Cymbal-banging monkey toy

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A battery-operated musical jolly chimp manufactured by Daishin C.K.

A cymbal-banging monkey toy 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, pops eyes out, does flips, and more. There are both traditional wind-up versions as well as updated battery-operated cymbal-banging monkeys.

History[edit]

The Japanese company Daishin C.K. manufactured the classic cymbal monkey 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.

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