I have been asked by many people about this Frank Marshall duplicarver head which was listed for sale on Ebay this past week.
I can let everyone know that this was in fact a head made by Frank Marshall and he used it to make heads that were similar to Charlie McCarthy but it is NOT the head that was used to make the original Charlie McCarthy figure.
If you study the face you can see that there are many facets that are similar but many that are quite different.
This head was a gift to Brian Hamilton from Frank’s sister Mae after Frank passed away. Brian actually got most of Frank’s workshop which included tools as well as incomplete parts many of which are now part of the Ventriloquist Central Collection as well as the Vent Haven museum.
This head has passed through a couple other collections since Brian Hamilton and it was nice to see it surface again for sale.
I wish it was part of the Ventriloquist Central Collection but in my professional opinion the price was too high.
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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Is this the duplicarver?http://www.terrco.com/woodcarvers/f200.php
For the record I now own Frank Marshall’s all metal X-acto knife, it has no blade in it. It was a gift.
Mean John Dean
I saw this unpainted, chocolate brown head a few years ago in an interview with the guy to whom it was given. I was struck by the many angles of it in closeup, and how spherical the head is. Marshall’s Charlies seem to all have peanut-shaped heads, and not the simple, dynamic round ball shape of Bergen’s original Charlie. This led me to believe that this may be the only Mack-carved head that Charlie and others were made from. He also showed the duplicarver in the interview. You say Marshall carved it? Then why isn’t it peanut-shaped, like Marshall’s others? It always seemed to me Marshall could not possibly have carved the original Charlie because he couldn’t even get the ball shape right on the copies; where the weak chin perfectly completes the underside of the single ball shape. Comments, big boy? Heh!
It just seems true-to-form that Marshall would take credit for carving this. But I have spent hours studying his other Charlies, and no on way were they made from this. I recall seeing all the different angles, profiles, etc. of this particular head versus his others, and it struck me that I had never seen a Charlie copy this close to the original. Never. Schrum is amazing, many are, but I could always tell subtle differences. What are the differences you see in this from Bergen’s original? I was amazed by the profile of the nose, nose-holes, forehead as seen from profile views, chin, etc. Overall sex appeal far closer to the great McCarthy than any other copy. I honestly believed this to be the hand-carved head that Mack made copies from, including the famous Charlie. It dawned on me Charlie, himself, may not have been carved by hand but was rather a duplicarved copy of this… and again, it would make sense that Marshall would make claim to having carved it, to back up his stories that he did the original carving. Hmmm, there are differences? Is it possible Marshall made some changes on it at some point so he could say it WASN’T the original Mack-carved head??? Plot thickens! Show me the differences.
Thoughts? Comparisons? Thanks a bunch. You be da man!
Keith adds –
Let me add –
It looks like a duplicarved copy of this had the underside of the nose sanded down, making the nasal openings smaller and not quite visible from a straight on view. Which is what Bergen’s Charlie has. This allows more of the upper lip revealed. A simple change like that would be expected, anyway. Aside from that, the proportions and compositions match the greatest wooden idol of all time.
Let me also add –
Check out this antiques roadshow carving of Charlie.
The sculptor was commisioned by Bergen in the early forties to make fiberglass copies for his feature-length movies. Bergen hired the best wood sculptor to match Charlie. This is the actual carving his fiberglass movie figures were made from. Copperfield’s museum is a few miles from where I live now where that same Charlie is, made from a mold that was made from this carving. It is the best example of what the real Charlie looked like before painting. Bergen always made sure he hired the very greatest talented people. This sculptor had a great reputation for his work in advertising. Please compare above head with this head. Also click on the arrow to see Mortimer’s carved head, too. He, too, is down my street, made from a mold that was made from this. Incredibly classic reproductions that Marshall could never get right.