You hear the call of exotic birds, mixed with the sound of island music and hula dancers swaying and singing, all while sipping a rum punch.
Are you in Hawaii? Polynesia?
Try Hollywood Boulevard.
Every year in July, the American Cinematheque throws open the courtyard and movie theater of the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for a few days to an â€œEnchanted Tiki Weekend Blow Out,â€ with special films, guest speakers and a luau dinner on the Saturday evening. Itâ€™s a well-kept little secret of Los Angeles, but one that more and more people are beginning to find out.
On Saturday, July 25th, Ukulele Davey started things off in the courtyard by strumming native music on his (what else?) ukulele. Following him was â€œKing Kukulele and the Friki Tikisâ€ with the Polynesian Paradise Dancers. King Kukulele and his band entertained with songs like â€œI Wanna Be Like You,â€ and the theme song from the Tiki Room in Disneyland, while Tiki venders sold clothes and the usual Tiki items.
Theme-styled Tiki events seem to be on the rise again – perhaps it is a nostalgic look back to forget about the economy for awhile. The audience was certainly having a nice time forgetting; having teriyaki chicken, noodles, vegetables and a choice of fruit sorbet washed down with a goodly amount of the previously mentioned rum punch.
As to the films, King Kukulele played host for the evening, introducing some short â€œTikiâ€ Scopitone films, a few Disney shorts and some special guests. One of the highlights of the evening was Wally Boag, the legendary entertainer who is known as â€œthe voice of Disneyland.â€ Boag performed in a vaudeville act for many years at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Disneyland, along with acting in some Disney films. Boag was also the voice of Jose the Parrot in the Tiki Room. Indeed, Boag could still do an exact imitation of some raucous parrots as he proved to the audience in a Q & A. Boag got his start with Disney when, touring around Europe, he was summoned by Walt Disney himself for an audition. Boag did everything he could think of, dancing and singing his heart outâ€¦however, his nightclub being a little bit adult, he told Disney he could â€œclean it up.â€ And so a star was born. Boag was also working at Disneyland when Steve Martin came upon the scene (Martin wrote the forward to Boagâ€™s forthcoming book â€œThe Clown Prince of Disneyland.â€)
Following the short films and Boag was another class act, Barbara Luna, who was Frank Sinatraâ€™s love interest in the film to be screened, â€œThe Devil at 4 0â€™Clock.â€
Taking questions before the film, Luna asked the audience (well, the women) if they wanted to know if Frank Sinatra was a â€œgood kisser.â€
â€œYes, he was!â€ answered Luna enthusiastically to her own question.
She also related how, during the film, every time co-star Spencer Tracy was shooting a certain scene there was a noise, causing them to start over â€“ it turned out to be Katherine Hepburn dropping a nail (if she didnâ€™t like how the scene was going).
The Tiki evening culminated with the film and a rapt audience.
For more information, see online www.americancinematheque.com
– LISA CARROLL