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A cymbal-banging monkey toy (better known as Jolly Chimp) is a mechanical depiction of a monkey holding a cymbal in each hand. When activated it repeatedly bangs its cymbals together and, in some cases, bobs its head, chatters, screeches, grins, and more. There are both traditional wind-up versions and updated battery-operated cymbal-banging monkeys. The cymbal-banging monkey toy is an example of singerie.
The Japanese company Daishin C.K. manufactured the classic Jolly Chimp during the 1950s to 1970s under the name "Musical Jolly Chimp". It screeched and showed its teeth when its head was pressed. It had a black on/off lever on its back and came with a green arm tag.
Later versions from other toy makers copied the facial expressions but often changed the toy's outfit and name. In the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, the Japanese-manufactured "Charley Chimp" was sold by street peddlers on the streets of lower Manhattan in NYC. Other brand names include "Wind-up Monkey Playing Cymbals" from Russ, "Pepi Tumbling Monkey with Cymbal" from Yano Man Toys, "Clockwork Musical Monkey with Clashing Cymbals", "Musical Monkey", "Magic Monkey", "Mister Monkey" and "Jolly Chimp". There is also one called "Charlie Chimp" from Lincoln, which is different from "Charley Chimp".
With many other companies manufacturing various versions in the United States, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, the toy's appearance varies. The change in manufacturing countries was primarily due to factories going out of business and seeking the lowest manufacturing costs. This is still the case today. The monkey has been seen wearing red-and-white-striped pants and a yellow vest with red buttons, or red overalls and a stocking cap. Other outfits include green-striped pants, blue-striped pants, a red shirt with either green or blue pants, and plaid blue overalls. The monkeys are sometimes rendered with red rings painted around their wide-open eyes, creating an appearance some find disturbing, perhaps explaining their many appearances in horror, sci-fi, and comedy media. They can also symbolize emptiness and mindlessness.
In popular culture
The Jolly Chimp has appeared in the opening scene of Rebel Without a Cause in 1955, the 1977 Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1988 horror film Monkey Shines, the 1996 film Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, visually referenced in the 2002 animated film, ‘’The Powerpuff Girls Movie’’, the 2004 film Eurotrip, the 2006 film Monster House, the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie, the 2010 Disney/Pixar animated film Toy Story 3 and the 2019 horror film Annabelle Comes Home.
In the 21 May 2005 episode of Dr Who, The Empty Child when the radio is playing, the doctor notices a moving Jolly Chimp
A Jolly Chimp serves as the Sunnyside Daycare's security system in the 2010 animated film Toy Story 3.
Large Jolly chimps are seen in the 2018 horror platformer The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories and are used to solve many of the game's puzzles.
The character Jinx from League of Legends has a big emotional connection to Jolly Chimps. Other than explosions which give her happiness, Jolly Chimps give her peace to her mentally ill mind. This connection can be seen in her starring 2021 animated series Arcane: League of Legends.
- "History". The Classic "Cymbal Banging Monkey" Toy. Retrieved 2019-11-14.