Unequivocal Proof Of Charlie McCarthy’s Maker

charlie mccarthy maker theodore mack

The letter which you will read above was sent to me by Doug Preis of the Bergen Foundation.

In this letter you can clearly read that Edgar Bergen gives all the credit for Charlie McCarthy to Theodore Mack.

No where does he ever mention Frank Marshall and this letter was written in 1940. Edgar Bergen always professed that Mack was the builder, right up to his death. It was Frank Marshall who said he carved Charlie.

I guess this is unequivocal proof to the maker of Charlie McCarthy.



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 2011 by Dan Willinger

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6 Responses to Unequivocal Proof Of Charlie McCarthy’s Maker

  1. LeeDean says:

    Yes, but everybody overlooks the young Frank Marshall in that Mack shop. The Great Lester in March 1945 Coronet magazine Stepfather to Charlie McCarthy article said, “Bergen’s dummy, the brash Charlie McCarthy, came from the same workshop… The genius in this curious trade is Frank Marshall of Chicago, who has fathered these articulate personalities for almost a quarter century.” Theodore Mack died a year after McCarthy created, and Charlie Mack died shortly thereafter. I do not see any resemblance in Oswald made by Mack and Charlie McCarthy. All of Charlie Mack heads are so different from Marshall, just as much as Spencer heads are, who likewise worked in the shop primarily making hands. The Mack stock head does look similar but that does not mean Mack made it. The Mack style and shop is where Mashall got his training, but Theodore was old, ill, in no shape to make Charlie McCarthy, although Bergen did deal only with him in the purchase. Frank Marshall had taken over actual shop work when McCarthy was made so I can not say that the Bergen letter is unequivocal proof that Theodore Mack actually created this figure. Although Bergen dealt only with Mack that does not mean that Mack didn’t deal with Marshall and tell Marshall to take the stock head and fashion it into the personality that it became.

  2. Wanlu says:

    I agree :)

    Frank Marshall was not a fool to claim something that is not his…

    Officially, Charlie is a Mack because it came from the Mack shop, but who actually made him is still debatable. :)

  3. Joe Lopez says:

    I agree with all of the above. Frank Marshall started working at the Mack shop in 1914. Bergen came in to have a figure made which became Charlie in 1922. Frank was making figure there for eight year already. That puts Marshall at the scene of the crime ( so to speak ). I have many articles from the thirties where Marshall openly says he made Charlie and Bergen never sued him. I think Lee Dean has it right. There is history of Bergen having Frank do work for him yet Bergen denies ever knowing him. I have a recording where Frank tells a story of an encounter with between Bergen and another Vent while he was at the shop. I don’t have space to go into it here but there was a falling out between the two men and Bergen denied Marshall’s existence after that.

  4. Isaiah McGahee says:

    Based upon several articles, Edgar Bergen had Charlie McCarthy made in 1922. By that time both Theodore and Charlie Mack were near death. By that time, Frank Marshall was the chief figure maker at the Mack’s shop. A few months after Charlie was carved, both Mack’s died. So, Charlie was carved by Frank Marshall in the Mack’s shop. Even though Charlie was carved by Marshall, it is still considered a Mack product because Marshall worked for them.

  5. Isaiah McGahee says:

    Bergen also stated in another letter Marshall had carved a Charlie for him but he never used it. I don’t think Bergen would lie, but in later performances with Charlie you can clearly see differences than in Bergen’s newer performances. Charlie looks more like a Marshall figure than a Mack figure to me. However, that is just an opinion.

  6. David Wilson says:

    I would like to make a couple of points based on comments here. First, Edgar Bergen admits to having Frank Marshall build him some copies of Charlie McCarthy in a 1940’s
    Time Magazine story. So, Bergen is on the record admitting to Charlie figures being produced by Marshall after the first Charlie was produced by the Mac workshop. I have the original signed photo of Edgar and Charlie from the wall of Frank Marshall’s workshop. On this photo Edgar thanks Marshall for fixing Charlie’s string and touching him up. My guess is that Marshall had a hand in creating the orginal Charlie figure. He worked their when the original Charlie was created.

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