Collecting vs Performing Ventriloquist Figures

After having the crowd come and see the Ventriloquist Central collection there were questions about figures used by performers and how both my collection and the Vent Haven Museum have taken away the chance for some performers to use the figures of old. I found that to be a rather profound statement because if anyone wants to use an old figure they can. All they have to do is buy one.

The problem is, in my opinion, that you should never choose the figure first if you are going to perform. Rather in your mind you must decide the character and develop just how he or she will move and the voice you will give that character and then you will ultimately know what that character should look like. Then the hunt begins.

It makes life much more simple choosing your buddy when all the parameters of that figure are known. There are quite a number of builders of both hard and soft figures which can accommodate you with not much effort.

If you purchase an antique figure first, you then will have to develop the character to suit the particular figure. This is very difficult and in most cases will cause the figure to be put in a case and in the closet never to be used.

The performers that do use old figures today, in most cases, have been using them all their life. Case in point Ed Thomas performed at the Ventriloquist Central Birthday Bash with his figure Hugo. Hugo is a figure that was made by Revello Petee and Ed purchased him in the 1940’s. I am sure Ed shopped around before buying him to make sure he fit the act.

I have been collecting with the express intent on sharing all these great old figures with all of you by way of this web site. For the most part they would not be used by today’s ventriloquists.




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:

Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger

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This entry was posted in Dummy Collecting, Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central, Ventriloquist Figures, W.S. Berger & Vent Haven. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Collecting vs Performing Ventriloquist Figures

  1. bob isaacson says:

    Dan…’re exactly correct on using the correct figure. The Vent must first develop a voice & character …then obtain the figure whose character will fit the voice & attitude. Perfect example…..Edgar Bergen’s Mortimer…a perfect match !

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