This is the original pristine Len Insull head (sold by Davenport, London) that I will soon be offering for sale by auction. It was built in the early 60s I believe. For years I kept it on display in our Maher Studios office showcase. It was also for a time on loan for display at the Arvada (CO) Art and Cultural Center. Over the years I've declined several offers from prospective buyers as I would use this very special historical figure as a display piece at various workshops and lectures I presented. But it has now completed that very useful service to me, and has been in storage for the past decade. The time has come for me to find this happy fellow a new owner and home.

This full size head (for a 38"/40" figure) is in perfect working condition. All original, including paint, leather, and hair; the strings are not even soiled! The animations are typical of Insull figures: Lower lip movement, upper lip movement, eyes move center to left, raising eyebrows, left eye winker, right eye winker, and closing eyes. (It does not have flapping ears.)

I intended to sell the head alone, just as I purchased it in 1972, without a body. However, as a result of several reader inquiries, I've decided to build a body for the figure so it can be sold as a complete figure, just as did Fred and Madeleine Maher who imported the Insull heads during the 1950s and early 1960s, fit them with bodies they built, and sold the completed figures through the Maher School of Ventriloquism, Detroit, Michigan. I will build the naturally shaped red rosin paper body torso in much the same manner as I was taught by Madeleine herself.

My construction of a body for this head is well under way. The hands (which I carved) received their first coat of paint today. Torso is nearly complete. I plan to have the full finished figure ready to list for auction in 5-6 days. I'll introduce the auction with full details and photos on this blog.


  1. Clinton: Is this the figure that was sold in the Maher catalogue as 'Terry'. Awesome figure.

  2. Anonymous1/18/2011

    What an awesome figure and how unbelievable that this figure has been unused for all these these years. It must be hard to sell such a figure that has been with you for such a long time. These figures are so recognizable that it would be hard to create a personality for him without a few changes to his looks. I have always loved the Insull figures along with the McElroys and others of that level and skill. I have tried the living mouth etc.. and realize the craftsmaship that go into this style of figure...Love the opportunity to see such a fine figure.. Thx, Dave

  3. It is not the actual figure. But very similar character, yes.