Up until the 1990s most ventriloquist figures all wore leather shoes. Even the very old figures that I have found when still dressed in original clothing the feet had leather shoes. Some were even button side shoes. But with the changing of the times the use of leather shoes had gone by the wayside and have been replaced by sneakers.
Funny it seems that we as real people have also lost the use of leather shoes and they have been replaced with sneakers. Oh yes you certainly can still purchase leather shoes like Bostonians ( old fashion style) but the really nice dress shoes I used to love have all but disappeared for canvas and rubber foot wear.
I guess I am really old school because for me sneakers were gym shoes and lived in my gym bag in my locker. I used them to play sandlot baseball on Saturday morning and my school shoes were leather. I still do wear leather shoes and don’t own a pair of sneakers. I actually wear western boots for the most part. My figures ( 97%) wear leather shoes. I just can’t see these wooden fellows with their sport jackets and white shirts and bow ties wearing anything other than leather.
If you want leather shoes for your figure it is not an easy find but you can try the old style shoe stores and some do still have the old children’s shoes in the basement. This is where I have had some luck!!!
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 2010 by Dan Willinger
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Leather shoes (or those with the appearance of leather) for toddlers can be found at stores. I bought some black ones at Walmart for a figure I was working on. They didn’t have anything smaller than size 4 as far as I could tell. Otherwise places like Salvation Army and Goodwill are places to look, although finding what you want is a bit more of a crap shoot. Finding appropriate sized clothing with an appropriate look can be a challenge with so much of the clothes being imprinted with Elmo and such.