Talking with another collector I was asked if all functions of a human have been done on a ventriloquist figure. I had to laugh because the answer is very close to saying yes. Even bodily functions have been done with ventriloquist figures.
I can make a list of functions that I personally have seen which are:
Mouth, upper lip, lower lip, stick out tongue, wiggle tongue, whistling lips, moving eyes, side to side, up and down, crossing, pop out, light up eyes, blinking eye lids, winking eye lids individually, eyelids that follow the movement of the eyes, raising eyebrows lowering eyebrows, individual or both together, wiggling ears, smoke out the ears, flip up wig, hat flipper, smoke out the mouth, smoke out the nose, light up nose, wiggle nose, crying effect, spitting effect, rocking clavicle for the head to look down while the body is in upright position, shrugging shoulders, hand shaker, crossing leg, walking legs, crossing legs, fall off arms, fall off legs, fall off body, fall off head. As I said these are movements that I have seen.
I have been told that there was a blue performer in the 1950’s that had a Frank Marshall figure that had a working “member” and it functioned with a rubber bladder. There was also a female figure that lowered the top of her dress to reveal her bosoms.
So can you think of any other functions that could be achieved or that I have missed?
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 2012 by Dan Willinger
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On January 8, 2012 you asked the question about slot jaw or leather lip preference, and I replied, “No reason not to have both, and when made Kriket figured out the how to but chose not to install the leather lip showing lower teeth on fullest extension of the slot jaw.” This to my knowledge has not been done, the combining of slot jaw and lower leather lip on one control. The lower leather lip could use flat springs one on each side for lower lip, slot jaw opens and last tug of string brings down the lower leather lip exposing the lower teeth. Have at it figure makers!
I saw a mechanical hand that Winchell had made and used before he started using a live persons hands on television. It was made to grasp things. Al Stevens made a flip up finger for his old man.
Forgot to mentions bodies… Bill Boley showed me a body he had made that would allow the body to twist left to right and bend at the waiste. And there’s a female figure in Vent Haven whose breasts will jiggle up and down.
I once saw a figure that had a wiggling/twisting foot, so when he looked down of embarrassment, or thinking, or some other emotion, he could wiggle his foot like many of us do
There was a recent video from an Italian vent on the Facebook vent group who has a soft figure who “passes gas” (what looked like a cloud of baby powder). Pretty funny effect.