Monday, August 31, 2015

Baby Catch-A-Ball's Inaction

I fished two size D cell batteries from the battery drawer to test Baby Catch-A-Ball's mechanics and (after she gave me a slight scare followed by a heart-racing one), I discovered how she functions.

Scare #1:
I removed Baby Catch-A-Ball (BCAB) from the box to insert the batteries and discovered her battery cover was missing!  (Did they sell me a doll umpteen years ago without a battery cover? I questioned.)  I peeked into the box and found the cover at the bottom.  Relieved, I inserted the batteries and tested her.  She did nothing.  (These batteries must be old, I thought).  I looked at the diagram on the cover and read the insertion instructions.  I had the batteries inserted incorrectly.  As they say, reading is fundamental.  

With the batteries inserted properly and battery cover on, I placed BCAB in the seated position in my lap facing me with her arms and hands in the "catch-a-ball" position.  I tossed the ball toward her cupped hands (aiming to the area behind her bracelets as the instructions outlined).

Scare #2
She is quite noisy and the speed at which she popped (not threw) the ball back startled me!

An attempt to capture the doll in action by video met with frustration.  I can only imagine how children must have felt in their attempts to make BCAB catch and throw the ball back properly. After multiple unsuccessful tries which caused the old D cells to lose power and my exasperation to mount, I finally captured a decent video (take 10).  Click this link:  Baby Catch-A-Ball Take 6, then arrow through to view takes 7, 9 and 10.  I did not even bother to share take 8.


The reason behind BCAB's sly facial expression has become very apparent.  She has a sly grin with tongue sticking out on the side because she knows how frustrating each ball thrower will become in their attempts to see her catch and throw the ball back to them.  Baby-Is-A-Little-Cute-Devil is a more appropriate name for her.

BCAB made me feel like a parent who wanted to show an audience something their child did exceptionally well.  The child then either fails to do so or does it with less enthusiasm. As a result, I have given BCAB some additional names:


Will I buy fresh D cell batteries to see if they will help her do what she is supposed to do correctly? No, because BCAB has been banished to her box in the corner, indefinitely.  The little stinker!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Baby Catch-A-Ball

After the spilled milk and Cheerios mishap mentioned, here, Baby Catch-A-Ball and I made a reconnection. Unlike Giggles, I had not considered her missing in action because I knew she was in the doll room.  In my mind she was either in the corner where she was found or at the back of the room where other mint or never removed from box dolls are stored.   I removed her from the box for a quick exam and found her in the pristine condition she was in when I purchased her sometime prior to 2003.  Like Giggles, she is illustrated and described in my first book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls.   See her entry below:

Side panel box graphics illustrate how Baby Catch-A-Ball can throw a ball.

Made by Topper in 1969, this battery-operated doll is supposed to be able to catch her ball and throw it back (as illustrated in the photo immediately above).  I have never inserted batteries to check her functionality.

Before returning the boxed doll to the corner where she was originally, I took photos of the box graphics, the doll, and her instructions, which are shared below:

Box graphics describe the doll's function.
Baby Catch-A-Ball is holding her ball.  The two metal bracelets on her arms activate her catch-a-ball function.  

Isn't that face adorable?
Instruction sheet.
I found the following online description of how Baby Catch-A-Ball works:
The two* balls that she came with have a metallic coating.  Each of her bracelets are part of an open circuit to her arm cocking and releasing mechanism, which is actuated by a battery operated motor. The circuit is closed when the ball connects with both bracelets simutaneously. When this happens, the motor starts to turn, her arms lower, and the ball (hopefully) rolls into her cupped hands. Then, after a moment, her arms pop up, throwing the ball to you!

*My doll has only one ball.

No, she is not one of the dolls I have decided to sell.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Cheerios and What Makes Little Girls Giggle

I was forced to move these doll boxes from their normal front-corner-of-the-room location.  The two Wannabee dolls have been moved from their prior location and are now blocking the doorway.  The other dolls on the right also had to be moved.

My usual Monday through Saturday breakfast is a bowl of Cheerios with lactose-free milk.  The sugar and sodium content in Cheerios is low and I like the taste, which is why it is my chosen cereal staple.  On Sundays we eat a cooked breakfast, taking turns preparing it.  I dread my Sundays because that means I am forced to get out of bed and "make noise with some pots and pans" to prepare it.  I'd rather sleep in and have breakfast in bed prepared by my husband.

Last Friday, after preparing my quick weekday breakfast and a half cup of coffee (having recently reduced my caffeine intake in an effort to slowly wean myself from it), with my cereal bowl in one hand and coffee cup in another, I stepped down into the dark doll room/office.  Using the hand that held the cereal bowl and spoon, I attempted to turn on the light.  The plan was to begin my work day.  That plan was delayed by several minutes caused by a cereal-and-milk-filled spoon that flipped after bumping the wall. Some of the cereal landed on top of boxed dolls that line the wall below the light switch.  I had to stop and clean up the mess.

Several doll boxes (most have been removed in this photo) had lined the wall from the floor to just underneath the light switch (which is not visible in this photo).
There were only a few pieces of Cheerios visible on one or two of the boxes on top of the stack, but I wanted to make certain none had fallen behind the boxes.  This forced me to remove several standing dolls and doll boxes.  That is when I found her box.

The box that contained my missing in action  (MIA) Giggles by Ideal was one of the ones on the bottom of the previously stacked dolls in boxes.  Her box happened to be in the corner and was hidden by other boxes that were on top and in front of it.
Before finding her, I knew Giggles was either in the doll room or in a closet where a few other dolls are stored.  Exactly where she was had been a mystery for a few years until the spilled milk and Cheerios led me to her.
Giggles by Ideal has a box date of 1968.
Giggles arrived to my doll family during the late 1990s as a long sought-after doll.  After discovering her in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II by Myla Perkins (Collector Books, 1995), I had to have her!  This was during my pre-Internet doll buying years when the hunt and find for dolls was more challenging.  It took some 2+ years to find my beloved Giggles.

My doll was featured in Judy Izen's Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls Identification & Value Guide 2nd edition (Collector Books 1998).  Later, I included her in my first book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (Hobby House Press, 2003), as illustrated below:

As described in my book, "Doll's head and eyes move from side to side when her arms are outstretched and brought together or separated, which causes her to giggle."  Standing 18 inches, she has a soft vinyl face, rigid vinyl body and brown rooted hair.  Her eyes move from side to side along with her head movement.

Giggles illustrates the length of her hair.

Her neon colored top and shorts have orange, yellow, pink, and green stripes of varying heights (top) and widths (shorts).  The year Giggles was released, 1968, I owned a blouse made from the exact same fabric as the doll's clothes.  See me wearing that top below in the next faded photo.  The little one with me is my sister.

My sister and I, circa 1968, are in our "groovy" colored bedroom.  She is seated on a bright orange ottoman that matches the orange in our matching bedspreads.   Her bed is on the other side of the room.  We were 6 and 12, respectively.

Based on her appearance in two published works, my Giggles is a popular little girl who went missing in action for about five years, which is the last time the doll room was given a thorough overhaul.  Her previous owner jotted, "Art's Toy Fair Gardena, Calif. 10/10/68" on her instruction booklet, presumably the date of her original purchase.
Giggles' instructions booklet -- excuse the poor lighting.

I am happy Giggles and I have reconnected.

After cleaning out the corner where she had been stored and returning some of the dolls to their respective locations, the decision has been made to sell a few.  Will Giggles be one of them?

Because of the obvious answer to the question at the top of her box, Who makes little girls giggle?  Giggles will not be one of the dolls seeking a new home.  I placed her back in the same corner, surrounded by other doll boxes.  However, her location has now been documented on the "Where they are" sheet of my doll inventory spreadsheet.  This ordeal coupled with the spreadsheet entry should help me remember her location.