I must tell the story of this Kangaroo in its entirety because it really is fascinating.
Clifford Guest was a fantastic ventriloquist who is famous for having his Frank Marshall figure run around the stage trying to get away from Clifford. Clifford also did a fantastic cry baby effect. What most people do not know is that being from Australia he, back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s commissioned Frank Marshall to build him some Kangaroo figures. There is a great picture of Frank’s workbench showing two of the Kangaroos in Stanley Burns book ” Other Voices”. One of them has a Tommy Knots figure in the pouch.
With the passing of Frank Marshall his sister Mae gave most of what ever was left to the then up and coming builder Brian Hamilton. Brian over the course of some years sold off most of the items to others and one of the folks that seemed to help Brian out whenever he needed funds was Bob Isaacson. Bob purchased and then sold a lot of wood items which happened to include a Kangaroo head which was signed inside ” made for Clifford Guest 1952″ This lot traveled in its entirety to , and these are the folks I know of, Ray Guyll, then Steve Meyers, the Bill Nelson and then to me. The lot remained in tact and when I received it some 30 years later I just knew I had to make the Kangaroo complete again.
While I have had quite a few people work on figures for me I decided to enlist the help of figure builder Les Lamborn from Michigan. He asked me to supply him with measurements and then he would do the job.
This past summer while attending the Vent Haven ConVENTion while I was at the museum I asked Lisa Sweasy now one of the board if she could help me with measurements of the Kangaroo in the collection there. Lisa was more than happy to accommodate me and I took many pictures and measurements which I then provided to Les Lamborn.
About 3 months ago Les said he was ready to start covering the skeletal structure with fur so I sent him the head so he could do it all at the same time. Well I have to say that Les did a fantastic job on him and I think Frank is now looking down and thanking me and Les for completing what he had started.
I hope you enjoy seeing this very rare Frank Marshall creation.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger
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