Fred and Ethel Mertz Come To Ventriloquist Central Collection

fred and ethel001

Every once in a while an interesting email comes to me and this one was just that. A dealer from Florida contacted me because he said he had a pair of large ventriloquist figures and thought I may be interested. He sent me pictures and when I opened the first picture all I could say to myself was,” That’s Fred & Ethel Mertz.” Now that really is not who they are but I have decided that is who they are now.

Inside the body of the male figure is carved 1963 by Edmud Wostkowski, self portrait. Unfortunately the female is not marked. There is other marking in the male figure and I took pictures fore you to see.

These are carved totally from basswood and the bodies and the heads are all layered and then carved. The heads are ball and socket and have moving mouth only. The male figure has a bit more detail to the carving but they both really are done very well. They still have all the original paint and on these I am having a very hard time because I love the originality ( which I always talk about ) but I would love to re do them to mint. The crack on the female figures face really bothers me.

The clothing is also original to these figures and is still in very good condition.

The legs on the male figure have springs attached to them so that he could walk. They both have jointed arms legs knees elbows wrists and feet. The walking effect is the same as all walkers and works bu swinging the figure back and forth to cause the legs to go. This never really worked well. The best part of these figures is that they were caved and balanced so they will stand on their own and not fall over

I love there figures and put them in the folk art venue as well as ventriloquism.

Click here to see more of Fred and Ethel Mertz




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 2012 by Dan Willinger

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This entry was posted in Dummy Collecting, Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central, Ventriloquist Figure (Dummy) Makers, Ventriloquist Figure Building, Ventriloquist Figures. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Fred and Ethel Mertz Come To Ventriloquist Central Collection

  1. Bob Isaacson says:

    Very unique figures, a real plus for the collection. I wonder if Mr. Wostkowski ( the figure maker) was a Vent himself & used the figures ? Great figures Dan.

  2. P. Grecian says:

    Makes one want to know more. The carving inside brings up even more questions. The one that begs not to be destroyed but, rather, put into a museum, is almost touching. Good find, Dan!

  3. Ray Guyll says:

    Wow, what a great find! My opinion is to leave them as they are and get used to the way they look. For historical value and charm they are perfect!!

  4. LeeDean says:

    Figure names probably from Jackie Gleeson’s “The Honeymooners” television series.

  5. James Manalli says:

    They are wonderfully carved.

  6. Matt Kimbro says:

    These are amazing! I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ben and MJ says:

    Self portrait huh? I got to wonder how much they actually do look like Mr Wostkowski (and probably his wife) because they’re pretty realistic. Very nice find indeed.

  8. James Manalli says:

    Now you need a Ricky and Lucy!

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