This is my whole set of these natives. The only marking on the bottom is “Japan”. If anyone knows who the maker is reach out!
These novelty figures were made during 40’s & 50’s. This kind of Black Americana or blackmoor collecting is sometimes uncomfortable for folks. Obviously it was a different time from now. During the last century a lot of races were depicted by stereotypes & in unfair ways that by today’s standards would be unacceptable. My goal with my blog is to share our collection and this is part of it. I don’t share it to make people feel bad or uncomfortable, I share it to show what existed during that time.
This one appears to have the original spear.
This one has seen better days. It’s going to be a small restoration project.
These are about twice as large as the “Happy Cannibals”
This native has a bow and arrow. I am missing the string and arrows.
I have been collecting these figures for sometime. For all of us who really enjoy the tiki/tribal feel, we try to create microcosms in our collection. It is not enough to just have a tiki cup on a shelf, you have to layer your collection to make it more interesting. I am always looking for a new way to add layers to our collection.
Obviously, this one is missing his weapon. A toothpick will have to suffice for now
I am not sure if I am missing anything or if this native is just praying
This was the first one I ever purchased
As you can see these figures were painted with bright color accents and sometimes things like skirts, bows, spears and even earrings were added.
It might be a little hard to tell from this photo but this is a native fishing. It appears this native hooked an alligator! I am missing the pole and string.
Gilner, an American ceramics company who was known more for its pottery and pixie figures produce something called “Happy Cannibals”. They would adorn planters with small tribal figures and also created standalone figures. NAPCO also produced tribal figures.
I see plenty of the “Happy Cannibals” while cruising the antique shops. I have not seen the guy in the cooking pot before.
Most of these figures were mass produced from Japan and were more than likely travel trinkets tourists would pick up to remember trips to far off & exotic places. People were always bringing back trinkets from their trips, sometimes it was a souvenir tablecloth, souvenir spoon, salt and pepper shakers and even these figures.
This was one of the first Gilner tribal planters we purchased
I like to use fake succulents to fill all my planters. I suck at gardening.
As you can see, some of them are missing their earrings.
This is another one that still needs to be restored.
This is one of my favorite Gilner planters
This tribal figure had no paint when I got it. A quick touchup fixed that.
This is a pretty common one.
This little lady looks kind of shifty.
I have not had a chance to plant all these yet. There are too many
This is one I have not seen before
I purchased a sample set of model paint and touched all these up
Our collection is elaborate and diverse. Things that were once normalized in the past are looked at with different insight today. Though some may be offended by these figures and might even feel it perpetuates the stereotypes, I promise you that is not my intention. In the end my only mission is to share my collection.
I remember the first time we saw one of these strange, but cool instruments. Mel and I were visiting our friend Christina and she asked if we were interested in this ukulele. She explained to me that these were pretty popular in the 60s. She said surfers would play them and when a righteous wave would come up, they’d turn them upside down, stick their heads in the sand, grab their board, and hit the waves! This explains the long neck of most of the ukuleles.
These ukuleles were considered novelty ukuleles and usually just ended up hanging on peoples walls as wood art. They definitely have a style to them.
They were created by Ancil Swagerty (1911-1991). These were produced by the Swagerty Specialties Company in San Clemente California in the 1960s. The firm ceased trading in the early 1970’s. These pieces of wall hanging art eventually became to be known as pretty good sounding ukuleles. With their exaggerated shape and bright colors they were real eye catchers.
The ukuleles that were produced by Swaggerty were the following 3 models…
The Tripartite-soundhole Treholipee (originally sold for $ 19.95)
The Kook-a-la-lee (Originally sold for $12.95)
And finally the Surf-a-lele (originally sold for $13.95)
These unique ukuleles were endorsed by musician, comedian & writer Steve Allen. These were proclaimed to be “a new sound for a new generation”. These Kooky-ukes were sold In department stores and west coast music stores. They were promoted as part of the California surfing lifestyle.
Some of the Swaggerty ukuleles have a “Murf The Surf” character decal on them designed by famous artist Rick Griffin! Only some of the ukuleles have this decal making those ukuleles more desirable.
These instruments are made of beech ply. They are quite thin in the body like a Travel Ukulele and apparently, people are surprised with how good they sound. It appears that there was also a 3 string strumstick kind of Kooky Uke and a double neck version, (that was supposedly never sold commercially but just given to Swagerty’s friends?)
The Polk-a-Lay-Lee was not part of this series. They are knock offs made by the Petersen Co. of Ohio in the early 60’s. It was given away as part of an advertising campaign for the Polk Bros. furniture and electrical goods company. It has a plastic fretboard, tuners and saddle, and comes in different colours (both the Ukulele and the plastic work). On the box they came in they are called Wander-a-lay-lee though the headstock says Polk-a-lay-lee.
The “Little Guitar” is also not part of the “Kooky Ukes” series but it was made by Swagerty as kind of the follow up. It wasn’t as popular and I don’t think Swagerty designed anymore Ukuleles after this.
Ancil was granted a patent for the Treholipee in 1966. There was believed to be roughly 60,000 of these manufactured. The Treholipee flagship for Swagerty’s Kooky Ukes line of instruments. Both the Treholipee and the Kook-a-Lele had long headstocks and the idea was the surfers could stick the instruments upside-down in the sand when it was time for surfin’.
Here is the companion book to these Kooky Ukes. This is pretty hard to find as well. If anyone out there has one reach out cuz I am on the hunt!
Here is an original tag that would have been hanging from one of these fantastic ukuleles. I don’t imagine many of these are laying around.
These pieces are great pieces of beach culture and I am sure many have not seen one of these in the flesh. Since I have started collecting them I plan to try and learn how to play a little. Off to the next thing!
So we got rid of our radical 70’ Camaro with a 427 racing motor. It was too much car. My wife has gotten used to me being around and that car was a widow maker. We wanted to pick up something with power but could shuttle the family around.
I was surfing Craigslist when I saw this yellow dream 1959 Willys Maverick Wagon 4X2. I had the great pleasure of meeting the owners of the Willys, Kelly and Janice. They took such great care of this Willys. This car was actually restored top to bottom in the early 2000’s. Kelly said the previous owners spent around $40K to restore it! It was restored as a promotional vehicle for a coffee shop in L.A.. That business went under and the Willys was sold to Kelly & Janice. They used it mainly as a grocery getter and to shuttle grandkids around for ice cream.
This Willys was built right. It sports a Chevy 350 motor that really moves this wagon because of the lightness of the vehicle. Wagon comes equipped with A/C, power windows, power seats all new gauges, newer seats and interior. This is one of the cleanest Willys classics I have ever seen. These vehicles were work horses and usually did not survive the hard life they were subjected to.
Things Mel and I want to do is add whitewalls, alarm, maybe a cool vintage roof rack and a new aluminum radiator (better cooling). I also want to add wood grain vinyl decals to the recessed rectangular areas on the body to give it more of a “woodie” feel. That is about it because everything is done.
I think this is the original radiator. It does the job and has an electric fan installed. If you have ever owned a classic, traffic can be a real headache because of lack of air flow. These fans run off a thermostat and kick on to keep the engine cool. Someone at some point also added an under the dash switch to manually turn on the electric fan. I drove this wagon home from Stockton about 80+ miles and she did alright.
The seller Kelly told me usually the roof on these wagons are smooth. He said while researching this wagon he could only find one other one that had the linear recesses on top. He mentioned at one point, Willys was in talks with a refrigerator manufacturer to produce body panels and he wonders if maybe this is a prototype???
Another thing we need to look into is maybe raising the Willys a couple of inches. This is due to the fact that the exhaust manifold hangs down and on rare occasions it may drag/rub.
The interior is still very fresh and in overall good condition. Having a power option on this wagon is a trip, because when they were built they were very basic.
All the panels inside have this cool Willys logo design. I actually think there might be speakers under each logo. This thing has a good sound system, but I don’t see any speakers.
Because Willys basically have no dash top, I had to create a small shelf for our Aloha dancer to perform on. I can’t make this a beach wagon without one of these!
Another quark about these wagons is that they don’t have access to the back seat. This means passengers have to enter through the back hatch to sit on the back bench. I guess they didn’t see any issues with that design! Thank god I am the driver because I am too big to crawl around in the back!
This is in no way a Concourse level restoration, but it is one of the cleanest drivers I have ever seen. It has little areas that might need attention, but once it is dialed in that’s it! Here are some other photos, enjoy!
I came across an original waterslide Beach Boys decal and I just had to add it.
While surfing Craigslist I came across a gentleman who was selling three wall mounts. He was selling a Zebra, Gemsbok Antelope and a Kudu Antelope (Kudu is the one with the twisted horns). We are always on the hunt for cool additions to add to our Tiki/Big Game room and these fit the bill!
The retail company called Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978
Back in the 80’s Banana Republic was rolling out African safari themed ads. During this time they went all out decorating their stores. They adorned the walls with many kinds of fiberglass safari animal heads.
These heads had a stamp that reads BR1985 (Banana Republic 1985). They produced the animal heads I am posting but also elephants, rhinos, giraffes and many more. Most of these heads were destroyed after a change in the stores advertising direction. Enough with the back story let’s discuss the mounts we picked up…
The first one I will discuss is the Kudu. These are life size pieces and unfortunately this one had a busted off horn at the base. Upon further examination I realized the other horn was loose as well. I decided to bust that horn off at the base too.
I knew the best thing to fix this was JB Weld! This stuff is remarkably strong. The horns were made out of solid resin so I needed something that would be able to hold them in place with their considerable weight.
I applied a liberal amount of JB Weld and used my finger to wipe off any excess that squeezed out from under the horns. Once dried I touched the bases up with paint to help conceal the repairs.
Next I put the Zebra head in its place…
Lastly I hung the Gemsbok…
Along with these new additions we have our rhino, shark and chimp!…
As I blogged in an earlier post, I have been in the process of restoring these vintage Disney concrete garden statues. We have all the pieces except Sneezy who was too busted up to restore. Fortunately, we found a replacement that is shipping from the east coast.
One thing I noticed when trying to stay faithful to the color scheme of each character is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting info online. I did my best to match any images I found online from the original movie. Also, I wasn’t digging just a white beard. I tried to add more detail by adding gray and white to capture a more realistic look. Here are before and after photos of some of the characters.
Snow White Before
Snow White After
These pieces have started to be reproduced. They come in three different sizes: small, medium & large. Our set is original and would be considered the large set. We will be happy to complete the set once Sneezy arrives. Onto the next project!
Excuse the landscaping, we still need to work on the backyard.
Mel and I are trying to get our backyard in shape for the summer. One thing we have been looking for is a vintage outdoor water feature. As usual, I was cruising Craigslist when I stumbled across this!
I reached out to the folks who had it, and fortunately I was one of the first to inquire about it. They said the response was overwhelming!
This is in vintage condition and will require sandblasting and powder coating to bring it back to life. I will also have to replumb the whole fountain. Unfortunately, there’s no pump or tubing so I’m going to have to MacGyver it! If any of you out there have done it before please let me know. I would love some suggestions.
This fountain will be a nice addition to the Fibrella patio furniture and the Brunswick bowling benches that we’ve added to the backyard.
It seems to me that these fountains were more prevalent in Eichler and Streng homes. They were a great addition to the atrium in those style homes.
I searched online for any information about the manufacturer of these fountains, but was unsuccessful. The bowls of this fountain are metal, but I have seen fountains where the bowls were made of fiberglass. I don’t imagine there are too many of the fiberglass ones left.
I can’t wait until this thing is up and running. I love the sound of trickling water that fountains emit, it’s so relaxing!
Today, we were over at our friends Mark & Kelly Skipper’s house (of the famed Overlook Tiki Lounge at Skipperworld Headquarters). We picked up a piece they had that we absolutely fell in love with. This three-dimensional advertisement was designed and painted by an unknown artist for Tower Records. When the shop closed they sold off the fixtures and one of Marks’ friends nabbed it. Mark later came into possession of it, and now us!
This piece is large. It measures 4ft by 5.5ft. We had a space open on our wall in the living room and it filled it perfectly!!! It may be difficult to see in the photos, but all the words, the hot rod and the dude are raised off the surface of the piece, creating a 3-D effect.
The hotrod is killer and the dude in the seat is just cruising!
We love the tikis behind him. The imagery of this piece is so bold and vibrant!
Thanks Mark & Kelly for such a fantastic piece! We will cherish it for many years to come.