Don the Beachcomber

The tiki craze of the mid-20th century that I mentioned in yesterday’s post was single-handedly kicked off by Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, a.k.a., Donn Beach.

Ernest was a bootlegger as a young man in the 1920s. After Prohibition ended in 1933, he opened a bar/restaurant in Hollywood called Don’s Beachcomber. The establishment became very successful, introducing not just a slew of tiki drinks (e.g., the zombie) but also several food items (e.g., the pu pu platter). So Ernest started referring to himself as “Don the Beachcomber.” Eventually, he not only altered the name of the bar (“Don the Beachcomber”), but also legally renamed himself (“Donn Beach“).

Sources: The Bizarre Rise and Fall of the Tiki Bar, Donn Beach – Wikipedia

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