Saturday, May 28, 2011


In 1958, Wolverine founded the Hush Puppy brand shoe. It was made from a method of pigskin tanning for the US military because the material was so durable.
The shoe concept was based as a casual shoe for post war suburbia. The ultimate boomer shoe!
As far as the name goes, it was originally going to be called, Lasers. But, fate had other plans. James Gaylord Muir, the first sales manager went on a sales trip to the south. While dining with a local salesman, they had hush puppies with their catfish dinner.  Talking about the origin of this dish, Muir learned that farmers threw hush puppies to their hounds to quiet their barking dogs. How genius! A shoe to quiet your barking dogs!
By 1965 1 in every 10 people were wearing Hush Puppies. Even celebrities like Perry Como, Johnny Carson and Prince Phillip had to have a pair.
In 1965, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones accidentally touched his guitar to an ungrounded microphone, which knocked him unconscious.The fact that he was wearing Hush Puppies with rubber soles, saved his life.
During the 90's, sales of the shoe were down. But, designers brought the shoe back on the scene and they became the hippest shoe around. Today, they are global and come in many different styles.
So, the next time your dogs start barking, slip on a pair of Hush Puppies to quiet them down.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Freaky Tiki!

Remember the tiki craze?  Polynesian pop. How cool was that? Believe it or not, it's making a comeback and it's about time.
After the return of the soldiers from the South Pacific during world war two, Americans  began to take notice of  island life. Because of it, there was an entire culture being born. Just think about all of the influences we grew up with.
James Mitcher wrote novels about the South Pacific. We could see it for ourselves on the big screen with movies like South Pacific. "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair..." How romantic. What about Blue Hawaii starring Elvis? There was Gidget, everybody's favorite.
Television had tiki time series like Gilligan's Island and Mchales Navy. In Gilligan's Island, I was glad they didn't get rescued. I would have liked to have been on that island for the rest of my life, eating pineapples and drinking fancy rum drinks.
To top it off, Hawaii became a state in 1959.
The first tiki bar was Don The Beachcomber in Los Angeles in 1934. After that followed Trader Vics, who the owner, Vic Bergeron, invented the drink, the Mai Tai.
There were hula girls, torch lights, pineapples, and the pupu tray. I had one of those once. It was sort of like a fondu but more exciting. There was a volcano looking cup in the middle with fire in it. Everyone gathered around cooking the shrimp and pineapple on skewers. Oh, the good ole days!
There was the Tiki Room at Disney World, Hawaiian shirts, and Don Ho.
I love the Tiki tacky treasures like bamboo furniture, curtains, and the cocktail glasses with faces on them.

If you are ever in Atlanta, I suggest a trip to Trader Vics It's located on the lower level of the Hilton. You will love the exotic food and drinks. They also have tiki torch nights where you can hear a lecture and a educational presentation of tiki figures. Now how great is that!
May the Tiki Gods be with you!