Oceanic Arts, in Whittier, CA, has been the go-to shop for Hollywood set decorators, tiki fanatics, and Polynesian-themed restaurants since 1956. For our upcoming documentary Plastic Paradise, we interviewed owners Leroy Schmaltz and Bob Van Oosting about their long and storied history importing everything from real shrunken heads to plastic palm trees and everything in between.

In this video, an employee demonstrates how the exceedingly popular pufferfish lamps are made.

Common Machine's upcoming documentary, Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession, tells the story of tiki culture’s original rise and fall in the mid-20th century, and its recent rediscovery by a new generation of Polynesian Popsters.

Filmed in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale — much of it on location at the world-famous Mai Kai during Hukilau 2011 — Plastic Paradise features interviews with Sven Kirsten, Beachbum Berry, Tiki Kiliki, Otto von Stroheim, Swanky, King Kukulele, Shag, Tiki Bob, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, and many more. Artist and designer extraordinaire Kevin Kidney is the film’s art director.

The doc will hit the film festival circuit later this year before airing on PBS in 2013.



Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…