12/31/12

December 31, 2012
 
Thinking back over this year, I sincerely thank you for your support via blog visits, contributions, and comments.  Not only during 2012, but those preceeding years as well.  Daily postings would not have been possible without you - nor would they have purpose.
 
Happy New Year, 2013
Clinton Detweiler 

12/30/12

THROWING ONE'S VOICE
Question:  I have read about practising to attain the "vent " position of the tongue .... one article described it this way ..... "stretch the tongue until it touches the roof of the mouth near the back of the front teeth".  Can you enlighten me about this?   Is it best to practise attaining a nasal voice for ease of attaining the most comfortable method of throwing one's voice?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  The "resonant" voice (preferred by many) is a bit "nasal". (Avoid "falsetto" - my advice)
Truth is, your tongue is required to nothing in ventriloquist speech it doesn't already do at some point during normal speech. The difference is where and how it varies for producing the consonants in a manner that does not require use of the lips.
Proper Ventriloquist speech production is too lengthy to try to explain in a few written words - I suggest a video where you can WATCH, LISTEN and learn.  And you'll discover the difference between "voice throwing" and creating the "voice throwing illusion" as a ventriloquist.  I have a very excellent instructional DVD by a master vent, Mark Wade. SUCCESSFUL VENTRILOQUISM $12.95 Postpaid. (Payable by Paypal, check or money order.)
 
THROAT MOVEMENT
Question:  I am new to ventriloquism ... and wondering how to prevent my throat from moving when I am working with my puppet.  I am certain there must be a way as I have watched other females on You Tube and there appears to be no throat movement. I am planning to go onto children's wards with my puppet so I am very determined to learn but don't want to form bad habits early on.
*  *  *  *  *  *
From Mr.D:  Throat movement is a result of the movement of the tongue.  It is not a vocal issue.  Obviously, the ventriloquist needs an active tongue!   You'll not want to hear this, but I have yet to hear from anyone who has a remedy for actually eliminating throat movement when speaking in either the ventriloquist voice (or normal voice).  I have heard of several ways of trying to hide the movement.  Such as:
1) Keep your head down as much as possible.
2) Wear turtle necks.
3) Grow a beard. 
 
My advice?  Work to prepare and present an act that is highly entertaining.  Give your vent figure "life", comedy and action.  People will be so busy watching your pal's movements and laughing at your act, they won't even notice any throat movement you might have.
 
If anyone reading this has comments or suggestions, they are welcome.

12/29/12

TERRY or JIMMY??

From Steve Engle
 In reference to the Terry-Jimmy "Skinney" conversation, here is a pic you probably have which I found on the inside cover of Fred's Catalog No. 1.  The poster definitely shows the figure in question as Jimmy "Skinney" Dugan, not Terry.
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: Thank you, Steve, for reminding me of one of the places where the name of Fred Maher's first figure can be authenticated as "Jimmy" - not "Terry".  I do still have several lithograph printed 1960's of Catalog No. 1 (like new).  Mrs. Maher was using that edition of the catalog when we purchased Maher School of Ventriloquism in 1969 and we continued to do so during our early years.  $10.00 each PP.

12/28/12

FIGURES FOR SALE

Yes, I continue to build a limited number of figures.  You will find what I have in stock, ready to ship here: www.mrdsfigures.blogspot.com
STRING Question:  You have mentioned several times that you use braided fishing line for your movements. I have searched Wal Mart, sporting goods stores, etc., and have never been able to find anything similar to what you use. Do you buy specific brand, and what is the line strength? I would really like to use this on my own figures, as I have two on which the cord I use is quite frayed.
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: I use Gudebrod (brand) braided Dacron trolling line 130-lb.  I just did a quick search on Amazon, and while I did not find Gudebrod brand, I did find a company selling the 130-lb Dacron braided trolling line.  Also some 200-lb. Black Shanti Braided Dacron Kite Line which I would think would work as well.

Lovik uses a similar line but lighter weight.  Probably 100-lb test.  I prefer the heavier line, but you could try 100-lb:  100LB Super Dyneema Strong Braided Fishing Line, for example. 

Braided line is important for strength, but even more important for use in vent figures because of it's flexibility and non-stretch qualities which makes it easy to use, quiet, and smooth.
*  *  *  *  *  *
From Harry Schwab:  Braided fishing line can be obtained at most fishing stores.  A 150 yard spool of 100 lb test braided fishing line can be obtained from the Bass Pro Shop
on-line store for $24.99 (Power Pro brand).  Fishermen generally use long lengths, so 150 yards is the shortest available. 

If there is a fishing store nearby, they might carry it.  Also fishing stores will put new line on fishing reels, so they might have a spool of 100 lb test braided line open and be willing to sell just a couple of feet. 

12/27/12

2012-C Hall of Fame Coin (Set #3)
PAUL WINCHELL
Paul Winchell (1922 – 2005) was an American ventriloquist, voice actor, comedian, inventor, and humanitarian, whose entertainment career flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1950-1954, he hosted The Paul Winchell Show, which also used two other titles during its prime time run on NBC, The Speidel Show and What's My Name? From 1965-1968, Winchell hosted the children's television series, Winchell-Mahoney Time.

Winchell's best-known ventriloquist dummies were Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. Mahoney was carved by Chicago-based figure maker Frank Marshall.  The original Marshall Jerry Mahoney and one copy of Knucklehead Smiff are in storage at the Smithsonian Institution. The other two figures are in the collection of illusionist David Copperfield.  Winchell's career after 1968, included a great deal of voice acting for animated cartoons, most notably for Disney and Hanna-Barbera.  (From Wikipedia)
*   *   *   *   *
From Mr D: I first begame a Paul Winchell fan via his TV appearances during the 1950s.  When I decided to learn ventriloquism, my first practice sessions came as I spent hours reading and following the directions outlined on the pages of his wonderful book, Ventriloquism For Fun and Profit.  My first vent figure, Woody, was self-built, as I carefully followed Winchell's directions for building a figure (chapters 4-8, pages 57-138).  I practically memorized those pages.  Today, some 50+ years later, the illustrations are still fresh in my mind.   Until a few years prior to his death I enjoyed corresponding with Paul as I purchased quanitities of his book for resale through Maher Studios.
Today the only copy of Ventriloquism From Fun and Profit remaining in my collection is the one that belonged to Madeleine Maher.  It is an original first edition hardcover copy (1954 by Ottenheimer).  This book is as interesting, practical, and useful today as when first published!  It includes 8 pages of priceless photos from Paul's career!  (As a figure maker, my favorites are the pictures of Paul working in his basement workshop.)  The book's dust cover has tattered edges, but the book itself and all 221 pages are in superb condition.  The book is signed inside the cover by Mrs. Maher with her name and address. 

I've held this book for sale in timing with the release of the Paul Winchell Hall of Fame Collector coin.  Both Book and Coins are now listed for sale on eBay.  I have multiple sets of coins for sale, but only the one copy of Ventriloquism For Fun and Profit.  For sale now on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261146284184

12/26/12


FREE COL. BOLEY CD!
ADVANCED VENTRILOQUIST INSTRUCTION
I have a year-end special for those who want to learn from the masters how to perform the "tricks of the trade", such as the Distant Voice, Baby Cry, Voice In A Cup, The Drinking Bit, Fast Echo, Advanced Puppet Manipulation and more.

Both Mark Wade and Col. Bill Boley have produced detailed works explaining and demonstrating Advanced Ventriloquist Techniques.   Listen, Laugh, and Learn to Col. Bill Boley's 45 minute CD.  Watch, Listen and follow along as you view Mark Wade's 55 minute DVD.

Here's the deal - when you purchase the ADVANCED VENTRILOQUISM DVD by Wade ($12.95), I'll send along Col. Bill Boley's CD free of charge!  You can Buy it Now on eBay (fastest and easiest). http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261146200394

 Or order direct from me by email (request: "Free Boley CD Deal").
TEETH
Question:   I was wondering if you could tell me what you use for teeth on your full size figures and where I could get some?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  The short answer: I make them.
Lower teeth are carved (Dremel tools), usually from wood dough or one of the modeling paper clays (Michaels).  Upper teeth vary in the way they are made.  I like white art foam (Michaels), or sometimes I carve them from the same materials as the lower teeth. 

When I started building figures for Maher Studios in 1969, I made upper teeth from the white plastic of a cottage cheese container as I was taught by Mrs. Maher!   But that was in the day when a label could be peeled from the container leaving a curved piece of thin sturdy plastic of solid white color.  Today the container is imprinted so that method would be a bit more challenging.

12/25/12

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012


 This elevated nativity is positioned just outside our kitchen window (above) and my shop window (right).  In fact, when working at the shop workbench, if I lift my head to look out the window, there, at eye level, is the "babe in the manger", a constant reminder of the true "reason for the season".

Adelia and I pray the peace and joy represented by the Christ child, and provided by the Eternal living Christ, is something you experience this season and every day of the New Year that awaits.


12/24/12

Original art 2013 Greeting card by
Jimmy Eisenberg
"The Ventriloquist SideShow"

12/23/12

"Merry Christmas, Clinton, to you and your family.  A BIG thank you for the Maher Course which really got me through re-developing my ventriloquism. I still have it and refer to it often, it will remain a valuable resource for me.  Keep up your blogging!"  Ben Veenkamp
 

12/22/12


12/21/12

READER COMMENT:  I have attached a pic of Fred Maher from 1937. I thought you might find it interesting as I have never seen this one before. A note on the back of the photo, indicates the figure he is using (which I thought was the original Skinny before he purchased the McElroy figure), is listed as "Terry"!
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: I had not seen this picture before, either.  Love it!   Yes, this is Fred with his original figure (which he built, according to a letter I have in my file).  The note on the back of the photo  here refers to the figure as "Terry", but I believe whoever made that note was incorrect (not unusual).  I recall some early Maher papers that refer to this figure as "Jimmy 'Skinny' Dugan".  Just when the name "Jimmy" was dropped, I do not know for fact, but I'm going to guess it was when Fred purchased and began using the McElroy figure.  The figure in this photo is a charming character who now resides in Vent Haven Museum.

12/20/12


LARGE SIZE CASE STICKERS!
Here is a set of 6 Ventriloquist stickers from Animated Puppets! Great for your vent figure suit case inside or out! There are 4 florescent yellow stickers that are 4"x5". The other 2 are neon green 5"x8". Design your little friend's home with his own personal stickers! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-6-Ventriloquist-Doll-Figure-Puppet-Case-Decals-Stickers-/130822956258

Animated Puppets has been creating ventriloquist products for over thirty years.

CHECK OUT ANIMATED PUPPETS BLOG FOR LOTS MORE VENTRILOQUIST ITEMS! http://animatedpuppets.blogspot.com/
"SPECIAL" DELIVERY -
Reader Comment:  Charlie was our mailman back in the 70's. He always made a big deal when the NAAV and Maher envelopes showed up. And when the occasional box came...oh boy!
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: I can relate!  Our mail man (actually a couple different ones over the years) seemed to delight in making deliveries to our house, too. Ventriloquism and dummies seem to have unique and surprising ways to lift the spirits of all, even all on their own!

12/19/12

QUESTION: A few months ago you posted daily bios of each of the coins. I copied and pasted them into a document and will print them out and put them with the display book when I have one. Are you going to do that with the current set. I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates it.
*  *   *   *   *   *
From Mr. D:  I do plan to write a bio for each of the coins produced.  And eventually make them available in booklet form.  I'll get to the 2012-C set soon.

12/18/12


VENTRILOQUIST FIGURE BEAR
Here's a beautiful soft and cuddly little bear! Another one of a kind creations by Kevin Detweiler, owner of Animated Puppets. Teddy is just like a professional vent figure with a hollow body and headstick (turn head full circle, tilt, nod etc). Teddy is about the size of a 24" vent doll. Kids of all ages will fall in love with Teddy!   More photos on the eBay listing:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ventriloquist-Doll-Figure-Bear-SEE-PICS-/130822074274?pt=US_Dolls_Bears_Toys&hash=item1e759a6fa2
I DID A DOUBLETAKE when I first saw this 1979 photo of Tom Ladshaw with  his figure, "Roosevelt". Roosevelt was stolen later that same year and never recovered.   I have taken a number of figurse in trade over the years - what were the chances the figure I recently refurbished (below) could be the lost figure?  I was hopeful, but at second glance I could see while very similar, they were not one and the same.

About Roosevelt, Tom wrote:
" I actually found  'Roosevelt' originally through a Newsy Vents ad. Bought him from a fellow in Illinois, I believe. I only had him a relatively short time, but he was always a hit with the audiences.
The one you had at auction looks very similar... I'm sure he is probably the same model as Roosevelt (I haven't bothered to go check, but I doubt Craig Lovik offered much of a range of African-American figures!)."
Tom's correct.  Only a handful of this character was produced.  It's only appropriate that "Roosevelt II" is now owned by Tom!

 

12/17/12

COIN COMMENTS
I just wanted to let you know my books and coins came today! Thank you so much! The '12-C coins are terrific!  Every ventriloquist who  is serious about the art should have a set. What memorabilia and  heirlooms they will make. You are truly outdoing yourself. I look  forward to someday having a complete set. (Just how many are you  planning, any way?) I especially look forward to the Detweiler coin.  (Face it Clinton, You HAVE to do one. Everyone wants you to and all  want one. You're not going to let your "fans" down, are you? :-)   Bill Matthews
*  *  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I sincerely appreciate your enthusiastic response to the Hall of Fame coins, Bill.  Thank you for your support of the project!  As for a "Detweiler" coin ... well, perhaps this next year (2013) it may come to pass.   But in the meantime I have two 2013 sets planned (Feb. and June). However it all works out, you'll read it here first!

12/16/12

VENTRILOQUISM
From Sgt. Herb Clark's 15 page manual on how and why a person should become a ventriloquist with emphasis on the Christian experience.

What does it take to be a ventriloquist?  DESIRE - PURPOSE

D- Discipline
E- Enthusiasm
S- Sharing
I- Ingredients
R-Ready
E-Education

P-Prepare
U-Use
R-Reason
P-Practice
O-Open
S-Speech
E-Excellence

Sgt. Clark briefly explains the importance of all the above.  Plus he lists 20 pointers to consider while practicing and a second set of 21 pointers for Performance Preparation.  He has advice on keeping a Joke File and more.  I have a feeling this may have been prepared as an extensive lecture notes handout, but have no way of knowing for certain.  There is no date of publication.  8.5" X 11"; 15 pages, staple in the upper left corner.  Excellent condition - no markings.
For sale here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261142686888


12/15/12

Hello Clinton,
                  Many thanks for another year of your great blog ...
most inspiring on more than one level, may I be the the first on your
page to wish you and yours and all the readers of Mr. D's page a very Happy
Christmas.
  Very best wishes to all from Dave in the UK.

12/14/12

From Dave Miller
I'm converting two Charlie's that I have had laying around for years. Changing them from dolls into dummies.
I keep asking myself,  "How would Clinton do this, how would Clinton do that", and I keep getting the same answer..."Clinton would know what he was doing, DUMMY!".
I'm going to stop asking myself questions, I don't like the answers and I don't like the name calling*  *  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: 
Thanks for the smile - your questions sound familiar, only I usually find myself saying, "How am I going to do this, dummy?" 
 
In the end, if it works, it was done correctly!
"Ignorance is bliss"
 

12/13/12

FROM ANIMATED PUPPETS
GET HIM IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

We're sure you have heard of "King King" and "Donkey Kong". But have you heard of "Killer King"!? This is our newest one of a kind creation from Animated Puppets! He may be small in size, but he's bigger than King Kong when it comes to adorable. So cute everyone wants to hold him! What a "Killer"!

Killer only stands 10" tall, but any age can work him. He's just like a true ventriloquist figure, with a hollow body and headstick, turn head full circle, tilt, nod, etc. Control on the headstick which operates his mouth. You have this one opportunity to add this cute, adorable, lovable, awesome gorilla to your family! He even comes with his own carrying case. Packs small but HUGE in action! Your audience will go "APE"! So "SWING" on line now and bid! Don't "MONKEY" around you might miss out!  (Made by Kevin Detweiler)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ventriloquist-Doll-Figure-Gorilla-Monkey-SEE-PICS-Made-By-DETWEILER-/130818692992
DESK DRAWER DISCOVERY
When I come across a smaller miscellaneous ventriloquist related item I want to keep but I'm not sure where to put it, I often put it into one of my desk drawers.  I've been doing that for so many years, even I have forgotten exactly what's in these drawers, but it's time to take a look and then find a new home for some of these things! 

This book, for example.  LET'S TALK TURKEY is a collection of 20 ventriloquist scripts plus a six chapters on entertaining children.  Self-published in 1993 by Paul Romhany of New Zealand, who at the time of publication had been entertaining professionally as a comedy magician and ventriloquist for  24 years.   I have only this one copy (like new!).  EbAY: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290829092592

12/12/12

NUMBERS
12-12-12
Looking at today's very unique date brings to mind another pair of numbers
that also bring a smile to my face:  7-7
Seven years and seven months ago I began my daily ventriloquist blog*.
I thought it was temporary for those who were then members of the NAAV.
That organization is now history and I'm still typing - what's the deal?
(Maybe I should check the Myan calender ...) 
 
Mr. D.  (Clinton Detweiler)
mahertalk@aol.com

* I've actually had two blogs. First "Newsy Vents", beginning in May, 2005. Then January 2009 I switched Mr. D's Journal 2009.   With only rare misses, I've published daily on both.

 Thank YOU for the support of your visits.  Without you I would just be typing to myself.

12/11/12

SURROUNDED!
And feeling right at home.
To see any figures I might have complete and for sale
at this time, go to www.mrdsfigures.blogspot.com
Also check for figures that appear on my eBay
auctions periodically.  My seller ID: Parke62.

12/10/12

TOUCH UP PAINT?
Question:   My main Tim Cowles figure has lost some paint from his hands - not chipped, just rubbed away near the fingers, and I wanted to know about repainting or a touch-up paint job. Not many people would notice the paint being rubbed-off unless they were very close, but I can.  What sort of paint would I use for the hands and what sort of mixture of colours would I need to get the flesh tone and also the finger nails. Can I buy some mixed paint from you or can you send me some of your paints to mix-up.
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  Mixing paint colors to match for touch up is sometimes more difficult (for me) than doing a complete repaint.  Which is not to say the hands should be repainted.  From what you describe, touch up is all that is needed.  But it would be impossible for me to send you matching paint without having the hands in my hands to mix a true color match.

If Tim uses a standard lot of paint with pre-mixed color for his prime coat (before any shading) he might be able to send you a small bit of paint for touch up.  Frankly, my experience has been that this is seldom practical.  (Personally, I do not work from a per-mix - I hand mix all paints individually for each and every figure.)

For touch up, I purchase the small bottles of acrylic paints found in the art and craft departments of our local stores.  Usually Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  Wal-Mart carries such paints but in more limited color selections.  I don't know what stores you have in Australia, but I'm sure similar paints are available.  I work from a dozen or so colors, mixing as needed, trial and error, to get the best match, remembering the true color is only seen when the paint has dried.

If you know an art student, hobbyist (or professional) artist, they can very likely touch up the finger tip areas of your figure's hands.  A light final protective coat of some clear, colorless "spray-on"  product (matte finish) will make the paint more durable.  Again, such products are found in the art department of your local or on-line suppliers.

12/9/12

LITTLE JEFF DUMMY
"Big Jeff" has taken the country by storm and now "Little Jeff" is following those same footsteps!   Here's another source for "Little Jeff", Lee Cornell's Ventriloquism 101.

 
If you would like to know the story behind "Little Jeff" as well as see a demonstration of him with all the great items that are included in the package, Lee  has created a video you will want to see.  You'll find the video at the same address. 
AF CHAPLAIN BRINGS PUPPETS TO LIFE
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Capt.) Randy Croft, 460th Space Wing chaplain, has practiced ventriloquism since the third grade and has since put on nearly 300 performances. He performed everywhere from Christmas parties and conventions to drug-free messages in schools.
Read the full story: http://www.buckley.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123328850
"FATHER MIKE"
Clinton:  You asked to see your figure once he was properly dressed in his "Father Mike" costume. Thanks for your original creation, he has been "converted!" Ha-Ha!   Father Michael Patrick Flanagan
Father Mike (Irish Priest) is on the left and
 Father Guido (Italian Priest) is on the right.








.

12/8/12

READER COMMENTS:
Mr. Detweiler.

Just a line to commend you not only for your many talents but for keeping alive the interest in ventriloquism that inspired a generation and many more.

In my case, I was initially inspired by ventriloquists that I had managed to see on TV, primarily Ed Sullivan. This was at a time when TV was small, square shaped, black and white and often fuzzy. You may recall Ricky Layne and 'Velva'. I had heard of Paul Winchell --of course --but, in my case had never seen a Paul Winchell 'telecast' as I lived in a area which did not have a TV outlet that was affiliated with the network that Winchell was on. Though I had read Winchell's book [Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit], I had, at that time, never seen Winchell perform. Like many another young ventriloquist, my first 'figure' was a store-bought Jerry Mahoney replica.

A bit later, I saw an advertisement for the Maher studios. I was determined to take the course. With various odd-jobs, managed to save up enough money to take the complete Fred Maher course which --at the time --cost me $59.95. It was money that I had managed to earn and save by selling fresh tomatoes door to door in my own neighborhood and all over town. These were tomatoes that I had picked myself thus allowing me a small 'profit'.

To make a long story short, if it had not been for Winchell and the Maher course that I was able to save up enough money to 'take', I might never have embarked upon a radio/TV career as a DJ/newscaster/commentator that would eventually take me out of my small hometown in West Texas to major markets to include Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas. In almost every case, I was complimented for my enunciation, pronunciation and my voice. In every case, I must credit my mentors --Winchell and Maher. Without those influences, I might never have visited --eventually -- every major city in the U.S. and some in Europe as a result of a career that --in retrospect --seems like a dream come true. In fact --it was!

Sincerely and with many, many thanks,
Len Hart
THE "PERFECT" FIGURE
Reader Comment: Over the years as I bounced from figure to figure.  Now that I'm in my late 50s, I realize that moving from figure to figure to figure is (1) a rich man's game, and (2) that it's best to use ONE figure while getting back into the ventriloquial groove and working on character and technique as opposed to finding the perfect figure.  RM
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:
 
Thanks for sharing the account of your experience searching for just the right character. I do agree that when you have found one you somehow identify with, it is better to stay with that character for performance until his character and personality are well established.
I think all "active" ventriloquists go through a similar process. But in the beginning it is important to use and perform with whatever character you have in hand. The sad situation I have observed is when a vent delays performing while searching month after month, year after year, for the "perfect" character.  The result is their career never gets off the ground, even as a hobby. I've seen that happen more than once, and I was unable to get the individual to see the importance of starting with what they had and then experience the challenge and thrill of seeing where it led.
 
 
Question:  Can you put a working mouth on dummy head?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I  do install moving mouths on the heads of vent figures all the time.  But I do not offer that service for the heads provided by others.  My son, could perhaps help you.  You can contact Kevin Detweiler at animatedpuppets@charter.net. 

12/7/12

Customer Comment

MY PAL EVAN

From Wilson Kindred:

Evan is home! He looks wonderful! You certainly do amazing work!

Did you add color to his face, or is it just our imaginations? His cheeks look so much more alive. They have such great skin tone. Did you trim his hair? It looks a lot neater and more trim than before.  We think that you must have done this for us.  The skin tone of his hands is so perfect. They match mine.You did such an awesome job. We love the cuticles. Even the way that you packaged him for the trip home, was done so professionally! He was so well protected for the trip!

Evan says that you are the world's greatest doctor. He also says that you are his pal, and that he misses you already.

Thank you so much for doing such a fabulous job, Mr. D. thank you for all of the extras.  WK

*  *  *  * *
From Mr. D:  Thank you for your very encouraging comments! I'm pleased to know you are pleased with Evan's appearance.  He and I agreed that he was ready for another tour of duty, but it's good to know you think so, too!
I did clean his face, and that was primarily responsible for his brighter and fresher appearance. The face of any figure has a tendency to become soiled through handling.  I did make some minor paint touch up and added a very light clear protective finish coat on a couple areas.
Just minor trim on the hair, but tiny details do make a difference.
I've repaired, repainted, packed and shipped literally thousands of figures, but I still try to take great care with each figure, treating each one as if it were my own.
I'm happy I could help.
VENTRILOQUISM THE EASY WAY - (Much MORE than instruction!)
By TOMMY WINDSOR
Published 1978 by Lee Jacobs Productions.  The author explains how to be a ventriloquist, yes, but he has a great deal of added history, comments, tips, photos and more, including a comedy dialogue.

A couple unique tips from page 18:
" Be sure to take good care of your teeth all your life.  If and when you lose them, you will not be as good a vent as you were."

"Because of troubles with my teeth, I have only performed vent for kids the past few years.  Now I may have to quit entirely because I have emphysema now.  This reminds me to mention that it would be better for you if you don't ever smoke."

We sold this book for several years at Maher Studios.  It was one of my favorites, partially I suppose, because Tommy was one of my favorite people!

This book is now for sale on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136951372
THE VENTRILOQUIST GOLDMINE - 15 COMEDY ROUTINES (DIALOGUES)
EDITED BY the BERLIN BROS. (Greg and Walt) 1976
Fifteen comedy dialogues  (including one Christmas routine ) collected from issues of the Vent-O-Gram newsletter.  eBay:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290825025230

12/6/12

LIGHT UP YOUR WORLD PUPPET!
From Animated Puppets:
Let this little fellow "Light up your World". Yes, this is a true Ventriloquist figure with a turning head, moving mouth, and what we call, wide eyes. New, just completed in our shop! In time for Christmas or your next program! He is a talking "Lamp Post" we call home "LP". Watch the face of your audience light up when LP comes to life! LP even comes with his own tripod Ventriloquist stand. His controls are concealed inside the base where he stands. You can also remove LP and use the stand for other puppets or figures. Right now he is a seasonal piece but does not have to be. Change his hat, take off the gifts and he can become an anytime of the year talking prop. This is truly a unique one of a kind creation! LP stands 30" (not including base). And one more added feature.. What would a Lamp Post be if it doesn't light up.. So LP can shine through his head. Yes he lights up! (see eBay pics). Use your creativity and let this guy light up your life!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ventriloquist-Doll-Figure-Lamp-Post-SEE-PICS-/130815389798?pt=US_Dolls_Bears_Toys&hash=item1e75347066

THIS "CLIPPER" FIGURE is "cute as a bug", refurbished, repainted, and rewigged - better than new! 

NOW FOR SALE on eBay:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261138795856

I HAD AN INQUIRY asking if I had an African American figure for sale.  I do have this early Knee Pal (with "living mouth") 38", refurbished, freshly repainted and ready for the show. 

FOR SALE NOW:  See more photos on the eBay listing now:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261138789037
Mark Wade Writes:

TRAVEL PLANS NEED TO WORKED OUT WHEN PERFORMING

Has this happened to you?  You get a show scheduled, but somehow on the day of the show you are running behind, need gas in the car, and are not quite sure what route to take to make it to your date.  I think this has happened to all seasoned performers at one time or another.  Here's what I learned about how to overcome some of this..and it's all practical advice, but can make a big difference.

One of the FIRST things I learned when starting out doing library or school shows is to GAS UP THE CAR THE NIGHT BEFORE!  That means before you go home, or to your hotel room find a gas station and fill up the gas tank.  I learned about this from Dick Oslund, a premier kidshow magician who played the school market for many years.  If you gas up before you have to leave, you don't have to take precious time out of your already late schedule to make the show date! Makes good sense to me !..and I've made this my golden rule.

Also do a Mapquest route or run the route through your GPS to see how long it will take to get to the date and if there is any road construction or detours on this route.  Here again our new technology helps in this area. Whatever time it takes to get to your show, add an additional 15 or 20 minutes on top of it.  You can use this time to stop for coffee, or make a bathroom break, or make up for oversleeping.

I also plan to be at the school or library at least 45 minutes ahead.  I don't actually need that much setup time, but I do it to calm the nerves of the principal or librarians.  You'd be surprised how many performers don't show up on time, or don't show up at all!  This way everyone is calm.

Remember, all these little things are a reflection on YOU and your show. Give them the BEST you can in all ways that  you can!!

You can contact me at:  markwade@kidshowvent.com
CLASS ACT!  Ruby, (in the photo with "Curley" the recently restored vintage John Turner figure by Kevin Detweiler), is a former Israeli military armored tank mechanic who helps me maintain my vintage '77 Mercedes Benz. Now 'ol "Curley" has one of his own too!  Kenny Warren
SMITHSONIAN Dec. 1993
This is the issue with 10 pages feature article about ventriloquists and ventriloquism.  Beautiful photos including a cover photo of Charlie worthy of framing!   I have two copies of this prized magazine remaining in my collection.  One I have sent to our son; the other can be yours for the winning bid: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136861643

12/5/12

THE GIFT OF A LIFETIME
If this true vent-reflection by Al Getler doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, nothing will:  http://algetler.com/giving-the-gift-of-a-lifetime/
ConVENTion 2013  
Written by Mark Wade
ConVENTion 2013 PLANS WELL UNDERWAY!

The plans are almost complete for the upcoming Vent Haven ConVENTion 2013.
Dates are July 17-20, 2013 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott in Hebron, KY. The Marriott got rave reviews last year and we will be joining them again this year to make this the BEST ConVENTion ever!

Not only do we have an all-star lineup of talent, we will be making this "The Year Of Maher: Celebrating Clinton and Adelia Detweiler". Some of the top talent booked already includes: Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator, Paul Zerdin from England, John Pizzi, Sammy King and many more who we will be talking about in our next update.  http://www.venthaven.com/
*  *  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: When Mark called to tell of his "Year of Maher" plans for the 2013 ConVENTion, we were speechless!  Wow, what an unbelievable honor!   I feel the Maher's would be amazed, humbled and pleased; I know we are.   It has been the people we have met and the friends we have made through Maher Studios that have truly made this journey remarkable.   You have been a part of this expereince - Adelia and I hope to see you there so we can thank you in person.
MISTAKE?
I think that you made an error in filling my order. You sent a complete set (2012 - A: Edger Bergen, Senor Wences, Fred Maher, Jimmy Nelson) with my order for the Dansco Album. They had already been put into the album. Wilson Kindred
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  No, that was not a mistake. I always include set #1 (2012-A) free with the Dansco albums.  The mistake was when I ordered twice as many coins as needed for that first set.  My hopes proved to be high; now they are more realistic, so I now order fewer coins produced.  :-)  Thus, when someone orders the $30.00 Dansco Album for the storage, protection, and display of their Hall of Fame coins (highly recommended), they receive a free 2012-A set of coins ($25.00 value).  Not a bad deal!  (Hint: Christmas is coming!)

12/4/12

 MORE COIN SET #3 (2012-C) COMMENTS:
I added the new coins to my display case and I have to thank you again for creating such a fun and unique way to collect ventriloquial history! The coins look so good on the wall in my "puppet studio" in my house.Thanks for all you have done for the art of ventriloquism. You are an inspiration! Lisa Laird
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I want to say that the third sets of coins arrived and I am thrilled again! Thank you for keeping up the quality and frequency of the issues. The coins are not only a wonderful tribute to the ventriloquists you honor, but will become highly collectible in years to come by the next generation of our art. Thank you for all you continue to do in promoting ventriloquism.  Tom Crowl
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I put all 3 framed sets on the wall.  All 3 sets are top Quality and first class. I am interested in the next set. Who will be on them? Can't wait. Great tribute to the men and women who devoted so much to the Vent world, Congradulations to all. I hope some day you will humble your self and add yourself to the list of names. Great Job and great collectible value.  I highly recomend these couns to vent collectors, coin collecters and anyone who just enjoys venteriloquism as well as collecting something that is sure to go up in value. Amazing.   Bill Duff
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I recieved my set . They are beautiful. This is a great tribute to those Ventriloquists, both past and present. They would make a great addition to any Ventriloquist collection. A true collectable that is priced right and will only appreciate in value. Thank you for all you do for this art!  Charles Lyons
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I reveived my Ventriloquist's Hall Of Fame coins ('2012-C'), today. They are so beautiful! I know that this sounds redundant, but they are more beautiful than I thought that they would be; as is the coin album. I am so glad that I ordered it, as well. I had considered other methods to store these coins; but I am so happy that I decided to order the album form you. this is definitely the way to go.  Thank you so much for this great project that you have commited to with such a wonderful passion for your (our) art! Not only are these coins and the album beautiful beyond description; but, I believe they will become very desirable among coin collectors in general, some day.  Wilson Kindred
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The third set of Hall of Fame Coins arrived today, and are beautiful. You set the bar high, and always meet the challenge. Thank you and congratulations on another triumph. I hope the ventriloquists of the world will continue to support you in this venture, and that we may be able to order set #4 soon. Along with so many others, I'm anxious to see the Clinton and Adelia coin in the near future. It will be the focal point of the entire collection. Canon John Jordan
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From Mr. D: Thanks to all who have made this project an ongoing success through the purchase of coin sets.  Do you have yours?

 

12/2/12

TWO-IN-ONE!(?)

 This very nice hand carved basswood 38" figure is now for sale on eBay.  It has the usual animated features (head, mouth, and eyes) plus raising eyebrows, winker, and blinkers. 

It is made up as a male character (left), but I had a female wig that fit perfectly when slipped over the boy's wig (see below) so I plan to include that wig as well.  It's a one-of-a-kind custom character that can become TWO (for the price of one!).  Nice.

See more photos and bid here:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136874000
ORIGINAL AND THE ONLY COLLECTION OF THESE ITEMS IN EXISTENCE!  FOR SALE!
ORIGINAL FRED MAHER 16 PAGE VENTRILOQUIST FIGURE CATALOG NO. 1
WITH EIGHT ORIGINAL PHOTO BOARDS!
1950? (Perhaps earlier - I'm not certain of the exact year this first edition was produced and printed.)

Several editions of this catalog were produced, but this first 16 page edition was the only one with the individual photos of the 12 dummies being offered: #100 Tommy, #101 Sammy, #102 Susie, #103 Nanette, #104 Tiny, #201 Paul, #202 Chuck, #203 Harry, #204 Jimmie, #205 Eddie, #206 Stevie, and #207 Little Brown Bomber!  This was the first series of figures offered by the Fred Maher School of Ventriloquism, Detroit (Grosse Point Farms), Michigan! This Catalog is in very good condition. (The printed address in Grosse Pointe Farms has been inked over, but is still readable under the rubber stamped Detroit address.  Mrs. Maher likely made the address changes herself as she stopped using her home address on mailings after Fred died in 1952.) 
 
But, what makes this auction extremely rare, is the fact that I am including eight original photo boards of several figures pictured in the catalog! These are original photos - the only ones that still exist! One-of-a-kind historical collectible! The photos have all the handwritten designating markings, art touchup, some still with protective tissue overlay. The 7" x 11"photo boards are for figures: #100, #103, #202, #204 (two views), #206, and #207 (two views). Quite excellent condition for what they are!  And they are the only ones that exist!

If you are an historian, collector, or would just like to own a unique piece of ventriloquist history, don't let this collection get away.  There will be no second chance!  (See more pictures on my eBay listing):
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136423544

THANKFULNESS -
Mr. Puppet at Plymouth Church (Ft. Wayne, IN) 11/22/12.  Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SvlQ2tV0pg&feature=plcp
*  *   *  *  *
PS From Mr. D: I am thankful to each of you who visit this blog; you are an encouragement and blessing to me every day!

12/1/12

COL. BILL BOLEY DIALOG BOOKS
Large 8.5" x 11" Original Edition Copies For Sale:

Book 1 - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136182902

Book 2 - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136185260

Book 3 - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261136186584
BOOKSTORE FUTURE?
Question:  I saw that the Maher library is on closeout and I wanted to check with you if this is the last of these books. Once they are gone there will be no more?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I am getting out of the on going book business, yes. I'm moving all inventory from my last rental unit where my book supply was housed.  From time to time I may reprint limited editions of best sellers and announce their availability on this blog, but until then, a good number of the titles are already being produced and sold by special arrangement with www.creativemin.com
 
You will also find a number of excellent ventriloquist themed books available from other dealers.  See my bookstore page for several suggestions:  www.maherbookstore.blogspot.com

11/30/12

VENTRILOQUIST CRITICS
Question: I have been getting the sense that ventriloquism is not a properly regarded art form. I have read some comments by people on blogs, etc., are downright rude about ventriloquism/ ventriloquist. Why is that? While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, I would challenge those who speak or write disparagingly about ventriloquism to just try it - it's not that easy.  Anne
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  You don't have to go far to find critics of most any visual art form. Music, written words, on stage performance, screen, theater, painting - you name it. Every performance; every performer will receive "love/hate" reviews. Of course, it doesn't end with the arts. The same is true of religion, sports, politics, medicine... some people are sincere with their criticism, some are jealous, some are spurred by ego, etc.
Don't waste time and worry over the nay-sayers. Give of your time and talent to those who enjoy your talent and effort and receive them with a smile. You'll be blessed.

11/29/12

GETTING STARTED ON A BUDGET  
Question:  I have a twelve year old who thinks he would enjoy this hobby but I am reluctant to pay $350 for the figure he would like. Can you tell me a place where I could get a figure with all the head pieces that move for less?  Thanks so much, Amy
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: There are not a lot of options for you, but check out this ventriloquist doll, new to the market just in time for the holidays:  http://gogproductions.com/puppets-figures?product_id=416
BIG, FRAMED BERGEN and McCARTHY AD!
One of my favorite Bergen/McCarthy ads. Charlie says, "On my allowance, Bergen, I gotta be a Bulbsnatcher!" Of course, Bergen has something to say about that and his clever response along with Charlie's bright retorts can be read in the upper right corner of the ad. This is the actual magazine page - not a copy.  From Look magazine, I believe.  1950?  Entertaining piece of ventriloquist entertainment history.  What a nice gift for the ventriloquist in your life (or the one in your mirror!).  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290823236391
ADDING EYES TO DANNY
Question:   I have two Dannys I into which I want to put moving eyes. I have a few questions of you if you don’t mind sharing some of your trade secrets.of the head? Second, What size eyes do you use for these 30” figures and would you share your source for the eyes? Fourth question, when painting the heads do you have to prepare them in any way before painting? If this is too much trouble please let me know.  Ron
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  1) I'm one of the few figuremakers who suspends the eyes from a block of wood mounted over the eyes (rather than resting the eyes on a shelf under the eye balls).  Either way is fine, but after 40+ years and thousands of eye installations, overhead is easy for me to do - no reason to change.  I do a "rough fit" with wooden support block (usually made of 3/4" white pine).  I then fit and mount the eyes to this block while it is still unmounted and handheld in position.  After both eyes are positioned and mounted onto the block of wood, I then use auto body filler on the ends of the wooden mounting block for a perfect fit to the inside contours of the head.  After the filler sets up, I "pop" the entire unit free and then use gap filling "super glue" to re-bond the mounting block permanently in place.

2) I use 26mm eyes on Danny, 3) purchased from Dollspart Supply http://www.dollspart.com/ The halves of the plastic eyes have a tendency to come apart when being drilled for the axle, so I first glue the halves together with "super glue" before drilling.

4) Preparing the head for paint (acrylic) is not that much different than painting most other types of surfaces.  It must be clean and dry.  I often buff with a very fine finish sandpaper before painting, but if the head is clean and dry, you can skip the sanding.  (I have a "Sand-O-Flex" which makes the sanding of a figure's head fast and easy.)

11/28/12

After!
(Shown with eyebrows both raised)
FOR SALE:  REFURBISHED VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY HEAD: MOVING EYES; RAISING EYEBROWS, LIVING MOUTH, WIGGLING EARS!  (HEAD ONLY for 38" figure):

Before
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261134699219

11/26/12

SET #3 (2012-C) COIN COMMENTS:

I got the third coin set yesterday and they are beautiful!!  Thank you so much!!  I was also excited to see the fourth coin set that will be in production soon.  This is going to be something that will definitely be a keepsake for vent collectors!  Mark Wade
*  *  *  *  *
I got my set of coins yesterday and they are fantastic!! Thank you again for all you have done for the art ventriloquism, and taking on this project. I look forward to the next set. Thank you again my friend!!   Jim Haile
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I was asked to participate in National adoption Day with my puppets at the court house.   It is a huge celebration. A few puppets and I entertained during the morning and I handed out some 2 cent coins - everyone thought that was just the greatest thing..such a hit!  P.S. I received the Dansco Album you sent me yesterday. Wow. this is a nice book. Much nicer than anything I had imagined!  All the coins look beautiful in there! Thank you for sending it! I've added both two cent and the 5 and 7 dollar coins in there as well..so very cool!  Andy Mrkvicka
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BIll would have been elated with the coin. Estatic that he is in the set with Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis and Dick Weston. It just brings a tear to my eyes. Boy, he would have been so happy...I am.  Charlene Boley
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I received my coins today and as usual, the are FANTASTIC!  I have been collecting all the coins you have offered and look forward to the day I can order the next set.  Please keep this project going.
Charles Prouty
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I do have several extra of Hall of Fame coin set #3 - If you would like to order a set, send me a note.  The honorees are: Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis, Col. Bill Boley, and Dick Weston




11/25/12

UPDATE!
About the 50 Book Bargain Boxes for $22.50 each - I am now SOLD OUT.  Thank you.

"TALKING" TREE    Okay, finished!  And just in time for the season.  The mouth is controlled by a pull string in the rear at the base of the tree.  One only.  For sale now on eBay (with additional photos and further description):

11/24/12


11/23/12

YOUR HOLIDAY BIRD!

This beautiful big puppet was made to special order in Holiday Colors by Carol Brown, the same professional puppet maker who made the original big Orange/black/white bird that is the star of Kevin Johnson's Show. Carol is now retired from puppet making, so this is obviously an endangered species! And this is the only Green/Red/Black version of this character ever made. Like new condition. Don't let him escape! I'm also selling on another eBay auction his custom carrying case - be sure to check it out.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261132212179
CUSTOM CASE for SOFT PUPPET

Made of vulcanized fibre (lightweight but extremely durable). Metal latches. Handle on right end of case as you are facing the case. Very good condition inside and out. (The surface does show light scuffs, but a quick coat of black semi-gloss spray paint will make it look good as new again). SIZE: 19"x9"x9". 
 
I had this case built to carry my 36" Big Comical Bird by Carol Brown (see above post), but the case could hold some soft puppets made by MAT, Verna, or others. Fold your puppet and measure to see if this just might be the perfect case for your use. (I have one only - this is it.)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290819134493

11/22/12

GRAB BAG BOOK BARGAIN BLOWOUT!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Never have I offered a deal like this:  50 different random Maher Books at the closeout special price of only (NOW SOLD OUT)  (Over $250.00 value!)  Each Grab Bag Deal will contain books covering a variety of ventriloquist puppetry themes, general entertainment, comedy, and ministry.  All sales final while supplies last.  The photos here are simply to give you an idea of the quantity of books you will receive - title selections will vary.  All books are mint condition, like new, and were published by Maher Studios.  Limited offer while my supply lasts.  (Due to the heavy weight I can ship to USA addresses only.)

 SOLD OUT - THANK YOU.