Lieutenant Frank Travis, The Society Ventriloquist 1854-1931

We were contacted by Justine, who was researching an article he was doing and wanted to know if we have more information about ventriloquist Frank Travis who is listed on the Tribute to Ventriloquism, “Ventriloquist Entertainers 18th and 19th Century.”

I told Justine that was all the information we had on Frank Travis. He proceeded to send us information and pictures that he had uncovered so that we might share them with everyone here at Ventriloquist Central.

Here is Justine’s email:


Hello Dan! I have got enough information now to supplement the reference to Travis, listed in your ‘Ventriloquist entertainers 18th and 19th century.

The photos I’ve attached, one of the photos is pretty grainy, I can date that 1 at 1884, and have had it restored as it was completely damaged, which is why one of the figures has no head!




What I have is

‘Lieutenant Frank Travis’
‘The Society Ventriloquist’

Born Francis Thackeray and gained fame in 1879 after a successful tour of the continent. He employed 7 ventriloquial figures which he would seat around a table singing and conversing which each in turn. It was claimed on his behalf that he was the originator of the feats of smoking and drinking while ventriloquising. Appeared on stage in a military uniform and was a huge favorite in Australia.



Justine thanks so much for sharing this information and photos with us. We have since updated the “Ventriloquist Entertainers 18th and 19th Century” web page with this information.




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 2010 by Dan Willinger

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2 Responses to Lieutenant Frank Travis, The Society Ventriloquist 1854-1931

  1. Janice Wilkin says:

    I love the information you have gathered on your webpage and thank you for all the work.

    I am researching Francis Thackeray as he is my Great Grand Uncle. The photo signed Frank Daniels with puppets in clown costumes and ‘Frank Daniels’ in a clown costume is not FRANK TRAVIS. As I mentioned, the photo is signed Frank Daniels and if you follow the link I have attached below or google “Frank Daniels” and “Billy Rose Theatre Collection” you will see other photos of this gentleman.

    Thanks for removing that incorrect photo from the info on Francis Henry Thackeray (Frank Travis).


    Frank Daniels info:

  2. My great Grandfather was Francis Henry Thackeray and I have been trying to research him but to no avail ….Could Janice Wilkin make contact with me as I would like to discover if we have any information to share

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