#351 Custom Case: 20"x11"x8" (fits 30"-32" figures)
Lined & Padded Case $140.00 (in stock, Postpaid US)
For complete details: Click Here
You can order this case (or any one of the three larger size cases) by sending me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I often paint the back of the figure's head to match the color of the wig in case the wig itself is thin in spots. But this particular female style wig was sewn to a solid cream colored mesh which hid the back of the figure's head alright, but the light colored mesh backing was quite visible in spots. To solve that problem, I took the time to paint the mesh backing between the various rows of hair to match in color. A bit tedious, but the results were well worth the extra effort.
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Answer: Yours is a common question with an answer that surprises most who ask it. $260.00 for the painted head and hands, with no wig, body, arms or legs. I know you may think this price is high, but the items you list to omit are the EASY and FAST parts of building a figure...leaving me with 80% of the work/materials. (Actually, I sell far more bodies only than heads only. An extra body for a figure allows for a quick change of wardrobe a feature that comes in very handy for a vent who performs frequently for a variety of occasions.)
Note: I do not have a "Willie" figure, so I'm not sure which character you are referring to. See my most popular characters here: http://www.maherstudios.blogspot.com
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From Clinton: Yes, it is easier to have good lip control when watching one's self in the mirror. Pretty much your entire focus is upon your lips. That is why I believe video practice is so important. The video lets you see yourself as the audience sees you. And it's not just lip control, but all manner of movement and gestures - both yours and those you provide the puppet. You goal is to learn to control your lips as well when performing for the video as you do for the mirror. It IS more difficult but absolutely worth the extra effort. Good luck with your performance!
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PS: I'm still selling and shipping the Maher 30 Lesson Home Study Course of Ventriloquism, with full support: $79.95 postpaid worldwide! Simply email me if you would like to order: email@example.com
While on the road home, I remembered a big stuffed parrot, (far less detailed) I have in storage. And I think I've mentally figured out the steps required to convert it to a puppet (or make something similar). All I need is to complete jobs on hand so I can "play" a bit!
I won a turtle puppet in a poetry contest you held last July. I've used "Sparky" with several Heart Start groups this summer. He tells them about his race with the hare and encourages the children to be persistent, even when the task is difficult. The children really respond to him. Thanks again for creating him.
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Answer: This is not a job I would do (thanks for asking), but Kevin (my son) might well be interested in helping you. And he certainly is more than qualified to do so. His email: firstname.lastname@example.org Send me a picture of the finished figure - I'd love to see what you've built. Clinton
One heads-up regarding my book DUMMY DAYS: My publsiher recently informed that it has been deemed offcially "Out Of Print" and is hereby a "collector's volume." So hold onto all your copies. A future episode of "Antiques Roadshow" awaits...or not. Cheers!
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Answer: I always have dummies in the process of being built, so the odds are I'll have the one started that you select. If not, I simply set the others aside and build yours. 10-14 days to completion. The sooner I know, the better, obviously. Clinton
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Response: I totally agree that you should not be expected to perform during a meal. No one benefits from the conflicts that would cause. (I'm not sure that I would even accept a job under those circumstances.) It's possible the lady in charge doesn't realize how awkward that situation would be, and would actually be thankful if you explained to her why her luncheon guests would be better served by having lunch first with entertainment to follow. Maybe your client has some time constraints but there must be a compromise you can work out. Clinton
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Answer: I have always used the musical scale to find voice placement tone for the vent figure that is higher or lower than my own. If you have a keyboard, use it. But if not, just sing up (or down) the scale: "do, re, me, fa, sol, la, ti, do", etc. When you find a tone that gives good contrast, stay on that tone and begin speak words on that some tonal level. If you have trouble retaining that tonal level, go back to the musical scale, and repeat the exercise. Repeat, repeat, repeat, day after day. Eventually you will be able to hit the desired tone at will.
Every product ever made on earth begins with someone's idea. What I love most about this place is the way artist Sam Butcher has with intent made it possible to visually see and understand how his art pieces are first inspired, and then how he works them out, first on paper, then as 3-D sculptures where the model piece is refined until he's totally satisfied with the work. Visitors to the park museum are then shown how the pieces are produced in quantity through many handcrafting steps. And finally marketed. I never leave the park without being newly inspired!
These puppets were hanging (literally) around Kevin's shop. The finger puppets over the window (above) were prizes in the children's meals of a fast food restaurant. (I don't know which restaurant or the year.) Press the plunger under the feet upward and the mouth opens as the head lifts.
Dear Clinton, I know a thing or two about those two heads that are featured on the wall. Both the Howdy Doody Head and that of the Domino's Pizza Mascot the "NOID" were made by Sutton's Happening back in the late 80's. They were sold at various toy stores that retailed for 8 to 10 bucks. They came in a small cardboard box called the "fingertronic puppet theater". I had the Howdy Doody and the California Raisons puppets. Other puppets released included: Mac Tonight (McDonalds), Archie, Spitting Image (UK Show similar to Sid and Marty Krofft's D.C. Follies), and Max Headrom. The puppets could be taken out of their package. The Howdy Doody puppet actually had the character standing in front of the lyric sheet to it's "Howdy Doody Time". The Howdy Doody box also featured artwork of the various puppets from the program.
But when I left "mile high" I still had no name.
High over all the mid-west I flew
The chief pilot was Wilfred, and I thought,
"That will do".
So I chatted with him,and with some of the crew;
They agreed with each other,
Saying, "That name's for you".
To arrive in Northwest Ontario's silly
If you haven't a name,
Go with "Wilfred", or "Willy".
It could even be "Will", like that old fellow Rogers.
(Wasn't he a fan of the old Brooklyn Dodgers"?)
That the Captain of the plane wasn't named "Wiley Post"!
Now John and I'll practise to take on these folks
As Clinton has told us, with stories and jokes.
And when we're both ready, we'll know the time's right
To bring cheer and laughter, and make faces bright.
Thank you Clinton and Adelia for all that you've done
To make me so special - now, "On with the fun"!
You have seen images from my shop where a handful of dolls are normally in the process of upgrade at any given time over the period of a couple weeks. Now I can bring you a peek into our son Kevin's shop where several armloads of dolls every week are being prepared for customers worldwide!
The doll lineups shown here were impressive, but Kevin said I was visiting on a slow week!
Seeing this, I am reminded again there are some real advantages to retirement, even in the business of figure makers . . .
Clinton, I know you had a special time with your family and the christening of the great grandchild. Congratulations. But you need to know what an awesome time was had by all at the Vent Summit in Denver. It was a small group of 15 from all over - England, AK, OK, WA, NE, MN, MO, and six of the best christian vents in the nation as workshop leaders. What a wonderful opportunity for one-on-one time and to make new friends in the vent community.
The workshops were excellent and very valuable. You were missed. What an uplifting conference to open daily in prayer and worship and pray over each workshop. Thank you for putting that information on your blog because I would have not known about it if it hadn't been for you, and I would have missed attending event only three hours away. Thank you again for all you do for the vent community.
Had I known, I could have delivered this vent figure myself! The head and hands were sent to me by Kevin, our son, for painting. Kevin did all the upgrade work (fantastic job) and he then shipped it from his shop in Jackson (MO) to me. After painting it, I shipped it back to him (as we actually do quite frequently). But today, after our unexpected trip, I will spend some time with Kevin in his Missouri shop! I could have hand delivered this fellow and saved some postage cost! Even better, the figure could have stayed home and I could have painted him when I got here. (Something I've done on occasion in the past, too.) But - who knew? And I'd rather visit than work while I'm here anyway!
He's ready for his hair (what there will be of it), eyebrows, and eyelashes, but I ran out of time for this week. Today, if things are going as planned, we're on the road somewhere in Missouri, spontaneously making a trip to Cape Girardeau where our great granddaughter, Jaci, will be dedicated during a service at Christ Church of the Heartland tomorrow. With grandparents and great grandparents from both sides of the family in attendance, we anticipate a very special event for families and friends.
So Gramps will have to keep his eye on things in my shop until we return next week! And if I miss a day or two of posts on this blog, you'll know the reason why.
We received an email from our son Kevin yesterday morning telling us Jaci, (our great-granddaughter), would be dedicated during a family ceremony at Christ Church of the Heartland (Cape Girardeau) this Sunday morning. I don't know when there will be another Vent Summit, but I do know life will never afford us this special family event again. It's another one of those "now or never" opportunities where a choice must be made without delay. With that in mind, Adelia and I made the somewhat spontaneous decision to attend. So we're packing the car and will leave early in the morning for the two day road trip to SE Missouri.
I do wish those attending the Denver Vent Summit a wonderful learning and fellowship experience!
Just a note to let our Denver area friends know that One Way Street is hosting a "Ventriloquism Summit" conference here in Denver this weekend at Grace Chapel…just across I-25 from the Park Meadows Mall. There are two ventriloquism performances that are free and open to the public, and I'd like to invite you to come and see some of the best Christian ventriloquists anywhere perform.
This Friday night at 7:00 in the Grace Chapel Children's Building, three ventriloquists will be performing: Jillybean Bryan from Lingle, Wyoming, Doug Nearpass from East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Liz VonSeggen from Lone Tree, Colorado.
Then Saturday, the conference is moving to Casa Bonita for lunch, then there will be a public performance in the "Theatre Room" downstairs by the waterfall pool at 2:00. This performance will feature Steve Parker from Burlington, Colorado, Tony Borders from Sacramento, California, and Judy Buch, from Manchester, Connecticut. So why not plan to come to Casa Bonita Saturday…get your meal as usual, and ask to be seated in the "Theatre Room" and enjoy to 2:00 performance. We hope to see you at one of these performances. The price is right!!
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I fabricated six pair of raising eyebrows today and soldered them in place. After bending the brass brow to fit the contours of the head, I carefully (CAREFULLY) use the electric grinding wheel to make the ends of the brass axles flush with the surface of the brows.
The brass is then painted to match the flesh tone of the head. When I wig the figure I will make eyebrows to match the hair and they will be glued to the painted brass units.
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Answer: Yes, any fur fabric that has the appearance of "hair" could be used to make a wig. I prefer the new fur material cut from bolts of yardage. But I've used material from a variety of sources, too: winter coats, stuffed animals, etc. I enjoy walking the aisles of resale stores looking for prospective material I might work with when making wigs - nothing is safe! :-)
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Answer: Well, it doesn't work quite that way. Each different character or head requires it's own individual wig pattern. I use felt cloth to make my patterns. The patterns are two piece (minimum). The first (and primary piece) wraps around the head from temple to temple. And the second piece goes on top to cover the area not covered by the primary unit.
I make the pattern truly by trial and error. I tape (using masking tape) a piece of felt to the head (wrapped from the left temple around the back of the head until it reaches the right temple). Then I carefully use a scissors to snip and cut (taping the pattern in place as I fit it to the head) until the felt properly covers every part of the head that I want covered with hair. Then I remove the piece, lay the felt pattern on a piece of fur fabric (remembering which is the inside that will be glued to the head), mark around the pattern with chalk, cut out that piece and glue it to the head. (I use hot glue and try to only sparingly glue edges only.)
It is only after the first piece of "hair" is in place on the head that I can see the remaining area to be covered. This is when I make the second piece of the felt wig pattern. It is done in much the same way as I made the first.
It is only after both "hair" pieces are in place that I comb, style, and trim the wig.
Sorry, but because of the steps involved it is not practical to try to sell either pre-cut patterns or wigs.
When this 1960's Juro Danny O'Day came in for an upgrade (mouth repair, moving eyes, painting and wig) it brought back many memories. When Juro still had this doll in production I bought many of them for such upgrades. So many, in fact, that when Juro Co. decided to discontinue production of the doll in the early '70s (despite my pleas that they not do so), Vivian Jupiter called me one day with an offer to sell me all their several hundred remaining heads at a very fair quantity price. It only took me half a minute to decide to accept her offer; it took me considerably longer to come up with a way in which to pay for all of them! Those were fun days.
Now, 35+ years later, when it came time to make a wig for Danny, it didn't surprise me at all to find my original felt wig pattern for making this particular figure's wig! (I'm often asked where I get me wigs and patterns. Well, I have to make them. And since it takes a bit of extra time to create a pattern, I never throw them out because I never know when I might need it again. Such was the case with this guy.)
I am a former Maher Ventriloquist student. When I was going through the program back in the mid 80's, my daughter was about 11 years old. As I was learning, she was picking it up from me, and y'all let her go through the program with me. I always appreciated that.
By using her ventriloquism and singing talent, she won beauty pageants here in GA and ended up becoming an RN and finishing up her college education without having any student debt.
This is just a thank you to you and your company. I still use ventriloquism in my job (retired public school teacher now teaching in a private school) and at my church. The people at my church just go nuts when "Holly Wood" and I sing for them.
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With permission I have reprinted the above "Tip of the Week" from The Dummy Shop . See post below.
Some of my shop projects end up being too large for my small shop. Such was the case yesterday. The solution is simple: enlist another pair of hands and move the job outside!