More Tiki Treasures – The “Collecting Disneyland” Auction

Disneyland auction at Van Eaton Galleries

One of my 2016 goals was to be more timely with my posts — obviously, I’m already slipping — but in the meantime I’ve got some catching up to do. Last February, the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks presented “The Story of Disneyland,” a massive auction of Disneyland memorabilia (as covered in a previous blog), and it was so successful that they did it again in November.

Mad Tea Party concept art

The first auction was the stockpile of one person, while “Collecting Disneyland” featured items from more than 20 different collectors. They ranged from souvenirs and ephemera like popcorn boxes to concept art, cast member costumes, Imagineer prototypes and models, attraction posters and even ride vehicles.

Adventureland salt and pepper shakers

Some of the lots were repeats of things we’d seen in the last auction, like these Adventureland Moai salt and pepper shakers.

Indiana Jones hand

Among the more oddball items was this prop hand from the Indiana Jones animatronic figure in the final scene of the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction. Its value was estimated at $5,000-$7,000 but it went for $10,000.

Pirates of the Caribbean cups

I adore most things mid-century so I guess it shouldn’t have been surprising that I was drawn to the items from the 1960s, like this set of condiment jars themed to Pirates of the Caribbean ($2,250).

Disneyland suitcase

This 1960s canvas suitcase emblazoned with “I’m Going to Disneyland” ($2,250) was another of my favorite finds. The origin is a bit of a mystery — it’s unclear whether it was ever for sale at the park or of it was part of a store window display or other promotion.

Enchanted Tiki Room shield by Rolly Crump and more

Also towards the top of my wish list would have been this Enchanted Tiki Room shield ($6,500) molded after the ones Rolly Crump designed to surround the “magic fountain.” Apparently, it had been part of a juice stand at The Poly in the 1970s.

Enchanted Tiki Room art by Shag

More recent items up for auction included “One Enchanted Evening,” an original Shag painting ($15,000) created for the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room in 2003.

People Mover and more

What really made this exhibition special were the retired ride vehicles from the PeopleMover, Skyway and Space Mountain housed in a separate room next door. Visitors even had the opportunity to get in and take some photo ops. The PeopleMover vehicles (restored with the help of original designer Bob Gurr) were valued at $200,000-$300,000 but I didn’t see a final sale price, same for the Space Mountain car ($50,000-$60,000). In comparison, the Skyway bucket must have seemed like a bargain to the person who snagged it for $11,500.

Disneyland collectible

Alas, the auction has already come and gone, but you can still purchase the catalog for “Collecting Disneyland: An Exhibition and Auction” on Van Eaton Galleries’ web site for $30 for the softcover book and $95 for the hardcover (also includes the softcover).

Related Posts:

Tiki Treasures from The Story of Disneyland Exhibition & Auction

Don the Beachcomber featured at “To Live and Dine in L.A.” Menu Exhibit

Entrance to To Live and Dine in LA

Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt essentially created the concept of what would later be called tiki bars when he opened Don’s Beachcomber Café in Hollywood in the 1930s. Naturally, he’s an important figure in tiki, but it was interesting to see him acknowledged in the overall Los Angeles restaurant scene at the Central Library’s recent exhibit “To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus from the Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.”

Green tables at To Live and Dine in LA

It was set up so that you could sit down at tables to admire the vintage menus under the glass. Each area corresponded to a theme — cafeteria-style counters for Clifton’s, a round table with a lazy susan stocked with condiments for Chinese restaurants, etc. — but all were painted neon green to provide some continuity.

Cruise line menu

In the section “Feasts, Balls & Banquets,” we saw some of the collection’s earliest menu specimens, which go as far back as 1875. According to curator Josh Kun, “The banquet tradition extended everywhere, from the SS City of Los Angeles [1930] steamer cruise to Hawaii, where you could feast on poi alongside spiced fig fritters.”

Don the Beachcomber 1941 menu

A 1941 menu for Don the Beachcomber was included under “The Menu as Map” as an example to illustrate “…how restaurants subjectively envisioned the borders and limits of the city that surrounded them…(what was on their maps was just as important as what was left off).” This cover draws a connection (literally and figuratively) between Hollywood and the Polynesian islands across the ocean that inspired the restaurant.

Don the Beachcomber

Don the Beachcomber was also featured among the restaurant photos plastered on the walls, along with other iconic spots like Bob’s Big Boy, Tail O’ The Pup and The Tamale.

Kelbo's menu

I also spotted the menu for Kelbo’s, a Hawaiian bar-b-q restaurant that was famous for its ribs and eclectic decor. (It shouldn’t be that surprising that a longtime employee of Kelbo’s was part of the family that started dear, departed Bahooka.)

Zamboanga

Previously unknown to me was Zamboanga, a nightclub that “tried to represent its vague ‘South Seas’ theme and Philippines namesake by turning its menu [circa 1940s] into a tailless pipe-smoking monkey.” (Tiki Central has a couple interesting threads on this spot with some lovely photos of the bamboo-filled space as well as context for the un-politically correct origin of the name and logo.)

A "My LA Menu" submission

Visitors to the exhibit were encouraged to put together their own “ultimate L.A. menu” to represent the city. Of the dozens up on display, I noticed this one mentioned their ideal appetizers and drinks as fried shrimp, spareribs and a Mai Tai from Don the Beachcomber. What would your ideal L.A. menu be?

To Live and Dine in LA

The exhibit has already concluded, but you can pick up the companion book To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City by Josh Kun.

Another Year, Another Tiki on a Rose Parade Float

The Bachelor float at the 2016 Rose Parade

If you watched the 2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena, you might have noticed that there were a couple tikis on the float “Love is the Greatest Journey” for the romantic reality show “The Bachelor.”

Hot tub on The Bachelor float at the 2016 Rose Parade

Granted, they might have been easy to miss since the tikis were next to a hot tub filled with girls in bikinis. The new Bachelor himself, Ben Higgins, was sitting up on a lifeguard stand nearby. According to the official description, the setting is supposed to reflect “the most anticipated highlight of the season — the romantic fantasy adventure date on an exotic tropical beach.” (Out of curiosity, I took a look at some of the upcoming season’s spoiler speculations on RealitySteve.com and it sounds like they actually went to the Caribbean, not Polynesia.)

Tiki on The Bachelor float

Anyway, my boyfriend is of the opinion that “if you’ve seen one (float), you’ve seen ’em all.” I have to admit that this year, he may have a point. When we went to the post-parade float viewing, I noticed that the tikis were quite similar to the ones from last year’s Dole float, Rhythm of Hawaii.

Tikis on 2016 Rose Parade float

Both floats were produced by the company Fiesta Parade Floats, so it’s not that surprising. There are some slight differences in the mouths and headdresses, but it seems obvious that they reused the molds or base.

2016 Rose Parade float

That wasn’t the only moment of deja vu, though. It looks like they also reproduced the water effect from last year, right down to the white onions in the waves. I wonder if we’ll see the tikis again next year?

Related Posts:
Tikis on Dole’s 2015 Rose Parade Float “Rhythm of Hawaii”
The City of Downey’s 2012 Tiki Float “Enchanted Paradise”