Arkiva Tropika


I have wanted to do a site archiving tiki ephemera for a while. I worked with kohalacharms to plan a site to archive his collection and others. Humuhumu said she was working on a similar plan herself. Better to support her than split our resources.

Her latest creation is Arkiva Tropika, and it is the collection of Mimi Payne, and it is exquisite! One look at the front page and I fall in love with Poly Pop all over again!

Thanks Mimi for sharing and thanks Humuhumu for making it a joy!

Via Humu Kon Tiki

Kahiki lives!

If there is a bigger fan of the Kahiki than tiki skip, I don’t know them. There are a couple of collectors I see spending money on Ebay, but skip has a huge advantage because he is in Columbus and has had a good relationship with the owners of the Kahiki and all those surrounding it since forever. His home is absolutely the bees knees of tiki and mid-century collectables and Kahiki stuff beyond everything else. The lamps alone would fill any 5 home tiki bars! So it is perfect and amazing that he got hold of this ultimate Kahiki item. There is no better place for it than skip’s home where so many other Kahiki items now are celebrated. Behold!


And skip will have it restored and it’s flame will once again burn for those who love the Kahiki and all that it stood for!



maoi down

We will never forget!

Fort Lauderdale guestguide 1956-1957

The Tiki Central thread on ads for Polynesian Restaurants had me diggin this out to scan the ad for the Mai Kai. I am also preparing to take a lot of my collection to Hukilau. So, I decided to scan some of the images for this guide. 1957 is really a peak year for vintage style and there are some great views of the time here.


I had to start with this killer restaurant. Somebody tell me Doumar’s is still there and looks just the same! Click the image for the mega view.

Doumar's Fort Lauderdale Drive In


A color postcard of Doumar’s Drive Inn. Man I want to see this place at night!

Bahia Mar

The Bahia Mar, host to Hukilau 2004 and 2005 and where the action will be on Friday night this year.


Yes, you can bank from your car looking just awful like this woman!


Enjoy deep sea fishing!


Or shopping!


Mid-winter ice shows!


Causing a Hush when you enter the room!


Here you are arriving by plane!


And maybe stay or dine, etc. at the Yankee Clipper, which is the host hotel for this year’s Hukilau. They had a Polynesian review on the top floor back then.


Enjoy yourself Two Fathoms Down

mai kai

And of course, visit the newly opened Mai Kai!

Vintage Hawaii Slide of the Week


The Fern Grotto – Of all the pictures I have of people’s visits to Hawaii, this is one that shows up in almost all of them. This band. Often the picture is taken from above as the people come down the path behind them and hear the music. It must be a magical place, if it wasn’t for all the damn tourists!

Ear Candy – Henri Rene – Compulsion to Swing


Henri Rene is one of my favorites. He has a subtlety that the more popular Space Age artists lack. His music rewards the attentive and perceptive listener. It’s genius.

Henri Rene – Compulsion to Swing Updated 4-29-007

Ear Candy – Werner Muller – Hawaiian Swing

swingThis is a nice LP that takes the Hawaiian music and peps it up a bit. Not the moody Exotica or the slow Hapa Haole. It does indeed swing!

Download it here!


Highlands Grill and Drive In – Highway 11-70 – Found



Easily one of the most common Knoxville postcards, and the only card I have found for the Highland’s. I had no clue about it until some fellow Knoxvillians clued me in. The place is still there:


It is now Andrew Morton’s Fine Gifts. There is a strange twist to this place. Today it is a block or so off Kingston Pike or 11-70. In the old days, it was on 11-70. 11-70 went in front of it and next to Long’s and took a hard turn to cross the railroad bridge. It then went across and took another hard turn to follow Newcom back to what is now Kingston Pike.

There is also evidence that this was a change as 11-70, way way back, went straight through, down what is now Old Kingston Pike, across the railroad tracks to what is now Homberg.

Click here for the Google satellite shot to see how Kingston Pike runs to Old Kingston Pike and clearly used to not curve around as it does today.

Shave Everywhere

Shave Everywhere – thanks Steel for pointing out this nicely edgy online ad.

Mysterious Sounds of Maui in Tennessee

A couple of days ago I was listening to the radio in my car on 90.3 FM. I meant to hit the seek button and just see what was out there to listen to, but I hit the tune button instead and it skipped up to 90.7. It was a somewhat staticy Hawaiian tune playing, so I let it finish. Then there was another one. I figured, at that end of the dial, it was probably a special show on a college station. I tried to tune it in better. I went up and down the dial and that was it. 90.7 was as good as it got, which wasn’t good. It faded in and out as I drove. The announcer came on and he started telling the community calendar events. They were all Hawaiian. I don’t mean things grand that a national show might mention. I mean local stuff like the Wailuku Rotary Club meeting. I got home and came in the house and turned on the stereo to listen some more with a bigger antenna. I could not get the station at all.

Yesterday as I was coming home from work, I remembered the radio station again and tuned it to 90.7. There it was again. I heard the noon news update. Then I heard the station announcement at last. It was 91.5 FM Mana’o Radio in Maui. Mana’o Radio.

I know that AM radio bounces off the atmosphere at night and can travel all over. I didn’t know FM did that. But, my best guess is that we here in North Knoxville Tennessee are at just the right angle for Mana Radio in Maui to deflect off the ionosphere and come down just slightly off the original frequency. Mana’o from heaven.

Maybe I have been receiving this signal in my fillings for years and that’s why I built the Hapa Haole Hideaway

UPDATE: I just had to call them (had to because there is no email address on the site.) and indeed I got the DJ, JJ, that I am listening to. I told him my story. What he told me makes this even more remarkable. He says their signal only goes about 25 miles there in Maui!

Hawaiian Village Restaurant – Myrtle Beach, SC

HV pc

Hawaiian Village Restaurant and Hotel

When I came across this card I had to get it because of its proximity to me. I have not been to Myrtle Beach. It is considered to be a very tacky and redneck place, but more and more I want to go to see what remnants are left there from the mid-century. It’s counterpart is near me in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, and there is a lot of vintage still there. So I have some hope this place stands in some form.

backBeing that it was “new” in 1965, this card is post-1965.


This set of carvings is intriguing. Is it Witco? The times are right, but these don’t look quite right. It is at least Witco inspired.

biggyIf anyone knows of the fate of this place, let me know. If anyone wants to sell me this giant carving that is junking up their garage, let me know.

UPDATE: A postcard view of the exterior.

UPDATE: Check out all the images and notes here on Tiki Central!

Watauga Building – Found

WataugaThe Watauga Building – which at one time was a hotel, at the corner of Gay and Park Avenue.
Finding this place took some detective work and help from the community. First was Park Avenue. The answer to that came on the forums: 

In the late 1850s-1880s, this street was called Craig Street in the town of Shieldstown, east of First Creek, and was called Park Street in the city of Knoxville, west of First Creek. The streets were in separate towns, neither was a main thoroughfare, there was no bridge over the creek, and the streets did not meet. The main streets out to Chilhowee Park were East Fifth and Linden, and the early streetcars, horse-drawn, took these routes in the 1870s and 1880s.In the 1880s or 1890s, Brian Branner, mayor of Knoxville, who lived on Craig Street in Shieldstown, renamed Craig Street after his mother Magnolia Branner. At some point Park Street in Knoxville was renamed Magnolia, probably to match the rest of the street. This would most likely have been after the bridge was built over First Creek connecting the streets, after trolleys were running out Magnolia Avenue, or after Shieldstown and its subdivisions, known as Park City, were incorporated by Knoxville.

Margery Bensey
Park City

That placed the Watauga at the corner where Regas is today, but across from the Regas is Whist Court, which is not at all right and the other two corners were leveled for the Interstate. Being that the Regas is only two stories, the Watauga must have been destroyed right? Take a look at the picture:Regas

Photo courtesy Wes Morgan Watauga

Notice a remarkable resemblance? Were there two buildings built with the same plans, one 2 stories and one 5? The answer came from Jack Neely:

As weird as it seems, the current Regas building in fact does comprise the first two stories of the old Watauga Hotel, one of several hotels that used to be clustered near the Southern station. The three upper floors were razed in the early ’60s because they were empty and considered a fire and crumbling hazard. In those days, there wasn’t much motive to fix them up. Regas wasn’t always there–it started as the ‘Ocean Cafe,’ on Gay near old Commerce. But it has been there since the early-to-mid 1920s. It was originally in a much smaller luncheonette-sized space of the Watauga, but radically remodelled in the ’50s, I assume about the time the Watauga closed, taking up most of the floor.

Thanks for your interest,

Jack Neely

The Watauga lives! The whole thread is HERE 



Ear Candy – Paul Whiteman – Hawaiian Magic – Accent on Strings

HM cover

This little EP was produced by Enogh Light. I had hopes… The first thing that should have dashed those hopes was the name of the orchestra leader: Whiteman. The second was the “Accent on Strings.” Yawn fest. Yet I hoped. Hopes dashed. I recorded it anyway. If you need some soft strings with a Hawaiian bent, download it. Forgive the dirt as this EP had no sleeve and the record just got dirty in all those unprotected years… Nice cover though.

Download here

Black Oak Court Motel – Found


This is the oldest card. Check out the phone number!

The postcards say it is 3 miles north of Knoxville on Highways 33 and 71. That’s all. So I really had no idea where this was. Then one day as I was driving over Black Oar Ridge on North Broadway, it hit me. That old motel I had taken pictures of before there was the Black Oak Court! How had I been so dense?


This old linen card shows the same place, for sure.

bo6Another older linen card of the same place.


bo4This chrome card looks like a different place, but maybe it’s a remodel. The classic stone facade of the 50s.



This most clear card shows the glass brick, blueish front to the rooms.



Here is is today. The buildings are still there, but overgrown. The beautiful glass brick fronts are still there on the cabin/rooms.



This view shows the cabins back there, but there is too much growth to see the fronts. I will try to get back and hike back there for more pictures.

The Motherlode of All Space Age Pop Sharity!

This is an awesome thing. Over on PCL Linkdump, they have compiled all the shared rips of classic lounge records into one big ol’ post, plus links to articles on the artists. This is a real treasure. If you were debating paying for a Rapidshare account, this ought to push you over the edge, at least for a month or so…

Stereo Action is back!

My 1976 receiver had a problem. Noise. Just plain garbley noise when I tried to run the sound out to the computer to record LPs to digital. It’s not that much money to get it fixed, but somehow I never got it fixed. I spent the better part of a year without being able to record LPs. That meant no new Exotica CDs for sale on my site and no new music period to listen to and share.

But this week, I am back in business. I have everything repaired and can start back on this long term project. I have continued to buy records of course. And there is now an even bigger pile to be converted. I had plenty already.

It’s a pretty time consuming job. The first step is the hardest. You have to match your stereo output to the computer input to get the levels nice and hot, but not too hot. Once that is dialed in, you can then record the record. Once the record is recorded, you need to edit each side into tracks. And usually there are pops and noise to edit out of those songs. I do it manually. None of the automatic filters works well to me. They mess with the whole sound. I just smooth out the bad pops. And then you type in the info and save the tracks. One album likely takes 2 1/2 hours to finish. Part of that is just starting the record and letting it record. Much of it is tedious work.

There is a clipping problem I still need to work out.

So, in celebration of my return to recording I am sharing this first LP. It’s a recent find that I have been playing a lot. I just love this old Hawaiian music.

sonsMusic of Old Hawaii by The Sons of Hawaii featuring Gabby Pahinui – London International – SW-99396

I only have side one recorded. It’s a busy weekend. I’ll get the rest to you sometime this weekend.

UPDATE: This weekend has turned out to be more hectic than I imagined. I woke up Sunday morning with a hang-over and strep. I also have a rush order on a puffer fish lamp. So, rather than wait to put this out until I can edit all the pops out of the songs, I am just putting the tracks out there. Forgive the noise. The link below has all the tracks in it.

Download it here

UPDATE: There is something funky about the recording. Maybe some skipping problem. I have been listening to the download here at work. I will have to investigate. The oddity of the way they play and sing on some songs just makes it sound crazy!