Frank Marshall Ventriloquist Figure Mouths


I was asked a good question on the pitch point of Frank Marshall’s figures. I wish that it was as easy as a quick measurement but every figure is unique and therefore each and every mouth must be fitted to its respective head.

Deciding factors would of course be how much wood has been removed from the sides of the mouth and cheek for the fit to be successful.

Frank , for the most part, had his pitch points done so that with the movement of the mouth, the upper corners of the mouth palette never showed.. This is the problem that a lot of figure makers do not do. The corners always protruded out from the top when the mouth was opened.

The setting of the pitch point is not an easy task. You of course have to figure out where the hinge must be placed to accomplish a clean movement resulting in a perfect arc swing of the mouth.

Frank also used his business cards on the sides of the mouth to fill the gap. He would glue them into place and when it was just right cover with a bit of plastic wood, sand and paint. In his catalogue it states that his finishes could be cleaned with soapy water and it also states to make sure you do not get water near the mouth. If those cards got wet the mouth would not work right.




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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One Response to Frank Marshall Ventriloquist Figure Mouths

  1. Lee Dean says:

    I should have been more specific when asked the question, “…what is the distance from point of the front edge of the lower lip to the pivot point of the lower jaw… Marshall rule of thumb that mouth should open ‘a good inch’…and by ‘good’ I take to mean more than that” because mainly interested in the Roy Catell figure by Marshall. shows the mouth opens real wide as do all Marshall figures. I may be wrong about this, and apologize if I am, but I think it was Bob Isaacson who said he had altered a Marshall figure and Frank Marshall came by, saw the figure, put his finger in its mouth and touched something that let him know it was his creation. I think it was the pivot hinge used, or the bridge for that hinge, or how far in finger went to touch them. Pivot point on my Marshalls was easy to touch. Did old Catell figure at that time use a pivot hinge, bridge, and are they easy to touch?

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