Horror stories

From Bob Abdou:

I never leave my dummies in the car, even when eating in a restaurant. I would rather have them in a suitcase under the table than worry about my car being broken into.

Lou Zucci once told me that someone stole his dummy from his car, and days later it was found floating in a creek off a bridge. Now that's a sad sight!

I know puppeteers that have had their whole show stolen from their van in the parking lot at a hotel. Ugh, that must be a horrible feeling.
* * * * * *
From Mr. D: About vent horror stories, I've heard dozens. Fires, Floods, Accidents, stolen figures, gnawing pets, angry ex's. What about those of you reading this? Have you had a "horror" experience with your puppet/dummy that you would be willing to share? Contact Mr. D.

On the flip side are the stories I've heard from vents whose puppets have foiled vehicle thefts. For instance, Louie Palermo (of the singing Palermo Brothers) said thieves were preparing to steal their parked van loaded with sound equipment, props,, etc., but turned and ran when they opened one of the cases and saw "Luigi"!

I've always felt my shop's best security system are the dummies hanging around! Now, that's a reassuring feeling!


  1. I awoke one morning when I was twelve to a strange scuffling sound. I sat up and saw my cat pawing at the leg of my dummy, Oscar, who sat with my other puppets along one wall of my room. I picked up my cat so he wouldn't rip up his pants. Then I noticed that Oscar's leg was moving! WHAT THE...?!

    Eventually, I got up the nerve to look closer. My cat liked to bring his catches into the house to show us what a good hunter he was. A lucky, little rabbit had gotten away from him and scurried up Oscar's pants leg.

  2. In 1961 on Ken n' Del TV show, KWTX and KBTX, Waco and Bryan, TX network, I left boy and girl figures on set, walked away momentarily, when studio opened to kids to see show, who ran in and up to set, pulled figures down, both heads came off and fell to concrete floor while kids walked around with headless bodies. Both figures were sent to Frank Marshall for repairs.

  3. ok, I got one
    I was packing my Beatles show to drive to NY. I took my axtell drawing board and placed it on the roof of my car because it packed flat and wanted to put it in last before I leave. Well, I packed the car and drove off. I was on the major highway 1-95 to NY and I noticed in my rear view mirror a black bird fly off my roof and land on the highway. I first thought I hit a bird and it was now dead on the highway. I was wrong, I realize I left my axtell drawing board on the roof of my car and with the car speeding down the highway, it just flew off like a frisbee. I immediately turned my car around and saw that no cars were on the highway. I was glad cause I did not want anything to happen to my board. When I turned around and saw the board lay on the highway, I stopped my car and just before running out of the car to get the board, an 18 wheeler truck zooms by and runs over my board, SPLAT!!.I then ran over to the board and saw it was ok however there was black blood laying on the highway and on my cloth bag that held my board. When I opened up the bag I saw that all my expo 2 pens exploded and all the black felt goo was all over the place. Word to all ventriloquist - The axtell drawing board is so well built, it can withstand an 18 wheeler truck driving over it, the expo 2 pens are another story.

  4. BOB STEININGER7/11/2010

    i have ben doing magic for 40 yrs and i am new into vent i have learned when you connect with your vent partner you become one it is a special bond and thank GOD for people like DR CLINTION DETWEILER so he can operate and fix your partner up

  5. Dear Bob and Vent world.... we at Axtell sincerely apologize for the apparent lack of quality control on the expo 2 markers we sell with our Magic Drawing Board. We had only tested them under a 2 ton pick up. We are not usually so careless...clearly we need to go back to the drawing board on this one.


    Steve Axtell
    Axtell Expressions, Inc.