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
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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.


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
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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
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
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
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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.)


(Shown with eyebrows both raised)




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
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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
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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


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):




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.

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.)



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.)



Hi Clinton,
The Styrofoam 2-D skull arrived a few days ago. Great work as usual. I'll save it until next Halloween. The only problem is that I have a habit of putting things away for safe keeping and then when the time comes to get it I have forgotten where I put it. That’s where you come in. I’m putting it in the basement storage room just to the right of the door. Next year if I can’t find it I'll email you and you can tell me where I put it. Thanks for another great piece of work. Take Care!  Ron
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From Mr. D:  Oh, sure ... that'll work ... I trying to find the hammer I was using just yesterday!  Enjoy!



This will be the only one for 2012 season.  All the mechanics are completed and built into the tree.  I just need to add the lips, eyes and mouth and it will be ready for the holidays. (It is already sporting its red nose!   I hope to post photos of the finished project before the week is over.  Yes, it will be for sale.


 VENTRILOQUIST INSTRUCTION  (45 MIN. CD) BY COL. BILL BOLEY.    LISTEN/LAUGH/LEARN!!   10.00 each.  Like new condition.  Great gift for the beginner or curious.  Also a great collectible!    Buy it now:


From Kevin Detweiler and the shop of Animated Puppets:

While working on this project I was thinking about what year it was when I first came up with the idea of a talking tie for ventriloquist. Our son (Jordan) was just born and that year was 1985, so it must have been 1986, around Fathers Day.  We were thinking about what would make a great fathers day gift.. So into my shop I went and out came "Talking Ties". I also believe it was that year we took some to FCM convention and they were a "Hit". Over the next several years many were created.. As things do in life they change and the talking ties were put on the shelf for maybe a later date.. Ok here it is almost Christmas 2012'.  Just wanted to try and see if I remembered how to make one. This is what we came up with.

This will definitely be a ONE OF A KIND...way to much work but it was fun! It's not just a clip on tie - this one comes designed with a zipper pull. This makes it easy to slip over your head and fit in place. Looks beautiful! His mouth is controlled from behind by a small wooden bead. We are also including a 40 page book on routines and jokes for using a talking tie. Hit a grand slam this Christmas for you or a friend by winning this ONE OF A KIND Talking Tie!!

eBay:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ventriloquist-Doll-Puppet-Talking-Tie-/130804472228?pt=US_Dolls_Bears_Toys&hash=item1e748dd9a4


Question:   I've seen you have a Storyteller figure that has wiggling ears, and I am wondering how much he would be?   I would love to have a Lovik with flapping ears.  Adam
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From Mr. D:  I completed repainting him today.  I still have a bit of work to do on the controls.  I will then fit him with a new wig, and when that is completed I plan to put him on eBay.  Maybe as soon as Monday or Tuesday.  Watch this blog for the latest on his status complete with photos.


Mark Wade Writes:


When I create these short columns for Clinton and Adelia I try to make them all as practical as possible.  That means I draw upon my 30 plus years experience of doing vent full time..so everyting you read I have experienced.  It is amazing what things we, who do performing for children, experience.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to be flexible.  Your show and your performance must bend like a rubber band.  For example, I work hundreds of school shows.  If I have a start time of say 10 A.M.  I ALWAYS tell the principal I need the audience seated and ready to go by 10 A.M.  Often the principal will START the kids down to the performance area at 10 A.M. which means the show might not start until 10:15 or even 10:20, depending upon how large the school might be and how much time it takes them to get there.  Now that usually isn't a big problem, until I have a very tight travel schedule between shows and I need that extra time to tear down, pack, and drive.  In a positive and friendly manner I tell the principal that I really need them all in the gym or multi-purpose room at 10 A.M. on the dot.  But here is where the flexible part comes in..I always allow EXTRA  time between shows just in case this happens! I schedule myself with a later start time in the afternoon that takes into account that extra 15 minutes.  If the show was at 1:30 PM in the afternoon, I try to schedule it at 1:45 PM.  If the kids arrive at the first school on time, I have an extra 15 minutes for lunch, or to gas up, check my emails, etc.  I never make a big deal about it to the principal, but I always have a plan in place so I won't be late in the afternoon.

I also have arrived at the school and had a counselor or principal ask me if I can work in an extra character word or concept in my shows that the school is working on.  I ALWAYS try to do that for them...letting them know that I can't change the entire show but would be glad to see where I
can work this in.  I also write my shows with some open ended spaces so I can do this if necessary.  If I don't have any requests for extra things from the school, the show goes like I planned and wrote it.  If there is, I am ready to drop it in and make things work.

The main objective is to work with the customer...trying to accommodate them any way that I can.  They are pleased that I can do that for them, and I don't get myself flustered in the process. It's small thing..but small things add up to big payoffs!

Please feel free to contact me at markwade@kidshowvent.com



This early '70's Storyteller head was removed from the storage box last week for the first time in nearly 40 years!  The challenge now is to make him useable.  I'd like to do so before Thanksgiving so this fellow has something to be thankful for in addition to seeing daylight for the first time in four decades!

(*Old Dumpy Dummy)


"Picking" a Career

From Troy Anderson

(Regarding the Hall of Fame Coins.) I have purchased the first and second sets, and they are beautiful. Looking forward to the 3rd, 4th and 5th . . . lol. I really think one of these coins should honor you. Maher Ventriloquist Studios was such a special part of my childhood, and for so many others growing up in the 60's and 70's as well. I may not have written a lot or ordered a lot, but I must have flipped through the color catalogs a thousand times. I was saving my "Detroit News" paper route money for a basswood Tommy figure and practising my ventriloquism every day. I read each issue of NewsyVents as soon as it arrived. I ended up buying a banjo instead and following a musical path. I think it would be great to see you on one of these coins.
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 From Mr. D:  Thank you for your kind words and thanks for sharing your story.  Picking a musical career is not a bad thing, and it would seem your interest in ventriloquism remains.  I don't think it's too late for you to add a puppet to your concerts!  As for a Maher/Detweiler coin...it may happen at some point.  I have others I prefer to feature first.  Maybe it could be a bonus coin or something - we'll see.  By the way, set #3 is now in stock.  I order a few extra sets just to be certain I could fill all orders.  So if anyone reading this would like a set (or another set), just contact me: mahertalk@aol.com


Your hand enters the puppet at the base of the neck. Head turns, tilts, nods, stretches and moves all directions just as far as you can move your arm, obviously. And the mouth (easy to operate) opens just as wide as you can open your hand. Very fun and a guaranteed audience pleaser! Absolutely one of my favorite characters to perform with. The beak is poseable, too, for even more added comedy.
This beautiful big puppet was made to special order 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 yellow/black version of this character ever made. 
For sale now on eBay auction:
Australian ventriloquist Ron Blaskett set to end his showbiz career with wooden-headed sidekick, Gerry Gee.
Terry Brown
  • Herald Sun

  • Ron Blaskett has toured all over the world with Gerry Gee since teaming up with the dummy in 1956. 
    AFTER a dummy run of 76 years, Aussie TV's first and foremost ventriloquist, Ron Blaskett, is set to slam the lid on his showbiz career and on his 56-year-old wooden-headed sidekick, Gerry Gee (a Frank Marshall figure).        

    "I had to give up because Gerry Gee is starting to think I'm real," Blaskett, 90, joked yesterday.
    "While I'm at the peak of performing, it is time to rule the line."  A show in Knox next month will be the last of who-knows-how-many thousands for Ron and Gerry, who teamed up in 1956,
    While Ron called it stumps in 1999, he was talked easily into a comeback by fond fans, and has ridden the nostalgia wave since then, working clubs and nursing homes.   "At some of the homes, people who haven't spoken for years through dementia are suddenly talking to the doll," Ron says, smiling.
    Ron now has almost as many artificial parts as Gerry and is thought to be the world's oldest working ventriloquist.   "I'm nearly 91 and I've just had 10 solid years of darn hard work. I think I can retire now."


    Rare and unique! These hands are still in the carved condition as when removed from the duplicarver. High quality basswood. They will need finish carving and sanding, but the builk of the work has been completed. Unfortunately, I do not know who made these hands. Obviously it was a professional figuremaker.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290811823157
    From Mike Horner: 
    Thank you for the signed copy of Creating Speaksakes! It brought back memories. If I remember correctly, I purchased my original copy from you in person in Littleton when I was in 7th grade (circa 1990). Every summer for a period of 4 years, my parents acted as managers of our denomination's church camp south of Sedalia. And every summer, we would make at least one trip to your show room.
    If I'd had my way, we would have visited you EVERY time we made the trip to Denver. We drove right by Littleton Blvd. on our way to Sam' Club, Home Depot, etc.
    Thanks again for the book, and for the memories!
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    From Mr. D:  I remember well the times you and your parents stopped at our Littleton Blvd house for those Summer visits.  You're right - great memories.  Now I'm the one driving past that house and being reminded of those visits and many by other guests.  Hard to believe Adelia and I have now been gone from the Blvd. location for nearly 16 years!  (I did have a few of the Speaksakes books on hand.  But I have doublechecked my collection and it appears they, too, are now just a memory!)



     A NEW 33" ventriloquist figure,  Rocky. This beautiful little guy has a hollow body with headstick, turning head full circle, tilt, nod etc. He has side to side self-centering big green eyes. He also has raising eyebrows, you can raise one or both.   eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/130800433875

    This HUGE ostrich has only been used a few times. He is in great condition! He is a tall 5' ostrich puppet. He is very colorful from head to toe! When you carry him around he will bring lots of fun and excitement! Made by Kay Edgerton.  eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/130800455364
    Question:  I do love the idea of having a Detweiler figure! Could she be a 38" figure, which is what I believe my original was? And if you were to make her, do you know if I could then send her over to Keith Lovik to install the winkers that you don't do? (He also does crossing eyes, which intrigues me!) I don't think the raising arm is quite as important to me as the winkers. I think I'd still like to have those.
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr. D:  I received the above email after telling the ventriloquist that I no longer add winkers to the figures I build.  (No figuremaker enjoys adding winkers to an existing figure. When a figure is built, winkers are one of the very first animations to be installed on a figure, then come the eyes, and then crossing eyes and then the raising eyebrows. so....
    ... On a completed figure, if winkers were to be added, the eyes, the crossing eyes and the raising eyebrows would all have to be removed so winkers could be installed, and then all removed mechanics would have to be replaced/rebuilt. Very time consuming and costly. It's less expensive to have a second figure built with winkers.


    From Tom Ladshaw

    Hi Folks.... my November "Gottle O' Geer Newsletter" posts Friday night  November 9th. If you're not already signed up for this free ventriloquism-related e-mail newsletter, I'd love to have you as a subscriber! 

    This issue features TWO great subscriber-only specials, a COMPLETE script for your upcoming Christmas shows, the latest vent news and LOTS more, including the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT you've all been waiting for!
    Issues of the free "Gottle O' Geer Newsletter" come out monthly and contain tips, ideas, jokes, always a special deal or two on GOG items, etc.

    Even if you've ordered from the site before, unless you specifically signed up for the newsletter, you will not get it! You must subscribe to get the free newsletter. Your information is never sold or shared and you may easily unsubscribe at any time (though why would you want to?!).

    If you'd like to subscribe (did I mention it's free?), please go to www.GottleOGeer.com  and look at the  lower right side of the opening page...you'll see a "Join Our Mailing List"  section. Click on the "Join Now" button and simply enter your name and e-mail  address. It's as easy as 1-2-3!
    Thanks for taking a look!

    Tom Ladshaw
    Gottle O' Geer Productions
    Covington, KY
    P.S. - I could be mistaken, but I believe this newsletter thingy is FREE!


    1940 - I purchased this sign in an antique shop in 1979 and was assured it was an original, not a reproduction. I do believe the sign itself is original that was newly reframed. It is in excellent condition, ready to hang.  This is the type of sign the beverage distributor would furnish restaurants for display on their walls.  We enjoyed having it hanging in the Maher Studios office for many years - now it can be yours!  (I no longer have the necessary wall display space.)
    This plastic children's pull toy has been modified to be used as a "talking" puppet! The mouth opens and closes when a hidden lever in the tail's underside is pushed. Permanent mechanics.  I'll sign this - it was fun to build and I'm sure it will be even more fun to use.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290809984511
    I NEED SOME HELP identifying the maker of these wood carved hands.  I can see they have been rough carved on a duplicarver.   They came from my collection of unfinished hands.  But I have nothing to identify their source and my memory fails me on recalling it.

    As of today, 107 people have reserved orders for the next set #3 (2012-C) of the Hall of Fame coins, with a total of 145 sets ordered.  And just over half of those persons have pre-paid their order.  Thank you so much!   It is a HUGE help to me to have your orders in advance so I have a better idea of how many coins to order.  And your advance payments will enable me to ship those prepaid orders immediately when I receive the coins (I have just received notice that the coins are in route to me so I hope to begin shipping next week).  However, it is not to late to order your 2012-C sets.  Just send me a quick email and tell me how many sets you would like to order.  $25 for one set of four, or $20 each when ordering two or more sets. 

    FOR 38" - 40" DUMMY
    NO HANDS (Braylu HANDS SIZE 3t are excellent size for this body)
    The body, arms, and legs are in very good condition showing very little use at all.

    FOR 36"-38" FIGURE
    Made of vulcanized fibre (lightweight but extremely durable). Padded on all four sides and both ends. 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).

    Molded (urethane?) lightweight and extremely durable (solid - not hollow). These have some typical air bubble holes that need to be filled before painting. And the hand design is unique in that it appears to be a gloved hand. But I believe the ridges of the glove could be sanded off and the hand used as a very natural appearing bare hand.

    Molded (urethane?) lightweight and extremely durable (solid - not hollow). These have some typical air bubble holes that need to be filled before painting. 


    FOR SALE: SIDE-BY-SIDE  STAND  Kevin Detweiler just listed one of his Side-By-Side stands on eBay.  He demonstrates the stand in this photo.  The unit easily straps around your waist and the weight of your partner is no problem because of its design. Top surface measures 10"x12". You can maneuver with ease, sit, stand, turn, walk, move anyway you want and go any place you wish an you vent partner is always be your side!   See further description on the eBay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/130799244995

    FOR SALE: 
    Vintage Jerry Mahoney body (and clothes) in original box.  The body, arms, and legs are in very good condition. Hands are the early composition hands and show very slight crazing. The suit is missing the name lapel, but is otherwise in good condition - just needs TLC. If you have a Jerry head needing a body to be complete, here's your chance!
    LIFE GOES ON ...
    The primary news on air this morning is all election results, but when I went to my email, the first email I opened came with the following question:

    "Dear Mr Detweiler,  I purchased the ventriloquist course from you in 1989 or 1990    I'm back in it in a big way. I did one test with you via cassette, was wondering something.  Can I send you the exams that are left so as to get the diploma? It would mean alot to me."
    Life goes on.  (And the answer is "yes, you may").
    Question: Hi Clinton, Melissa and I are doing a vent show for the historic Crighton Theater in Conroe Texas. It was once and old Vaudeville theatre and will be so nice to perform Vent in. I am beginning to compile our script. Do you have any Christmas script books that are geared more for kids still available?  Phil Nichols
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr. D:  I still have three books in stock that have at least one Christmas Holiday Routine included in their content:
    Ventriloquism Any Time of The Year by Nancy Merriman
    Holiday Adventures by Liz VonSeggen
    Holy Days and Holidays by Rev. Ed Smith
    Sale - $3.00 each or all three for $7.50.  Postpaid USA address.


    Question:  What is the price of the "Make Your Own Dummy" by Anderson?
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr. D:  I am sold out of that book.  Thank you for asking

    *  *  *  *  *


    Question: Do you still make suitcases to carry our little friends in?
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr D:  Thanks for you inquiry, but I've retired from the suitcase business. Having said that, I do have several used cases of my own that I will eventually be selling, but I need to deal with the items they contain first. Watch my blog...


    Question: I have a red talking tie I purchased from you a few decades ago, in really good condition. Is it an original, or later produced?
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr. D:  If you have the talking tie where the mouth rotates to open, that is the original design and those ties were built by the creator of the first "Talking Tie", Kevin Detweiler. If the mouth slides up and down to open, that is the more common latter design, produced by Lovik World who had a licensing agreement with Kevin.


    Question: I have a special need. Do you have any suggestions, ideas, etc. on how I can attach or make it look like a larger animal soft vent figure is using a small animal puppet as his vent buddy?
    *  *  *  *  *
    From Mr. D:   I don't have a practical answer to your question about the "dummy's dummy". The only one's I've seen up close either had a lever extension on the small figure that slipped through a hole in the larger figures torso so the vent could operate the little guy's mouth from inside the larger figure.
    Or, several vents have rigged the small dummy so the mouth could be operated by remote control.
    I have also seen presentations where the smaller figure is simply held in front of the main figure and the mouth of the small figure operated by the vent's hand that holds it in position, probably with a lever or string control behind the back of the smaller figure.
    But all of these I've mentioned (except the wireless) were using a traditional figure. The soft puppet presents unique logistic challenges.


    34" Figure newly completed.  #279

    See more photos, description and details here:


    #280 "Red Bird" is a true ventriloquist "figure" in construction and operation. Hollow body, with head on headpost. Mouth is operated from a lever mounted on the headpost. Head tilts, nods, and turns full circle. (Head is removable)

    WINGS FLAP (individually or together) by pulling control cord within the body.

    19" tall, stands alone. After seeing these photos, I feel he needs a "tuft of tail" of some sort - I will add that.

    He's one-of-a-kind, built so I could "spread and stretch my wings" a bit as figure maker. At this point I have no pre-determined price. Make offer.  (See more photos here: www.mrdsfigures.blogspot.com )