How Many Ventriloquist Figures is Too Many??

Small portion of the Ventriloquist Central Collection

As I sit and look over my collection of ventriloquist figures I think about the fact that I have some examples of figure makers and there is only one figure made by him and then I have others that I have multiples of figures made by them. Of course I have more Marshall figures than any other maker but I really concentrated on collecting his figures.

At one point I thought all I really needed was one example but as the Ventriloquist Central Collection has grown it has become important to me to acquire multiples of makers figures because each one is truly different and of course they may not have the same functions which changes them as well.

The fact that 99% of the collection is carved wood also makes each one different. Even when a head is done on a duplicarver the finishing touches have to be done by hand which will make the face different. Remove some cheek or change the shape of the nose, add dimples larger ears etc, etc. This makes each one unique. Because of this I have decided I need multiples of the different makers. This is what constitutes a true collector.

It is very hard to say that about figures that are made from a mold. They are all the same face even with different functions they still retain the same face. That is not to say that some of the molded figures are not collectible because they are. Ray Guyll figures which are cast are exceedingly hard to find and are therefore very collectible. Selberg figures and Semok figures are also collectible but with all these makers the faces are the same and do not vary. Just some of my thoughts!!



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 2009 by Dan Willinger

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8 Responses to How Many Ventriloquist Figures is Too Many??

  1. Dan;

    I beg to differ. Semok figures faces are NOT the same.
    Papa looks nothing like Gitch or Gunther or Wade Smoothly.
    You’d have to look at photos of them side by side, and you’d see the differences.

  2. Lee Dean says:

    Take a look at Jobblewocky Place, last part of to see Terry Bennett’s main Marshall look alike which was probably duplicarver copy but not identical.

  3. Lee Dean says:

    Regarding Semok, see his site at that “[w]e can make exact fibreglass replicas of your vintage figure, or very close replicas in traditional basswood.”

  4. Lee Dean says:

    One final thought (Steve, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember this), I think I leaned this in art class at Baylor in Texas that if you make a mold of say a premier example of a Nosey, pour it, let set up, then make a mold of that one, and do that again over and over, the copies keep getting smaller. If that is the case, no mold copy is truly an exact copy.

  5. LeeDean says:

    Obviously there had to be two Red Flannels as shown by Jobblewocky video. In the 1990s Bob Isaacson facilitated acquisition of the original and others to Vent Haven, and he would know where Terry Bennett’s widow, Joy, is in FL, and what happened to the other or copy of main figure, and Dan Willinged can locate and acquire that one for collection.

  6. Hi Pete !! I think you misunderstood what I was saying. You have a Semok Papa figure and I have a Semok Papa figure. They are from the same mold and the face is the same. Castings taken from the same mold are the same. Heads cast from different molds are of course going to be different. Now I was also talking about collectibility and any figure done by Al Semok is collectible because they are rare. I hope I have clarified myself. Thanks for the comment!!

  7. Bill Smith says:

    Even though the molded face ITSELF may be the same, don’t forget they each have to be painted, so no two paint jobs will look exactly alike, thereby altering the look of the face.

  8. Dennis Meeks says:

    Hi Pete and all,
    I have two Semok figures and Alan just did a repair job and repaint on a figure that I purchased here in Central Florida. Anyway, one of my figures,although presently disguized as a clown, looks Very much like the demonstration figure on Semok’s web site. As it turns out, my figures were made by Alan in 1982 and 1983. Pete I think you were there when I purchased SKIP at the ’83 ConVENTion.


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