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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Just one figure (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ony Carcamo
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One of the treasured letters I received was from vent legend Willie Tyler. He told me he has been using just ONE character all his professional life! And that is Lester. He's been using only Lester in ALL his shows, for kids and adults.

Now, having just a single character as your main figure has advantages: You'll be FORCED to know your figure very well (since he's the only one), and therefore you can write many materials more easily; you and your figure will be more easily remembered by your audience (since you two are the only ones on stage); you'll carry just one figure each show, etc.

Otto and George, Russo Louis and Brooklyn Birch,Peter Brough and Archie Andrews, Arthur Worsley and Charlie Brown are just a few examples of these duos.

The other side of the coin are the vents who have multiple characters--Bergen, Winchell, Dunham, Lucas, etc. Of course, many figures mean many characterizations, visual variety, and a lot more loads during show travels.

Now my question is, have you considered just having ONE figure as your vent partner? Why and why not?
Ony Carcamo
PHILIPPINES

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Ony Carcamo
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I'll answer first.

Yes, I considered having just a single figure--but not in ALL my shows. In my kidshows, I use 3-4 puppets/figures. In my adult shows, I prefer to use just one figure the whole night--especially in gigs 40 minutes and under.

For my full-night show of 1.5 hour to 2 hours, I use my three main figures.
Ony Carcamo
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tacrowl
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Ony -
Patrick Murray did about 50 minutes with Matilda on his latest DVD. Ken Groves is another act who has multiple figures, but uses one per show. (This way he can repeat dates and the show is completely different.)

Have I considered just one partner? Sure - one figure means I can keep a large percentage of my act and just figure out the interaction material for each client to customize the show. Many of my corporate dates use one figure, then close with the masks - so in reality I guess that is three... but it flys in a carry-on!

Other shows, multiple figures may make an appearance - but it depends on how I feel, the audience and performing conditions.
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Lou Hilario
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I am now using just one figure in my shows aside from my double mask routine. I decided to concentrate on my Selberg figure (Max). I have given him lots of personality on stage.
I don't have to write more scripts because it comes automatically when we do shows. I am quite content on using this figure.
I still do purchase new figures from time to time but that is just to play with.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
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Budihaha
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Bandung - Indonesia
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I have several figures, but only use one for every show plus some magic act.
I use one of my figures to meet the venue, the theme and the audience.

When the theme is about nature & conservation, then I use my Orangutan or Dodo Bird or man eating plant. I use these figures for small children show too.
When the theme is about school, healthy or Christian faith, I use my boy figure.
Budi H. Hadiwarsito
Bandung - Indonesia
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Wanlu
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Right now, I'm using two animal characters and 1 human character in my act Smile

I think having more than one character in a kidshow is very important.

For adult shows...one figure and perhaps adding the masks is good enough...but for kidshows, having a variety or chracters is an advantage, at least for me. Smile
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Neale Bacon
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I use more than one character. I like the variety for me and also find I have routines that work for one but not for the others. Routines I do with Horton Hogg don't suit Castor leBeavairs personality for example.

I have characters I save for special shows, like Randy the Reindeer (a Pavlov puppet) I use at Christmas. I have been known to swap him into shows just for the variety. I have routine with Randy about being confused over what holiday it is because he thinks it's always Christmas.

My show is now built on that little cast - Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters.

The short answer to the original question - have I ever thought of only using 1 character - No Smile
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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Bob Baker
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For 40 years I used only 1 character, and he always served me well. Then, I bought a mint condition used Selberg Granny last year, and she has opened up new avenues of comedy for me. In fact, I just made my comedy club debut with her last week, and she killed.

I have recently commissioned Bill Nelson to create a figure for me unlike any I've seen out there. More on that another time.

I feel my creative brain stretching thanks to the new characters.

Bob
Ony Carcamo
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Old topic, but I'd just like to say lately I'm enjoying doing gigs with just ONE figure. I experimented adding on some costume accents on him to help make a change in character.

For example, when I do a mentalism routine with him acting as a mentalist, I let him wear a turban on his head. If he's a policeman, a policeman cap. If he's a cowboy, a cowboy hat... etc.

Changing/adding costume IN FRONT of the audience can be made entertaining, too! Just like Senor Wences when he was "creating" Johnny using his hand in front of his audiences.
Ony Carcamo
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Wanlu
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I don't see any problem with performing with just one figure...if you are comfortable with that then I suppose its okay Smile

In kidshows...I personally think having a variety of figures would be best because the kids have a short attention span and bringing out a variety of puppets works for me.

For adult shows...I have worked with just one figure before but not without other vent stuff like the masks and a few other stuff...and of course my illusions. I don't think I can perform with just one figure even in front of an adult crowd Smile
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Dickens & Dave
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In reference to the op's question;
"...have you considered just having ONE figure as your vent partner? Why and why not?"
For the most part, I've always had one main figure, and then some others as well, but that main figure gets my primary focus. Would I go to just using the one figure exclusively? If for some reason, I had to part with the others and could only have my main figure to use, I could be happy with just him, but assuming that never happens, then I will probably always have at least a couple others that I use. Mostly because there's ideas and material I come up with that just wouldn't fit my main character, but would be great for another type of figure. And it's just good to be able to switch off and do something different now and then, like Bob Baker said, I think using other characters helps stretch your creative thinking.
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tacrowl
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Since this topic is back, a thought just popped in my mind. (It is lonely in there.) If only one character - do you have a back up of that character? If something happened to the original, would you be able to continue?

I have two back ups of my main character, although neither of them "feel" the same to me.
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Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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A truely good puppet maker will have a complete set of patterns on file(for every puppet they make) to be able to duplicate a character very quickly, but there is still a time element involved. However even with a duplicate, Tom is right, no two are going to "feel" exactly the same. BTW Tom, if you ever need a backup for K.A.R.L. 2, our inventory of eyes will get straightened out. Since he had three eyes, now no matter what we do, we always have an odd number of eyes in stock. - lol

Steve
Dickens & Dave
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I always liked the idea of having a back up figure, but my main figure's creator is no longer with us, so not much chance of that happening.
Guess that's another plus for having other characters, so you have something else to fall back on if your number one is temporarily unavailable.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Bob Baker
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I just received my first back-up figure from Tim Selberg. She's another Selberg "Granny," but Tom's so right. She feels very different from the original. In this case a big reason is that she is different "handed" from the original. (Tim's mistake, but I didn't want to wait another X months for him to make another one.) Even so, the controls "feel" different. I'm learning to use her on my other hand in case I ever want to do 2 figures at once or I have a bad accident.

I also had a different costume made for her so that she could appear to have a change of clothes from time to time.

Bob
Ony Carcamo
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I'm surprised to see this thread up again after nearly 3 years!

I still use ONE figure per adult show these days, and 3-4 puppets per kidshow. I have 2 main figures, one made from wood by me (Mr. Parley). I have an exact fiberglass replica of him as back-up. The other is a Hartz figure (of course made from wood) but no back-up yet.

I believe Jimmy Nelson has no back-up copy of Danny O'Day. I read that he asked Frank Marshall to carve an exact copy of Danny, but Marshall said he tried and he just can't... the resulting figure bacame Jimmy's other male figure Humphrey Higsbye.
Ony Carcamo
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Dickens & Dave
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"I'm surprised to see this thread up again after nearly 3 years!"

That's my fault. I've just joined recently and have been going through past pages reading old threads, and there was a few I wanted to post a comment to. Smile
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I hadn't seen this thread before so I'm glad you revived it blueshawk.

I like the one figure approach myself. Henry's not the only character I use, but he's the only one who talks. I use some other puppets in my kid shows, but they are silent and not fully developed characters. In my adult shows, Henry's the only character. I think, as has been mentioned, that it forces me to really develop and understand the character. Plus I can pack my show in a suitcase.

I could and probably should build a back-up for Henry. Since he's a Brose kit figure, I could duplicate him. I've had to do emergency repairs on him because I don't have a back-up. Fortunately I built him pretty basic so I was able to do it very quickly.

I'm a fan of Willie Tyler. He was the vent I saw most often on TV back in the early 70's. I really admire his ability and Lester's personality
David Pitts
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Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
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marshalldoll
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Johnny Main had a back up figure for each character. For the Frank Marshall figures he actually made his own castings of the original heads and then mechanised and painted them to match. When I purchased his collection I got all the back up figures as well. I think it is a great idea. Bill DeMar can attest to it. He had his figure stolen out of his car and had no backup at the time.
Dan
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Dickens & Dave
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Stories like Bill's are what make me nervous, I can't imagine never ever having my main figure again, wish I could have had another made back when.
My interest in building is also re-emerging, and it was always my plan that my number 1 partner would be one I built, but it's too late now, no matter what I may make, my number 1 is too fully entrenched to be knocked from his perch (or vent stand in this case).
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
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