Harold & Danny

My friend Harold Crocker adopted one of Vent Haven's Danny O'Day dolls at last summer's convention. Many, many ventriloquists started their careers with a Danny O'Day doll. Jimmy Nelson's character Danny O'Day is an icon in entertainment history and two different toy companies produced the toy versions of Danny for Mr. Nelson. First was National Mask & Puppet, which produced them for a couple of years beginning in 1952. Second was Juro Novelty Company, which began production in 1963. Vent Haven has seven Danny O'Day dolls. This one was donated by Ed Price in 1985. Mr. Berger bought these dolls (as well as Jerry Mahoney dolls) in bulk from Juro to resell to ventriloquists and other visit

Thanks to the Goad family

Today's thanks goes to Blaine Goad and his family for adopting George at the 2017 Vent Haven ConVENTion. George was made around 1930 by Frank Marshall. He has a moving upper lip and moving eyes. This beautiful dummy was used by ventriloquist Norman Norton. In 1953, W.S. Berger contacted Norton, who had retired by then, to try to acquire his figures, George and Billy. Norton had given the figures to his son, Jack, who kept them for the next 60 years. As son Jack Norton neared the end of his life, he expressed his wish that his father's dummies and ephemera go to Vent Haven. Jack's friend created a mini "will" for him to ensure his wishes would be followed. Jack died about a year later and

Thank you, Ron!

Our friend Ron Elliston adopted two great dummies at last year's convention: Gutters McGraw & Irving girl. Thanks, Ron, for your support! Gutters McGraw was made in 1982 by ventriloquist Johnny Main, who also used this dummy. Johnny Main died in 2003 and his son, Johnny Main, Jr., donated Gutters to Vent Haven the same year. This sweet dummy was featured in a special tribute exhibit to Johnny Main at the 2004 Vent Haven ConVENTion. Johnny Main performed, lectured, was an emcee, or was a panelist at most of the conventions in the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. Johnny was voted "Vent of the Year" by his peers in 1981. Irving girl was used by Joseph E. Irving, a magician, clown, and ventriloquist.

A Tribute to Larry Smith

Thanks to Linda Mason for adopting a dummy at the 2017 convention on behalf of the Cincinnati Puppetry Guild. The dummy she adopted for the Guild was used by famed puppeteer Larry Smith, who recently passed away at the age of 79. Since the dummy was made to look like Larry, it's name is fitting...Larry Smith. This great character was used on a TV show called The Contemporaries in the mid 1960's. Larry donated it to Vent Haven on June 29, 1974. Larry Smith was a legend in the Cincinnati region and you can read a great tribute to him by clicking here. He will be missed by everyone.

Three from Maher!

Today's post is for three dummies with a common past: Fred & Madeline Maher of Maher Studios. First up is Skinny Dugan, who was adopted by Devon Breecher at last year's convention. Skinny was made by Fred & Madeline Maher (founders of Maher Studios) in the late 1930's. This is Fred's original Skinny Dugan. Eventually Fred bought a McElroy figure to use as Skinny Dugan instead and he sold this figure to Earl Gotberg. Clinton Detweiler donated Skinny Dugan to Vent Haven along with Skinny Wyler in 1999, the 30th anniversary of the Detweilers owning Maher Studios. Cate Howell adopted Skinny Wyler. This dummy's head was made by Madeleine Maher, its mechanics are by George Eazer, and its body is

Let's Get Political...

Just kidding! Happy President's Day, everyone! Today I'm sharing Vent Haven's many presidents with you. First, though, here's one among dozens of cartoons in in Vent Haven archives that connect politics to ventriloquism. Vent Haven has presidential dummies for John Kennedy through George W. Bush. We have two Jimmy Carter dummies and two Ronald Reagans. Thanks to the following people for adopting some of these great dummies! Lee Orlov adopted one of the Jimmy Carter dummies at the 2017 convention. Tourists always recognize Carter's smile. This dummy was made and used by James Head, who donated it in 1981. Scott Flom adopted a Ronald Reagan dummy and the Señor Wences dummy made by Leonar

A Trifecta by Dana

At the 2017 ConVENTion, Dana Barnum generously adopted three dummies: Champagne Charlie, Madame, and Shorty Jones. Thanks, Dana, for your support of Vent Haven! All the funds generated from the Adopt A Dummy program are going to our capital funds campaign to build a new museum facility! Champagne Charlie was one of our founder's favorites. Made by Frank Marshall in 1937, this beautiful walking figure joined the Vent Haven collection on February 17, 1938 (80 years ago tomorrow!). Mr. Berger paid Frank $125.00. Champagne Charlie has many features: pneumatic mouth control, moving eyes, a blinker, a smoking device, and a stick out tongue! In addition to walking, it also does the splits! Thi

Vent Haven's Sweetheart

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope you and your sweetheart will join me and everyone here at Vent Haven in wishing a very, very, happy birthday to one of my best friends in the world...Annie Roberts! Annie has literally grown up at Vent Haven. From dusting dummies at age 10, to being the curator from 1993-2000, to being on the Board of Directors since 2000, to being the Media Coordinator for the ConVENTion, Annie has contributed so much to the well being and success of this wonderful museum. Her unending love and commitment to Vent Haven have been critically important to the museum and her friendship is priceless. If you know her, you love her. If you don't, you're missing out on

Doug Chapin & Walter Ego

Today's featured dummy is Walter Ego. Doug Chapin adopted this sweet dummy at last year's convention. Thanks, Doug! Walter Ego was made around 1973. He was used by ventriloquist Bob Trent from 1974 to 2000. Bob's widow, Judith, donated Walter Ego and other ephemera to Vent Haven in 2015. Bob began corresponding with Vent Haven founder W.S. Berger in 1953 and their correspondence continued until 1970. Bob was a member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists and began doing ventriloquism when he was 13 years old. Walter Ego has two pairs of hands. His original hands (which are stored in the dummy's body) were replaced with hands made by Frank Marshall. Walter Ego also has movi

Michael & Quinton

Thank you to my friend Michael Waldrip for his support of Vent Haven's capital funds campaign by adopting Quinton at the 2017 convention. Quinton was made by Tim Selberg in 1982 and is one of four dummies in the Vent Haven collection made by Tim. This great dummy was donated by Bruce Beyer in 2014. Quinton has moving eyebrows and moving eyes. Mr. Beyer stated in the donation documents that this was the 7th dummy made by Selberg. When you visit Vent Haven, you will find Quinton on display in the main building. Have *you* adopted a dummy yet? If so, thanks! If not, there are six currently on the website who need you! Go here to see who's available: https://www.venthaven.org/adopt-a-dummy

Bobbi & Rosita

Thanks to Bobbi Rubin for adopting the beautiful Rosita at the 2017 Vent Haven convention. This great dummy was made, used, and donated by Bill Hume. She joined the Vent Haven collection in 1992. Bill made Rosita out of balsa wood in a short three weeks in 1943. He was in the Navy stationed at Coco Solo Naval Base and wanted to participate in the USO military talent tryouts. He didn't have time to send for his one of his dummies back home, so he made Rosita there. Of her construction, Bill later wrote, "To avoid mechanical failure at some jungle gun post, Rosita has no springs, no cords." Her mouth is opened by a lever, but is closed by a lead weight. Her head is made such that it doe

Museum Announcement!

The Vent Haven Museum Board of Directors is so very honored to appoint Mr. Jimmy Nelson, the Dean of American Ventriloquists, to be Director Emeritus of Vent Haven Museum, Inc. This appointment by the Directors is in recognition of Mr. Nelson's decades long relationship with and support of Vent Haven Museum. Jimmy's relationship with Vent Haven began in 1944 with a letter from our founder, W.S. Berger, who asked Jimmy for a photo for the museum collection. Their relationship continued through mail and personal visits until Mr. Berger passed in 1972. Jimmy Nelson was a founding member of the museum's Board of Advisors. He performed at the dedication of the W.S. Berger Memorial Building on

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33 West Maple Avenue
Fort Mitchell, KY 41011
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