It is hard to believe that just 2 hours from my house is Vent Haven 2. I have visited Dan’s website many times and I have enjoyed looking at all the figures he has collected. I kept telling myself that someday I will give him a call when I am in the area and see if I can see them for myself. Well, that someday was today! I travel on the road doing school shows and I stay in a lot of hotels. So when I realized that I was close to Dan, I gave him a call to see if I could drop by and see his figure collection. I don’t know why I felt funny about it. I guess because I thought I would be intruding. I left a message and told him I was in the area and asked if was alright to stop by to see his collection. Dan called me back a few minutes later and couldn’t have been more gracious. We made the appointment for the afternoon after my show.
Years ago, we moved to Las Vegas to seek fame and fortune. After a few years there, we realized that I gave up a lot of shows in New England and we moved back to Massachusetts. So we packed up all our stuff and hauled a trailer back home. As we were traveling east, I said to my wife, “Deb, I would love to visit Vent Haven and see the figures.” So we called the museum and asked if was alright to stop and see it as we were close. The curator said sure but that she closed at 5 pm. So we found the street and headed down to see the museum. However, I never realized that the street was so narrow and it really had no place for a U-Haul trailer to park. Now the hard part, I couldn’t turn the van and the trailer around to get back up the street. I had never pulled a trailer this big and it was impossible to maneuver it around. I had to unhitch the trailer and back it up so I could put in back on my van. By this time, I was tired, dirty and sweaty. I looked at my watch and it was 4:45. We got in to see the figures but it was quite an ordeal.
As I was driving to Dan’s house, I was like a kid again. I remembered the first time I walked into Tannen’s magic shop in New York and saw my first ventriloquist figure sitting in a case begging me to take him home. I was thinking about Vent Haven and my other visits there and how amazed I was at the history of all the figures.
I was greeted by Dan with a handshake and welcomed into his gorgeous home. I felt like I was in a museum. It was amazing. As we walked into the area where the figures are arranged, my jaw dropped. I was in Ventriloquist Heaven. Unbelievable! It was like going back in time! I was stunned. I had never seen so many figures in one room. They were all placed in chairs around the room. Each one cuter then the next. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I really can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Charlie, Mort, Marshalls, Hamiltons and McElroy figures were everywhere. Some of them were even hiding under the large pool table.
Dan and his wife were very nice and discussed in great detail about some of the figures that I wanted to know more about. I really wanted just to sit down and play with them all. Luckily, I kept my distance. Dan would have had to throw me out if I started that.
This was one of the biggest thrills I have had since doing ventriloquism. Sure, they are nice to see in a museum but to see them on a private tour in someone’s house was a real treat! I felt privileged to be invited to see this amazing collection. I hope I can make the trip again. It was worth the trip to see this collection of fine figures. I hope I can be invited back. Thanks Dan!
Bob it was a great pleasure for me to give you the personal tour of my collection. One of the highlights of collecting is being able to share what you have collected with others. So that being said anytime you are in the area it would be my pleasure to have you stop by. This invitation goes for all of you out there as well. PLEASE contact me if you are going to be in the Boston area and come on over for a little while and enjoy seeing the ventriloquist figure collection. It would be my pleasure!!!
All writings here are copyrighted by Dan Willinger and Ventriloquist Central. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.