Today I am asking for your true opinions on the style of mouth for the ventriloquist figure. Most of us here in the west use slot jaw figures but across the pond figures are still being made using the English mouth.
If you are new to ventriloquism the English mouth is the use of leather with no slots on the side which gives the appearance of a natural mouth movement. Craig Lovik coined the term Living Mouth when he sold this style mouth on his figures 30 years ago in the Us.
The English mouth, if done right, really does look like a real mouth and many great ventriloquists from Europe used them with much success. Here in the United States they have no been very popular but were made by many American Makers through the years.
I myself like them both and was just curious what you think.
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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I prefer the slot jaw… both as a performer and as a maker. My reasoning is when a person talkes, their jaw goes up and down as well as opening their mouth. With the english mouth only the lip moves and therefore I believe it isn’t as visible from the stage. With the slot jaw, the slots really aren’t that visible from a stage. On the other hand, leather mouth movement looks very nice on TV and I love the look of the Insull figures. Leather does last a long time, but it does show creases where the leather folds much earlier. A slot jaw will never need replacing where as the leather will eventually, although not so often that this should be a deciding factor. If you can replace it yourself so much the better. If you can’t, you have the expense of having it done, repainted, etc.
Just my 2 cents,
I prefer the slot jaw on hard figures. Soft figures fullfill the english mouth type deal for me.
Even though my favorite character, Ray Alan’s Lord Charles is an Insull figure and features the English mouth, I much prefer working with the slot jaw. I agree with Gary, when we talk, not only does our bottom lip move but our whole jaw moves.
No reason not to have both, and when made Kriket figured out the how to but chose not to install the leather lip showing lower teeth on fullest extension of the slot jaw.
I try not to be prejudiced against the living mouth but i prefer the slot jaw too. I do want to make a figure with a living mouth one day and have sufficient information on how to go about it. Charlie, Jerry, Mortimer an numerous others had great slot jaws and if there is no great visible gap, to me it looks so real.