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Discussion Starter #1
A few days ago I was looking at homedepot.com just to see if they had any Halloween props online yet. I found they actually had several including some new ones like their 9’ tall Tyrannosaurs Skeleton. One item that particularly interested me was the Gemmy KD Tony Bony animated talking skeleton. What particularly drew my attention was the fact that it has an input jack for a microphone that will allow audio input other than the audio that comes built in with the prop. With most other cheap animated talking props the audio is limited whatever is included with the prop. I wanted to use an MP3 player to play my own custom audio so I thought this would probably be just what I needed.

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I have purchased Halloween props from Home Depot in the past and have been please with each purchase. The online reviews of this skeleton were all good and the price was right at $89 including shipping to my home so being the cheap haunter that I am I decided to buy one and put in my order. Two days after I place the online order it was delivered to my door. Now right up front I have to say this is a Gemmy prop and we all know how cheaply these are made. You need to be sure to test the product immediately when you receive it. In my case this prop was defective. Everything worked except the articulating mouth. For some reason the servo would not move the mandible so the thing would not actually “speak”. However, I took it to our local Home Depot store and not only did they give me an immediate refund but they ordered a replacement for me on the spot. And again, in two days the replacement was delivered right to my door. This one worked as advertised and here is a little run-down on it. Now I know may haunters will turn their nose up at Gemmy props but I have purchased several over they years. I take good care of them and none of them have failed yet ( well except for that darn spitting werewolf that never really worked very well in the first place.

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Out of the box you get a 3-piece stand, the skeleton torso with legs and arms attached, a talking skull, and a microphone. The skull requires four AA batteries that are not included. It is very simple to put together and only takes about 5 minutes to have it set up and working. The prop is made of pretty lightweight material but the skull is fairly substantial and made of heavier plastic than the rest of the prop..

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The skeleton is a “pose and stay” type but it does not have heavy duty hardware like some of the higher priced ones do. But it was good enough to keep the skeleton in the position that I wanted it when positioned it.

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Like most of the animatronic skeletons / props I have seen this one also has eyes that light up when the audio is activated which I find really irritating. I don’t like flashing eyes on my skeletons as they talk but this can be remedied without too much trouble. But this skeleton has an additional feature. There are white LED lights running up the front of the spine that also flash as it “talks” lighting up the torso. I have never seen this before. For some applications this might be a good thing but here again I didn’t like it. Really simple fix here is to just don’t plug the skull power lead that powers the lights into the spine.

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There is no cervical spine on this prop. It just has a flat piece of aluminum stock that slips into the top of the spine body. This allows the head to flex a little. But if you want you can add vertebraes to the neck buy just adding a neck piece over the flat stock from parts of any other skeleton that you might have laying around.

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The prop comes with a built in sound card that has 2 phrases for the skeleton to say when the motion sensor is activated. It also has a microphone jack to plug in the microphone that comes with it so you can have the prop say whatever you want. However, this microphone is pretty cheap and although it worked if I were going to use a microphone I would get a better one. I will not be using the microphone. Rather, to test it I simply plugged an MP3 player into the microphone jack that had an audio track I use with my comedian skeleton and it worked great.

There is no way to adjust the mouth movement on this prop other than with the volume control of your input device. Volume too low and the mouth will not move, volume too high and the mouth stays wide open all the time. And there is no volume control on the prop itself and of course, the speaker at the top of the skull is not a really great one. Also, the response of the jaw movement is about what you would expect in a Gemmy prop.


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After I set the skeleton up I decided to dress him up a little and to a video test. I just grabbed a shirt, shorts and flip/flops from the Halloween costume clothes box and put them on him. The first test was using just the audio that comes with him and the second one was with the MP3 audio input. Here is the Youtube link for anyone who wants to see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfUcvLqIgsE&feature=youtu.be

It may not be that everyone will like this cheap prop and it certainly won’t compare with the great quality of sound cards and talking skulls that J-Man and others make. But for an inexpensive animated, talking prop for haunters like me who what a little animation in a skeleton without a lot of money it will do nicely. For the price I think this animatronic, talking skeleton is worth the money.

I hope this post may be helpful to anyone who may be thinking about purchasing this prop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Screeming Deamons and Rustie, Man I wish I would have seen that sale. I am always getting email specials from Sprirt but somehow I missed this one. What a bargain at $50 with shipping. Maybe they will do it again. I will buy a couple more as well if they do. I have a controller I bought from J-Man that he makes to replace the ones in the cheap props. It will make the articulating mandible more responsive. I may see if it will work in this talking skull.
 
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