Modern Enterprises? Play Boy

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hottoddy
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:34 pm

Modern Enterprises? Play Boy

Post by hottoddy »

Hello my fellow collectors,

A friend of mine just unearthed this interesting coin operated working model in Petaluma California. It takes an English Penny and looks like it's in an old gutted crane/digger cabinet just like a lot of working models. There's a 78rpm record player and another unknown record player. It's currently not working and we do not know all of the clowns' movements. I've attached a few photos.
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moonriver
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by moonriver »

Very nice, I like it. Reminds me of the Modern Enterprises 'piano player', early 1950's, which is similar in that it had a character playing a piano with small dog nearby which had a Liberace character theme.
Modern Enterprises were using high quality Len Insull dolls and putting them in coin operated cabinets such as laughing sailor, clown , policeman , cry baby.
The gears and cam on this one are similar to the piano player and also the cry baby in that they only have one cloud shaped cam for the movement as opposed to the 3 cams the sailor, clown etc has to pull to the left and the right and chuckle in the middle.
This clown doesn't look like an Insull doll to me, nor a typical Modern Enterprises cabinet, but is nice nevertheless ,and more to the point everything looks original.
Not a hard job to restore but probably better adding an 8 track cassette player for the sound ( a practical and not too modern compromise on the original record player) and leaving the original record player in there but not working, as probably old valves in it. I have 8 track players in all of mine so when you look inside the cabinet everything looks completely original with record players yet the 8 track player is fixed underneath the lower shelf out of sight.
I dont like changing anything to digital sound but I accept that if used in a current penny arcade, daily operation reliability outweighs what it looks like inside.
A Modern Enterprises piano player just sold a few months ago at a US slot machine auction for $1600, they dont seem to be appreciated over there . I guess because nobody remembers them. It would benefit from being brought back home!!
miked16
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:22 pm

Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by miked16 »

I stand corrected, but to me it looks spot on insull, if you have a look at some of the Al Jolson or band working models, they are very similar. It could be Len Insull Jnr, but I'd imagine it was Snr (his father) who mainly made Vent Dummies.

Michael.
jingle
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Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:21 am

Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by jingle »

He looks similar to the jacksons clown band mablethorpe
Check youtube
Who ever put this on youtube thinks it's 100 years old +
In my eyes no earlier than the 30 s
miked16
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:22 pm

Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by miked16 »

Yup these are Insulls too, there is a superb video from Pathe, of Len Insull Snr (his first name was John but he went by Len) making a Animated Gnome display for a Department store, you can see the similarity in the style of the heads (mouth, eyes etc)....

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moonriver
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Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by moonriver »

It does look very similar to the Mablethorpe clowns so I stand corrected !!THUMBSX2!!
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gameswat
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Location: perth, australia

Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by gameswat »

Great film clip Mike thank you. When I restored my Laughing Sailor I had to gently exfoliate the face as the paint had all wrinkled like an alligators hide. And bizarrely underneath i found original paintwork for a womans face with makeup, big red lipstick, rosy cheeks, cats eyeliner and arching eyebrows!?! So even though the head was the stock standard version like all the others I've seen, mine had been recycled from a previous life and then a sex change! Sadly can't find any photos of the face sanded showing this.... I had always assumed the head was recycled from a slightly early female fortune teller of some type? But maybe a store display also?

Oh, and just remembered, there was an indian style red spot between the two eye brows which made me think she was some kind of Fortune Seeress.
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moonriver
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Re: Working Model? Or Is This a One Off? Or?

Post by moonriver »

You could have had an original Laughing Tranny! !!YABBADABBA!!
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