Wait Time for Ventriloquist Figures


It seems that in the world of Ventriloquism if you want a figure and order it from any one of a number of makers you are going to have to wait to receive your new buddy. What I would like to ask is what is a “reasonable” amount of time that you should have to wait.

Of course I must make mention that since I work out of the court system the word reasonable is the most litigious word. What may be reasonable for one is not for another.

The first thing I don’t understand is how it can take upwards of 2 years to get what is labeled a stock figure from some makers. There are a couple of makers that I guess I have to call top makers that if you order a figure, give a deposit, and are told 8 to ten weeks, would not the fact that you gave the deposit mean it is a contract and they must deliver in the allotted time? I know this is not the case in our ventriloquial world. This type of contract exists everywhere else.

I feel a maker should never give a time frame if they know in advance that this is not a true statement and can’t deliver, and they should be legally liable if they don’t deliver. It does seem that these builders consider themselves as artist prima donnas and therefore time does not matter, but for the buyer it is very frustrating when you give that hard earned money and then the contact stops no emails or phone call returns. I don’t know of any other profession that gets away with this kind of action.

This has made the fact that the only way to REALLY purchase is on the secondary market. If you see a figure you like on Ventriloquist Marketplace or elsewhere I suggest jumping on it because ordering a new partner will only cause pain and frustration.



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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10 Responses to Wait Time for Ventriloquist Figures

  1. Ony Carcamo says:


    Any info re Frank Marshall on this issue? What’s the usual waiting time when you ordered a figure from him? And did he always deliver promptly?

  2. Godsey says:

    I’ve wondered this myself sometimes. If the figure is carved out of wood I can understand the wait time but if it’s a stock figure that’s poured I don’t see why it would take so long. I received a head cast from Tim Cowles and started work on it the next day. I gave him moving eyes, mouth, and completely painted and wigged him within a day. And to me that’s the hardest and most time consuming part. I know they have waiting lists and have multiple figures to work on but it shouldn’t take that long.

  3. bob abdou says:

    it all depends if Frank Marshall liked you or not, Peter Rich told me a story that Orson Wells waited and waited for a dummy from Marshall and never got it, Peter sez that Marshall considered Wells a pain the ass.

  4. Jim MIller says:

    I bought a hard figure when I first got into ventriloquism and didn’t know that they don’t tell you the truth on the time frames. When my figure didn’t arrive a week after they said it would be ready I started to panic, after all, I sent off money to this guy that I didn’t know from Adam. After some research , I learned what the deal was. New people that are not familiar with the drill are not happy campers. I think it would be better just to tell the truth and then the client could just forget about it, till the appointed time, no matter how long that might be. At least they wouldn’t think they were being ripped off. IMHO Cheers!

  5. David Thrasher says:

    Good communication seems like an excellent idea. If there are figures ahead of yours being worked on, the maker should tell you. If there is a delay they should tell you. If the estimated time of completion changes they should tell you. Like not pestering a maker is a good idea, they communicating with you and not leaving you hanging is a good idea too.

  6. I purchased a custom figure from Mike Brose at Puppets and Props last year. The time frame that was given at that time was 12 to 16 weeks approximately, depending on the order and any special options I was told it could be longer up front. Because of many circumstances that occured my figure took about twice as long to complete, but throughout the entire time, Mike Brose stayed in touch and kept me well informed with updates and progress. He answered every email and questions that I had, helped me out alot with other information as I was just starting to build figures myself, and was always kind and professional. When my figure arrived, I was blown away with the quality of the figure, and the craftmanship that it took to create such a fantasticly remarkable character. In my opinion, the time waiting was well worth the wait, and my patience was rewarded with much more than I had ever hoped for.

  7. Jim Barnett says:

    There are some top of the line figure makers who not only give a reasonable future delivery date on their figures, they often beat that date. That happened to me when I ordered a figure from Albert Alfaros. He beat the projected date by almost 2 weeks and the figure I received was/is fantastic! I don’t know if some of the other figure makers are as reliable as Albert was but unless making vent figures is all they do, I see NO reason for unaceptable delays. I know that Clinton Detweiler is also very speedy in his services as well!

  8. Scott Bryte says:

    I certainly can’t speak for every figure maker, but I would imagine that most, like me, have day jobs as well.

  9. Steve Barry says:

    That is the problem. We have day jobs (nights in my case.) It is very hard to judge completion time when you don’t know if you will be working weekends at your “other” job.
    I’d rather do this full time but the health benefits package is non existent.

  10. Jim MIller says:

    The TRUTH is always the easiest–keep the lines of communication open–don’t take on more than you can handle–if it is going to take 2 years–tell me upfront and I can deal with the wait, and I won’t be watching for the “Big Brown Truck” every day. hahaha! Cheers! JIMO

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