New Custom Case Size

I now have in stock for a limited time, the smaller #351 Custom Carrying Case, just the right size for the Goldberger Celebrity dolls (or similar):

#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: mahertalk@aol.com

40 years!

Tomorrow, August 1st, marks the 40th
anniversary of the date we* purchased
Maher School of Ventriloquism from
Madeleine Maher.
*Clinton & Adelia Detweiler
At the time we purchased the Maher business I was employed outside the home full time so I had only evenings and weekends to try to get the fledgling business off the ground. We had three children of elementary and middle school ages. Adelia handled the office work while the kids were in school. Our tiny three room house of less than 1,ooo sq. ft. plus one basement bedroom was already crowded. One wall of our bedroom became the office. The kitchen table was our packing/mailing department. I had no shop. Just an aging single car unheated detached garage with its back wall off the foundation. It was into this setting we moved the Maher business. Oh, one more thing - Adelia was 8 months pregnant! Oh, the advantages of youth, when enthusiasm can sometimes successfully out measure common sense. Seems like yesterday (thankfully it was not)!


A bit of camouflage

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.


The "Ax" Family

Gary Owen "repped" Axtell Expressions at this year's Vent Haven Convention and he got the Axtell gang together for another Vent Haven Axtell Family shot. Above is a shot that Colorado vent Ed Casey took from the side. I know when many look at this picture, they focus on the puppets. Steve most likely looks to see how puppets and vents match up. Me? The first thing I checked was to see how many youth are in the photo - they are the future of the art and these days that is my personal primary concern related to the art of ventriloquism.


Budget restraints

Question: After getting laid off a year ago I decided to venture into ventriloquism. Due to budget constraints, I don’t have the full $325.00, but I don’t need a full figure as I can do some of the work myself. I would like to know how much the painted head and hands would cost for the “Willie” figure. No wig, body, arms or legs.
* * * * * *
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


Collectibles now for sale

These collectible foam puppet heads are now being offered for sale by Kevin as a set: See eBay auction here.

Student Comment

From Larry Youngberg: "I am progressing quite fast because I have studied other books about ventriloquism and much of the material is things I have learned from other sources as well as the workshops at the VentHaven convention which I will be attending. Bart and I will even be performing in the senior open mike. Before I purchased the Course I was wondering if it would be of any value because I had studied many books and videos before. Well, just the parts about pronouncing the labials is worth the price. I have improved my diction and lip control quite a bit, although I still have a lot of practicing to do. I have found that learning one B word does not mean you can say another B word. They all have to be learned separately. I have also found that when practicing in front of a mirror my lip control is better than when I video tape myself. That's probably because I am concentrating more with the mirror."
* * * * * *
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!
* * * * *
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: mahertalk@aol.com


Mostly personal

Adelia and I say a sincere "Thank You" to all of you who sent anniversary best wishes to us via comments to my blog post and/or private email. You brightened our special day!

For a short but very pleasant and relaxing celebration, we drove into the Rocky Mountains to the historic mining town of Idaho Springs four a three day retreat. The photos above and to the right were taken from the back balcony of our room. Rafting is a huge Summer sport on the Colorado rivers and we enjoyed waving a greeting to the many rafters who floated down the rapidly flowing, gurgling, sparkling clear waters of aptly named, Clear Creek.

The light colored bank above the waters of Clear Creek is a portion of the mining tailings from the once very productive Argo gold mine and mill just a block up the river from where I stood to take these photos. Most of the rivers and streams in this area still produce limited amounts of gold for modern day gold panners. (Not me - I find my personal efforts are more productive when working in my shop! Besides, that water is cold - most of it comes from melting snow pack and high glaciers!)

Main street (Miner Street) through Idaho Springs historic district. Most of these buildings were built 1880-1895, and nearly every building has a rich and fascinating history. Today the gold produced in this mining area is still plentiful, but it comes not from mountain diggings, but from tourism.

"World's smallest figure"?

One of a kind Ventriloquist Monkey Doll, made by Kevin Detweiler. He is a true Hollow body figure with turning head on a headpost. With an incredible life-like face. Super big mouth and another feature Kevin calls "WIDE EYES". Use the headpost mounted control lever to open his eyes bigger to look "SHOCKED" or "SURPRISED"! And the cute mouth is lever control as well - all controlled on a headstick within his body. He measures 12" tall from head to foot. What a wonderful little fellow to take with you everywhere you go! I believe audiences of all ages will go APE for this guy! For sale now on eBay auction: Click here.

A piece of Detweiler vent history for sale

I wrote earlier about this small 2-D carved vent figure Kevin carved at age 12. We believe it was the first thing with a moving mouth that he built. Of course, there's been thousands since. But there is only one that can the first. Kevin has signed this piece and is offering it for sale on eBay. For further description and to see additional photos, Click Here


Kevin showed me this mechanical parrot he was preparing to convert to a ventriloquist puppet. It's a beautiful bird - very realistic. The complex original electronical mechanics can be seen on the shop bench (lower left corner of the picture). They will be discarded.

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!



What happened!!

This new and unused figure was delivered to the owner with his eyes, eyebrows, and mouth fallen back within the head. So, it came to me for repair. Now I'm quite certain everything was in place when the builder shipped it. However, the inside of the cast head is as glossy smooth as fine china. And the mechanics were mounted to this non-porous surface with hot melt glue. While the bonds probably appeared to be initially solid, nearly all broke free during shipment. All it took, apparently, was some good jostling (something you can expect from most any of the shipping services, unfortunately). One ear had fallen off as well!

Thanks to some time and superior super glue, he's good as new (even better).


This week's bargain book listing

This week's listing of Maher Book Publications is now listed on eBay. The titles include some popular as well as hard-to-find titles including Col. Bill Boley's highly sought after Ventrilo-Magic.
See them all Here.
54 years ago today this couple said "I do" to
one another - and they still do!



From Barb Gregersen:

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.

Shop talk

You've watched him as he developed. This is where we are today. I'm trying to decide how much to trim his facial hair (if any).
Comment on this figure: Clinton, Another masterpiece! The hair is just right to my eyes - even helps to mask the mouth slits. Those bushy eyebrows will be great when he raises them. Perfect for senior audiences to identify with. A whole new school of figures may evolve. An older figure doesn't have to be crotchety and cranky - I love the twinkle in his eye. He'll be lots of fun, and will bring lots of pleasure and wisdom with him wherever he goes. Blessings, John J.


"Made from scratch?"

Question: Is this a new figure from scratch that you are working on?

* * * * * *
Answer: Yes, every facet of this figure is "made from scratch". However, did I personally make this entire figure "from scratch"? Of course not!

In one sense, every vent figure ever built has been "made from scratch". There's not a piece or part of the whole that did not begin first as an idea or inspiration that was given birth to reality through the dedicated research and design efforts of some person(s) somewhere. The only question is the number of hands through which all pieces passed to become the whole.

From another perspective, no figure is ever truly "made from scratch" by one individual. Rather, they are always a result of the efforts of a figure maker who has gathered, shaped, and assembed the raw materials and components produced by others to create his or her own unique finished piece.

Here's the true question: What percentage of time and work of the whole does one individual need to do personally to rightly claim "made from scratch" creative ownership? Who knows. There is no universally accepted standard or formula from which to measure. "Made from scratch" has been and always will be a highly subjective perspective.

And in the end, if one has to ask, does it really matter?


Shop question

Question: I am building a figure (trying). I like your self centering eyes I was wondering if I sent him to you could you install the eyes and winkers? Nick
* * * * * *
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: animatedpuppets@charter.net Send me a picture of the finished figure - I'd love to see what you've built. Clinton

"Dummy Days"

From Kelly Asbury:
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!

Premade dummies?

Question: Are the dummies premade or are they made after an order is placed?
* * * * * *
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

Lighten up, fella!

Question: I've attached a picture of me and my vent figure ---as I've gotten older he has gotten very heavy and hard on my wrist (I'm trying really hard to avoid carpal tunnel). Any ideas to lighten him up? Chere' Mask
* * * * * *
Answer: Unless he has a body made of the molded latex Lovik World used early on (and I doubt that the one you have was made in that manner), there's really no way to make him lighter. Be sure to perform with him sitting on a stand. Let the stand bear his weight. If you raise the stand so his eyes are level (or just slightly lower) than your own, there will also be less stress on your wrist as you manipulate the head.
Note: If, by chance, he does have the latex molded body, I could replace it with a lighter weight torso (using his same legs, arms, and hands) and probably eliminate a couple pounds. A new torso would cost about $100.00.


Luncheon setting

Question: I will be doing a presentation at a Senior Center's special luncheon with about 200 people present. The lady in charge has suggested I begin my program as soon as everyone has been served. My opinion is that a ventriloquist should not perform to an audience who is eating a meal, but should wait until at least the majority are finished or most are nearly finished eating to avoid competition with clacking utensils/plates. And while eating, the audience cannot keep the eye contact with the figure. Am I correct in my thinking, and will it be okay for me to politely inform her of this "ground rule"? Your opinion please. Thank you. Sandi
* * * * *
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

Voice contrast problem

Question: I have been devloping a character for quite a while now. I have his personality and such established. However, I realized while going over a video I used to practice [filming my act and such], our voices are far too much alike. How do you practice making your voice going deeper and higher, so on, so forth? Ty
* * * * *
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.



I don't know who enjoys the Precious Moments Park and Visitor Center (Carthage, MO) more, Adelia or me! Over the years we've visited a half dozen times or more, and we stopped by again last week. Adelia's favorite part of the park is the gift shop with its largest selection of Precious Moments products in the world, some available only at that location. I love the museum. We both enjoy the beautiful grounds and the inspirational chapel where there's always something new. I also noticed there's been a definite effort the past couple years to add more attractions for kids and young families.

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!
"All he needs is a moving mouth!"


Carrying Cases In stock

I now have all three sizes of Custom Carrying Cases back in stock.
Click Here for photos, sizes and prices.
Free shipping to US addresses!

Bargain Book Sale - New listings

On Wednesday's we normally list a selection of books on eBay 99 cent auctions. But due to our travels, we had no listings last week, and this week we got a late start. However, Adelia was able to list a nice selection of Maher publications yesterday and you can See them all here.


First puppet?

Kevin told me he thought this was the first "puppet" he built, probably at age 12 or so. The little fellow under "glass" (plastic) is carved 3-D from wood and has a moving mouth which opens and closes when a string below the picture is pulled. I believe Kevin used a cartoon character from one of Dave Miller's "Ventoons" as his inspiration. For 25 years or so the piece hung in my shop. Recently it has been on the wall of Kevin's shop.


Shop talk

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.
The molded foam rubber puppet heads (right) are operated by inserting the fingers and thumb into holes on the back side of the puppet. (Again,I don't know the story behind the puppets. If you know any of these puppet's history, I'll print it here, and pass it on to Kevin.)
* * * * *
From Philip Defibaugh:
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.


New Puppet ode ~ Newly composed

From the Rockies to north of Superior I came,
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"?)

In my new case I flew safely, but appreciate most
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"!

(Thanks John*, for typing this for me.)

*Canon John Jordan

Dolls . . .

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 . . .

. . . and while Kevin and I discuss the business of vent dolls, Adelia loves on the only real doll in the house!


"whither thou goest..."

When we arrived at our son Kevin's house in Missouri this past Saturday evening, I was surprised to find this Groucho waiting for me. I had upgraded the doll for a customer of mine a couple years ago. Now this same ventriloquist has ordered a larger figure from Kevin, and he gave Kevin this Groucho as partial exchange. Kevin is now auctioning this doll on eBay (See it here) , but he asked that I sign it first, which I gladly did. From my hands in Colorado to my hands in Missouri. I feel like I'm being followed!


Vent Summit - Report

By Sandi Stricker

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.

Four Generations

L-R: Clinton, Kevin, Jordan, and Jaci Detweiler

Detweiler/Detweiler figure

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!



Another one of life's memorable milestones - the photo says it all...

Italy Puppet Ministry

Dear Clinton & Adelia:

I don't know what all I've told you about Leia & Nicolas ( my daughter and husband) and their ministry in Italy, but they are now (along with a team) starting a puppet ministry! Here is a photo she sent of the stage they made out of PVC pipes (I think that's the correct way to say what the pipes are). I'm not sure why she didn't use dark curtain material because I think the bright colors take away from the puppets, but it still looks nice. They don't live far from the center of the Italy earthquake and they've taken several trips there to minister with puppets. I have many puppets from the ministry I did in Harper and I'm going to donate them to their ministry.

I am very excited now to get the (Maher) Vent Course to Leia because she will make an AWESOME ventriloquist and can use it like crazy in Italy! They have nothing like this in the areas they work at, from what I understand. I hope someday she is able to buy a vent figure. One step at a time. I will email you more info about what they are doing with their ministry. Thank you for mailing the Course to Italy! She doesn't know it is coming yet, but I'm going to tell her to look for a surprise from the Littleton, CO! I'll let you know when it finally arrives in Italy! Karen Hostetler
* * * * *
Note: Leia is my first cousin's ganddaughter. I have no idea what cousin relation term I am qualified to call her, but any time a ventriloquist or puppeteer is added to our family tree, you will find me smiling! Clinton


Shop talk

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.


Older Puppet Ode (newly composed)

Onward I go,
North to Ontario.
Flying First Class air;
I'll soon be there.

I'm travelling with no name,
But smiling just the same.
Clinton says I'm one-of-a-kind;
None other like me you will find.

I'm bringing my own case, too.
Cozy and cushioned; totally new!
Gather your audiences, John,
Together we'll take 'em on.

Like you, I'm eager to work for the Master.
Hey, Capt. - Can't you move this plane any faster?


Life's choices...

Well, here it is the first day of the Vent Summit being help right here in Denver for the weekend. Yet Adelia and I are at this hour packing our car with the intention of leaving on a road trip early tomorrow morning.

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!

Free Ventriloquist Shows (Live)!

From Dale VonSeggen:

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!!


Wednesday Book Bargain Sale!

We will not be listing any books for eBay auction this week. (Vacation break.) Hopefully we will be back on the scene next week. Clinton

Retired characters

Question: Clinton, I was reading your blog - and one particular figure stuck out more than others. The one your wife is holding - I am wondering if it is available? Is it one made by you? I would love to get my hands on him! Thanks for your time! Steve

* * * * * *

Answer: That figure is "Willie B. Starr" made by Lovik in the '80s. A variation of "Clipper". By the late '90's that mold had deteriorated beyond usefulness and the mold discarded, which means, of course, the character was permanently retired. As far as I know, that's now true of all the Lovik characters seen in this photo. Clinton


Ball & socket neck

Question: Dear Sir, I am trying to make a vent figure from paper mache. I need some information on Ball & Socket type neck of figure. Will you please provide me this information?
* * * * *
Answer: The Ball and socket neck is a pretty simple concept, actually. The base of the neck is rounded (convex - like ball), and the neck opening on the body is a slightly oversize concave rounded inward depression (like a bowl) into which the neck rests. You can construct it in whatever manner you wish.


Shop talk

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.

Wig material

Question: Mr D: What are the wigs made of? Could we make a wig out of fur fabric?
* * * * * *
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! :-)

Wig question

Question: I read your today's post and found that you make wigs and you have a pattern of wig also. If possible, will you please give me pattern of wig and tell me how to make a wig? It will help me a lot.
* * * * * *
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.

'60s Danny O'Day (Juro)

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.)


Customer Comment:

Dear Mr. Detweiler,

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.
Janet Dearstone

Something to think about

Years ago we knew a Preacher. He made a couple of statements that hold true even in the Vent world. One was, "God majors on preparation and minors on performance". What he was saying was that if you have done all the practice needed to be good at the craft, the performance will come off without a hitch. The other statement he always pounded into the young people "Remember the 4 P's - Poor Preparation = Poor Performance". Even the great Vents like Terry Fater and Jeff Dunham still practice, practice, practice.

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With permission I have reprinted the above "Tip of the Week" from The Dummy Shop . See post below.


July 4, 2009

Independence Day
Celebrate Freedom!


Hannah and helper

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!