Don the Beachcomber is now connected to the Tiki Wiki Tree

+9 votes
Born Ernest Raymond Gantt in Limestone, Texas, Don the Beachcomber invented the tiki bar and eventually changed his legal name to Donn Beach. He is famous for the faux polynesian decor of his bars and delicious rum-based cocktails such as the Mai-Tai and the Zombie (although Trader Vic claims he invented the Mai-Tai).

I am starting a Tiki Wiki project to include the profiles of famous personae of Tiki Culture and Tiki Music (exotica). I have already made an amazing discovery, that Les Baxter and Ernest Gannt were both born in Limestone County, Texas. Les Baxter was one of the founders of exotica music along with Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. Les was born in Mexia, Texas and Ernest graduated from Mexia H.S. (class of 1927).  Anna Nicole Smith was also raised in Mexia, and her son Daniel was born there.  But that is neither here nor there.

Tiki Wiki profiles already created include in addition, Yma Sumac and Martin Denny.  Working on Arthur Lyman, Robert Drasnin, and Esquivel. Feel free to add your own favorite Tiki personality.
WikiTree profile: Ernest Gantt
in The Tree House by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
edited by Mark Burch
This is great work you've done.  

My grandmother loved Yma Sumac and tiki music and I grew up listening to Sumac.
Her voice is otherworldly.

2 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
Thanks, Mark, for sharing this wonderful news about connecting Ernest Raymond Gantt to the WikiTree family tree; well done!  I love how you created such a well-rounded profile page for him, and how you have such a great blend of biography, sources, and photos too.  You've done an excellent job with this profile, and even going four generations back for four of Ernest's ancestors.

I love your idea of proceeding forward with including profiles of other notables involved with Tiki culture and Tiki music. And what an astonishing discovery to make that Les Baxter and Ernest Gannt were both born in Limestone County, Texas!  

I love how you're sharing your passion for Tiki notables by including them in our WikiTree--what an inspiration!
by Cynthia Larson G2G6 Pilot (172k points)
selected by Mark Burch
Mucho Mahalos Cynthia!
+4 votes
Cool. I have done extensive research on two of Tiki Cultures better known establishments and biographies on their respective owners: The Zombie Hut of Sacramento California and the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai.

Zombie Hut owners Ed and Beatrice Hill are also part of my genealogy research for my partners family.
by Mark Miller G2G Crew (320 points)
Wow that's awesome!  Coco Palms is in a sad state of disrepair.  It looked like they were going to renovate it for awhile but last time I saw it is was just rotting away again.  Do you live in Hawaii?  Your profile pic looks suspiciously like Waikiki in the background :-).  Have you been to La Mariana on Sand Island? It is the last remaining authentic old school tiki bar left in Hawaii.  I went to the Tahitian Lanai back in the 80s. That was a sweet spot.
That pic was from 2016 when I went back to Hawaii to visit after my dad passed. I grew up there. I live near Sacramento California now.

The Coco Palms is now owned by a group of investors that have begun demolishing down to the reinforced concrete foundations and support structures to rebuild a modern hotel set to open sometime in 2020 as I understand it. They are actually sponsoring a Hawaiian Hula event in Sacramento in July as the Coco Palms Resort. It is not without controversy as many native Hawaiians did not want the hotel rebuilt and one group had occupied it for two years.

I'd rather the hotel wasn't built but that is only because I'm descended from one of the heirs in the line of custody of the property and it was taken away after the overthrow by the very people that overthrew the kingdom. The land seems to have been sold in 1878 after Charles Kanaina died but was then taken from who ever had purchased it to give to another person through the new court system. But the justice in charge was also the provisional governments president and the case law used went against 60 of caselaw already established by Kingdom law. Interesting to say the least!

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