This Week Miami 1959


While collecting way too many things related to the Mai-Kai as part of my book research, I bought this great 1959 weekly tourist magazine for the Mai-Kai ad. I got a lot of other great stuff as well.


Gotta love “Tropical Nights”, “Direct from Havana” when it appears to include showgirls in fishnet tights and coconut bras in The Biltmore Room at The Biltmore Terrace Hotel.


Even the ad for Lanotan suntan cream is pretty awesome and frisky!


An added Tiki bonus is the ad for the new Bamboo Room at Roney Plaza. This is where some south Florida Polynesian stars like Nani Maka and Kui “Kimo” Lee worked.


Kimo became world famous as song write for Don Ho.



More beauty from the Tropical Nights and an ad for “French Dressing” at the Carillon Hotel.


Cindy Fuller, one of the stars of “French Dressing.”


One of the Mai-Kai competitors the Luau.


The Life Bar is the oldest “Burlesk house” on Miami Beach. Fun! Girls! Gags!


A little write up about the Life Bar “girlie show” and the search for “Miss Moulin Rouge”.


Ice skating in Miami? Lessons? Well if Inge in that sweater is the teacher, sign me up! At the Deauville Hotel’s “Winter Wonderland”.


And of course, the reason I bought the guide, the Mai-Kai ad circa 1959.




Tennessee Tiki History Page


I started this page years ago and forgot about it. Just started fleshing it out further and published it this morning. A work in progress, but a start.

Tennessee Tiki History

Vintage Hawaii Slide of the Week

Luau man

Ah, calling me back to old Hawaii, 1969. How old do you think she is? The style of the times means she may be 16 or 30, it’s just hard to tell.

Pee Wee’s Luau

I was searching the Internet for video of the “Samoan Slap Dance” when I came across this video uploaded by good ol’ Mr. Bali Hai. A nice memory to share.

Making real flower leis for your luau outside of Hawaii and California

Orchid LeiI sometimes hesitate to give out my “secrets.” I am working on a luau in our newly planted tropical garden and coming up with “extra special touches” to make it memorable. In an effort to make every luau better, I will share one of my ideas.

I love real flower leis and I hate those itchy plastic things you get put on you at most luau type parties. So I started looking into getting flower leis for the guests. I found I could order fresh orchids from Hawaii and make my own. At a cost of $8 each, it was reasonable for the 10 I could make with the kit, but when you have 30 guests… I just wasn’t ready to spend $240 on leis when I could spend $240 on rum instead.

I have a vintage luau party book that tells how to make leis and it lists good flowers to use besides Plumeria and Orchids. Flowers you can get most anywhere. Flowers that won’t bleed into your clothes and last longer than those tropical varieties. The list is: carnations, stocks, jasmine, pinks, chrysanthemums, asters, pom pom dahlias, daisies, cornflowers and marguerites. I don’t know all these, but a florist does. Hmmm. Next problem. How do I get a lot of flowers cheap without being a florist?

The answer is Quality Wholesale Florists on Central near the Old City. I have not been down there yet, but I am assured I can get piles of flowers cheap.

Then just get some string and a long needle and 50-60 flowers per lei. I was told dental floss works well sue to it’s slippery texture.

When finished, put the lei in a zip lock bag with a spritz of water and blow up the bag and seal. Put it in the fridge and it’ll last nearly a week.

So spruce up your next tropical party with a little effort and expense and do it right. See more advice on Tiki Central