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Vintage Fiberglass Safari Animal Heads From Banana Republic

Vintage Fiberglass Safari Animal Heads From Banana Republic

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!…

Here is a small video of the heads in place…

A Closer Look

Hello all,

Now that we have our new Carlos home we are able to take better pictures of them. We are very happy with these and look forward to trying to find a place to put them all.

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This is the largest Carlo panther I have ever seen at 52 inches wide and 33.5 inches tall.

Mark and Ann purchased these from a Carlo collector in Fresno that was liquidating his collection. They really scored finding a collector who was willing to sell his whole collection. We are soo grateful they thought of us when they got these and gave us first shot at them! As Mark always says, “these are investment pieces”. At this point, I think it is more of an addiction!!! This puts us up to 92 Carlos! Mel and I are going to have to throw a party when we hit 100!

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This is another monster about the same size as the one above. The colors of this one are breathtaking and there is a lot of detail. I like the dragon detail on the big flower vase. Mel likes the little dog.

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The background makes this piece really stand out.

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Bengal Tiger……what else can I really add?

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The black background makes these just POP!!

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These seem to be flawless.

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These are going to flank the large panther and will look killer with the red frame against these acid green frames.

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So simple but soo cool.

Mel and I spent all last weekend getting all our art in place in the Tiki room. With these new additions it seems we have to start all over again. With wall real estate at a premium, it is getting more and more difficult to find a new home for the Carlos we come across. Now off to the Carlo gallery to update it with these.

Another Carlo Stash Raided

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This is an original tag that would have been on a Carlo of Hollywood piece. This is the rarest of the rare. Most of these tags were discarded. Mark is going to include this in our purchase.

Mark and Ann, the owners of Midway Antique Mall, called us today to tell us they got in 21 new Carlos!!! WHAT, 21!!! We almost swallowed our tongues. We immediately shot over to survey the collection. Mel and I picked out what we wanted but there are still pieces available for any of you collectors out there. Here are the ones we picked out (excuse the reflections).

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Don’t know what this picture reflects but it seems like something that relates to breaking the chains of bondage.

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This is an Asian man meditating while his tea steeps.

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Mel and I have some Thai dancers that will look fantastic with these. (Thai 1 & Thai 2)

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We have never seen these before. They seem to be Thai as well.

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These are small Carlos but are very cool. The frames are to die for. (sorry about the glare)

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This is a large Asian. The colors are FANTASTIC!!!

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Ok, Mel and I have seen a lot of cats by Carlo, but NEVER a Bengal tiger. This is super rare!

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This is a HUGE panther Carlo. The colors are fantastic and it is soo cool.

Count Carlo

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I was recently contacted by one of our readers named Robert. I was so excited about the information the email revealed about Carlo. I have asked him to please send me copies of the correspondence between both of them and any pictures he has of Carlo.

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Hi there,  

It’s with great interest that I read your newsletters and admire all your wonderful Carlo’s.  I started collecting Carlo in the mid 80’s and at the time had one great source from a woman living in Southern Cal. I live in Boston. Carlo’s can appear unexpectedly anywhere but there seems to more on the west coast. Somehow Carlo heard from another collector that I was collecting his work and he WROTE to me! You can just imagine when I opened the mailbox and saw his name on the return address. So over a short period of time he wrote me four times. At the time he was living in Manila, the Philippines and working as an artist along with some other creative adventures such as film making. He sent me an article written about him from July 8, 1987 titled  “Predictions by Count Carlo”   The guy was a character.  He claims that at the age of 28 he had a vision of his obituary published in a newspaper. I assume he passed away sometime in the 90’s but I can’t verify that.  The great thing about this article is that there are three photographs of him…an amiable looking balding man with a full grey beard.  One photograph has him sitting in front of one of his recent paintings – a 15 foot tall abstract painting.

He went by the name Count Carlo and I have three of his calling cards that he sent me. He didn’t consider any works signed “Carlo” to be his serious work except those painted for JC Penny. I think it’s difficult to figure what exactly was done by him since after moving to Italy and “proceeding to mass produce ‘original’ Carlos with the aid of over a dozens artists and semi-artists….hence their must be hundreds and thousands of paintings with my original signature.”  Another quote “My serious work I sign Count Alberto Carlo or just Albert Carlo but never Carlo, except of course what I painted for JC Penny”  

At the time I sent him photos of all the Carlo’s I had and he returned them with a sentence or two description written on the back of each. Back then he was looking for paintings that he did on velvet and was willing to pay for them. I had none and rarely see any. There was a pair recently on eBay of harlequins that sold for something ridiculous like 9.99.  I don’t know about you but most of the stuff listed on eBay these days by Carlo I personally do not care for. And the prices are terribly inflated. 

He sent me a painting unexpectedly titled “Hong Kong Beauty” which he requested $300 for but I sent it back. I didn’t like it at all!  I wanted to say to him…no offense but I prefer your stuff that was mass produced. I guess he might have been offended because I never heard from him again.

I’ll go through my letters again and see what other info I can send you. Although my collecting has gone in a different direction I still have a few on the walls. I absolutely love Carlos in the forced perspective frames and there’s nothing like them….whoever painted them!

Hope this bit of info helps a bit…..

Regards,
Robert

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If Robert can manage to find the original correspondence and photos I will post them on the site. I am soo excited at the possibility of adding a face to the name. This is like solving a mystery 60 something years in the making. It is soo important that we share this info so it isn’t lost to time. I will make sure to keep all you Carlo art lovers updated as soon as I hear anything.

Carlo Of Hollywood Shipping 101

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This is the large desert scene done by Carlo that arrived today! It needs new glass and the frame needs to be stiffened up.

This arrived via FedEx today and unfortunately the glass broke and inflicted a couple of cuts in the art. It still is a breathtaking example of Carlo’s skill. I got to thinking that I would post info on how best to ship a Carlo.

We get Carlo’s shipped to us all the time. Big or small the biggest issue when shipping these is the glass. If the glass breaks in transport it has a tendency to cut the artwork, thus making it a damaged Carlo. Here are some suggestions for those out there who might need to ship a Carlo:

  • Remove & discard glass (this may also help with cost of shipping because of less weight, unless the piece has a higher dimensional weight).
  • Save the backing paper if it has Carlo info on back. Once the art is re-framed you can cut out the Carlo info off the backing sheet & glue it on the back of the re-framed Carlo.
  • Wrap artwork to protect during shipping.
  • Wrap sharp pointy tips of frame to help prevent the frame from taking damage or separating.
  • Greyhound Bus Lines is really cheap to ship items through, they are very reasonable. We have had great success using them.
  • Make sure to take pictures of box when it arrives to show condition of box upon arrival. This info will be used if you have to make a claim.

These suggestions will help you get your prized piece home without damage. Most framing stores can get you new glass cut to fit your frame. I recommend that you replace the glass with preservation glass to prevent anymore fading of the artwork, it’s not that much more expensive

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Carlo of Hollywood “3 Of A Kind”

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As you can see, these are all diamond shaped forced perspective frames. The two on the outside are medium sized and the middle one is larger.

Mel and I came across this set a few days ago on the internet and thought they would look great in our Tiki Room. We have a lot of wall space to fill since we removed the diner and are converting everything over to Tiki in that room.

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These are the three images. They are in great shape.

I was fortunate that the frames are in good shape and needed no restoring. On the back of the two smaller ones there appears to be an original price of $29 each and the large one was $50. I wish we could of got them for that price!

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This is the large center one. I have never seen a diamond Carlo this large before.

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Here is the left one…

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And the right one.

Next to arrive are a large desert scene & an Asian scene. There was a dry spell for Carlos but it looks like that is long gone. We are always looking for new Carlos. Tomorrow, we go get glass cut for the top of the Tiki bar. The vintage Hawaiian tropical postcards arrived today, so it shouldn’t be too long before it is all done!

Carlo of Hollywood Commisioned Work!?

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I love this Carlo because it is soo detailed.

The great thing about our blog is that many of our readers share their stories with us. One of our readers Mollie informed us she has a Carlo of Hollywood painting that was COMMISSIONED by her father for her mother, that’s right, COMMISSIONED! I was never aware that Carlo offered commissioned works. I am sure many of you are aware that Carlo is an enigma and very little is known about the artist. This additional info helps us understand the artist a little more.

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As you can see the original frame is gone but who cares, I love this piece.

Here is what Mollie told me about this Carlo:

When my father had commissioned Carlo to paint this, the woman’s breasts were exposed. When my mother saw it she flatly refused to have this in her home unless some drapery was added!  Hence you see the ladies bosom has a bit of fabric discreetly covering her! This is special to me as I grew up seeing this picture in my home.  It’s a memory of my parents so I will never sell it! Regarding my dad and how he came to know Carlo. My dad owned an industrial uniform and linen company in LA and had customers in many areas of LA including restaurants, movie industry hotels, etc. Also, he and my mom loved art and design and frequented fashionable modern furniture and decor businesses. That is how I believe he met and had this picture painted. 

Thanks for your response,

Mollie

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The mark of quality

I want to thank Mollie for sharing with us her valuable info that would otherwise fade into the past. I wish we knew more about Carlo. As time goes by, and those who have carnal knowledge of Carlo’s history fade away, it becomes more difficult. I hope more folks out there will share what they know with the rest of us.

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