There has been much talk over the years about the English mouth and the slot jaw. I have to agree with most that the English style mouth was made popular by Len Insull. Most all the pro vents from England used this type figure. I also believe that the mouth movements with the English figure are just as visible as the slot jaw.
A perfectly working Insull lower lip opens wide enough to show that the mouth is open and in conjunction with the upper lip I feel that the look is about as real as you can get for a dummy showing those great white teeth.
Craig Lovik back in the early 1980’s coined the phrase “Living Mouth” which is the English mouth but he was not the first American builder to do this style. If you go to my dummy collection and look up Pinxy figures there is a wonderful example of an American figure with English style mouth.
The one thing I wanted to add was that as far back as 1880’s the English were producing paper mache vent figures with a different kind of mouth movement. This was called the drop jaw. This type of mouth movement was used right up until the 1950’s as far as I can tell.
The lower palette actually drops straight down on the chin to make the mouth open. While I am not fond of this movement I thought it should be mentioned and I have also included a couple pictures of this type of mouth movement.
For me personally there is nothing better that the slot jaw and as was stated the gapping from Marshall is almost invisible. He took extra care to fill the gapping with cardboard. If you read his catalogue it states that his paint finish is washable but do not get water near the mouth. That’s because it would cause the cardboard to warp.
Just a bit more light on a great ventriloquist subject.
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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 2014 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst
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Remembering that the living mouth chin does not move, and that the wedge slot jaw gives illusion of even more chin movement at extreme angle when barely see the lips, it stands to reason that the Marshall design by far surpasses Insull and all of the rest.