Polynesian Pop had it's heyday in the 50's and early 60's, leaving it's mark on the American landscape and culture that can still be found today. It captured the fascination of anyone who had ever dreamed of a tropical paradise far away from the cares of real life, and that fascination still exists for many of us. Besides that, it's really cool stuff!
Polynesian Pop is a late term that describes a cultural phenomenon that occurred in the United States from the early 50's and lingered into the early 70's. It was sparked early on by the stories of U.S. servicemen who had been stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. They would tell of their experiences among the palms and on white sand beaches, of warm lagoons and exotic natives. The phenomenon began to pick up speed with the publishing of the novel Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl, and firmly rooted itself into the American psyche through the best-selling first novel by James Michner, Tales of the South Pacific. By the early 50's suburban America had become the ideal way of life for many, and Polynesian Pop offered all the trappings to retreat from reality.
It left it's most lasting mark in the architecture of liesure-oriented structures such as restaurants, motels and bars. These have been slowly disappearing from the American landscape, but when you see one it's hard to miss. Sadly, many of the remaining establishments that have retained their South Seas-inspired names have long since gotten rid of their original, distinctive architecture.