Thanks to Brandan Tonomura, who adopted Frank Byron, Jr. at the 2017 ConVENTion. Frank Byron Jr. was the main figure used by ventriloquist Harry Lester, known professionally as "The Great Lester."
Great, indeed! Lester was one of the most famous ventriloquists from the vaudeville era, and he took credit for originating many of the ventriloquist bits still used today, including having the dummy talk while the ventriloquist drank or smoke, carrying on a telephone conversation with a third, distant voice, and having the dummy yodel. Later in life, Lester gave private lessons and/or tutored many fellow ventriloquists. Having taken lessons from The Great Lester was a badge of pride to a generation of ventriloquists.
Frank Byron, Jr., was so well known, that there are multiple look alike figures in the Vent Haven collection (including George Nash, who as of the writing of this blog post is himself currently up for adoption online).
The Lester archives at Vent Haven are among our most extensive. In addition to housing the letters between VHM founder W.S. Berger and Harry Lester, the museum archives include Lester's personal letters with his family, friends, and other ventriloquists.
Thanks, Brandan, for adopting this iconic dummy!