The Tiki Craze of Hollywood

Hawaii joined the United States in 1959 and became its 50th state. Hollywood was quick to discover the fabulous location and the native art of the Pacific which turned into a synthetic exotic world to reflect the optimism of the times. Thor Heyerdahl´s book “Kon-Tiki” became a world best-seller, Tiki bars sprang up everywhere, the Mai Tai was the drink of the moment and interiors were decorated with rattan.

The nudity of Hula girls was acceptable as they were considered natives and part of folklore. The craze started with South Pacific and Elvis Presley´s movies shot in Hawaii. Tiki had its moment between McCarthyism and the hippy culture. Around 1966 the Jimmy Hendrix generation superseded the Dean Martin generation. Kathmandu replaced Hawaii and marihuana the exotic drinks.
Sven Kristen, author of many books on Tiki as well as Craig Detweiler, film teacher at Pepperdine University, explain the phenomenon.

Director : Sébastien Zulian
Producers: Clara Kuperberg & Julia Kuperberg
Production: Wichita Films
Network: OCS
Year : 2018
Running Time : 52 minutes


Sven Kristen
Specialist of the Tiki Culture

Craig Detweiler
Film Historian Pepperdine University