I have known Lee Dunn for a number of years and have done business with him both buying and selling of ventriloquist figures over the past 5 or 6 years. I always knew he was capable of doing repair work as well. Although we had communicated over the years by email we had never met or talked with each other until this past July at the Vent Haven Convention.
If you had not heard about Bill Demar’s unfortunate mishap with his figure Chuck Norwood, then this will interest you. During Bill’s lecture the all around eye movement decided to fall apart rendering the dummy unusable. Bill was scheduled to appear the next night on the Saturday evening show. I knew that Lee had his tools with him and I introduced Lee to Bill and Lee stayed up into the wee hours of Saturday morning and performed the needed repairs so that Bill could perform on Saturday night. Lee was the life saver of the day!! At the convention Lee had told me he was really into mechanics and was working on trying his hand at making a McElroy figure.
Fast forward a couple months and low and behold Lee , using the wonderful book written by Greg Claassen ” McElroy Magic” was able to figure out some of the things he had long wondered about. He set about to making his McElroy tribute figure. He found a correct McElroy Johnny Casting and did a truly spectacular job of recreating a McElroy Johnny figure. He did not do a completely loaded one on this first attempt but it is pretty close.
Lee put in slot jaw, side to side floating eyes, wiggling ears, wiggling nose, light up nose, flip up wig, floating eyebrows with an overide to raise them anytime you desire, plus made a cradle with the correct style locking devise. The body is also a correct cast McElroy body. The mechanics are all done with steel and brass and are all direct linkage and are super clean and done as well as most anyone could possibly do. When I saw this incredible figure I knew I had to have him for the Dan Willinger collection. Lee agreed that he would like his first creation to reside with me so here he is for your viewing pleasure.
There are now three different presently alive makers that have produced McElroy style figures. Ray Guyll, Greg Claassen and Lee Dunn.