A Wonderful Mid 20th Century Ventriloquist's Dummy


Origin: English
Period: Mid 20th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950
Height: 28.5 inches
Width (Shoulder to Shoulder): 10 inches
Depth: 6.5 inches (maximum)

Scratch built, the head and body constructed of a combination of paper maché, and plaster with fabric attachments. The hands are painted in a very light skin colour, the legs consist of painted white socks and black paint simulating the shoes. The face is a pink skin color with reddened cheeks; the lips are painted red, the eyebrows and eyelashes black.

The rather dramatic costume for the dummy is of good quality, and in excellent condition. Junior (for that is his current name) wears a herringbone-checked suit with white collar and black buttons, a black bow tie and a white flower to the breast. The glass eyes are of equally good quality; the genuine pupils and white-flecked blue irises make them uncannily realistic. On his head is a full head of medium length straw coloured hair.

There are two actions for the dummy operated by metal levers, one is fully functional being the mouth, the leather lower lip moves all the way down to reveal white-painted teeth. The other is the glass eyes that move to either side, however this cord is currently out of action and needs to be re attached although we have manually tested the eyes and the mechanism is in working order.

Junior is in very good overall original condition, there has been no over painting or restoration to speak of and there are only one or two chips to the paint to the face. The feet have some flaking to the paint. The costume and hair are all in excellent order.

The uncanny nature of ventriloquist’s dummies has enthralled and spooked people for decades, and they continue to feature in horror films to this day. The idea of the ghost in the inanimate object is not a new one, Freud has written at length on the subject in his discussions on the uncanny, and ghost stories have featured dolls and portraits coming to life for centuries.

Junior’s last owner’s most profound words, which stick in the mind, were “I’ve adopted Satan”…Maybe all junior needs is to be loved? …Right?