Clothing a ventriloquist figure has always been a fine point of interest for me with my figures. I will not just go and buy a shirt and pants and shoes. I first decide what I think the figure would be best looking dressed as , child, adult, work, dress or play. Then I decide on the clothing and I am kind of fussy in that I like the cloths to be from the period that the figure was made. I don’t like a figure made in the 1940’s or 1950’s to be wearing clothing from 2009.
I scour the flea markets and yard sales for children’s clothing and again I am fussy. If the clothes has holes or seams coming apart or are overly stained I will not buy them. You will be surprised at what is out there that is very usable.
I was very fortunate that I found a woman selling off her parents remnants from a shoe store. I asked if she had any kids dress shoes and she said she thought she did. About a week later she contacted me and I purchased about 50 pair of wonderful dress children’s shoes from the 1950 and 1960 era. The shoes can be used on later period figures because a standard black oxford shoe is the same today as it was back then.
The only clothing article I find hard to get are socks. They are never for sale at yard sales but I did find that if you go to the dollar store sometimes they have children’s socks that are great with striped colors in the brown and also grey tones. I will buy a dozen pair at a time when I see them.
Another problem I myself have is weather to open the seam on a jacket for the figure. If I have found a wonderful 1950’s two tone rockabilly jacket, like the kind Marshall used on his figures, I will not open the seam. Those jackets today are very hard to find and are collectible in their own right. Cutting them open only devalues them. The antique purist in me strikes again. You can slip your hand under the bottom of the jacket and preserve the value.
I think that because of watching Jerry Mahoney as a kid, I just love the look of a bow tie on a ventriloquist figure. I purchase them where ever I may be and see them. I have some that are 60 years old and some that are new. I use the appropriate age tie on the like age figure. I just think it is a great look. I do have a few figures with regular ties as well. But on a figure the bow tie to me is the way to go.
Shirts are the easy item. For the most part I like a plain solid color either white, yellow or blue. I will purchase these new for all vintage figures. I go to a parochial school store to purchase them. They sell them as small as size 3 and they are perfect. I like the fact that the new shirt gives you a great stiff collar so that when you clip on the bow tie it just looks great. So I hope this helps you with ideas for dressing your figure.
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 2009 by Dan Willinger
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