Insull Gem

Greg Claassen sent me several photos of his new Insull figure, splendidly restored by Alan Semok. The figure was named "Jackson" and was owned by Fred Barlow, aka "The Great Barlow" (seen in the photo at right). Barlow was a magician and ventriloquist. He passed away in 1971 and the age of 100. Greg purchased the figure through a United Kingdom auction house. "Jackson's" extras include weighted side to side eyes, and raising upper lip.

In the photo below you see two figures behind Jackson that are displayed in glass cases. The one on the left is very unique in that the head was cast by the McElroy Brothers, but went unfinished until 2007 when Greg added all the mechanics. "Johnny", (right rear) was fully built by Greg, built from a mold of a McElroy original. That original figure is now in the hands of Bruce and Janice McElroy. It was also the figure featured in Greg's superb book, The McEroy Magic.


  1. Anonymous9/09/2011

    Alan certainly does amazing work!

  2. P.Grecian9/09/2011

    What a great face just FULL of mischief! And I recognized Johnny, in the back, from Greg's book, which I own and have pored over multiple times. Thanks so much for sharing, Clinton.

  3. Yes Al is top notch. He worked painstakingly to get the new leather to lay just right—not an easy task. The paint job is top notch too. The flesh tones are perfect, still retaining the vintage look. If you need an Insull restored, Al is the man!!!!