I think it is safe to say that most of you have never heard of Len James the ventriloquist figure builder. He actually went from England to Toronto Canada where he set up shop. I too have to say until I became friends with Fred Anderson of Canada I also had never heard of Len James.
Fred became a ventriloquist in the 1950’s and it was from Len James that he purchased his first pro vent figure head. This was back in 1955. A year later he purchased a second head. Fred did use the first one for a long time but didn’t really use the second.
You can look at Fred’s web site here http://dummyman.ca/ and read his bio page.
We skip to today and Fred has wound down and the heads were stored away and decided he wanted them to reside with the Ventriloquist Central Collection so we made a deal and they are now here.
These are carved from basswood and have side moving self centering eyes, also wooden and slot jaw. The are done with the leather under the jaw. These heads are still in original condition except for the under jaw leather and the loss of hair on the first head.
I pictured the heads on a body just to give the idea as to how they look. I kind of compare the carving as a cross between Ken Spencer and Foy Brown.
I am pleased to now have them in the collection and happy to share Len James’ work with all of you. And, if you happen to have any information on Len James I would love to have it.
Len James Ventriloquist Figure Maker
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
Copyright 2013 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst
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A piece by Al Stevens http://alstevens.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html
Lee that is a very interesting link from When Al Steven’s was doing his blog, and I remember when he posted same, but it too gives us NO information on the builder Len James. Yes we can clearly see now that I have posted pictures of the two Len James Heads that the one Al worked on is clearly made by Len. I want information on him. So keep searching and find me some info on Len James.
On Fred Anderson and Len James http://dummyman.ca/2.html
I am sorry, as I see you have that already, reference to the “bio” page. I kept looking, Dan, but I found nothing on Google. Perhaps, and I am sure there is, something in the old Oracle, but I do not have them anymore.
Before Al figured out that Len James made Sonny, he did this piece on the great grandson Michael Harrison of Frrank Merryfield, the “Cornish Wizard” http://alstevens.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html and who is shown in the America’s Got Talent 2008 video attempt to do what Terry Fator did, but failed http://www.funnyguy.ca/ and anyway that video shows Frank Merryfield operating Sonny made by Len James.