I did try to find out some information on the vent from Philadelphia Pa. but had no replies to any of my postings from anyone so this is the information I was able to find out and it comes from Stanley Burns book Other voices.
Canfield Smith was a performer in the late 1940’s and 1950’s and was what Stanley Burns labeled as a “Cod Performer” and that is a performer that was a comedian who discovered that mis copy-ing can be lucrative. Canfield Smith made audiences laugh with his standard figure whose arm would drop off in the middle of a routine, with Smith seemingly indifferent to his companion’s plight. The dummy finally complained, “Hey! Canfield….There’s a draft in here. Is there a carpenter in the house?” Canfield played the Palace as well as club dates after vaudeville.
This figure you are looking at was signed inside on the back of the mouth palate made by Frank Marshall for Canfield Smith Phila. Frank also signed it in 3 other places and it also has his card pasted inside too. When I aquired this figure is was in dire need of restoration and it had been severely abused but after a superb job he now is a wonderful example of Franks early 1950’s work.
This figure has side to side self centering eyes, his right eye winks and of course slot jaw. A very fine figure that once belonged to a Pennsylvania performer.
Click Here to see Frank Marshall Ventriloquist Figure
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. His collection of ventriloquist figures now numbers over 100 figures of which there are over 50 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 2008 by Dan Willinger
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When Canfield Smith retired from ventriloquism, he gave his main figure, Snodgrass, to his protege, young ventriloquist Jerry Goodspeed. Jerry now regularly uses Snodgrass in his cruise ship performances.
Last year I renovated Snodgrass. (Tom Ladshaw identified him for me.) I believe Canfield built Snodgrass himself but I am not sure about that.
You can view a headshot of Snodgrass on my website. Go to the Workshop page and click Rebuilds and Replicas. Snodgrass is top row, second figure from the right.
Al thanks for the comment. If you go to the Tribute section on this web site and click on twentieth century vents:
You can scroll down and see a picture of Canfield Smith with his Snodgrass figure. I was just hoping to get more information on him as a performer to share with the vent community!
Thanks for posting this. I went to school with a guy in the late ’40s who was a nephew of Canfield Smith. The nephew also had a dummy and was learning to be a ventriloquist, but I believe he gave it up as he got older. I’ve since lost contact with him, so I can’t say for sure. We lived in Philadelphia at the time.