Tropical Tiki Getaway
Retro Cocktail Hour knows that this winter has been a long one, so shake away those winter blues with The Tiki Torches on February 23 at Maceli's. During Kansas Tiki Week, Retro Cocktail Hour wants to immerse you in the tiki culture that began back in 1933 with Donn the Beachcomber's first tiki joint. Enjoy tiki-inspired cocktails and appetizers from Maceli’s while you sway to the Tiki Torches’ tunes.
The Tiki Torches blend jazz, exotica, blues and surf sounds with some bossa nova, creating a unique fusion hearkening back to the 1950s and '60s tiki culture, making them the perfect band to spotlight by KPR’s Retro Cocktail Hour. This talented foursome from Dallas will perform classics like Les Baxter’s "Quiet Village," "Jungle Drums" and "Misirlou," along with their own original tunes.
The tickets for this event are sold out. Thank you to our event sponsors, Dr. Stephen Chronister, DDS, of Healing Smiles of Topeka, Dave Baldwin & Jill Shelley, and Tom Harper, of Stephens Real Estate.
Retro Cocktail Hour
Since 1995, Darrell Brogdon has hosted the Retro Cocktail Hour, which is actually TWO hours - a weekly serving of "incredibly strange music," including everything from lounge music to tiki tunes to swinging soundtracks from the '60s and '70s. The show has listeners all over the world, from Bosnia to Japan.
The show is spiced with everything from obscure Italian B-movie soundtracks and bossa nova to contemporary bands like Don Tiki, Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack, the Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys, the Italian Secret Service, Balanco and others.
What is Tiki Culture?
According to some tiki enthusiasts, tiki culture all began with Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt who later changed his name to Donn Beach to fit the theme of the first ever American tiki bar named Don the Beachcomber. Donn, having traveled from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, felt the desire to bring this culture back to Hollywood with him. During his early years in Hollywood, he had worked as a technical advisor on film crews that were creating movies set in the South Pacific, while on the side working as a bootlegger. Once prohibition ended in 1933, Donn combined his knowledge of booze and the South Pacific, thus opening the first Don the Beachcomber. Donn created over 70 original drinks, including the Zombie, Navy Grog, and Mai Tai. These drinks were often topped with the signature mini umbrella that we still see today. The bar served Chinese food, not traditional Polynesian fare, and used a variety of fishing nets, bamboo bar and barstools, and large glass fishing weights to transport their clientele to another place.
While Donn was fighting in World War II, his wife Cora Irene “Sunny” Sund, worked to keep Don the Beachcomber running and expanded their business to 16 locations. When Donn returned from war, the couple went through a divorce and Sunny received the rights to the Don the Beachcomber name and all of their locations. Donn was not allowed to open up another location under that name in the United States. So, he set off for Hawaii, which had not yet become a U.S. state, and Donn was able to open a new location on Waikiki Beach.
The final chain closed in April of 2018 under the ownership of Delia and Arthur Snyder, who were unable to keep up with the cost of rent in their many California locations. While the chain has closed, the love for tiki culture lives on across the United States. Raise a glass of Mai Tai in honor of the work Donn Beach and Sunny have done to start this fascinating culture.