Charlie McCarthy Display In Smithsonian Museum

charlie mccarthy

The following was started by our good friend Conrad Hartz and I had to also post this here on Ventriloquist Central to help with the campaign of getting Charlie McCarthy back on display. Edgar Bergen made specific arrangements that Charlie be on Permanent display but unfortunately that is not how it is any longer.

We need everyone to write in to help make this happen.

Hey folks…………Want to contact the National Museum of American History concerning Charlie McCarthy not on display? Here’s a chance:

Apparently, there were ‘rotational’ puppetry displays this year that closed on April 13th. I don’t know what’s coming up in the future for Charlie, but we CAN voice our support at the website I’m showing you.


Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here


Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan 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. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2014 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst

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8 Responses to Charlie McCarthy Display In Smithsonian Museum

  1. Ted Nunes says:

    Put him back on display…and find his damn hat!

  2. Bill Matthews says:

    Here, here! I wrote to them immediately. I hope all others who read this blog will do so, too. When we visited the Smithsonian a few years ago, seeing Charlie “in the flesh” was a highlight to my son and I. We really enjoyed seeing him and took several photos. It would have been a great disappointment to go all that way from NY to find Charlie not there any more. (It was bad enough to find they had taken Fonzie’s leather jacket off display. We wanted to see that, too.)

  3. Glen Rappold says:

    Just sent off my email and hope everyone will do the same.
    I must say it is disheartening to hear that an institution such as the Smithsonian does not honor it’s agreements with those who make donations.
    Very disappointing.

  4. George Boosey says:

    Done. That is the one stop I make on every trip to Washington.

  5. Tony Davis says:

    You know me Dan, I couldn’t imagine a trip to the museum and finding out that this iconic figure from a era past was not on display. I hope everyone takes the time to send a quick note to the museum through the link that Dan and Steve posted. Thanks Dan.

  6. Ben Veenkamp says:

    Good on you Dan for posting about this.

    I don’t live in the U.S.A , but I sent an email as well because Charlie McCarthy is an iconic figure to people all over the world.

  7. Conrad Hartz says:

    Thanks for posting this, Dan. We need an answer from the American History Museum. We don’t want Charlie going the way of Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead and who probably lay in storage or “achieves.” Once we get a “status” report on Charlie, we can go from there. Thanks to all who sent in an email.

  8. Ted Nunes says:

    Here is the reply you will all likely receive from NMAH:


    I received your email about the Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist figure we have in the national collections. As is Smithsonian policy, we don’t promise the permanent exhibition of an object primarily for three reasons. First is the responsibility we feel to exhibit as many of the objects in the national collections as possible on a rotating basis to show the vast variety in Smithsonian holdings. Second is the available space in the museum. Currently, the space devoted to American popular culture is closed and undergoing extensive renovation. They will reopen in 2017. The recent exhibit of puppets (of which, Charlie was a vital part) was in a temporary case on the museum’s first floor that is shared with the many subject areas of the museum’s collections and research interests. Third, and perhaps most important are the conservation needs of the object. Even though objects are exhibited behind glass in protective cases, we try to keep Charlie McCarthy (and all other objects) from overexposure to natural light and changing climate conditions so that he may displayed for generations to come.

    However, we do promise to preserve Charlie and all of our objects for the long term as part of our permanent national collections.

    We appreciate your interest in puppetry collections and are making you aware of the other ventriloquist figures that we have, They include Paul Winchell’s Jerry Mahoney and Jay Johnson’s Bob Campbell from the TV series Soap. Ventriloquism is an important element to the history of American puppets and we strive to document its legacy in the national collections.

    Dwight Blocker Bowers
    Curator, Entertainment Collections
    National Museum of American History

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