Many thanks to my friend Rain Jennings for adopting Uncle Johnny. This dummy was used and donated by the lovely and talented (and Vent Haven Advisor) Lynn Trefzger. Uncle Johnny was made by John Arvites. At the 1982 Vent Haven ConVENTion, Lynn won "Most Deserving Young Vent" and this dummy was the prize. Lynn donated Uncle Johnny to Vent Haven on July 19, 2004. You can see Uncle Johnny in the W.S. Berger Memorial Building.
Thanks to Cookie Jensen for adopting Willie Nibs. Willie was made by George "Pinxy" Larsen and belonged to ventriloquist and magician Nick Tomei. This figure was Nick's second dummy of at least four that he reported to Vent Haven founder, W.S. Berger. Here is Nick's account of Willie Nibs in a letter to Mr. Berger dated February 10, 1957... "I've been interested in vent for many years but I never really had the time to practice like a good vent should. I had a very old du
Today's thanks goes to Barney Piercy for adopting Stanley at the 2017 ConVENTion. This dummy was made and donated by Nicholas Wing of Shepherd, Michigan. Nick donated the dummy at the 2015 Vent Haven ConVENTion and said it was the first complete figure he made. Stanley is on display in the main building at Vent Haven. Thanks, Barney, for adopting this great dummy!
Thanks to my friend Preston Fernanez who adopted two dummies last year: Coach and Alfaro boy. Coach was made by Barry Gordemer of Handemonium around 2000. This soft puppet's first owner was Tyler Ellis, who had it custom made as a look-alike figure. Tyler called him, "Taylor". After a couple of years, he sold it to Bruce Beyer. Bruce donated the puppet, which he renamed, "Coach", in 2002. Bruce donated it in honor of his parents, David and Evelyn Beyer. The puppet has wi
Today's post is all about monkeys. And a Texaco Danny O'Day doll... Visitors to Vent Haven love demonstrations. Even more so, they love being able to handle a puppet. These great monkeys have been used for tourist engagement. First, thanks to Michele Abshire for donating this first little guy. Verna Finly made this cute monkey and it was donated by Geri Harrington in 1980. Although they didn't get to handle it, this sweet puppet was demonstrated to tourists for about 13
My friend Peter Dzubay adopted a cool novelty dummy at the 2017 convention...a ukulele! Mr. Berger bought at least three of these from L. Davenport & Co., a London company that manufactured and sold magical apparatus, novelties, tricks, and some vent dummies. Mr. Berger's relationship with Davenport began in 1932 and continued steadily until 1971. He ordered dozens of dummies, as well as pocket figures, Toby Jugs, parrots, and ukuleles. Throughout the 1940's and 50's, Mr.
Thanks, Sheree, for adopting Willie Talk at last year's convention. This little dummy was made by George and Glenn McElroy of Harrison, Ohio. It has moving eyes and eyebrows, two spitting mechanisms, and a moving upper lip mechanism. Willie Talk was primarily used by Lt. Lee Allen Estes, a Kentucky state trooper who used magic and ventriloquism to educate students about safety. Mr. Berger owned it before Estes and bought it back from Estes' son Ted after Lee Allen died.
For those of you who have never been to our annual convention, first time attendees get a red dot on their convention badges. All the other conventioneers do everything they can to make "red dotters" feel welcome, to help them with schedule details, and to give them tips for making the most of the convention. My thanks today goes to Tommy Manzie, a 2017 "red dotter." Thanks, Tommy, for jumping right in and getting directly involved with supporting Vent Haven by adopting a d
Thanks to Bob Mager for adopting Benny the Bear. Benny was made by Oscar Richards of Riverside, California, for Mr. Berger and arrived at Vent Haven in April of 1956. The original plan was that Richards would sell a bear head that he already owned to Mr. Berger, but over several letters and almost a year of correspondence, Mr. Berger decided he wanted a full bear, so this one was made from scratch. Mr. Berger paid $65 for the dummy. Benny has moving eyes and a tongue made
Thank you to Eileen Mager for adopting the large kangaroo. Frank Marshall made this great dummy, as well as two other kangaroos (one of which is a joey), for famed ventriloquist Clifford Guest. Guest used the kangaroos on The Ed Sullivan Show and a couple of other dates. Guest then left the kangaroos at Frank Marshall's studio. Frank told Guest he should sell them all to Mr. Berger. In one letter, Clifford states that "...one hasn't been used at all." From additional no