featured here on the left (closeup on Instagram). On the right is a vintage hostess costume ($900-$1200) complete with nametag from the now-defunct Tahitian Terrace restaurant. In the middle is an original Enchanted Tiki Room attraction poster ($10,000-$12,000).

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The Adventureland piece with the highest bidding estimate — $20,000-$30,000 — is this animatronic member of the Enchanted Tiki Room’s chorus from the 1970s. It was apparently purchased from an Imagineer who worked on the Tiki Room and it still has all the original hardware inside.

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The same can’t be said for this feathered friend, so he’s valued a little lower at just $18,000-$20,000. How did this little birdie fly away? A cast member received it as a retirement gift from their supervisor! (Sure beats a gold watch.)

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Recognize this? It’s the finial that sat atop the A-frame ticket booth at the entrance to the Enchanted Tiki Room. According to the catalog, an Imagineer rescued this one-of-a-kind piece ($15,000-$20,000) from demolition when the bamboo and wood structure had to be torn down in 2000. Later, renowned carver Leroy Schmaltz of Oceanic Arts was commissioned to make a wooden base for it.

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Not everything will cost you beaucoup bucks, though. There are lots of things in the $100-$200 range, like these Disneyland Moai salt and pepper shakers from 1956. (These seem to appear on eBay for less every now and again, but the attention for this particular auction will surely drive up the price.)

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Now this face I really couldn’t place. Turns out it’s one of three handpainted “Nature Tree Masks” ($2,000-$4,000) that adorned the trees near the loading area of the Jungle Cruise for a few years around 1956.

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There are also six “Tangaroa-Ru Babies” that descended from the flowers of the Tangaroa tree of life at the end of the Enchanted Tiki Room pre-show. Disney Legend/Imagineer Rolly Crump designed these based on Polynesian carvings. They’re estimated to go for about $3,000 each. The deep-pocketed collector could be well on their way to building their own authentic Enchanted Tiki Room.

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Rolly Crump also designed these smaller ceramic versions ($200-$400) that were sold as souvenirs at Disneyland. The catalog notes that they’re rare finds.

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Many of the artifacts were once Disney property or official souvenirs, but there are also stashes of visitors’ personal slides and photographs from over the years. I adore this picture of these ladies posing with the Marquesan tiki that used to be in Adventureland. It’s part of a bundle of 10 amateur photos at Disneyland circa 1956-1959.

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You can browse through the entire collection in the 300-page online catalog, which is also available for purchase in a soft-cover version ($30) and a hard-cover edition ($95, including a complimentary soft-cover copy). (There’s a section dedicated to Disney World’s Polynesian Resort starting on page 287.)

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Which of these items would you bid on if you had unlimited funds? I’d love this flower boat ($12,000-$15,000) from Disney World’s Enchanted Tiki Room as the centerpiece for my own tiki room. Or perhaps the Pirates of the Caribbean skeleton ($60,000-$80,000) guzzling liquor for more of a Smuggler’s Cove style…

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The Story of Disneyland
Van Eaton Galleries
13613 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
818-788-2357

5 Things You May Have Missed: This Week in Tiki

Original Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room Bird from Van Eaton Galleries auction

I’ve been prepping for a trip to Walt Disney World in a week — too early to check out Trader Sam’s at the Poly, but oh well — and my weekly blogging schedule has suffered as a result. However, I’ve still been active over in the social media realm (Facebook, Twitter and fledgling Instagram account) so if you’d like to get a daily dose of tiki you can like/follow accordingly.

In case you missed it, here are some of the notable goings-on in tiki I’ve been posting about:

TIKI ROOM TREASURES

Lots of vintage Disneyland memorabilia — including an original bird from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room — are going up for auction this month. You can go see the items in person at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks from February 7-27. I’ll be checking it out this weekend and hope to blog about it soon thereafter.

ALOHA `OE

Cafe Rustica and its upstairs tiki bar, Conga Lounge, announced it is closing this month. The last day of service will be February 21. The Bay Area has a wealth of great tiki bars, but it’s still sad to see a good one go.

NEW MUGS

Danny a.k.a. Tiki Diablo has designed a new mug for the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. They posted some preview photos over on the bar’s Facebook page. Look for it in March. He also created a unique tribute mug for the Royal Hawaiian Estates in Palm Springs. (Local pick up only at the moment.)

MY KIND OF TOWN

Which cocktail at Trader Vic’s Chicago was served with a floating gardenia? This “Ask Geoffrey” segment on Chicago Tonight answered that question — and happened to include one of my photos of the ill-fated Trader Vic’s Chicago reboot.

SOME SHOUT-OUTS

Eater highlighted a few tiki bars during its Classics Week: Tonga Room in San Francisco, Bali Hai in San Diego and The Alibi in Portland. El Segundo’s Purple Orchid was also just named Best Tiki Dive on Thrillist’s list of the 24 Essential LA Dive Bars.

Be Cool to Your School! Poly Hai – Tiki Yearbook

Poly Hai yearbook

In the movie “The Breakfast Club” the high school archetypes were “a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse,” but in the tiki community it’s more like an artist, a musician, a collector, an imbiber and a mermaid. (And many other niches, too.) In fact, there’s even a yearbook. We’re all honorary students at Poly Hai, an imaginary institution for tiki education complete with its own school crest and alma mater.

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Co-principals Kari Hendler and Matthew Rios published the first edition of the Poly Hai yearbook last year and it’s chock full of photos from tiki events like Tiki Oasis, The Hukilau and Tiki Caliente.

Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper from Poly Hai

There are also several articles including a behind-the-scenes look at Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Pop museum exhibit in Paris, a little tribute to Bahooka, and “Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper.” I also love the sections for “Shop Class” (how to build a tiki menorah) and “Chemistry Class” (drink recipes!).

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And it wouldn’t be a yearbook without class photos, of course. I had the alphabetical good fortune to be next to Leroy Schmaltz, the legendary carver and co-founder of Oceanic Arts. (Fun fact: One of his carvings is on the cover of the yearbook).

The next edition of Poly Hai’s yearbook will be released in August, but there are still some copies available for $40 plus shipping. (E-mail polyhaischool@outlook.com for details.) Poly Hai will also have a booth at the upcoming International Tiki Market Place on January 24th at Don the Beachcomber. You can also keep up with all the campus goings-on at the Poly Hai Facebook page. I hear there are some extracurricular activities in the works.

(Photos 1-3 from Poly Hai Facebook)