It’s been one week since we began The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, and today we hit the ground running with three books about three different pop culture topics.
You’ll see a fond rememberance of a storied Columbus Tiki Palace, a survey one a century of one of Hollywood’s legendary studios, and a look at a never-to-be-forgotten comedy pioneer who left this world far too soon.
Each of these books will have links to Amazon, which will likely save you a few bucks, but whenever possible, please use the ISBN codes to order them from a local bookseller, or if you can, get them from the original publisher.
Recommended for any person on your gift list who loves reading about pop culture history.
Kahiki Scrapbook, The: Relics of Ohio’s Lost Tiki Palace
by David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker with Jeff Chenault and Doug Motz
The History Press
ISBN-13 : 978-1467152846
Five years ago I discovered and raved about the book, Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, by the same roving gang of historian authors listed above. That book had been published in 2014, but I was late to the game and enjoyed it so much that I still reviewed it, even though it had already been out for four years.
At the time, my only complaint about the book was that I wanted to read more about this legendary Tiki supper club.
So I was pleasantly surprised last year when I found out that Meyers, Meyers Walker, Chenault and Motz were planning a follow-up book. Kahiki Scrapbook, The: Relics of Ohio’s Lost Tiki Palace is just out, and it’s a great supplement to their original visit to The Kahiki.
It turns out that, after the publication of Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, the authors were inundated with much more information, photos, recipes and stories about this now-vanished Columbus institution.
Kahiki Scrapbook, The: Relics of Ohio’s Lost Tiki Palace is a great follow-up, loaded with first and second hand recollections of the employees of the Kahiki, along with photos (including a color section), cocktail and food recipes and updates on the key players in both books.
If you loved the first book, you’ll want the second. If you haven’t read Kahiki Supper Club, this is still a good starting point. Any fan of Tiki culture should want to read Kahiki Scrapbook, The: Relics of Ohio’s Lost Tiki Palace. Maybe someday they’ll combine these books into a coffee-table book with full-color illustrations throughout.
You should be able to order Kahiki Scrapbook, The: Relics of Ohio’s Lost Tiki Palace from any bookseller by using the ISBN code, or take the easy route and get it from Amazon.
Warner Bros.: 100 Years of Storytelling
by Mark A. Vieira Foreword by Ben Mankiewicz
ISBN-13 : 978-0762482375
$40 (discounted at Amazon)
In this official centennial history of the greatest studio in Hollywood, unforgettable stars, untold stories, and rare images from the Warner Bros. vault bring a century of entertainment to vivid life. It’s a hefty, 368-page tome, profusely illustrated with photos from some of the great movies ever made.
The history of Warner Bros. is not just the tale of a legendary film studio and its stars, but of classic Hollywood itself, as well as a portrait of America in the last century. It’s a family story of Polish-Jewish immigrants—the brothers Warner—who took advantage of new opportunities in the burgeoning film industry at a time when four mavericks could invent ways of operating, of warding off government regulation, and of keeping audiences coming back for more during some of the nation’s darkest days.
Innovation was key to their early success. Four years after its founding, the studio revolutionized moviemaking by introducing sound in The Jazz Singer (1927). Stars and stories gave Warner Bros. its distinct identity as the studio where tough guys like Humphrey Bogart and strong women like Bette Davis kept people on the edge of their seats. Over the years, these acclaimed actors and countless others made magic on WB’s soundstages and were responsible for such diverse classics as Casablanca, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Star Is Born, Bonnie & Clyde, Malcolm X, Caddyshack, Purple Rain, and hundreds more.
It’s the studio that put noir in film with The Maltese Falcon and other classics of the genre, where the iconic Looney Tunes were unleashed on animation, and the studio that took an unpopular stance at the start of World War II by producing anti-Nazi films. Counter-culture hits like A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist carried the studio through the 1970s and ’80s. Franchise phenomena like Harry Potter, the DC universe, and more continue to shape a cinematic vision and longevity that is unparalleled in the annals of film history. These stories and more are chronicled in this comprehensive and stunning volume.
This is the official story of Warner Brothers, so you won’t get all the dirt, scandals or corporate takeovers, but it’s a fun read for any movie lover on your shopping list.
Ernie in Kovacsland: Writings, Drawings, and Photographs from Television’s Original Genius
by ERNIE KOVACS, JOSH MILLS, BEN MODEL, PAT THOMAS
$34.99 (discounted at Amazon)
In celebration of this cockeyed genius and his prolific creative output, Fantagraphics presents a career retrospective of Ernie Kovacs featuring never-before-seen material from Kovacs’s archive.
Best known for his wildly imaginative, gleefully absurdist television show in the 1950s, Ernie Kovacs (1919 – 1962) was also a notorious illustrator, novelist, essayist, newspaper columnist, and poet. In celebration of this cockeyed genius and his prolific creative output, Fantagraphics presents a career retrospective featuring never-before-seen photos from Kovacs’s archive; excerpts of his magazine articles, columns and books, hand-notated TV scripts: a smattering of his “illustrated profuselies,” the wacky improvisational sketches he drew on air; and more.
Curated by Josh Mills (son of Edie Adams, Kovacs’s wife and a performer on his show), Edie/Ernie archivist Ben Model, and counterculture historian Pat Thomas, the book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a pioneering comedian. The first Kovacs book to be published in 30 years, this impressive collection features previously unpublished Ernie photos, drawings and writings, vintage 1960s magazine articles reprinted for the first time, and new essays by Charleston’s own Ann Magnuson and Ron Mael of Sparks. Kovacs inspired countless comedians, musicians, humorists, and writers in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond.
He is cited as a direct influence by the creators and stars of such innovative comedy series as Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. An award in his name has been granted to uproarious humorists like Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Harry Shearer (This is Spinal Tap). A true visionary, Kovacs’s iconoclastic approach has forever made its mark on the world of comedy.
Thanks to PBS running his show in the 1970s, I was able to see his comedic genius while I was still in my formative years and I’ve been a fan ever since. This book will be a great gift for anybody with a healthy sense of humor and an appreciation for television innovation.