Nearly finished

Here I am, busy rescuing another dummy from the shelves of my storeroom where it has been waiting for nearly four decades! This head is one of Lovik's earliest Storyteller figures from 1974. It was never sold and I just kept it for the day when I could TOTALLY rebuild it...and I recently decided the day had come. I've replaced the headpost and controls, converted it to ball/socket neck, rebuilt the inner mechanics, resculpted the face in the area of cheeks and eyes, added raising and lowering eyebrows, and I'm in the process of giving him a new fresh coat of paint, including the painted eyes. He has the living mouth - with a frowning lip line, one of only a couple Craig did with this frowning look. His new body torso awaits.
I haven't decided on a wig style/color yet. I'm thinking gray hair - if you have suggestions, I'll listen. The finished figure will be for sale - hopefully within just a few days.


40 years between puppets!

There's a 40 years age span between the Ventrilo-ett in my right hand and the Ventrilo-ett in my left hand! (This is not to imply that I, between the two puppets, am age 40 - I should be so lucky!) The Ventrilo-ett wearing the red jacket was made in 1970 and is the only Ventrilo-ett I have in my possession still remaining from that era. It was used several years as a display model, then wrapped and packed in storage until today. Mint condition; works perfectly. So while the vintage puppet could certainly be used for performance, it may have more value as a historical display model. In any case, both of the above puppets can be found for sale on eBay auction now.

For Vintage 1970 Ventrilo-ett Click Here

For the 2010 Ventrilo-ett (black jacket) Click Here

Last One!

This is it - my last available 2010 "Dummy Dollar" Collectible Coin! I've been saving it, but decided why hold it in reserve any longer. ..."better sell it before you lose it", I've told myself. So, with that in mind, I've listed it for sale on eBay auction Here

Like New Knee Pal Body For Sale

I've had to repair enough of the early Lovik molded rigid latex bodies to know that there is someone out there who could put this never used, like new, torso to good use on their Knee Pal figure. Or, simply use it as a second backup body dressed with clothes appropriate for a quick wardrobe change (just move the head to the second body).

This body is designed for the Knee Pal with a "drop through" neck, so be aware of that. The hands are missing, but you can order a pair from Mike Brose. I've listed this body on eBay auction where it is available now. Click Here


Rare Opportunity!

Today I'm offering a new unread copy of VENTRILOQUISM FOR FUN AND PROFIT for sale.
This is the highly regarded 1954 book by ventriloquist Paul Winchell, and this copy is SIGNED AND DATED by the author, dated with the date (1987) when I personally purchased it from him. I've always felt an emotional tie to Winchell's book because it was the source from which I first studied the art (followed immediately by the Maher Course), and the chapters on how to build a dummy were my only resource when I built my very first dummy!

I have no idea of the value of this specific book today, so I've listed it for auction on eBay with an auction starting at 99 cents with free shipping. Click Here

Charlie's new mission

This unused Charlie was generously donated by a blog visitor to the Family Circus ministry of Darrell and Sandy Blatchley. The Blatchleys work in the Philippines, mistering each week to many thousands of pverty stricken street kids and theri family members in the Philippines. They also train workers in various visual arts including ventriloquism, and are always in need of figures for their staff. So this fellow will be welcomed enthusiastically and put to good use.
On his way to the Islands, Charlie traveled through Colorado where I was able to refurbish him inside and out, and even provide him with a new set of clothes. (Top photo.)

Today's drawing

Here's another out of print comedy dialogue book (#21) that was first published in 1974 by Maher Ventriloquist Studios. Multiple authors contributed to this book: Sports Minded by Dave Garrison; Karate by Robert Klase, Jr.; Argument by Tony Molesworth; Relatives by Pamelyn Whipple; Plain Horse Sense by Harry W. Anderson; The Shutter Salesman by Tommy Windsor; Double Vision by Lynn Chapman.

The used copy of this book being awarded today to Mike Horner was provided by Bob Abdou. But if 5 or more of you would like to purchase a new copy, I'm willing to pull the original master from my file and print new copies of NAAV General Dialogue Book #21 for $10 each, postpaid.


Perfect Stocking Stuffers!

Puppets for Pocket or Purse - the perfect give-away anytime of the year but especially so now. I've opened my last box of these cute little guys...I probably have 300 or so as I write this. They are blank on the back side (apply your own address label for advertising purposes if you wish to do so).
You can buy any quantity* direct from me for 75 cents each plus shipping, or purchase on eBay for 99 cents each with free shipping Here . (The final cost is about the same either way.)
*As long as my supply lasts.


For Sale

I completed this figure just today and he is now listed on eBay as a "Buy It Now" auction. For further description and additional photos Click Here

Before and after

" Hi, Clinton. My vent figure arrived today. I want to thank you for a job well done - he looks great." Phil

Written earlier: "I would like to know if you can possibly help me out . I have a vent doll that is in need of some repair. There are cracks on the face chip near his lip, broken rubber band that controls his eyes. I have had this little boy for about twenty years and used to use it quite a bit. I would also like to know if you can tell me who created this doll. I was told that at one time he appeared on the gong show and the person who had him used him in a magic act." Phil
From Clinton: There were no notes, cards markings or signatures on or within the head of this figure, so positive identification of the figure maker is not easy. But I have seen enough of Howard "Howie" Olson's work to be at least 95% certain he was the maker. The photo below shows the head with repairs in progress.


Happy Thanksgiving!

America has set aside this day for a time of giving thanks for all good things. Adelia and I pray your day and every day is filled with such blessings.

You certainly are on our list of reasons for giving thanks and with that in mind I thought it appropriate to give several of our personally signed Maher Studios "World of Thanks" awards today. And the winners are: Kenny Croes, Cherie Self, Harris Deutsch, and Joel Papcun.

Charlie Spoon prize

With today's emphasis on dinners, feasts, food and more, what better time to award this Charlie McCarthy spoon? And the thankful winner is: Neon Lim.

(And I thank Keith Surana for donating this item for today's drawing!)


Just completed!

I built two only Reindeer Ventrio-etts for this season. The puppet features a Velcro attached nose and comes with two: one red (pictured above) and one black, pictured HERE.


Book 17 Prize

Published in 1974, this book contains four original comedy ventriloquist routines written by Fred Maher, founder of Maher School of Ventriloquism (1934). Each routine a full program. This Book has been out of print for many years, but thanks to Bob Abdou I have this copy for give-away. It has been used and the previous owner even marked some of his or her favorite jokes.
V: So you're a football player?
F: Oh sure, I play football.
V: Know much about the game?
F: Know as much as the COACH of our college knows.
V: Oh, now look - that's carrying it a little TOO far.
F: Well, it's the truth.
V: You know as much as the coach! How do you figure that?
F: Well, I do. He said so himself...he said it was IMPOSSIBLE for him to teach me ANYTHING!

Congratulations to Roy Hurlstone, winner of this book in today's drawing.
* * * * *
Mrs. Maher sold Fred's routines for $5-$35 each in the 1960's. That's approximately $35-$250 each in today's dollars! Can you imagine? And this book contains FOUR of those routines: Guys and Dolls (Dating, Marriage, In-laws, etc.); In A Doctor's Office (A complete act packed with laughs); College And Football (College comedy and football frustrations); Country Boy (Comical farm life and country living). I have four NEW MINT copies of this book for sale: $10.00 each postpaid. mahertalk@aol.com

Learning Curve

Question: Just a request for your opinion. I have never used a head on stick figure before. I have some excellent Axtell latex figures that use the old "goose neck" hand movement. I have found this quite easy, but it gets a bit tiresome on the old hand after a while. Is there much of a learning curve with your stick operated ones? And whats my "R.S.I. thumb pain levels" going to be like after a 20 minute session with a head stick? To my mind it looks easier than the hand within the head of the figure. What is your opinion? Dave
* * * * * *
From Mr. D: All I can tell you is that for me personally, my hand gets less tired with the traditional headpost figure. But I've used both types for extended periods of time. I think everyone is individually unique. As are the puppets and figures. For example, some Axtell puppets are easier for me to manipulate than others, and what's easiest for me might not be your first choice. It takes a bit more practice to create life like movements with the head post figure since mechanics are involved. But certainly no great "learning curve" to fear. And you may very well find such a figure less strenuous to operate...it's certainly worth a try.


From Melvin the Ventriloelf

"Clinton, I'm only two weeks old and Santa's making
me work? Isn't that a violation of child labor laws?"
(Melvin is shown here with Montana Santa on their
set at Southlands Town Center, Aurora, Colorado.)

Vintage figure stirs memories

Here's Jack Dill (Mr. Gadget) with the Jerry Mahoney I upgraded for him. I love working on the Jerry's - such a great figure and so many memories since I got my own start in ventriloquism during the Paul Winchell days on TV. Jack even has Jerry outfitted in an original suit!

Before and After

A couple readers kindly chastised me for disassembling my first effort at a snowman Ventrilo-ett (pictured on the left). But I knew I could do better if I started over from "scratch" from the "inside out". You see my second effort above. In my opinion, the head is better proportioned to the body which was my goal. The change is subtle I know but that's the responsibility of a craftsperson. He is for sale. Click Here


Meet Mike

Classic microphone into which Kevin Detweiler installed a moving mouth for ventriloquist Fred Anderson.

Questions? You may email Kevin here: animatedpuppets@charter.net

1960s Maher figure

One of the distinctive features of the figures sculpted by Madeline Maher were their big eyes with black marbles inset as the eye pupil.

This one came in for resanding and repainting.

In 1969 I had a number of photo flyers printed featuring my pal, "Skinny Wyler". I used the flyers as handouts after programs, expecially those programs given in churches. Here's one of the flyers, framed and signed, awarded by drawing today to Philip Grecian.


"No Bully Zone"

By Bob Abdou - mrpuppet

Last year some schools asked me if I had a "Bully show" and I said, "No". Why? As a comedian, I did not want to mix comedy and fun with the topic of Bullying. Well, the summer made me rethink my decision, and I spent over $1000 in NEW puppets, spent over $700 in stage props, spent 2 months finding quality material, spent hours on the phone talking with professionals (like Andy Mrkvicka from Colorado), and spent hours at night writing, writing and rewriting a new script for a "NO Bully" show.

What was the outcome for all this work and money? - My new "No Bully Zone" show is complete, I performed the show 6x in October and another this month. (Not bad for a new show just created during the summer!) I am sure more shows will book once the word gets out. Here is what one school wrote me after a show

"Dear Mr. Puppet, Thank you so very much for coming out to our school! From the moment you walked on stage the students were glued to you! Everyone loved your performance. I have to tell you that I had just returned from a training session on good character and anti-bullying strategies and I was amazed at how perfectly your show addressed all of the key points on anti-bullying. The strategies that you shared with our students are the strategies that we promote and you did it in such an entertaining way that the kids are still talking about you. I highly recommend your show to all elementary schools. The kids were so enthralled with you that they didn't even realize they were learning...but they did, and it shows. Awesome show."

My hard work has paid off. Is this topic easy for others to do? NO, this HOT topic is not to be taken lightly. I have found ways to make this a serious show with a serious message with a twist of humor. (That is my tagline for the show.)


Instant Success

From Canon John Jordan

My special-order ventrillo-ett in his tuxedo arrived safely today, and he's more than I could have wished for. How you built and sent him on his way to me so quickly is amazing. He became an instant hit, as the customs people had written "Puppet" on the box. The receptionist noticed it, and urged me to open the box right at the front desk so she could see it. I did, and found the stick and finger control so immediately familiar-feeling, that he began chatting with the receptionist right away. Before I knew it, there was quite a gathering around, and there I was, in the midst of an impromptu performance with a figure who still didn't have a name! The "oohs and aaahs" all around helped me to wrap up the debut, with the promise that he'd be back to see them all soon. The ventrillo-etts could well have a sub-title - "instant success". My sincere thanks.

Special arms

Customer Comment: Last year I received your figure Luke, I renamed him Woody Timbers. I sure enjoy working with him. Do you make arms that are flesh all the way up? I sometimes use him for recruiting new members into the Marine Corps League. Here in Nevada our Uniforms are short sleeves and it just don't look right with him having to use long sleeve shirts.
* * * * *
From Mr. D: I don't have a good solution to the request for bare arms on the ventriloquist figure. I have seen cases where the cloth sewn portion of the arm has been painted flesh color, but that was not fully satisfactory, in my opinion. Or, the hand is made with an extra long wrist length. Somewhat unnatural - and no wrist joint. I'm wondering if one could find a large doll at a thrift store that we could scavenge a pair of arms from. The hands on dolls are often "babyish", but maybe they could be replaced and just the arm used... If our readers have other suggestions, I would welcome them.
* * * * *
From Steve at The Dummy Shoppe: Go to your local Hobby Lobby. They have a whole section for doll makers. I believe that you could purchase just the arms (maybe even cheaper than thrift stores) and surely in better condition. I've seen all those baby and doll parts several times, but I never had a use for them. That might help you.

Another possibility would be to buy some "Chenile" pipe cleaners. They come in every color in the rainbow, and some of them are pretty bushy. Also they are bendable.
* * * * *
From Philip Gecian:
Maybe arms from a display mannequin.

Try these people. I've bought a couple of heads from them for theatrical prosthetic construction. They're always having sales. http://www.roxydisplayinc.com/


Last one for this season...

I built three of the ELF Ventrilo-etts. Two have been sold and shipped. I have one left for this season. Click Here

Tarsier Ventrilo-ett

The "Tarsier" is a small monkey-like animal that is found only in the Philippines. With this fact of nature in mind, ventriloquist Ony Carcamo sent me the image above along with the following:

"I don't know if this is possible, but can you make me a ventrilo-ett version of a tarsier? I love your ventrilo-ett and I thought of owning one with a very distinct Filipino design, using a tarsier."

Something about the challenge of creating such a unique character intrigued me, so after some thought on how such a real-life animal could be translated into a ventrilo-ett puppet, I accepted the challenge. You see a photo of Ono holding the resulting puppet below:

From Ony: "The Philippine tarsier (endangered species endemic to my country) ventrilo-ett you created for me just arrived today and I must say he looked great! Initially I thought it's impossible but you proved me wrong. The mouth control is smooth as silk, the workmanship is quality all the way. I named him 'Teroy' and I will use him to teach children about ecology, specifically the endangered species of animal. Your interpretation of the tarsier is a cute, wonderful creation! Thanks, Clinton!"

Note: Additional images of the tarsier puppet are posted on my Ventrilo-ett Photo Gallery.

Today's Prize

The above photo of Paul Winchell and Brad Cummings is found on the back cover of Dialogue Magazine, Winter Issue 1994. The front cover featured Walter Walters, Jr., Spotlight ventriloquist for the issue accompanied by a four page article.
Walter Walters, Jr's parents, Walter and Emily Walters, both ventriloquists, were vaudeville headliners during the 1920s.
Also found in this issue of Dialogue is the 1994 Product and Service Directory. Bob Abdou provided this copy of Dialogue for today's give away item. The winner is Mike Palma.


Living Example and Inspiration

Continuing the hospital theme from yesterday, here's a vintage photo of Jimmy Nelson accompanied by Danny O'Day and Farfel entertaining patients with family members and staff at a hospital. I'll guess the year as the 1950's and the location somewhere in the Chicago area? What a great example this gentleman has been, and continues to be, to his fellow ventriloquists - and in so many ways! Be sure to make plans to attend the 2011 Vent Haven ConVention where Jimmy Nelson will be the Guest of Honor.


Nurse on call

While I was creating the special order nurse for Mr. Columb (see post that follows), I decided to make a female nurse Ventrilo-ett puppet as well, and here she is, ready to make her rounds, providing vital services and injecting humor into serious situations. $44.95 each postpaid. Contact Mr. D.



Pearse Columb is in nursing school and sometimes has to endure good natured ribbing from friends who enjoy calling him "Mr. Nurse", "ManNurse", etc. So planning some appropriate rebuttal entertainment, Pearce asked if I could possibly make a "Nurse Rocco" Ventrilo-ett and he sent along the sketch you see at left to be used as my guide. It was an unusual request, but a fun character to build and you see the result below.

Sale! One set only.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, You can welcome a couple new guests to your holiday festivities.
These two Ventrilo-etts were introduced several days ago at $49.95 (man) and $44.95 (woman). They are still available and rather than carry them over until next season, I am offering them as a pair for $75.00 (includes shipping). I will ship priority mail to insure they will not be late for dinner.
(The one set I had, pictured here, has now been SOLD.)


Script writing exercise

Someone sent me an entire series of Teacher/Student jokes a while back. I started to discard them, then realized with a bit of thought they could be rewritten into a comedy vent routine. I started on the project, rewriting the first three jokes on the list:

F: I can't believe teacher gave me a failing grade in World Geography!
V: How did that happen?
F: Each student had to answer just one question.
V: Easy enough.
F: Teacher asked Maria to go to the map and find North America.
V: And was she able to do so?
F: Sure - she pointed it out perfectly. Then it was my turn.
V: You had to locate another continent?
F: No, teacher asked me "Who discovered America"?
V: Did you know the answer?
F: Sure - it was MARIA! (pause) But teacher didn't like my answer.
V: Hmmm. And I'm not sure I like the fact that your knees are dirty.
F: I had to get on the floor to do my multiplication.
V: Why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
F: Teacher told me to do it without using tables. And then teacher asked, "How do you spell 'crocodile?'
V: How do you spell "crocodile"?
F: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'
V: No, that's wrong.
F: Maybe it is wrong, but that's how I spell it.

That's as far as I got with the rewriting. Here's the rest of the jokes if you want to take it from here:

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.
* * * * *
TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
* * * * *
TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.
* * * * *
TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ' I. '
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'
* * * * *
TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand..
* * * * *
TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.
* * * * *
TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
CLYDE : No, sir. It's the same dog.
* * * * *
TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher


The Forgotten Friend

By Craig Schneider

He sits in the corner, and stares into space.
Unable to move; an unchangeable face.
He talks in whispers that none can hear
He cries of loneliness, without shedding a tear.
I remember you; do you remember me?
Times we shared, friends and family.
Remember Passover, that show was the best?
Didn't think you did, and who's that getting dressed?
Is that your new partner; is this my final end?
Is your heart so empty, as to forget an old friend?
That's not a new friend, that's really just you.
The nose, the eyes, and the hair have all changed,
But listen to the voice; it still sounds the same.
He doesn't believe me, there's a tear in your eye.
True friendships never end, old loves never die.
Don't sit in that corner; don't waste in that space.
You're not forgotten my friend, you're as fine as lace!