The one thing that seems to take the most abuse on a ventriloquist figure is his or her wig. I guess it is the one thing on a figure that has the least protection.
Most performers will use covers on their figures heads and hands but even with a cover you still have to put in on and take it off. This of course messes up the hair and so it has to be brushed and made to look right before going on stage. After a number of years this certainly takes its toll on the wig.
So you have decided to replace the wig. We all go through this and you say to yourself where do I start. The first thing you must consider is how much money you want to spend on same.
I myself am always on the lookout for older wigs for the older figures but that is hard and most when found are not in great shape. I do love it though when I go into a Salvation Army store and find old men’s toupees. Even though the toupee is not a full coverage wig, most will cover the entire ventriloquist figure head.
Those many times will also be human hair which is hand tied and therefore will not fall out from brushing. These really do well with the antique figures.
Paula Young wigs are a second choice for me. The model Abbey comes in a mini petite size which is great for use with a ventriloquist figure but you will also be doing some cutting to make it fit right.
I have used there many times and they run $69.00 each. Sometimes Paula Young runs specials and the price drops and that is when I stock up.
There are some wig shops which specialize in cancer victim wigs and they do carry childrens wigs which work very well but you will spend a lot more money on these.
They will run sometimes into the hundreds depending on the style. If you want a wig that has lace front so that the hair looks like it is growing out of the head then be prepared to spend upwards of $1500.00 and higher. These are usually custom made to fit exact. Edgar Bergen went this route with Charlie McCarthy. Of course he could afford to go this route.
Another style of wig is the crepe hair wig. Frank Marshall as well as all the other makers of the golden era offered crepe wigs. Crepe hair is sold in a braid and can be purchased in most joke shops or any doll supply places.
I know that Michael’s sells it too. You use this with a glue called spirit gum and slowly pull the hair out of the braid and glue it on. A very full and exact coverage of the head can be achieved with this method. It will take a little practice but a full wig cane be made for less than $10.00 with crepe hair.
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 2010 by Dan Willinger
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