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tacrowl
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After years of working with my main character, he was on his last legs. I took a good hard look at him during my summer season and decided it was time to replace him. The problem was, the back ups, while similar, didn't catch the same vibe as the original. The neck was shorter, it was much tighter on the arm, the mouth was different, eyes slightly off and a main feature more pronounced. (This was the second back up they created - I never used the first replacement.) I did what I could to make the "new" puppet match the old - but it doesn't fit right and I really miss the old guy!

The original has been sent to another puppet maker who promised to faithfully re-create the original. I've seen them do this for a friend and the result was impossible to tell from the first. I'm hoping that is the case with mine. The original, of course becomes a pattern - and will never be seen again...

So I post here to tell anyone using a soft puppet - seriously consider getting a back up at the same time as the original if you plan on using it a lot. My first held up since 2006 - so five years of constant use in all types of environments was pretty good considering. Still - I miss him!!!

Well, back to rehearsals - trying to break the new guy in before my next show...

Tom
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MT
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Was this the duck?
tacrowl
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Can't answer that MT. As far as the public is concerned - there should only be one...

(As learned at VentHaven this year!)
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Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Tom is right. Unless you don't get a back up at the time of the original, you won't get an exact duplicate. Most makers don't keep a full pattern on file of your original like we do, and being able to duplicate five/ten years later is something that we do at The Dummy Shoppe. However, if we ever had a fire. . . Tom is right. A duplicate at the time of the original is a smart thing to do.

Steve

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Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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Same thing goes with a hand carved wooden hard figure...
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Wanlu
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Quote:
On 2011-10-07 18:04, tacrowl wrote:
Can't answer that MT. As far as the public is concerned - there should only be one...

(As learned at VentHaven this year!)


Tom...is this true?

Oh no! All the while I tought it was cool letting the public know that there is a back up head...
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Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I think five years is a pretty good run for a soft puppet, Tom, especially considering how much you work.

Wanlu, I think the general public doesn't need to know things can go that wrong. It's one of those things they never think about. it's like a magician telling people they have extra doves and rabbits in case one dies during a show.. just something the public doesn't need to know.

I wish now I had ordered a second puppet from The Dummy Shoppe, but it's good to know you can easily make a duplicate of the wonderful character ya'll made for me. By the way Steve, after trying on several names, I've finally settled on "Frank".

It's also comforting that Henry is from a stock head kit and I could rebuild him if I had to. This is something some folks see as a disadvantage, a stock character, but it can be an advantage in this way.
David Pitts
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Wanlu
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Got it... it makes sense. Thanks Smile
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tacrowl
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Quote:
On 2011-10-07 23:12, Wanlu wrote:
All the while I tought it was cool letting the public know that there is a back up head...


Part of creating the illusion of life Wanlu. There is only one you - there should only be one character. People always tell me they love "insert puppet name here". If I were to tell them I had to switch out the puppet because he degraded, they would suddenly look at him differently. Its no longer the same. Therefore - there will always be one - and unfortunately, knowing the truth - I will continue to miss that one...

Tom
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Vegasvent
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I won't tell you how many "Peanuts" Jeff Dunham has! If you look at some of his older video, Peanut was slightly different. Verna Finley was making them way back then. In the past years they have been "created" by the hands of Mary Ann Taylor.
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Servante
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I upgraded Louie with a Hartz version a couple of years back. Wanlu knows, because I bought the Hartz from him! He was almost a dead ringer for my original Louie, who was decades old. I love the Hartz...but I had a lot of history with the original. Get these pangs about it sometimes. That seems, I guess, a little...odd. Can't help it, though.

-Philip
Wanlu
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Thanks guys Smile

What about in the case of Terry Fator, how do you think he handles an actual puppet change as in the case of Julius and Winston?
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Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I think Terry counts on people not remembering exactly how the originals looked. His new Emma is really cute, but very different from the original. I also think that with Terry, his act is actually less character based than most vent acts. He is doing something unique, like Wences did in his day. Not that Terry and Wences were similar in most ways, but what was similar is how very different their acts are/were from their contemporaries. With Bergen or Dunham, the characters really became the stars. Walter and Achmed and Peanut are the act. With Wences and Fator, the characters aren't the act, they serve the act. People like the characters, but if there's a change, it's not like bringing in a Walter figure that looks substantially different.
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Servante
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In his case, as I see it, Terry Fator didn't say a word. It was early enough in his larger career that few people noticed...and it gave him the opportunity to have something customized that he could employ in licensed products. I'll bet only ventriloquists and puppeteers noticed the changes.

-Philip
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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True Phillip. I think as ventriloquists we notice things the public never does. I was describing Dunham as a virtuoso in his last special. As a ventriloquist, I can see the layers of ease and professionalism, stagecraft, timing etc. that come from 10,000 or more performances (and a heap of talent and hard work). A regular fan just says "That Achmed, he's a hoot!"
David Pitts
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Neale Bacon
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I guess I better try to figure out how to get a back up for my main guy at least.
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Servante
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One of mine is an old 1970's Lovik that I've seriously re-faced...and changed from a "living mouth" to a slot jaw and changed from a drop-through neck to a ball and socket. Her head was pretty heavy in the first place and I've added a little heft to her with the changes (though not horribly so). I think, from time to time, that it might be good to get a mold made and a back up built, not just for safety's sake, but to make her a little easier to handle weight-wise.

-Philip
Wanlu
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How does one handle a puppet change as in total change in appearance... like Terry Fator's Winston and Julius?

Does one bother to explain this to his audience or the audience does not exactly notice the changes?
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ljlvent
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iowa
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My main character, Lily, went through quite a change when I had JET build me a new one. My first Lily was sort of more "cartoony" but my new Lily actually fits her personality much better. I have not had any of the children who have seen me many times ask about her change. Maybe in their minds she just "grew up" a little like they do when they change from year to year. The only thing I have heard is "Look she can blink her eyes now!" but I never bothered to explain it and like I said none of the children asked me about it, only some adults did.
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I think the audience tends not to notice the change, and those few that do simply accept it. It's suspension of disbelief to begin with, so I don't think it's much of an issue for the audience. We definitely think about it more than they do. I think if you try to explain it to the audience, Wanlu, you'll tend to draw attention to it more than anything else. Believe me, they won't think about it otherwise. They don't remember the details, they remember big things like.. 'he was funny, I liked the old guy puppet, the alien guy was hilarious...' broad things, feelings mostly. Audiences won't remember the puppet in any detailed way. I watched Walter a few times before I noticed his eyes were so small and didn't move. And I'm a vent, I pay attention to stuff like that.
David Pitts
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