From "down under"...

From Glenn Pearce:

I was talking to the great Australian ventriloquist Chris Kirby last night, and his classic figure – Terry – the one he has used all his life including appearing on Ed Sullivan, doing Royal Command performances, having his own tonight show on TV, touring with the likes of Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey etc was made for him more than fifty years ago by an Australian (Adelaide) figure maker called Eric Scuse.  Eric was very active in the brotherhood of ventriloquists or whatever the ventriloquist association was called at the time.  Have you ever heard of Eric or seen any of his wooden figures that made their way to the US?

Eric was an extremely clever and talented figure maker. Eric was the Frank Marshall of Australia. Whenever Chris appeared on national television apparently Eric would tell people proudly  - ‘I made that figure for Chris’.

Terry is such an exquisite figure with so much character and life in his face.

You can see videos of Chris in action on television and at a television industry tribute at his website below:

Sadly, whilst we still have living legends like Chris Kirby, we do not have any more figure makers like Eric left in Australia.

A hilarious excerpt (on the link below) of Chris and Terry appearing on an Australian  national tv show.


  1. Ah yes I remember Chris and Terry well. As a child I was always mesmerised by Terry and how much he got away with. He could stir up Chris so easily and say things to people that no normal person could get away with.

    The Australian TV Show in that clip is the Midday Show with Ray Martin who would laugh uncomfortably whenever this duo appeared on his show.

  2. Anonymous1/27/2012

    Chris Kirby has a very interesting approach to working with Terry. I found it informative and educational.

  3. Eric's last name was correctly spelled "Skuse". He made some very interesting, very expressive faces. It always amused me that the figure he himself used was quite crude, although I don't know for a fact that he actually made his own figure (there's certainly a precedent for figure-makers who are also vents using other maker's figures in their own performances).

    I have a head made by Eric Skuse, but it's papier mache'. I'm not sure he made wooden figures... Is Chris' Terry wooden?

    1. Anonymous1/28/2012

      I can ask Mr Kirby that and i'll get back to you Tom I got the goodies my mom bought from ya great stuff always know I am in for a surprise when Tom Ladshaw is written on the box!!

    2. Anonymous2/05/2012

      Chris' figure - Terry, is made from wood.

  4. Anonymous1/28/2012

    Chris Kirby = Genius enough said I found out about him and started researching after getting Valentine Vox's Book 6 years ago!