Coin Comment

"Clinton, I received my framed sets of the coins today. They sure look great.  Keep up the great work."
Ed Cima and Woody Timbers
*  *  *  *  *
"Clinton,  Thanks for the coins and case I received today. Once again the quality is wonderful. My husband and I got to see Terry at a county fair in Iowa right after he won "America's Got Talent". 10th row seats for $20. That will probably never happen again.  Also, I spent time with Mark Wade last October in his mentoring program. It was a very valuable experience which I thoroughly enjoyed."  Barb Gregerson

Edgar Bergen 2012-A Hall of Fame Coin

Edger Bergen, in the opinion of many, is still, at this point and time in history, the most famous ventriloquist of all time.   He was the very first ventriloquist to enter my life, and he did so through his radio shows which I listened to as a pre-teen.  I don't know how many of the shows I enjoyed before I even came to realize Charlie McCarthy was not a real boy!  I'm sure that realization came from a picture I came in some magazine ad.  That revelation only increased my fascination, however!  I was a huge fan of Bergen, not so much because he was a ventriloquist, but because he made me laugh!  Little did I know the day would come when, as an adult, this giant star would become my friend.  Perhaps the highlight of our relationship came the evening of 1977 when Adelia and I sat at a table to enjoy a dinner meal and conversation with Edgar Bergen, his son Chris, and several other guests of honor.   When I decided to say "thanks" to the ventriloquists who have impacted my life and career, Bergen's name, not surprisingly was an easy early choice.


A word From Mr. D...

I've had several comments about the choice of honorees on the Hall of Fame coins.    I knew my order of release would cause questions, which was the very reason I did not number the coins.   As time passes, I hope to include most everyone's favorites.  The fact that the coins are without sequential number will let people arrange their album collection in whatever manner they choose.
As sets are released I purposely am mixing past and present vents. I know some like to collect names from ventriloquism's history, while others want to own current fan favorite active  performers.  Some want both.
The fact that the primary motivation for the coins is to express appreciation and thanks to those persons who have influenced my personal career plus those ventriloquists who gave aid to the success of Maher Studios will factor into the actual order of release and may create some puzzlement.  In following posts this week I'll make some personal comments on the lineup of sets A, B, and C.

Last Fall I began making a list of ventriloquists who have impacted my career in one significant way or another.  I wanted to find a unique way to express my thanks to them in a lasting manner.   I am amazed to see the list has grown to nearly 150 vents!  I'd love to create a coin for each and every one.  But realistically, I don't have that amount of financial resources, nor will I live long enough to complete a project of such magnitude!  So, I'm making difficult choices.  Just be aware that the order of vents selected for the coins has nothing to do with who's the most talented, nor who is most popular, nor who is the best looking or eldest, or any type of favorite's ranking.   As stated before, my primary motivation for production of the coins is to express appreciation and thanks in a unique and lasting manner to those persons who have influenced my personal career plus those ventriloquists involved in the success of Maher Studios.  Chances are my list of nominated names includes any name you would put on a list of your own.   Feel free to ask.
Thanks for your support through the purchase of the coins!  Without your purchases production of subsequent sets would be impossible.  Ultimately, the fate of the Hall of Fame coin project is in the hands of the ventriloquist community.
Clinton Detweiler



From Bill Matthews

I'm enclosing some pictures we took when Stephen got Cody. (Rodger had named him Cody and Stephen likes the name, so he's keeping it.)
I blind-folded Stephen, set Cody next to him and had him remove the blind-fold. It was really funny. It took him a few moments to realize what was going on. Once he did, boy, did he let out a whoop!
What more can I say, but Thank You.
*  *  *  *  *
And this just arrived from Stephen:

"Dear Mr. Detweiler:

Thank you for your help in getting Cody.  I Like him very much.  Today I went over a routine with him.  It is called 'Stephen's Story'.  (It's about the Stephen in the Bible, not me.)  Cody and me had a blast!

"Thanks for fixing him up.  I really appreciate it.  When I first saw him he put me in mind of a 'Willy.'  Then when I found out what his name was, he put me in mind of a 'Cody'.  When I first saw him it was on the computer.  I said I would like to have him.  My Dad said that he thought, 'Praise the Lord.'  Thank you again." 
Stephen Matthews


Shop Talk...

See post for 7/2/12 for more ...



Bare Feet Gag

By Al Good
retired vent

Here's a little story about the removeble bare latex feet made by Lovik several years ago.  I put the feet in a pair of pajama bottoms, adding a little stuffing in the calf area to keep the feet facing forward.

I was using 2 cases on stage at that time, one already on stage, and the second brought on stage by a stage hand at the same time I came on stage. This case had the lid open facing the back of the stage with the pair of legs hanging over the end in plain view of the audience.

As I was introducing my act, I happened to see that pair of bare feet to my dismay and scolded my figure for not being dressed and ready. We had some short argument, and he promised to be ready by his time to come out (he said he was watching TV) and I helped his legs back into the case, moving on to the other case and bringing out a different figure.

Later, I went to the second case and brought out Scooter fully dressed and the kids went wild, expecting to see him in his PJ's.
This gag went over really well for my school shows and summer camp shows. When I retired from performing I brought the PJ's with the feet to the ConVention and sold them as soon as my booth opened. I gave a printout of the gag to the person who bought the feet.


An Invitation


From Bryan and Marge Simon:

Hollywood's VARIETY, the entertainment daily, has announced our next feature film, JAY JOHNSON: THE TWO AND ONLY!  This is an exciting project for us, as Bryan directs and Marge produces the filming of this
Tony Award Winning Broadway show which will take place in Wilmington, North Carolina in mid September.  We are honored to be entrusted with bringing the filmic translation of this amazing show to the large and small screen.

We would love to have you join us for the live filming of the Broadway show, but if you can't be there, you can follow Jay and the film on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JJTwoandOnly

Thank you all for your love and support.


Question of Identity

Question:  I am selling another one of my aunts dummies that you made.  I just want to make sure I describe it correctly.
*  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I definitely painted this figure, and probably wigged it. But I did not build it since I've never built a figure with that type of head post and control setup. In fact, the head appears to be made fom a William Andersen kit.   If it is an Andersen head, the material used would be wood dough (probably Dap or Plastic Wood brand depending on the year it was built.) 
It's possible I may have built the body, but I wouldn't know that without seeing a picture of it undressed.  Sorry I can't be more specific.   I've documented most recent repairs jobs with photos.  But for over 40 years I did not.  And hundreds of figures passed through my shop during that time.  I remember many, but not all.


Ernest Detweiler family reunion

(Seated L-R)  Adelia and Clinton Detweiler,
 Karl Detweiler, Jerry Detweiler, and Marjorie (Detweiler) Romero

Those of the Clinton and Adelia Detweiler family. in attendance.
The Ernest Detweiler (my father) family reunion (above), July 12-15, 2012.
(Posted today, July 24, 2012, 57th wedding anniversary of Clinton and Adelia.)


NAAV memories...

From Russell Baker:  I wanted to let you know how useful my old copies of the NAAV newsletters (Newsy Vents) still are. I still enjoy looking through my back issues at some of the tips of other ventriloquists offered. It's always neat to hear what more experienced ventriloquists have to say. 
*  *  *  *
From Fred Anderson: 
I was going through some old files and came across these (NAAV membership cards).

Guess some memories are just too fond to throw away.

*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: It does my heart good to know the sight of your past NAAV membership cards and issues of Newsy Vents spark enough fond memories that you want to keep them!  They do the same for me - and perhaps even more so for Adelia, for it was her responsibility to record membership dues, maintain the newsletter mailing list, make out and mail the member's cards, etc.   There are times when we miss those days, but just now as I'm writing this and recalling the work involved - not so much.  Ha.  Thank you for sharing!



Question:  Hi Clinton!   I was just reading your blog on Lovik figures and the 1983 catalog.  Quite a few years back someone told me that my Lovik figure  (whom I call Yorick Yodelsap, pictured here) was created in 1983.   Does he appear in any of the 1983 catalogs that you still have?  What name was he called by in the catalog?  Bob Albano
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  The figure you have was sold by the name of "Whiffle".  It was a "stand alone " project in that it was not a part of any series of characters nor was it in any of the Maher Catalogs.  We sold it via a small sell-sheet insert  (right).The date of 1983 would seem to be correct.

As I recall, Whiffle came about as a result of a conversation I had with Craig about vent figure's mouths that "turn in their own groove" (as some call it).  This is when the shape of the face along side the mouth is perfectly circular with the mouth axle positioned in what would be the center if the mouth went full circle.  By placing a ball into the clay as he sculpted the face, Whiffle was created, beginning with his mouth!  He was the first of the Lovik figures created with this feature.  A number of others followed, but memories of Whiffle's "birth" have always warmed my heart.


Youthful reluctance

From Rodney McVey:   Bufford and I are going to my grand daughters Kindergarten class Tuesday.  I appreciate the looks I get not only from the children, but the adults as well. Ventriloquist "dummies" were something you'd occasionally see on TV or special events, (not to be confused with Newsy-Vents), many decades ago. Now, they are mostly cast as containing long, dead, evil spirits so, some of the kids are pretty reluctant to get to close right away...but the adults are on the edge of their seats, with anticipation, waiting for me to open my case.Thanks for being a part of these memorable moments, from your contributions both past and present, in the field of ventriloquism!
  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D: The fact that some kids are reluctant to see a vent figure closeup is not necessarily a bad thing from the perspective of a performer. It makes performing easier...but once they see the figure in action and have time to connect with him and his personality you may still have to ask them to "back away". :-) When all is said and done, I suspect the classmates of your granddaughter are going to be envious that their grandpa is not a ventriloquist as well!



From Kevin Detweiler and Animated Puppets:

#1. The worlds smallest football player can be yours to add to your team! We call him "Small Fry" He may be small in size but he is loaded with character. Yes, Small Fry is a true ventriloquist figure. He stands 18" tall. He has a hollow body with headstick, turn head full circle, tilt, nod. Beautiful side to side self-centering green eyes and moving mouth.

#2. He also comes with his own case / duffel bag! He's ready to hit your locker room and then the field. As the football season approaches Small Fry is ready to be drafted on your team! The Rams may not be your favorite NFL team but your fans will rave about Small Fry, he is #1!

#3. You will get a performance stand. (raise and lower for desire height). The table top is covered with black material with red and gold trim.

#4. Also you will get a unique Monster Inc puppet on a stick! Open and close mouth and open and close eye. A little crazy!..but lots of fun! What a great 4 in 1 DEAL!

eBay:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/130734627711

Ashes to ashes..

From Sandra Sladkey

Do you still make figures?  You made my Lacey Lu back in the 1980s.  She was consumed, along with everything else I owned, in a wildfire in the mountains of San Diego in 2003.  It still breaks my heart today to think I didn't think to bring her along as we fled.   Our photos were the one thing, besides living things, that we brought with us to save from the fire.   I'll attach a photo (below) of what our lives looked like after the fire!  So, the question is, "are you still making figures?"  I'm excited about the possibility of having Lacey come to life again, except I would have to name her something else because I now have a little dog named Lacey!
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:   Losing anything to fire or storm is tragic.  Somehow vent figures that are destroyed seem a greater loss than some other possessions.  It appears your Lacey Lu was a female adaptation of the figure, Clipper.  I think I could build a similar likeness, but since it would not be an exact duplicate, your dog need not fear giving up her identity!   A new name is a good idea anyway.  I could not get started seriously until this Fall.    I'm taking a bit of a break from figure building for the Summer.


Any HOT tips?

Question:  It is very hot here. It's supposed to be in the low 90s today. I think tomorrow it's supposed to be a bit cooler. We have an outdoor show scheduled. Rest assured we'll have some nice, cold water with us.  But what advice would you give vents who perform outside in the hot weather?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  That's the wrong question to ask someone who lives in cool Colorado where humidity is non-existent.  :-)   Seriously, however, for those of you with experience performing in such venues, what suggestions would you have?



Question:  Do you know this toy, Dopey?   Is it possible to make this a vent Figure and also have the eyes move on a rod like the mouth?  I hope you have seen these before.   The ears turn and the eyes go up and down at the same time.   The mouth is fixed.  It is small, approximately 10" tall.   Or, could the thing be taken apart to use the ears and the eyes, on a Mortimer head?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I have not seen one of the Dopey dolls first hand, but  I do know that from your description of the doll and its size, it would be next to impossible to convert the doll itself to a vent figure.     It would appear that the ears could be transferred to a Mortimer head and made to move.  However, not so with the eyes.  Mortimer's eyes are horizontal in shape while Dopey's are vertical (and small).


Mark Wade Writes


One of the best pieces of advice I can offer any vent is to learn the past history of ventriloquism, who the greats were, and what they did to move along our art. It's sad but many young vents don't know who Edgar Bergen was, Senor Wences, or even Paul Winchell. I AM proud to say that they DO know Jimmy Nelson, who makes himself available every year at the Vent Haven ConVENTion. But a thorough knowledge of our "vent greats" is important. We can learn through their contributions.
If you get a chance, buy some old recordings of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Listen to his great comedy, how his routines told a story. Watch some old clips of Winchell and Jerry Mahoney and see how he impacted vent on television. Look up some of Jimmy Nelson's great "Nestles" commercials on YouTube. You'll laugh and learn from everyone of these pros. 
Also don't overlook the many fine vents that graced the stage of Ed Sullivan's television show. Many, many great vents appeared numerous times on this show. Watch and learn how they did their vent acts.

And please don't overlook the great vent Fred Maher, who through his wonderful teachings launched the careers of many of today's pro vents, me included! To move forward is important..but to move forward acknowledging and learning from past vents helps give you a more rounded perspective. Knowledge is power. Get some "vent knowledge" under your belt today! markwade@kidshowvent.com


Coin Comments

I just received the second set (2012B) of the coins. They are just as terrific as the first set. Beautifully made and so attractive . Excited to see the next set, hope it's soon. Thanks for your usual, excellent and; fast shipping. Sincerely, Bob Isaacson
*  *  *  *  *
I recieved my set two of the coins today, and I must say they are excellent. Clinton, you keep on topping yourself year after year. Vemtriloquists all over the world are fortunate to have you continuing to promote our art with such unique and wonderful items. The vent world owes you a debt of thanks !  Chuck Lyons
*  *  *  *  *
The coins are great. Thank you so much.  When we film the show in Sept,. know that your Jay coin will be in my pocket for luck.  Jay Johnson
*  *  *  *  *

old Curmudgeon pictures

You saw him earlier as I was trying different wigs on him.  He is now finished and back in his owner's hands.  (I thought I could put a smile on his face, but I guess not. :-)  A couple of you have asked, and, yes, this figure is for sale by his owner.  If you are interested, drop me an email and I will forward it to the owner.


Humidity the culprit?

Question: I have a dummy that I bought for my daughter a number of years ago, and she decided it wasn't something she would use. It has been sitting in my closet, and the mouth and eyes have become hard to move. Is there anything you can do about that? I imagine the humidity in Oregon might have something to do with it, as well as it not being used much.   I use my other figure 4-5 times a week in Good News Clubs, a Christian school chapel and Sunday school. The kids love him. I also use him with adults and senior citizens occasionally, and I guess everyone "loves a dummy". He's been a great teaching tool as well as entertaining.  Faye Pruitt
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  Humidity certainly is not a vent figure's best friend, but often mechanical problems are, as you suggest, simply a result of the lack of use.  In either case, I can fix him up, good as new - maybe better.  :-)

Note to blog visitors:  Faye is the author of Bible Heros, published by Maher tudios.  Five complete dialogue ventriloquist programs written in Faye's uniquely captivating storytelling style.  Old favorite Bible stories with contemporary application.  For audiences of all ages.  Stories of Esther, Elijah, Ruth, Joseph, and Naaman.  40 pages.  I still have several copies of this book in stock.  $6.00 each PP.



Congratulations for 46 years of figuremaking!

Yesterday I mentioned the  years (44) Adelia and I have been providing ventriloquist supplies and instruction to the world at large.  Which led me to recall an email I had earlier received from Al Semok who told me he will soon be celebrating 46 years since the day he sold his first figure to Al Flosso's magic shop in New York (for $35).

Additionally, Al said, "The time sure does fly by, and its been quite a journey since then, to be sure.
God willing, hopefully I can keep cranking out new figures in the years to come (as long as the arthritis is kept at bay and the old lungs hold out. LOL)"

Ditto, here.


Buford Buckworth

Comment and Question: I received Bufford back in '75 for my 13th birthday. I never did do any professional shows but whenever we had company that had kids or later in my life, with my kids and now grand kids, Bufford makes an occasional appearance and makes QUITE an impression. Lately, somehow, the wooden dowel has become loose. I was curious how to remove his hair piece, so I could get into his head try to repair it myself.  Thanks for all your mentoring and help with us "youngsters" back in the '70's, too! Take Care, Rodney McVey
*  *  * *  *
From Mr. D:  It's hard to believe it's been nearly 40 years since Buford passed through my hands - and in looking at his photo now, it seems like just yesterday!  Wow!  I think a few of my joints have worked loose during the past four decades as well.  But his are easier to fix, so let's get to it.

Normally, if Buford has the "ball" base to his neck, I would try to reglue the head post with "gap filling super glue" - being very cautious not to inadvertently glue a string to the head post.
If he has the neck with the open bottom, then it is still a matter of working glue into the  area where the parts are loose.  I really can't be specific without seeing the figure.  Every one is a bit different.
The wig is likely stapled in place.  (Maybe glued around the edges.)  I take the wig loose beginning at the nape of the neck and working my way upwards until the "door" in the back of the head is exposed.  Most of the time it is not necessary to remove the wig completely from the head. 


Rockies Tour

Here are two pictures of Meghan Casey from yesterday at the Breckenridge Library. Her brother Michael opened up her show with about 10 minutes of his magic act. Today she is performing in Frisco and Silverthorne which will wind up her Library Show Tour in the mountains. Last week she did 5 shows in 2 days in Grand County. Busy summer already, and the Vent Haven ConVENTion still to come!


Yes, it's a Jerry Mahoney

With eye shadow painted over
From Tom Smith:  I need repair on a figure I work with. His name is Mergatroid.  He is a Jerry Mahoney with wig added.
The small figure on Megatroid's lap in this photo was recieved from John Arvitis thirty years ago. He is a Marshall figure. I think it was made in bulk and John had some so he gave me one. I use it as Mergatroid`s dummy.  Tommy...something  (Tommy Knotts)

Update:  Just received Mergatroid. Wow he looks great. Now he`s a boy. (No blue eye shadow )   His mouth works so much better and I don`t have to use a rubber band. My wife says he looks like a new figure. I can`t thank you enough. You are very professional. Thank you for the stickers too.  Tom Smith


The Demontrator

By Howard M. Olson

You just closed the week of your current engagement.  Your ventriloquism was technically perfect.  Your routine was sure-fire and contained all the tricks performed by the best ventriloquists of the past.  You did research on the history of ventriloquism to be sure you did everything that could be done in ventriloquism.  Your "Bottle of Beer" bit was impressive.  "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers" did likewise.  You turned your figure's head a complete 360 degrees for a laugh.  You did the baby cry, drinking bit, and the telephone bit -ala The Great Lester.  Your distant voice worked well in the suitcase routine.  Your song finish with rapid-fire voice changes, left 'em gasping.  You're sure you are good.  You've spent the last ten of your eighteen years practicing for perfection.  The audience knows you are good.  Still, there seems to be something lacking.
An old time ventriloquist played the same spot last year and was held over for six weeks.  He didn't do half of the vent that you do in your act.  It seems unfair.  What does he know that you don't know?

They say that you lack experience.  Where do you buy that?  How can an eighteen year old boy get twenty years of it?  They are asking the impossible...or...are they?  Maybe you can find an old time ventriloquist who knows...but, where?

In your haste to make good you skipped over some of the items in the vent trade journals.  Who has time for ventriloquist conventions when there is a career and lots of bookings to think about?  Besides, you lose a week's work.  What could you possibly gain by attending?

Your agent informs you that a storm knocked out the next job.  You have a free week with nothing to do.  The current newspaper has a story about a ventriloquist convention that is being held near by.  It might be better than sitting around the motel being bored or practicing.

At the convention some old timer does a vent act with a stocking over his hand, made up to look like a figure.  He gets a standing ovation.  You paid good money for your figure.  It has all the movements you could get installed on it.  Winkers and blinkers, raising eyebrows, rolling eyes, wiggling ears, upper jaw sneer, fight wig, light up nose, hand shake, nudger, moving mouth and turning head.  You feel sorry for yourself.  You go to your room and sulk.

There's a knock on the door.  You open it and find the old timer standing there.  He asks to see your figure.  He said he could never afford one like it.  He marvels over the workmanship.  The maker must have been a true artist.  He asks you for a demonstration.  You get the same proud feeling you had when you bought your first sports car.

You ask him why people don't seem to appreciate your act.  He tells you that you gave him an excellent demonstration of figure manipulation.

"How did you like my vent work?" you ask.  He says, "I was so busy admiring the figure that I didn't notice.  It was a great demonstration of mechanical movements."

"But you used an old sock for a figure and you received a standing ovation," you exclaimed.

"Well," he said, "I didn't have much of a figure, so I just concentrated on entertaining the audience."

The ventriloquist convention is history now.  You're back on the road again.  Your agent is getting great reports from your act.  And you know why.  You stopped being a demonstrator and started entertaining.
*  *  *  *  *
Reprinted from May/Jun 1979 Newsy Vents as a result of Keith Suranna's comment 7/6/12.  Thank you, Keith.  And thank you, Howie...your comments and advice are as true and applicable today as they were 33 years ago!


Little Football Figure

Kevin Detweiler (www.animatedpuppets.blogspot.com) just listed this little Football Guy on eBay.  Turning head, moving mouth and moving eyes.  Touchdown! 


From Allen Fuller:
I was helping my mother clean out a closet this week.  There was a box containing very old bank statements in the closet.  So, I started shredding.  I came to some from fall 1983, which was when my first figure was purchased from Maher.  (You repainted him about six years ago.)  So, I looked through the checks and found the one for the purchase of my figure.  It was made out to you for $434.00.  The figure was K-515 "Slim."  The date on the check is October 18, 1983.  The figure is a living -mouth figure with raising eyebrows and two winkers.  Prices have changed a lot since then. :-)
    As I recall, the figures in the catalog could be ordered with slot-jaw or living-mouth. Of course the living-mouth was less expensive, which was the main reason I wanted it. I could then add the winkers and eyebrows and the total cost was about the same as the slot-jaw. In retrospect, I think I would have preferred the slot-jaw without the extra animations. For some reason, one of the leather blinkers keeps the eyes from moving freely and smoothly. When I close the blinker, the eyes work fine. However, with the blinker open, it is very hard to move the eyes. As I recall, it was this way when new, but I did not realize this was not normal for figures. I think this is why I really prefer stationary eyes. I never learned to work them properly as a youth, and it's harder to become proficient with this as an adult.
I decided to save the check.
I just thought you might enjoy reading this "story."
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D.  Thank you for your fascinating, fun story. I do remember Slim.   I had to do a major searc, but I did locate the old catalog where that series of figures was introduced.  See photos here. 
I had forgotten we were selling living mouth figures in the 80's - interesting. I guess I should build a couple more at some point - maybe this Fall...  Thanks for the inspiring memories!

PS: I'm willing to try to correct the moving eyes for you should you decide you want that change made.


Stephen's New Knee Pal

The decision has been made.  This Knee Pal,
donated by Rodger Riggs, will
become Stephen Matthew's new ventriloquist
partner!  More details to follow.  The Matthews family
as well as Adelia and myself are very touched by the generous
response from several blog readers.  Thank you so much.
You are the greatest!


Coin Comment

You keep on raising the bar! The second set of HoF coins arrived this morning, and they are brilliant and beautiful. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and I can see why the honourees are so pleased with the way the coins honouring them have been presented. Everyone who is a ventriloquist or aspires to be one should have these coins not only as objects of beauty, but also as a constant reminder of those who have or are bringing notice and respect to our art. Thank you for making them available to us, and please be sure to let us know when it's time to send in our order for set #3.
(Canon) John Jordan.

Hall of Fame Coins...

I just received this comment from Bob Steininger which I would like to share.  Then I will have a couple comments of my own.

"Clinton,  I just received my 2nd set of framed coins.  What can I say?   Once again, they are top notch, first class, well made, look great.   Trust me when I say,  'once you buy a set and see the workmanship and details you will want another set.'  What an honor to see past and present vents on the coins. I do hope to see a coin in your honor for all you do for the vent world, and I would like to thank you for that."

First of all, thank you, Bob, for your words of praise for the coins!  I do hope others follow your suggestion to purchase the second set (2012-B).   I truly believe their quality is "investment worthy".   Thus far, only about half of those who purchased set #1 have purchased set #2 which has me a bit puzzled, and even more so considering the enthusiastic promotion the honorees themselves have given the coins.   Candidly, the slow purchase response does not bode well for the future fate of the project...but I'll be patient.

Second, I'm honored that you suggest a Clinton Detweiler coin be minted, and you are not the first to suggest such.  However, in addition to providing a unique and enduring prized collectible, one of the primary purposes for the coins is to thank and show appreciation to those ventriloquists who have inspired, influenced, and assisted my own ventriloquist career.  So I will continue with that theme for the foreseeable future (assuming the project has a future as noted above).


Howie Olson Figure

From Dennis Chapman:

 During the 1950's I was a student (9 yrs old) of Howard Olson in Houston, Texas. He was the person responsible for getting me enrolled in the IBV and his teaching and encouragement provided me with many years of being able to entertain as a ventriloquist.....such fond memories. 

 I have not practiced Ventriloquism for some time but I really enjoyed it when I did and I no longer have the figure. He was damaged and lost in one of the many Hurricanes in Texas. It might be nice getting back into it at my age (67) because it is something unique and always entertaining. When I first started a friend made a figure for me and then later purchased a more professional figure. I will attach a newspaper clipping (about me) that you might find interesting.
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  Howie was a good friend.  He often wrote columns for Newsy Vents.  and in the early 1970s he built several figures for us to sell through Maher Studios.  In fact, I still have a custom figure Howie built for me during that era. Howie intended it to be in the likeness of Fred Maher's Skinny Dugan built by the McElroy Brothers, but I never offered it as such. I did not consider the likeness true enough. But it is one of Howie Olson's larger and more rare creations, that's for certain, and for that reason alone I kept it on display rather than selling it. However, when we moved on 1996, I no longer had room to display my collection and all went into storage. I would be willing to sell it now. 
Original Paint, wig, clothes

40" tall  Never used.

Typical Howie Olson controls

Side-to-side self-centering eyes
Individual eye winkers
Raising eyebrows


Jay Johnson just sent me this picture of his mantle,
where his Hall of Fame coin is displayed next to his Tony Award
 (Wow - now I feel honored as well!)


July 4, 2012

"Doesn't seem fair...while they celebrate
 their independence and freedom - look at US!"


Here's another...

A - Medium length gray hair
 Following up on yesterday's theme, here's another figure in my shop awaiting a decision as to hair color and style.  Anyone can weigh in with your preference, but his owner, Donna, will have the final say, of course. 

He does need, and will receive, appropriately matching eyebrows for any wig shown in the photos with white hair.

B- Medium Length gray hair

C- Longer white hair

D- Shorter white hair

E- Shorter white hair


From Mark Wade

Clinton, I was completely overjoyed at the coins you sent!!  WOW!!!!!  You outdid yourself with them and I am proud and honored to be on this set. They are beautiful, Clinton, and I am delighted.
I have them in a place of honor in my office.  I put the one in the round coin box in my curio cabinet in the office and have the album in a secure place in there as well.

I am also honored to be among such distinguished vents like Terry, Jay, and Jim.  Pleae keep up the wonderful work you do at Maher!

If only it were this easy....

#1 Longer Black hair
 ....for humans! 

Emmitt:  Here are four "looks" for you to check out.  Bear in mind that these are not finished wigs.  The hair is only temporary, unsecured to the head, and all need some final styling.

With whichever color and style you choose, the eyebrows will be made to match the hair. 

And any can be made up with or without a mustache.

(P.S. Donna, I'll have pics for you to choose from tomorrow.)
#2 Longer white hair

#3 short white hair

#4 Medium gray hair