At the ConVENTion this past summer, one of the acquisitions I picked up for the Ventriloquist Central Collection was the Hartz Tough Guy (as I call him).
Last week I received an email from the ventriloquist figure builder himself, Conrad Hartz, giving me the “real story” behind this figure. Here’s Conrad’s email:
Dan……….The one-eyed bum was never supposed to be. This is one of my earliest carvings. I was carving a rough/tough guy for myself and had ordered what I know was the most beautiful blue hand-blown German eyes. The eyes were the clearest and prettiest hand crafted German eyes I had ever seen. The eyes came in and the day I was to put the in the figure…..was very hot. The shop was not air-conditioned and I was sweating. Anyway, I put the left eye in the head and dropped the perfectly matched right eye onto the cement floor. It shattered into a million pieces. I died a thousand deaths because no two pairs of hand-blown eyes are as perfectly matched as these were. So……I decided to close the right eye permanently and recarve his nose crooked and give him a “stressed” look to say the least. The hands were carved rather massive in style. A Doctor that was a friend of mine from Columbia, SC came down and saw him and immediately fell in love with him. He bought him and the rest is history. Upon his death, he was sold to someone…..somewhere. I’m glad to see him again.
Thanks, Conrad, for sharing the “real story” behind this figure. I always enjoy learning about how unique ventriloquist figures, as is the case with this guy came to be.
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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