I find this to be an interesting question when it comes to ventriloquist figures. How heavy is too heavy? I guess I never really gave it much thought because I am not a performer but having many figures in the Ventriloquist Central Collection to pick up and play with I have come to the decision that there is no figure in the Ventriloquist Central Collection that I would consider too heavy.
I can tell you that the McElroy figures and the Finis Robinson figures come in weighing the most but that still to me doesn’t make them too heavy. Most performers today use their figures standing up with them sitting on a stand next them. I have even purchased vent stands which have figures sitting on them in the collection.
If the figure is sitting on a stand and is being supported and the head is supported in a ball and socket, then why would the question of weight even be considered?
I guess that takes us to walk around. Now it is a completely different story. The hard figures, I believe, were not intended for walk around use or I should say the full size 40″ figures weren’t. Makers like Insull made a 30″ tall figure, with weighted eyes, that was perfect for the walk around venue. Frank Marshall also made a 30″ figure and the Tommy Knots which is fully functional at 18″ tall which also could be used for walk around.
Today’s figure makers, for the most part, make figures which are cast and are therefore light weight so they could be used for walk around but even if a figure comes in weighing around 5 pounds, if you are carrying that for a couple hours I am certain you would say it is too heavy.
Sift figures I think fill the walk around venue perfectly.
I did mention vent stands earlier and to me the best stand you could buy is sold by Al Good and here is the link for his products http://algoodproducts.com/
Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here
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 2012 by Dan Willinger
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You are right. No figure is too heavy if you are in good health. I did one walk around once. I wonder if Hoverounds are allowed. I’m in good health still, just wondering, because I remember even when young awful hard to stand for long carrying 44″ Davenport/Insull figure.
The weight issue seems to come into play when vents are looking for a way to justify using a cloth figure, or a fiberglass or composite figure that is pressed out of a mold. These figures are seen to be superior to wooden figures because wooden figures are prohibitively bulky. I have a few comments.
1. You don’t have to justify what figure you use. If you like a cloth puppet, or a composition character, then you like it. You don’t have to prove that it is better than wood. Use what you like, and what feels comfortable. Weight is far from being the only, or even the most important consideration.
2. The weight difference is really not that big, anyhow. In spite of the rumors, there really are no 40 pound dummies. I know that McEloys and some others have a little more mass to them, but my wooden figures, with wooden head, hands, feet and even full wooden torso, usually weigh about 5-6 pounds.
You are right too, and know what, it’s shoes that adds the most weight. Take off the shoes, or change out the heels and soles of the shoes to cardboard or some material lighter yet looks like heels and soles to reduce the weight.
what a great blog story, from what I have experienced, weight does help in one situation, having to put the dummy down on a table or shelf, the weight does help it stay put. Dummy’s were really never made to just sit by themselves when not in use, they were either performing on the vents knee or put away in a trunk, that’s my take