Workings of a Ventriloquist's Dummy's Dummy

I don’t know why but over the past week or so I have had quite a few asking me about the ventriloquist’s dummy’s dummy and how they work.

First let me say this is not a new concept and the dual figures have been used by many and a younger Jeff Dunham did a great routine with a dummy’s dummy.

To understand how this works you must first visualize the control stick on the small figure. It is a standard head stick but it makes a right angle with a tube which runs through a hole in the body of the larger figure.

On the small figure in the place where the control lever would be it is replaced with a pulley and the control string rides around the pulley and through the tube into the larger figure.

With the string now inside the larger figure a pull on the string will actuate the mouth on the small figure. This is a very deceptive device and with a bit of practice looks very convincing.

Another method is to use the bladder control for the mouth similar to the way the Mack figures did early in the 20th century or the way the Insull pocket figures worked in the middle 20th century. The tube with the bulb is inside the larger body and when squeezed the small figures mouth moved.

I did discuss this with figure maker Ray Guyll and he confirmed to me both of these methods. He did say he has also made this type figure with remote control as well. That might be the best way because then there are no controls inside the larger figure to operate the smaller figure.




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:

Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger

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One Response to Workings of a Ventriloquist's Dummy's Dummy

  1. Scott Bryte says:

    the dummy’s dummy I made for Bob Abdou has no head stick at all. a string goes directly from the mouth, through the body, and is operated by a foot pedal

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