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Mementos from a 1960s Mystery Girl at the Luau in Miami Beach

My favorite moments in Critiki are when people who saw these places during the golden age of Polynesian Pop with their own eyes share their memories. Now something really special: a Mystery Girl who worked at the Luau in Miami Beach for seven years in the 1960s has shared images from her time there. Her name is Eve Bisch (a.k.a. Eva), and she is a stunner—no surprise she was used heavily in promotions for the restaurant.

Two clippings featuring Eva
Two clippings featuring Eva

Eva was the star of these two ads for the Luau in local guide magazines. The one one the right is from about 1962, you can see the famous LUAU sign and large moai behind her. The one on the left makes a note of her seven years of service to the restaurant:

THIS IS EVA – One of the famous Luau Serving Girls, who is celebrating her lucky 7th year at the Luau, 79th Street Causeway, displaying some of the fine Polynesian dishes she has been serving for the past 7 years. Happy Anniversary – Eva – – – – – Some dish!

Luau ad photo, circa 1965
Luau ad photo, circa 1965

Eva is the centerpiece in an ad photo promoting the signing of a contract with Yumbrella International, with Luau owner Trader Syd Mass on the right (that’s a Luau badge on his blazer).

Luau magazine ad from circa 1965
Luau magazine ad from circa 1965

TAHITI TONIGHT. Eva is the face of the restaurant once again, in this pleasingly assertive magazine ad from about 1965.

Magazine ad for the Luau in Miami Beach, circa 1966
Magazine ad for the Luau in Miami Beach, circa 1966

The hair! This is so beautifully ’60s, I can hardly take it. Join her as she gazes lovingly at that orange three-tiki drink bowl in the lower left.

Eva with a tiki, circa 1964
Outtake from an advertising photoshoot, circa 1964
Eva with a tiki, circa 1964
Eva with a Lewis van der Car tiki, circa 1964 (mahalo to Tiki Kiliki for identifying this tiki as a likely van der Car work!)
Trader Syd and Eva at the Luau in Miami Beach
Trader Syd and Eva at the Luau in Miami Beach

It’s always a thrill to learn about the people behind these places, but it’s a special thrill to put a name to a recognizable face. I’ve been giving a seminar for people who work in the hospitality industry since last April, called “Tiki: A Story for Bartenders.” Included in the seminar is this postcard from the Luau with Trader Syd; I use this image to illustrate a discussion about the role women played in these restaurants. I am so happy that now I will be able to tell people the name of the woman beside him, Eva Bisch, and her prominent role as a public face of this historic restaurant.

Eva has fond memories of her time at the Luau. She had fun meeting the many famous people who came through the restaurant, and she even met up with Trader Syd and fire knife dancer Prince Ali’i for lunch a few years ago.  Eva, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your memories with us, and for your role in the glamour of the Luau.

The Novack family dines at Miami Beach's Luau in 1968
The Novack family dines and drinks from pineapples at Miami Beach’s Luau in 1968

But that’s not all! Check out this other new submission, from Susie of the Novack family, who had this souvenir photo taken at the Luau in 1968. I wonder if Eva was there that night?

All of these images have been added to the Critiki listing for the Luau in Miami Beach.

Mahalo nui loa to Eve Bisch and Susie letting us join you in this marvelous bit of time travel!

2 thoughts on “Mementos from a 1960s Mystery Girl at the Luau in Miami Beach

  1. Terrific story! I grew up just a hop and a skip from the Luau on North Bay Island and there’s no question, the Luau affected my fragile, eggshell mind as a kid.

    Thanks for all the great fun, Eva!!!!

    Like

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