A question I receive all the time is if it is ok to use a character made famous by someone else in their act. The answer to me is pretty clear. If you use the character and do the same act with this character then you are blatantly stealing and this is a no no.
You really have to make your own act and have your characters fit your act. The fact that they look like someone else’s character to me is OK as long as the act is different.
In the early days of Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney there quite a number of other ventriloquists that were using Frank Marshall Nosey figures which looked just like Jerry.
The Nosey figure was one of Frank Marshall’s most popular figure and therefore it was being used by a lot of vents. Terry Bennett was a terrific ventriloquist and his Marshall figure named Red Flannels is a perfect example. Red Flannels and Jerry Mahoney looked alike yet the 2 characters were completely different.
Both were performing in the 1960’s and there was never a problem. They were different acts.
So As I said if you create a character of your own and are using a figure that looks like someone else’s it matters not. Now please remember this is my opinion so if you have your own thought please let me know.
Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here
Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan 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. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2013 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst
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I remember at the 1955 Pittsburgh convention sitting in a coffee shop by W. S. Berger to my left, he by The Great Lester, and he by Frank Marshall. As the old saying goes, little pitchers have big ears. They were talking about Paul Winchell, and Frank Marshall appeared upset and said “…I could make a better figure with a hatchet.” In his last book Paul Winchell showed the original figure and said Frank Marshall made the first Jerry Mahoney dummy.
Like you say, they are all Noseys by Frank Marshall.
“For breakfast, make that ham and X”. This was a running gag in lot of What’s My Line episodes after Frank Marshall appeared on one. Quoting from TV.com Trivia & Quotes:
REVIEW: The panel performed fairly well this evening. Ironically, in the first game, guest panelist Paul Winchell questioned Frank Marshall, who was responsible for making Paul’s little friend Jerry Mahoney. Winchell managed to narrow it down quite a bit until he received a “no.” However, Arlene, seemingly by accident, made the correct guess. Unfortunately, the panel was totally stumped by the lady boxer in the second game. What made that round special was that Jerry Mahoney was allowed to “participate” by asking the contestant questions, which made it a very funny moment in WML history. In the mystery guest round, the panel as a whole correctly identified Jerry Lewis. There was no time for a fourth game. – Sargebri (2005)
Jerry Lewis was asked a question about the rumored breakup between Lewis and his long time partner Dean Martin. John handled it with tact and Lewis also seemed to handle it well. Of course, a few months later, the partnership ended with both Martin and Lewis moving on to highly successful solo careers. – Sargebri (2005)
PAUL WINCHELL: On this episode, Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney take part in the opening curtain entrance. Holding Mahoney, Winchell walks on stage following Arlene Francis and preceding guest panelist Vivian Blaine. Previously, the panel had been pre-seated when Winchell and his dummy were guest panelists. – W-B (2005)
PAUL WINCHELL: When questioning the puppet and dummy maker, Frank Marshall, who also created Jerry Mahoney, Miss Arlene asks, “So, this product is made of a mixture of things like perhaps leather and wood?” “Yes!” On hearing “yes,” Arlene leans to Jerry Mahoney and Paul Winchell and jokes, “Ha ha, it sounds like you!” As happens occasionally, a savvy segment of the audience starts applauding to let the panelist know they just “hit it.” Arlene, of course, notices their reaction, does a dummy-take – I mean – a double-take (ha ha) and says, “ARE you indeed a puppet maker? “Yes!” Well done, Arlene! What a perfect – and perfectly enjoyable – moment! – stu1 (2005)
Tidbits: For breakfast, make that Ham and X. In the post-game chat after game one, you can hear Jerry Mahoney (via Paul Winchell) use the term “Ham and X” in reference to John and Frank Marshall, who had signed in as X. This is the first mention of this particular pun which Bennett will later reprise on several occasions. – Suzanne (2005)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Paul Winchell (with his “dummy” Jerry Mahoney), Vivian Blaine, Bennett Cerf. Dorothy Kilgallen had the night off. She was in Europe.
The TV quote source is http://www.tv.com/shows/whats-my-line/episode-320-95470/trivia/
Picking someone else character and using it for your own act sounds unnatural to me, the real ones have their own character and act.
Sounds like walking in someone else shoes. Even if your act gets a big laugh, the real thing behind the act, that is the dummy, belongs to someone else.