Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mike McGuire: Tossing Out Most of Him

So now I have a dummy that can't do anything. No, I'm not referring to in the White House; it's in my workshop.

First thing to go is the body, which I gave to a friend. He's building a figure and hadn't started the body yet. It has the older style Brose hands. I don't use them since Mike came out with his new relaxed pose hands, which I prefer. But Mike will have a genuine Hartz body. Dexter has to give up his spare tuxedo clad body.

Second on the list of things to discard are the eyes. After repainting the eyeballs—you'll recall from my previous post that the builder got eye ridge paint on them—I realized that the axle holes are two different sizes and one of them is way off center, which means the eye wobbles when it rotates. You can tell the builder was having trouble, because the eyes have multiple axle holes. I guess he got it as close as he could. I threw the eyes in the parts bin for the next time I make a figure with fixed (non-moving) eyes.

Mike McGuire has to have moving eyes. Neither of the Juro Jerries/Mikes I had as a boy had moving eyes, and I really wanted that movement. To me, moving eyes meant it was a pro dummy, because Jerry Mahoney had moving eyes. Needless to say, I wasn't a big Bergen fan when I was a kid. That guy moved his lips, for Pete's sake.

Third thing out the window is the paint job. The jaw axle was poking through the cheek right where blush blends with flesh tone. It is easier to repaint the whole thing than to try to match that up. Besides, I don't like purple lips on a dummy. It looks like it's been in the swimming pool too long.

Here's where I am now, ready to begin the rebuild.

We're down to just a head shell, trapdoor and jaw. Everything else gets replaced.

Which reminds me; the last thing to go is the headstick. Its levers are poorly designed and installed, and it offends me anyway. It has that forged Winchell autograph. I don't know whether you can see it in this picture, but it's on there.

The headstick doesn't go in the dumpster, though. I'll use it to mix paint or something.

I'll build Mike, and he will occupy a permanent place in my studio, never to perform. But I might talk to him from time to time.

I'll update this story as the renovation progresses. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear...