And the winners are...

In 1977 Maher Studios published a book with instructions for building ventriloquist puppets and figures. The book, Build It Yourself, has been out of print for a number of years, but I recently had occasion to reprint several copies due to a reader request. As I was doing so, I reread a chapter on how to make a glove puppet. Remembering a related post several weeks ago, I will publish here a condensed version of this chapter.

by "Cleo the Enchanted Clown"

Some of you may remember Senor Wences who painted a mouth on his bare hand, added a wig, eyes, and finally a body and there came to life "Johnny"! Jay Marshall came on TV in the '50's with a white glove, two black button eyes, held a pair of long white ears and I saw "Lefty" come to life for the first time.

With practically no investment and only a little bit of work you can come up with a similar, very entertaining bit of business. The illustrations show the process of creating your own glove friend.

The snap or hook eye between thumb and forefinger will aid in control of mouth movement. I begin with a white glove. Holding my palm up I attach the various parts of the face which are held in place with hooks and eyes already attached to the glove and painted white.

I tell a short story during this bit, something to the effect that since I travel a great deal I often get quite lonely, so I've invented an imaginary friend. Most children have an imaginary friend at one time or another. Then I introduce Willie and go into a typical vent routine.

So this presentation is quite simple. Figure 4 shows some minor changes that can be made to alter the character. Try it, you'll like it - and the kids will too!
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From Clinton: I printed five extra copies of Build It Yourself. We've drawn the names (see post below) of the following winners, each to receive one signed copy:
1. (unclaimed), 2. Doc Lowrey, 3. Ron Scherer, 4. (unclaimed), and 5. Donald Woodford.
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Note: Winners of drawings have 14 days to contact me to claim their gift or prize. After that period of time, unclaimed prizes are forfeited, and names of new winners will be drawn at a future date.


  1. Jay Marshall's "Lefty" photo appears in http://www.magicwebchannel.com/hall_marshall.htm

  2. Anonymous1/15/2010


    I may be wrong, but wasn't "build it yourself" one of the booklets in the FANTASTIC set of I think 7 booklets you put out back then called "ventrilo-pedia"?? I had that set & wish I still did! SO much wonderful stuff in those covers!! Any chance of a reprint of ventrilo-pedia?? I'd buy one for SURE!! Keep up the GREAT work!!

  3. You are correct. Two of the 7 books are still in print and available ($5 each), ON STAGE and TIMELY TIPS. To do a short reprint of the others would not be impossible, but at $35.00 for a set of seven, I think I would want order commitments from 10 or more people before I'd want to invest the time and $ to make it happen. I guess you are #1. :-)

  4. Start up an N.A.A.V. International on Mr. D's site, an association of ventriloquists around the world as an informal partnership, joint adventure or joint enterprise for the sole and only purpose of keeping alive the memory of the old N.A.A.V.. You could have membership offered for modest fee to cover cost of reproducing and shipping former books and materials of former, more formal association, such reproductions and other materials to be offered as heretofore as prizes to emailers, on a non-profit, break-even basis, no accounting other than say at end of year a good figure(s) or other paraphernalia given away at fair value stated in advance along with net membership fees to show a zero balance in such association.

  5. I appreciate your suggestions. But at this stage in my retirement I have my hands full with current activities. And I truly believe the NAAV served its purpose for its time in history.