Ventriloquist Figures




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Ventriloquism in a Month
All Born Ventriloquists
Initial Stages
Breathing Exercises
Automaton or Man?
Speaking Still Lips
Two Kinds of Ventriloquism
Ventriloquism Voices
Ventriloquist Figures
Ventriloquist Figure Manipulation
Near Voices
Ventriloquist Distant Voices
Ventriloquist Imitations
Complete Entertainment

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By Cecil H. Bullivant


Perhaps it is hardly right to assume that every one has seen a ventriloquist figure; certainly many will be unacquainted with its peculiarities and modes of working. 

The dummy is usually a humorous representation of some grotesque character--an old man, with strongly accentuated peculiarities, such as a red nose, wrinkled skin, and big jaws ; an old woman, with thin, pointed nose, sharp eyes, and scanty locks ; a little boy, grinning saucily, and having the appearance of possessing the wisdom of all the ages; the little " miss," of perky manner; and the coster, square jowled and cheeky. 

hf079-2.gif (6150 bytes)
Fig. 2.
Working with two figures.

The one essential about the ventriloquist figure is that it shall have a moving mouth. In reality the chin is cut away from the face, and the movable portion working on a pivot or string, gives the same effect an when a person is speaking. 

There are many different forms of ventriloquist figures, some of which are shown on this page (Figs. 1 and 2), but for the amateur the kind which possesses only a moving mouth is quite suitable. 

By means of a little ingenuity and the expenditure of a few pence a movable tuft of hair may be added to the wig, but as the working of this is liable at first somewhat to hamper the manipulation of the automaton, it should perhaps be left until proficiency is more assured. 

The hole in the back of the head or body permits of the hand of the performer pressing either upon a plate or upon a circle of wire, which in turn moves down the movable mouth, closing automatically by means of a spring. Figs. 3, 4 and 5 respectively show the construc tion of ventriloquist figure heads and another principle of ventriloquial figure manipulation. 

hf080-3.gif (4923 bytes)
Fig. 3.
Showing construction 
of ventriloquist head.

The number of mouth movements made by the figure should, of course, coincide as nearly as possible with the number made by the mouth in ordinary speech; thus a natural effect will be gained. 

Placing a "dummy" on each knee, the ventriloquist opens up an amusing conversation. The aim of the figures is to destroy the effect of the performer's remarks by the interpolation of absurd interruptions. The whole matter resolves itself into a witty dialogue between three or four people, of whom the entertainer is the central character. Such a dialogue should be brisk and sparkling with humor, all vulgarity being carefully eliminated. It is as well to write the dialogue out and learn it by heart.







Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Ventriloquism in a Month ] All Born Ventriloquists ] Initial Stages ] Breathing Exercises ] Automaton or Man? ] Speaking Still Lips ] Two Kinds of Ventriloquism ] Ventriloquism Voices ] [ Ventriloquist Figures ] Ventriloquist Figure Manipulation ] Near Voices ] Ventriloquist Distant Voices ] Ventriloquist Imitations ] Complete Entertainment ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.