Ventriloquist Figure Collecting…..Ken Spencer

Ventriloquist figure maker, Ken Spencer was a prolific builder and spanned a career of both performing and building for 4 or 5 decades.

Ken built his figures in the manner of the early makers Mack and Marshall. He actually worked a bit with Marshall. He branched out on his own and made some very fine figures and he certainly had a look for his figures that were all his own. You can instantly tell a Spencer figure usually because of his comic looking faces and the turned up nose. The Great Lester actually used a Ken Spencer figure as his last Broadway Eddie.

He made figures that were slot jaw only right up to fully loaded figures in keeping with the McElroys and Frank Marshall. If you check my figure collection page and scroll down to Ken Spencer you will see these examples. Ken also had a very distinctive style to his painting. It was very soft with a lot of pink shading and he usually painted in the eye lashes. His bodies were sturdy structures and his hands again were unique. The thumb section of the hand was very large emphasizing the muscle of the thumb.

Pricing on his figures is of course subjective but I feel they are not too much money yet. They will bring from $800.00 to 1500.00 most of the time. There are examples of his work that have sold for a lot more. I myself paid more , but you can get a rather nice example of his work in this price range. So keep your eyes open and study his look and I am sure you will find one of his figures to add to your collection.

I really like Ken Spencer figures and I feel they have the right look on stage when performing. I think anyone who collects should have at least one of his figures in their collection.

Ken Spencer figures in the Ventriloquist Central Collection

 

Dan
www.ventriloquistcentral.com

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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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This entry was posted in Dummy Collecting, Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central, Ventriloquist Figure (Dummy) Makers, Ventriloquist Figure Building, Ventriloquist Figures. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ventriloquist Figure Collecting…..Ken Spencer

  1. Ony Carcamo says:

    I agree with Dan that Ken Spencer figures are really unique figures. You can easily tell one because of the how the face, ears, nose were carved–very distinct.

    I was lucky to get one–an all-original 1960s Spencer figure with automatic eyes–but I had to repaint him to make him fit my act. When I got him, he had American (white) skin tone, but we Filipinos usually have dark (brown) skin… so I repainted him to make him more “Filipino.”

    You can see him here (picture at the right side):

    http://onycarcamo.tripod.com/id5.html

  2. LeeDean says:

    I agree with both of you and correct my previous comment on Petee and Marshall to include Ken Spencer: “The English figures were either paper mache or leather lip or both, and although I am not sure about the Goldston figure of Arthur Prince, still I believe that but for these two fine wood sculpturers of ventriloquist figures, along with the Mack, and Spencer, there would be nothing much interesting to inspire Bergen and all the rest who followed.”

    I am sorry overlooked him, as a Marshall contemporary out of the Mack shop, much in Marshall’s shadow. He was not as prolific as Marshall, although made a lot of hands when first put to work in that shop. I have a feeling that value of his figures will climb. I never saw a Spencer I did not like. A Spencer is a “sleeper”, and prices for Spencers will rise, I believe.

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