A couple of weeks ago, Gary Koepke and his wife, Donna, stopped by to see the Ventriloquist Central Collection.
Gary was nice enough to send this note about being here:
Sometime in May my family and I decided to take a trip to Boston to see some of the historical sites. We tried to include something for everyone. My daughter wanted to see Harvard and Salem. My Mom wanted to see the old North Church. On Wednesday June 5th my wife and I got to see the Ventriloquist Central Collection!
Here’s a video showing a Herbert Brighton Ventriloquist Figure. The figure, Ginger, is a walking figure. He is totally original and has not been touched by anyone since being packed away over a half century ago.
The head has one was side self centering eyes, one eye winks, upper lip moves as well as lower lip and he also has a spitter. The original bulb for the spitter was in the case. I also found the original type written instructions for the walking body but believe me with all the rub Goldberg parts it still works just by swinging the legs as all the other walkers.
A topic of discussion which arises every so often is about collecting ventriloquist figures and the bad impact it has on those that want the figures to perform. I find that very odd but there really are folks that have emailed me in private asking me why I don’t give others the chance to purchase old figures.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all if an old figure is offered publicly say on eBay or even on the Ventriloquist Marketplace everyone has the chance to jump in and make the purchase. The one thing a person must understand is that you have to be ready to say yes and pay the price.
Now I am not saying there isn’t a bit of networking involved with collectors. That has always been the case in any item that has collect ability. Antique dealers network all the time and let each other know what they have found. I have done this my entire life.
But getting back to the subject at hand. I certainly have amassed a large collection of antique figures and I can tell you this for the most part performers would not use them in today’s venues. You want today the likes of Gilmer, Selberg, Hartz, Cowles, Payes figures because they are the look of the figures today. Also the performers today use the soft figures by The Dummy Shoppe | Puppets by JET, MAT and Axtell.
Here’s a video showing a Walt Botley Cheeky Boy Ventriloquist Figure. This is a superb example of a Cheeky boy done by Walt Botley. He is a full 40″ tall and just as with Insull figures, his head is made of paper mache.
He has side to side moving eyes by way of weights. When you move the head the eyes move back and forth. One eye has a winker and of course he has mouth movement. His mouth actually opens wider than the Insull figures.