I have never had nor have I seen a ventriloquist figure that had fingers or thumb that moved by way for any controls.
As matter of fact I actually think that might be a rather hard thing to make function while performing. How would you control the mouth movement and control hand movement at the same time? I think it would be rather difficult.
Of course arm movement has been done for decades with levers inside the body for moving same or by thread but that of course is not finger movement. There certainly have been some that had hands that had posable fingers so that the character could hold an item such as a cigarette.
When smoking was in vogue many figures had the smoking effect and the arm could actually move to have the cigarette go to the mouth and then the figure would exhale smoke. I don’t think we will see that effect again.
Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here
Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan 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. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
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I remember Jerry Baum, a woodcarver from New Mexico made some figures with fingers that moved(I think Nacho Estrada had one, or at least I remember him walking around with one at the convention..) . The fingers were controlled at the figure’s elbow so you could hold up its hand and it would wave goodbye…
Actually, Dan, Al Stevens’ old man figure “Uncle Sweeter Dabney”, DOES have a moving finger, the middle one on his left hand… And it’s controlled from the elbow. And some of Francisco Sanz’s figures did have moving fingers and hands… So, yes, it was done, and it’s still being done.
Bill Boley owned a hand created by Paul Winchell and used before Winchell used human hands with his figures that could grasp objects. And Al Stevens built a figure that will raise it’s middle finger allowing him to “flip a bird.”