The height of a full size ventriloquist figure is anywhere from thirty six inches tall to forty four inches tall. The average comes in at forty inches. Now this is just a general rule of thumb. I have found that on some of the antique figures that the legs are attached at the front of the body and will make the figure the larger size. Then I also have found that the legs are attached at the middle or back of the body and this will make them shorter, of course in length.
Also the size of the figure can be made either larger or smaller because of the size of the body. Most of the full size figures will fit a size 4T suit but a 3T can be used if the body size is a bit smaller. Also the dwarf style body can also be accomplished by shortening the legs.
The cloth used on antique figures was a generally muslin and the stuffing was generally done with straw. I always found that kind of strange because with time the straw kind of disintegrates and therefore compacts at either the bottom of the arm or leg respectively leaving the top part empty.
This is a very common find and I usually will leave the appendages like this but on a few occasions, where the muslin was torn and stuffing falling out I have replaced same with polyfill. After restuffing I sew the open spots with a heavy duty thread. To me the original muslin is very important even if the stuffing is new.
For some reason the new muslin that you can purchase today is not the same as the old because it is a much finer material as compared to the old. I actually search at yard sales for old muslin just so that I can have original style muslin for replacement.
So these are a few points of interest concerning the original type bodies and arms and legs on the vintage figures.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. His collection of ventriloquist figures now numbers over 100 figures of which there are over 50 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 2009 by Dan Willinger
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I’m sorry Dan, I may be a litttle slow here, but how in the world does attaching a dummy’s legs to the front of the body, as opposed to the middle or back) make it taller??? The front is no longer than the back, so if the legs are the same size what difference does it make, unless you are measuring them sitting down? Please help me out – I’m missing somehting.
I guess I didn’t make it clear if the leg is attached in the middle then folded forward and attached it will be a couple inches shorter. If it is attached at the rear folded forward and attached it will be about 4″ shorter. Sorry but you are right I didn’t make that clear!!
I second Mr. DeMar’s nomination: Dan’s Dummy Den. It has your name, alliteration and history — both in the name of the collection and the figures that live in it.