Thursday, February 28, 2019

Animated Dancin' Shoutin' Singing James Brown

Dancin' Shoutin' James Brown by Gemmy Ind. Corp., 2002

I recently inherited this animated James Brown from my grandson.  When working properly, he shouts and sings his popular 1965 song, "I Feel Good."  He dances and his mouth is supposed to move as he sings.  My brother (RIP) gave this to Grandson when he was 2 or 3 (he turned 18 earlier this month!).  Made by Gemmy Industries, Corp. in 2002, James Brown needed batteries when my daughter gave it to me a few weeks ago.  Neither I nor my husband could remove the screw from the battery cover on a first attempt using a small Phillips screwdriver.  I did not have a 6-volt adapter that can be optionally used for power.

Feeling as powerless as James, I had resigned myself to the fact that I'd just have to enjoy him in the mute state, in remembrance of my brother and the days as a toddler when my grandson would sing and dance (in public!) like James Brown.

He's 19-inches tall, dressed in a black shirt, a brown faux leather vest with "JB" on the left front, black faux leather pants, black mock belt and buckle, and molded-on black boots with silver at the toes.

The hair is molded in the "processed" style that James Brown usually wore.  He stands on a round plastic base that houses the on/off switch and a 6-volt adapter.

A few days after our brief struggle to remove the battery cover, my husband came into the doll room holding Mr. Brown and a larger Phillips screwdriver.   Smiling, he proclaimed, "Nothing can defeat me!"  I asked, "You got it open?"  He said, "Yes!"

So we both went into the kitchen where I retrieved four new AA batteries (you know, from that kitchen drawer where batteries, candles, and other paraphernalia are kept).  With fresh batteries in and the battery cover closed, I pushed the button on the base.  James Brown immediately began singing "I Feel Good," and swaying his hips from side to side.  His mouth moved some, but not as it is supposed to move in sync with the words of the song.  His arms, one of which I knew was loose, also did not move.  I pointed this out to my husband who had already mentioned the barely moving mouth.

My husband asked me to remove James' shirt and vest.  I was only able to remove the vest as the buttons on the shirt are nonfunctional.  I was able to untuck the shirt and pull the sleeve up enough for my husband to see that a pin was out of its socket.  He replaced the pin.  I turned James on again and that arm began to move but the other did not.  While removing the vest, the pin in that arm popped out of socket!

Husband examined the other arm and discovered a crack in the plastic that held the pin in place.  Another pin that attached to a piece of plastic on the back was out of the socket, too.  Husband placed the back pin into the pinhole and applied glue to the cracked plastic of the arm pinhole.

The red arrow shows the plastic lever that fits into a hole in the arm.
The top of the circled plastic area was cracked.  Glue was applied above and around the hole before the pin that inserts into it was replaced.  Additional glue was applied around the metal pin insertion as illustrated below.

The metal pin has been reinserted into the previously cracked area and additional glue applied around the pin insertion site.

After the glue dried, all pins and screws back in place, and James' shirt and vest properly on his body, I shot the following video which doesn't capture his initial shout, "Owww, I feel good."



My husband boasted, "Now, you know I can fix the mouth, too."  I said, "Yeah, I know, but we won't worry about that."  I am just glad to know that Mr. Brown can still turn his head, move both arms, and sway his hips from side to side while he sings and shouts, "Owww, I feel good..."

See a fully functioning Dancing, Singing, Shouting James Brown here.

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In addition to the Shoutin' James Brown, Gemmy Industries Corp. also produced animated figures of Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong as documented in the next photograph and text from Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion:


Illustration 666 - Gemmy Ind. Corp – James Brown, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, 2002
Material:  Hard plastic, vinyl, hard plastic
Height:  19in/48.26cm, 19in/48.26cm, and 17-1/2in(seated)/44.45cm
Hair/Eyes/Mouths:  L-R:  Painted brown eyes, molded-on sunglasses, black sleep eyes, /black, gray, black molded/(J. Brown and Charles) open smile with molded teeth, (Armstrong) smiling with molded teeth
Clothing:  (J. Brown) black faux leather pants, black shirt, brown vest; all wear molded-on black shoes; (Charles) black satin pants, red shirt, black and silver jacket with black bowtie; (Armstrong) black pants with white shirt and jacket, black bowtie.
Other:  All are battery operated; J. Brown sings and dances; Charles sings and plays the piano, mouth moves in synchrony; Armstrong sings, dances, and eyes open and close when singing.
Value:  $50 each                                            

Photograph courtesy of Debra Richardson
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In the next video, see the real James Brown singing and dancing on Hollywood Palace hosted by Sammy Davis, Jr., on 03/15/69:


dbg
There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Coach D Doll


Created in the likeness of Dianna Williams, choreographer and coach of the Dancing Dolls troupe on the Lifetime reality show, Bring It!, this 16-inch all-vinyl doll is currently deeply discounted at the DD4L Warehouse (see the link at the end of this post).

It took about ten days for the doll to arrive after the online order was placed.  I was actually out and about when I received two email notifications that 1) the doll was out for delivery and 2) the doll had been delivered.  Wanting to make sure no one removed my doll from the porch where the postman may or may not conceal packages, I asked my husband to stop by the house before we completed our outing so I could "get my doll!"

If the eyes appear off, that's because they were in this picture.  The right eye was higher than the left.

After opening the shipping box, I immediately noticed that the doll's right eye was higher than the left as a result of the way it was incorrectly painted in the factory.  This was an easy fix, which I will describe after sharing the doll's attributes and the rest of the in-the-box photos.

Coach D is still attached to the box liner in this photo.  

Attached to the box with plastic-covered metal ties at the ankles and arms, it was very easy to remove the doll from the box.  The loose ends of the hair were underneath a thin strip of plastic that was not stitched to the hair, thankfully.


Her below waist-length, rooted black hair has auburn highlights with one spiral curl on one side in front.

Coach D's fingernails and toenails are nicely painted.

The fashion consists of a zippered varsity-style jacket with two front faux pockets.  Under the jacket is a black shimmery knit tank top.


She wears black leggings, black-striped white leg warmers, and lace-up booties that have working inside zippers.


Faux diamond studs complete her fashionable look.

Articulation
Coach D's articulation includes the usual five points (head, arm sockets, leg sockets).  Additional articulation includes under the breasts, the elbows, wrists, and knees.  The head rotates, but there is not much up and down movement.  The elbows and wrists are fully rotational.

Knee joints

The knees are neatly jointed but there is not very much movement there at all.  Initially, I thought the tight leggings might be impeding movement, but the movement is just not there, unfortunately.

Eye Fix


Coach D's eyes before and after
The black paint that outlines the brown iris did not extend to the lower portion of the eye, leaving some "white" of the eye showing.  I used a black Sharpie to thicken the black outline and cover the white that was showing below.  Now the eyes are even.

Posing For Fun

I like the full-size working zipper on the jacket.


Coach D shows her shimmery black tank in this photo taken without the jacket.

Back of Box and Certificate of Authenticity

There are two images of Coach D on the back of the box along with her DD4L (Dancing Dolls for Life) facts or what it takes to become a successful Dancing Doll.

Included with the doll is a certificate of authenticity which indicates the doll was made in an edition of 300.
Coach D strikes one final pose.

If interested in purchasing this doll, which was manufactured by Trinity Dolls, Inc. for Dianna Williams, the discounted price is $29.99 plus shipping.  Purchase from the DD4L Warehouse while quantities remain.

Related Articles
Bring It! Coach Dianna "Miss D" is a real doll now! (where there is a photo of the doll with Coach D)

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There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
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Monday, February 25, 2019

Black History with Dolls by Joyce Finley-Stamps Part 2


This post contains additional Black doll history photo facts compiled by Joyce Finley-Stamps.  A link to Part 1 is provided below the following fact images.

Click or tap the images for better viewing.











One more post will follow with the remaining fact images that Joyce shares this month.  Part 1 can be viewed here.


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There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
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Friday, February 22, 2019

Twinkie or My Fair Baby?

Circa 1960s Twinkie by Effanbee looks similar to the Dolls Test dolls currently on display in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  The museum has one white doll and one black doll, dressed in diapers only.  Photo of a photo in Effanbee a Collector's Encyclopedia 1949-Present

Twinkie
After viewing online pictures of the "Dolls Test" dolls on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), I wanted to know more about the dolls other than their copyright year and the manufacturer's name, 1968 and Effanbee, respectively.  The museum label indicates "these and other dolls" were used in the Dolls Test.  They were donated to the museum by the Clark's daughter.  The 1968-marked dolls were used many years after the first 1940s Dolls Test dolls.  The first dolls used were purchased from a Harlem Woolworths for 50 cents.

Links to the museum's black doll and white doll were sent to the Facebook group Let's ID Our Dolls with a request for help with the doll's name.  One member replied, identifying the dolls as Effanbee's Twinkie.

Using Google, I found this image of a black Effanbee doll labeled as Twinkie from 1968.  The doll's widow's peak looks similar to that of the dolls in the museum.  This Pinterest image of a nude black doll is also described as Effanbee's Twinkie.  Its description indicates the doll has its original hang tag.  Effanbee's hang tags usually bear the doll's name.  However, hang tag images were not shown for either of the above two dolls.  In this completed eBay auction, this black doll has a hang tag that reads "Twinkie."  The doll was described as being from the 1980s but nothing else regarding the doll's marks was included in the description.  The "circa 1980s" timeframe could have been a seller error.  These three dolls look like the dolls in the NMAAHC.

I shared this information with another doll enthusiast whose series of questions led to further research.

I had already referenced John Axe's book, Effanbee a Collector's Encyclopedia 1949-Present, which was published by my first publisher, Hobby House Press, Inc., in 1994.  Axe's book shows that Twinkie was in Effanbee catalogs for the years, 1959-1967; 1970-1983, and 1984-1986.  Note that 1968 is not included.

From the index of Axe's book, the parenthetical dates indicate the years in which Twinkie was made.  This is followed by the various page numbers in the book which contain either catalog text and/or images of Twinkie.  The book includes very few images of Twinkie and none were of the black doll.
Based on the from-to dates, it is safe to assume that the 1959-1967 dolls used the same head sculpt and that the head sculpt was changed in 1970 and changed again in 1984.

Referring to the pages in the book (illustrated above) on which these catalogs appear, none of the Twinkie dolls are listed as having been "Negro," which is the racial identity term Effanbee used in their catalogs for these years with an "N" placed behind the dolls' stock number and "Negro" spelled out in the associated description.

Why is the "Negro" version of Twinkie not listed in any of Effanbee's catalogs in Axe's book and why is Twinkie not listed in black or white versions in the 1968 catalog in the book?  Did Axe not include some catalog information in his book, or were the dolls manufactured after the catalogs were published?

My Fair Baby

Effanbee's My Fair Baby from 1968 is shown in a screen-captured photograph.

A Google search for "1968 Effanbee Doll" led me to a Ruby-Lane-sold doll by Effanbee named My Fair Baby.  Since the link to Ruby Lane's actual buy page no longer exists, the doll is shown in a screen capture above. This doll also looks like the museum dolls.


From the index of Axe's book, the parenthetical dates indicate the 10-year span in which My Fair Baby was made.  This is followed by the page numbers in the book which contain catalog text.  There is only one image of the 1960s rooted-hair version of My Fair Baby in the book and that doll has blonde hair.  There are no images of a black My Fair Baby in the book.
According to Axe's book, My Fair Baby was on the market from 1958-1968.  Voila! (I think.)  The last year of manufacture matches the year the museum indicates as the year their donated dolls were manufactured.  The 1968 catalog in Axe's book also lists a 14-inch black version of the doll with molded hair and with rooted hair as indicated by the "N" that follows the stock number in the next image.



Shown in the above scan from Effanbee's 1968 catalog in Axe's book, My Fair Baby was available as a black doll (4461N and 4481N) with molded and rooted hair, respectively.  Like these versions of My Fair Baby, Effanbee dressed all My Fair Baby and Twinkie dolls from prior and subsequent years in baby-style clothing.  Unlike the museum's donated dolls, none of these dolls were released wearing a diaper only.

To make the dolls' gender ambiguous, I believe the Clark's replaced the dolls' original clothing and created diapers using cotton waffle-weave cloth; or, the donated dolls were nude and the museum added the cloth diapers.


Summary


Side-by-side pictures of the black doll donated to the NMAAHC and the Ruby Lane doll sold as My Fair Baby

I am not positively certain which doll was donated to the museum but based on the year, 1968, it seems plausible that the dolls are black and white versions of Effanbee's 1968 My Fair Baby dressed in replaced diapers.

As a side note, since 1960s-1980s Twinkie appears to share the same sculpt as My Fair Baby.  Could it be that the name, My Fair Baby, was discontinued after 1968 and the mold continued in use for Twinkie?   This would explain the reason for the eBay auction for a black circa 1980s Twinkie that looks like the 1960s doll.  The fact that Axe's book does not document black versions of Twinkie could be an oversight on the author's part and/or Effanbee's failure to include the doll in their catalogs.  Human error is always a possibility.

Related Post:
Simple Justice and see the links at the end of the Simple Justice post.


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There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

TOY FAIR 2019: Mattel - ALL NEW Toy Story 4 | DC Super Hero Girls | Poll...



Froggy and Little Froggy showcase Toy Story 4 toys and dolls, new DC Super Hero Girls, and Polly Pocket dolls.



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There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.

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TOY FAIR 2019: ALL NEW Disney Descendants | Disney Princesses | Hasbro



In this Toy Fair 2019 video, Froggy and Little Froggy share new dolls from Disney.

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There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#SnapStar Dawn

#SnapStar Dawn

There are some new articulated 9-1/2-inch all-vinyl dolls by Yulu on the scene called #SnapStar available at Walmart.  My doll's name is Dawn.   She has the deepest complexion of the six dolls, five of which are featured at the top of their Instagram page.

The six #SnapStar dolls are illustrated on the side of Dawn's box.

They are Dawn, Echo, Aspen, Lola, Yuki, and Izzy.  Izzy has a medium tan complexion.

Dawn is illustrated on a side panel of her box.
There are separately sold fashions for the #SnapStar dolls.
While at Walmart, I purchased three of the six separately-sold fashions.  Two that I left are made of shimmery fabric that I do not care for.  The other is a cute white dress with white  Roman sandals that I should have purchased.



Dawn has brown stationary eyes and a brown, removable wig.  She wears a white satin blouse which is attached to black satin shorts.  She also wears a black satin jacket and black high-heel booties.  Black vinyl drop earrings and the black vinyl handbag she carries complete her look.  A cellphone, foldable green screen wall, and a green doll stand are also included.

Dawn's star-shaped green doll stand


The concept is to snap (photograph), style (using makeup and styling features of the app which is available in the App Store or Google Play) and share on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and other social media outlets.

Each doll has a theme and a brief bio.  Dawn's bio reads:

Fashion Diva! Dawn is a high-powered, high-fashion diva who only settles for the best – she knows what she wants and always gets it! Want to know where the party is? Call Dawn!
Dawn took her first photo outside the box using the green screen wall as the background.

Articulation illustration
In addition to the usual five points of articulation, the area underneath the mature bosom is articulated along with the elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles.

Dawn wears a 9-inch Bratz fashion and petite Barbie shoes.
I was unable to remove Dawn's black booties until I dipped her shoed feet into boiled water to loosen up the vinyl of the boots.  This might be a flaw that is isolated to my doll only, but quite possibly is not.

As illustrated in the photo immediately above, she can wear 9-inch Bratz clothes, but not the shoes because she has a full foot which is arched.  In the above photo, she wears a pair of flat shoes made for petite Barbie.

#SnapStar and LIV Comparison
Head sculpt comparison between LIV Alexis and Yulu's Dawn; Dawn's nose is a little broader than Alexis' nose.  Her chin is slightly narrower than Alexis'.

#SnapStar dolls look very similar to Spinmaster's LIV dolls.  Dawn is shorter and has a broader nose.  Like LIV, they even have painted hair underneath their removable wigs as illustrated next.

Dawn's black painted hair looks similar to LIV Alexis's painted hair.
Dawn's wig has a vinyl prong in the center.

Like LIV dolls, there is a hole in the center of Dawn's head where the wig prong attaches to the head.

They can wear each other's wig.

The fiber quality of Dawn's wig is inferior to that of  LIV wigs.  The poor quality of the wig and the shoe issue are the only two cons.  The shoe issue is more bothersome than the less than desirable wig quality.

dbg

There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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