A Tribute to the Movie "Magic"


This is one of the first articles we posted on Ventriloquist Central. The was reprinted from The Barker Magazine, Summer 2000, with permission by Bob Abdou.

I thought it would be good to post it here on the blog…..

“A Fats Interview”


Whether you loved it or hated it, laughed at it or screamed at it, there is no denying that the movie “Magic” from its release in 1978, made an imprint in the art of ventriloquism that is very much felt today. Even though it was billed as a love story, “Magic” was ultimately labeled as a scary, bloody psycho movie that the public remembers only as a dummy that kills.

The Barker Magazine took the initiative to meet and greet this dummy known as “Fats” in the movie. We wanted to know if there was a gentler, nicer side to what was portrayed as a vicious, devious menace to ventriloquist dummies everywhere.

We will let you readers make that decision….

You’re not going to hurt me, are you?
Fats: Why, do you want me too? Nah, I’m a pussycat!!

So, Fats is your name. Is it short for anything, like Fats Domino or Fat Albert?
The only way I was described in the book is that my head is bigger than my body: I got my name from my looks. So basically, I got a fat head!!

What have you been doing lately?
I’m stuck in a box all day long; I got to get out, go anywhere, anywhere where there ain’t people.

Tell us about the filming of “Magic.”
Two words: Ann Margaret!!

Anything else?
What else is there besides Ann Margaret!! Oh, yeah, there are two of me in the movie: the cute one (that makes me sick) and then there is the mean one.

How can you tell the difference?
Fats: If you see the movie, some people get it right away. The scene is where I am in the cabin sitting there all by myself when Corky comes in from Ann Margaret’s house, and I say, “Did you get any?” Then there is a switch. Check it out.

Besides “Magic”, are there any other movies or commercials?
Fats: Nah, once you been with Ann Margaret, what else is left? It’s like dying and going to Heaven or Hell, take your pick!

Who is the real Fats?
I’m a little Bugs Bunny, a little Bart Simpson and add a little Punch from Punch and Judy, I get away with murder (snicker). And I am better looking than in the movie. Even though I hate make-up. The movie portrayed me as mean as mean can be, but I am an actor, I just played a killer. I’m really a pussycat.

Tell us about your mechanics.
Fats: I weigh about 22 pounds, and that ain’t just my head. I got rubber hands; the fingers can move by control. I got a flat butt. My eyes blink every six seconds also by remote control, my nose can light up, I am made of fiberglass except for my hands; my eyes are made to look electrifying and are made of ping pong balls. I have only three wardrobe changes.

What about the quirks of being a star in the movie?
When I did the movie, they gave me my own chair with my own name on it. I had more lines than Burgess Meredith, and almost as many as Ann Margaret. And as I look back, I knew Anthony (Hopkins) and Richard (Attenborough) before they had a “Sir” before their names. But don’t ask me for an autograph, don’t give them.

If you could change the world, what would you do?
I’d first get rid of all ventriloquists who move their lips!!! That even includes my partner Al (Dennis Alwood). Only kidding, only kidding (snicker).

So, wrapping up the interview, who have I been talking to, the cute one or the mean one?
Hah, hah, hah…..



  • Fasts could make his tongue stick out, but this was never use in the movie.
  • “Magic” was Anthony Hopkins’ first American movie.
  • Jack Nicholson was originally cast to play the part of Corky.
  • “Magic” was first designed to be a black and white movie.
  • The design of Fats was made to look like Anthony Hopkins and cost almost $100,000.
  • Dennis Alwood plays the bartender in the movie.
  • An original line in the movie was about Elvis Presley, but was later changed to Jimmy Dean because Elvis had just died and that hit too close to home for Ann Margaret.


(Reprinted from The Barker Magazine, Summer 2000, with permission by Bob Abdou )

Be sure to check out Bob’s website at www.mrpuppet.com


To see the article with photos, click here




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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One Response to A Tribute to the Movie "Magic"

  1. Bill Smith says:

    Magic to me, is a GENIUS piece of work! The acting is by far the BEST you will see! I saw it on the “big screen” at the State Theatre in Ithaca, N.Y. when it came out. It was NOT “bloody”! There were a couple scenes where you saw a LITTLE blood, but the movie had more of a Hitchcock feel to it & LITERALLY had you on the edge of your seat! I am not at all into gory movies, so take my word for it, this was not gory as some say. There is bad language, but VERY tame by most standards, even mine. I’m sure Jack Nicholson would have done a fine job, he’s a brilliant actor, but they COULDN’T have chosen better than they did for the role of Corky, or the rest of the cast. I have an original poster for the movie in my collection. I remember seeing the poster at the theatre & DROOLING! So to have one just like it is priceless! The movie is not really any more “demented” than “The Great Gabbo” from the 1920’s is. If you have not seen EITHER movie, you are missing the boat! I give magic 2,000 thumbs up! {Maybe more!}

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