In keeping with answering questions that come in to me I was prompted to write this blog about maybe the most famous builders of Ventriloquist Figures the McElroy brothers. They produced figures for a period of about 6 years , 1936 to 1941. They built some of the most complex workings in a ventriloquist figure ever with upwards of 14 different functions.
If you have signed up for the Ventriloquist Central’s emails you get access to listen to some audio recording of conversations with the brothers. If you haven’t signed up I suggest you do so now. In the conversation they say they think they made around 100 figures. I am sure they were boasting with this number and the actual figure is more likely around 30 figures. I believe that today there are 28 documented McElroy figures known and they are all in private collections.
So the questions I receive about the McElroy figures, usually from young folks, is where can a McElroy figure be purchased. I feel bad that I have to respond in the negative but the chances of finding a McElroy figure is slim to none. I would guess that if one were to be discovered it would be in the Cincinnati area as that is where they were from.
One question I got was that this person loved Jacko and wanted to know where they could purchase one. I will get in line with that person. That great monkey figure was custom built and is a one of a kind. If you have not seen this figure you can go to the Vent Haven Museum web site and view Jacko you just can’t buy him!!
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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