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.


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

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

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april_n_paris said...

Another figurine I knew nothing about (but having attended his concerts as a teenager, I certainly know all about Janes Brown)! This is so much fun.

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the figure in action. I have since added photos of other figures by Gemmy Ind. Corp. as well as a 1969 video of the real James Brown performing on the show Hollywood Palace.


aprilperlowski said...

These are so much fun.Do you know which songs Ray and Louie sing?

D7ana said...

Cute figure! Great teamwork - you and your hubby! Congrats on your success.

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Ray Charles sings "What'd I say" and his rendition of "God Bless America." Louis Armstrong sings "What a Wonderful World" and "Hello Dolly." Gemmy made several others (Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Rocky Balboa, etc.) Here is a link to a Google search results for Gemmy industries animated figures.


Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Thank you, D7ana. I felt like a surgical technician for a couple of seconds as I was passing tools to him.



Jelani said...

I just pulled one out of my garage that used to be my Grandmother’s. She passed away in 2006. I was able to find an AC adapter compatible with it. It sings but it also does not dance. Looks like I’m gonna try to do some surgery on it myself. I may look to sell it.

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Good luck!