Self-Built Pals

Are you one of the many ventriloquists who built their own figure or puppet? If so, I'd like to hear from you.

What inspired you to do so?
How did you go about it?
Challenges and Rewards?
And, a photo of yourself with completed project.
I will set up a permanent page on this blog for your photo and "story" to be shared with all readers. Contact Me.

1 comment:

  1. Variable Controllers

    Got into puppetry and ventriloquy around 1950. Off to Texas on a presidential scholarship performing in 1960, including Ken n' Del which was a kid’s show in 1961, and first Six Flags campus review covered in 1962 by The Today Show. Retired from lost art in 1965 for law school and a practicing attorney until in 2003 when made doll to show grandchildren that which I used to do, and wrote forty puppet plays, the Kriket Skits(c). Took nine months to make figure, one month to write puppet plays. Kriket is made from 20 years cured walnut tree wood for head, lower arms and hands, lower legs and feet, with body made of old weathered redwood lawn furniture. My tools were power drill with coarse sanding disks attachment, a hacksaw, and a gouge

    In drawing on memory half-century back, I remembered the basic controls, but also came up with new ideas called variable controllers, namely with stationary sleeve for rolling eyes and non-stationary sleeve for varying brows and any other symmetrical feature, which I disclosed to figure makers at 2004 convention in Northern KY and as introduced on original Ventriloquist Central website, accessible at new website under 20th Century Ventriloquists, under my name, LeeDean. Also, I used paint idea of mine came up with 1965, using shellac base medium (white Zinsser BIN) mixed with artist oil paints of yellow ochre, raw umber and touch of red, which has very fast drying time of half minute so must wonk fast.

    Kriket controls, 20 plus and counting:
    - head (obvious ball and socket except use tiedown spring from control post to steel hip/elbow rod for side/side motion)
    - mouth (jaw string ball-bearing pulley crafted wood pulley with fishing reel ball-bearing inserted in center}
    - fright wig (simple rod to push wig up, falls by gravity alone)
    - neck (obvious long neck coming up from socket)
    - shoulders (steel rods about 1/4th inch through yoke top bent at right angle and elliptical at top)
    - hips (steel rod about 1/4th inch through each side slat, also used for head tiedown, and door handle at center back of bottom board also for swivel hips and other purposes)
    - arms (steel rods about 1/4th inch through each side slat down through center of lower arms to wood hands) with stops (wood doyle about 1/4th inch stick to yoke bottom)
    - elbows (steel rod about l/4th inch through each side slat, also used for head tiedown)
    - hands (string back of hand up side then through slat at about bottom of yoke to control stick to pull, scratching his behind effect)
    - legs (steel rod about 1/4th inch right angled held in place bottom board top then through board down through center of lower wood legs to feet)
    - knees (string at bottom board back to seat of pants, other end of string to knob or stick to pull from door handle, shaking in his breeches effect)
    - tapping, pigeon-toed and clown-stanced feet (happy accident when bent steel rod legs a little to get latter two, and rods must be removed for tapping feet which is control stick top of bottom board and two strings through to top and back of wood legs).
    - and some other control effects

    Gimmick effects are--
    - wiggling bowtie (control stick to pull string inside and through body midways up to bowtie sewn to collar and plastic piece that comes with new shirt gives all the spring needed)
    - squirting flower (obvious old prank trick)
    - disappearing watch chain (control stick to pull string inside and through body to pocket watch chain, he has hole in pocket effect
    - patting hand on shoulder (fashioned hand connected to steel rod)
    - glowing mouth (led light at back of head toward mouth eerie look)
    - yoyo (wood yoyo with string up sleeve through side slat along bottom of yoke to control stick to pull)