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Frank Marshall (puppeteer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frank Marshall
Frank Marshall (Puppet Carver) with some of his creations.jpg
Born
Frank Marzalkiewicz

9 March 1900
DiedOctober 10, 1969(1969-10-10) (aged 69)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationPuppet designer
EraVaudeville era

Frank Marshall (born Frank Marzalkiewicz on March 9, 1900; died October 10, 1969) was a professional ventriloquist dummy, marionette and Punch and Judy maker who created many of the most famous ventriloquist dummies used during the United States's vaudeville entertainment era through the Golden Age of Television. He is colloquially known as America's Geppetto.[1] Among his creations were Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff for ventriloquist Paul Winchell[2] (both known in Marshall's catalogue as "noseys" or "nosey style", a smart-aleck type character)[3] and Danny O’Day and Farfel the Dog for ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson.[4][5]

Some members of the ventriloquial community maintain that Marshall carved Charlie McCarthy for the famous ventriloquist Edgar Bergen while working in Theodore Mack & Sons wood shop, though that is a matter of dispute.[6][7] However, Marshall's own catalog from 1931 indicated that Bergen did use a Marshall figure.[8]

Life and career

Ventriloquist Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahoney, a classic Marshall "Nosey" figure
Ventriloquist Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahoney, a classic Marshall "Nosey" figure

Marshall was born in Chicago. As a result of immobility as a child suffering from polio, Marshall became interested in puppetry and wood carvings which did not require strenuous activity.

At age 14, Marshall was hired by a local furniture factory, Theodore Mack and Son, which also produced and sold wooden puppets and dummies. In 1927, Marshall purchased the shop. He ran the shop (in different locations) until his death in 1969.[9] On July 22, 1956, Marshall appeared on the television show What's My Line in which Paul Winchell (along with his dummy Jerry Mahoney) was a member of the panel of judges tasked with identifying the guest.[10]

Present day

Today, Marshall's figures are highly collectable and can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.[11] Classic Marshall figures can be identified by their large eyes (often wall eyed) with small glass pupils, large mouth painted bright red and unique paint tones, including a shade of orange which appeared as human skin tone on black and white televisions screens and on stage when lit by a bright light (commonly known as "Marshall Orange").[12]

Two dummies carved by Marshall (Paul Winchell's Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff) are currently held for display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.[13]

References

  1. ^ Asbury, Kelly (2003). Dummy Days; America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV. Angel City Press. p. 100. ISBN 1-883318-28-9.
  2. ^ "Jerry Mahoney Ventriloquist Puppet". Smithsonian Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  3. ^ Marshall, Frank (1931). Puppets Ventriloquial Punch and Judy and Marionettes Catalog. Frank Marshall. p. 6.
  4. ^ "Jimmy Nelson, Star of the Golden Age of Ventriloquism, Dies at 90". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  5. ^ "The Untold Story of Nestlé's Farfel the Dog". Advertising Week. Advertising Week. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Ventriloquist Howdy Reynolds and G-Man Joe on Kauai". The Garden Islan. The Garden Island, Kaua'is newspaper since 1901. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  7. ^ Asbury, Kelly (2003). Dummy Days; America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV. Angel City Press. p. 100. ISBN 1-883318-28-9.
  8. ^ Marshall, Frank (1931). Puppets Ventriloquial Punch and Judy and Marionettes Catalog. Frank Marshall. p. 2.
  9. ^ Asbury, Kelly (2003). Dummy Days; America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV. Angel City Press. p. 100-101. ISBN 1-883318-28-9.
  10. ^ "What's My Line? - Jerry Lewis; Paul Winchell [panel]; Vivian Blaine [panel] (Jul 22, 1956)". Youtube.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  11. ^ "FIXATIONS : A Few Wood Men". The LA Times. The LA Times.
  12. ^ "An unused Marshall figure!". Vent Haven Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Jerry Mahoney Ventriloquist Puppet". Smithsonian Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
This page was last edited on 25 November 2020, at 18:00
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