February, 22 1907
Birth of DTB
Born Ernest Raymond Gantt in Tiger Prairie Texas
Donn visits Hawaii and Tahiti for the first time.
Donn opens his café, a speakeasy in the lobby of the McCadden Hotel at 1722 North McCadden Place, and invents his first rum based cocktails
Birth of the Zombie
The Don the Beachcomber Café moves across the street to 1727 North McCadden Place to be able to serve food, a requirement of the new liquor laws. Integrates a Chinese restaurant into the Café, and invents his defining cocktail, the Zombie.
Donn marries Cora “Sunny” Sund, but their marriage is short lived and ends in March of 1940.
May 5, 1940
DTB in Chicago
Don the Beachcomber Chicago opens in a snow storm.
Joins The Air Forces
Donn pursuing a Beachcomber location in Waikiki, however, the Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 derails those plans. In May of 1942, “Donn Beach-Comber” joins the Army Air Forces as a commissioned officer, and returns home from service as a Colonel.
May 1, 1948
DTB in Waikiki
Donn’s Waikiki Beachcomber location opens
Sunny opens a Don the Beachcomber in Palm Springs, CA
The Market Place
Donn opens his 13 acre shopping and cultural center “The International Market Place” in Waikiki anchored by a Don the Beachcomber, The Colonel’s Steakhouse, and a coffee house.
Time to Sell
Sunny sells the Beachcomber business to Barron Hilton, but remains as president, and Donn sells his Waikiki Don the Beachcomber to a group that includes Duke Kahanamoku, and Sterling Mossman
Cora “Sunny” Sund passes away
End of an Era
Donn passes away, and his last Don the Beachcomber restaurant closes.
Mid-to-late 1990s – Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a historian of tiki culture, begins researching, reconstructing, and reverse-enginerring long-lost recipes of Donn’s famous drinks. Jeff, along with other fellow tiki enthusiasts like Sven Kirsten, Otto Von Stroheim, Bosko, and Martin Cate, among others, are credited with repopularizing tiki culture in the late 20th Century.