What would you advise?

Okay - I need some advice. I pulled these fellas out of my warehouse over the weekend. Anyone know the details on these dolls (names and manufacturer)? Are they worth my spending the time to restore? Clinton


  1. Anonymous10/27/2009

    I own the middle one, in good shape and operable, including the eyes. Found it in a small town antique shop. Paid, I think, $40 about five years ago.

    Have been trying to find info since. The other two turn up on ebay quite often.

    I have a file on my search. You gave me some advice awhile back...have some pictures from Fred Maher files that you must have sent me, and have something Glen Rappold wrote about them, which may have originally been a response to one of your queries.
    I'll email you what I have. If you find out anything, please let me know, as I'd like to know more about the little fellow here.

    -Philip Grecian

  2. Anonymous10/27/2009

    Hi Clinton,

    You just keep on finding gems in that warehouse- I'd love to take a peek in there someday!

    Looks like what you have there are 3 variations of the Willie Talk/ Dummy Dan vent dolls made from around 1925- the 1940's.

    Those dolls were actually available in 3 sizes...31", 22", and 18". These Willy/Dan dolls were actually the dolls Fred and Madeleine Maher upgraded to create many of the figures in their first catalog. Later, the catalog was upgraded to include the figures Dale, Buster, Bill, Linda, etc.- all of which were upgraded versions of the large model in their original incarnations.

    In fact, I owned one of those original Buster's for a time, and under the wig you could still see the original molded hair. Madeleine (or Fred) would build up the features (noses, cheeks, etc, with plastic wood to creat the characters.

    Clinton, if I were you, I'd go back to the very orignal Maher catalog, and then the later version with Buster, and re-create a couple of those early characters- Maher fans like me would LOVE to see them!

    Very Best Regards,
    Glen Rappold
    San Diego, CA

  3. Anonymous10/27/2009

    By the way, I almost forgot to mention...both Rickie Layne's Velvel, and Bob Evans' Jerry O'Learly were both modified version of the large Willy Talk vent doll. In fact, some of the earlier pics of Rickie Layne show him using the figure before the glass eyes were added and the nose changed!


  4. Anonymous10/27/2009

    I just measured the one I've got. It's 18 inches tall. Eyes and mouth move smoothly.
    He's wearing the same trousers and boot-things as the middle one in your picture. Also has a belt with a metal buckle, a dark blue long-sleeved shirt and a bandana.
    His hands are open and have three molded lines on the back, not unlike Mickey Mouse's gloves but, of course, painted in a fleshtone to match the head.