As a follow up to the blog I did the other day about ring pull or lever, I had not yet removed the rings so that I could show the controls to you.
However, I now have done so so here are pictures of this Frank Marshall head stick devoid of levers but it has multiple cords for the controls.
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: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger
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Thanks for the look Dan. I asked Frank about the rings/ vs small wood ball/ vs lever choices. Frank said quite a few of “old timers” preferred the “old way ” they were used to operating the figures; even if he had to replace an original control.
I would really like to see a demonstration of the rings in action. How about putting the rings back on, with the head still detached, and posting a video showing how each one works. I’d also like to see how the ball controls worked. I’ve never seen those in action. Enquiring minds want to know . . .
My first vent figure had a ring-controlled mouth. I’m kind of an old-timer. :-)
During one show the ring came loose and fell and I finished by grabbing the string between thumb and index finger, wrapping it around the thumb and finishing the show (fortunately, there wasn’t much show left). Don’t think the audience noticed. Had a second show and the ring had disappeared, so I tied the end of the string to the screw-eye on the post and operated the mouth by sliding my thumb into the loop created. Did that for decades. It had its advantages. For one thing, it was a lot easier to find and engage than the ring ever had been. The figures I own now have levers (Though one has a ring for the stick-out-tongue effect), save for one from Buenos Aires that is strung with what appears to be weed whacker plastic cord that comes out of the bottom of the head. Each cord (He has controls for mouth, eyebrows, eyes and eyelids) runs down to a short dowel affixed to the head stick at a 90 degree angle. Each dowel is, perhaps two inches long and the cords are affixed to the ends, so that you control the features by squeezing against the cords. I’ve never seen that before in any other figure. Have you? I’ll likely re-string him at some point.
Thanks for the close-up look at this early Marshall, Dan!
Philip, I’m very curious about that figure from Buenos Aires. I was born there even though I live in Canada, and I would love to know more about that figure. Do you know who made it? Could it be possible that it was made by Emilio Agudiez? Again, I’d love to know more about it. Thanks! Marcelo.
Phil check out the set up on the Mexican figure from the Ventriloquist Central Collection. Its functions work just as you described.
I have tired ring controls, and must say that there is a certain advantage to it. Once your finger is in the ring, you have more flexibilty in how you grip the headstick itself. The drawback that I found however (and the most likeley reason why ring controls have gone out of favor) is that it can be hard to get your finger intot he ring in the first place. The ring(s) hand from strings, and so they sway. Once bumped, they swing. With ring controls, you cannot just pick up the figure and be ready to go in an instant. It might take a few seconds (or more), before you are ready to work the figure.
I wonder where the old rings came from, if maybe part of the horse tack undustry (e.g., saddles, bridles and bits) or whatever.
Please pardon my spelling. I meant to say I wonder where the old rings came from, if maybe part of the horse tack industry (e.g., saddles, bridles and bits) or whatever, but not “undustry” I am sure. It is my guess they are part of horse tack, may be wrong, and don’t know for sure. The ring I used for my figure’s chest rigged up with string for kids to operate the figure talked about in a previous post was an old horse plow ring.
Marcelo, My vent figure, “Cooter Mudge,” was made by Franco Medici. Or rather, Franco did the head. I did the body and the hands are Braylu.
Dan…really? I’ll go take a look. Thanks!