Theodore Mack and Son’s were architectural carvers for their main business but when the started to produce ventriloquist figures they hit a home run. Everyone was purchasing figures from them. They had a very unique design for their bodies and I thought I would share some pictures of the Mack body with you.
The first thing you see is that they used the shaped shoulder board, which Frank Marshall continued to use later on. They attached the arms to the bodies by means of a square block of wood. they tongue and grooved the slats on the from of the bodies to the shoulder and bottom board and for head movement they extended the head stick all the way to the bottom of the body and attached it wil a screw from the bottom which allowed the free rotation of 360 degrees of the head.
If you find a Mack figure in which the head stick does not go to the bottom then it has been modified and is incorrect. This did happen because later on this style changed to the ball and socket style. Ball and socket certainly gives you much move meovement of the head but this old style also worked fine.and many performers gave life to their figures with this style.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. His collection of ventriloquist figures now numbers over 100 figures of which there are over 50 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 2009 by Dan Willinger
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the only Mack I have ever handled was made in 1902. It has neither a shaped shoulder board, nor does the headstick attach to the bottom of the body. Instead, it has a tilting clavicle. This figure was sold years ago by Foy Brown, who said it was all original. Might such very early Mack examples have had a different system?
Foy Brown was the creator of the rocking clavicle body. I own a few of them. If you saw a Mack head on this type figure being sold by Foy as all original he pulled a fast one on someone. Was with out question a marriage of his body and the antique head.
I also have seen at least 3 Mack figures offered for sale in another site which includes the one I’m selling. The headsticks do not extend to the bottom of the board.
With all due respect, I don’t think it’s fair to conclude that “If you find a Mack figure in which the head stick does not go to the bottom then it has been modified and is incorrect. ” Are the 3 Mack figures I am refering to all modified and incorrect? The Macks could have made figures with different styles of headsticks.
My two cents worth :)
Another thing I noticed…
Some Macks have lever types…and some have the chain with a ring. This can only mean the Macks made different styles of headsticks and controls.
Ring and Chain as seen in the pictures aboove.
Hi Wanlu, you clearly can see that the head stick in the Mack figure from puppets and props is not original. You can see that a different color plastic wood is covering the spot of attachment for the more modern lever which was put into the shortened head stick. That is easily seen by anyone who looks at the picture.