A Reliable Doll Hand Painted Charlie McCarthy Ventriloquist Dummy c.1930-40


Origin: Canadian
Period: Early / Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c. 1935-45
Length: 21 inches
Width: 5 inches (at torso)
Head Depth: 4.5 inches

Made by the 'Reliable Doll' Company in Canada and modelled on the original dummy of Charlie McCarthy, which was performed by Edgar Bergen in the early 20th Century, the jaw operated by a draw string and having a composition head with brown painted hair and cloth body consisting of a bottle green flannel waistcoat, striped tie, red school button and inky blue suit.

Charlie is in good original condition, most importantly there has been no over painting or restoration to speak of. There are a few chips to the paint to the face though the mechanism is still in operable order and the costume is in pretty fine fettle.

The Reliable Toy Company Limited of Toronto, Canada (1920-1991) had a long history of making quality dolls, though in their infancy they imported bisque doll heads from Germany, and used a body from a USA company and assembled these into their own dolls.  From 1922-1955 they began producing their own composition dolls, such as this one, and are best known for their Canadian style Indians and Mounties.

The famous duo of TV, film, and movie ventriloquist act of Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy were real superstars in the late 1930’s and 1940’s and this dummy is testament to that popularity.

A very early dummy of its type, with dolls found of Charlie usually being later, this chap has masses of appeal to collectors or perhaps as a starter dummy for a budding young ventriloquist.