I get a couple of emails a month asking about ventriloquist figures. Usually it will be something like:
“How much will it cost to buy a professional ventriloquist dummy with moving eyes and mouth?”
First, I have to let people know Maher Studios no longer makes or sells figures.
At one time Maher sold a bunch of figures because it was hard to find someone who built them. Maher created ventriloquists through the courses. People knew and trusted the studio, so it made sense to get a figure there.
Now you can Google Ventriloquist Figure Builder or Maker and you will get thousands of results.
You wouldn’t believe the number of folks that assume we still sell them. I’ll be asked about a specific figure from a long ago out-of-print catalog. Or someone will see a figure on one of Clinton’s old blog sites and think it is still for sale.
So Clinton’s marketing still pulls in people. It is a shame they didn’t go to him before he had to close the studio in 2006.
Now back to the question …
So how much will it cost?
Well, do you want to buy a Ford Pinto or a Jaguar?
Just like cars, figures come in all different shapes, sizes and qualities.
The reputation of the maker plays a roll.
And of course, it truly depends on what you like.
I recommend people visit Maher’s Ventriloquist Resources page. There I have a list of puppet makers and figure builders. You can visit their websites and see their work. When you find something that matches your vision, you can contact the builder/maker directly.
Keep in mind that one of a kind puppets or figures take a lot of time to create. No one gets rich from it. Very few are making their living from it.
So don’t haggle or complain about prices. You wouldn’t do that to your doctor.
Respect the artistry and artist.
You will get a better performing partner and you will enjoy sharing with the world.