Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sad to see him go

Progress continues on Charlie3 (pictured left), though some of the wind has been taken out of my sails. I sold Charlie2, but he sold for only $183. Not what I'd hoped. It's not so much the money. I've made back the hard costs and made a small profit (not counting labor... but hey, it's a hobby). It's just that I've taken a shine to the little guy and I hate to see him go for so little. The sentimental value has exceeded the monetary gain. I didn't expect that.

My consolation is that I could probably duplicate him. I have extensive photos. I may make a clone just for my own collection.

I'm trying to figure out what the market values most. I think he looked much cuter than many of the vent figures I see on Ebay that garner higher prices (although I may be deluded in thinking that). But he didn't have self-centering eyes and no other animations. Maybe that's the deal. In any case, I plan to make the eyes self-centering on Charlie3, and I may do raising eyebrows if I can figure out the mechanics and control issues.

I'm gonna miss the little fella.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back to the beginning

Here's how it starts. Well, actually it starts with a winning bid on Ebay. But then the Charlie arrives and I start rippin' and tearin'. I've taken off the top of his head and sawed off the middle of his face. Yeah, that's a popsicle stick where the bridge of his nose used to be. Believe it or not, this is how I begin. Hopefully, the finish will be much more attractive than the photo you see here.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I'm not sure you can tell the difference with the photos, but I successfully detailed the face of my Charlie2. Even my wife said I did a good job.

He's now for sale on Ebay . And I started work on Charlie3 today.


I shot these photos tonight of Jackie, my vent figure I crafted from Mike Brose cast parts. I used his Fred head, Bright Blue eyes and body. The legs, arms and hands came from Braylu. I followed Al Stevens' Fred Project and referred to Mike Brose's book "Figure Making Can Be Fun" for guidance and inspiration. I still refer to Mike's book as I design and build the Charlie projects.

Jackie's precocious personality is beginning to emerge.


Saturday, August 19, 2006


My wife has her doubts. She thinks my red-green colorblindness will always prevent me from doing the final shading correctly. I've tried it numerous times, only to have her shake her head. But I'm going to try it again anyway. I can always paint the flesh tone paint over it if I screw it up.

Here goes....

Friday, August 18, 2006

Uh-oh... Charlie4 and Charlie5

It wasn't my intention to start three Charlie projects at once, but I won two more Ebay auctions. So I've purchased supplies from Braylu and Puppets and Props to complete three new vent figures. I'm not sure I'll get started too soon. You see, my wife and I are going to Paris for two weeks and there's a lot to do to get ready. We leave in early September.

Meanwhile, I guess these guys will just stare at me from the corner until I get busy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


After completing two vent figures made from old Charlie McCarthy dolls, I wondered if I had any enthusiasm to make more. I sold Charlie1 and I'm about to put Charlie2 up for sale.

So I placed some bids on some old Charlie McCarthys on Ebay and I won one of them. He arrived today. I opened the box, pulled him out and immediately got excited. I can hardly wait to get started.

I guess I have my answer.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


This entry has nothing to do with vetriloquism. In fact, the thousands of flowers at the English garden called Shore Acres left me speechless. My wife and I drove my nieces, sister and stepdad to the beautful site this afternoon. Thought I'd share a few photos with you.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Did he like him?

I just received an inquiry from a well-respected vent builder. To protect his privacy, I won't say who. But the Ebay "question for seller" was about what material was used for Charlie1's head. Of course, I told him that Charlie1 started as a Charlie McCarthy, so the underlying material was a plastic. I also told him I re-shaped his face with ApoxieSculpt.

I'm tickled that this renowned builder would inquire, though I'm not sure if he asked because he liked the looks of Charlie1 or because he was suspicious of his origin.

Based upon some descriptions of vent figures for sale on Ebay that include "not a re-built toy", there is some disparaging of re-made Charlie McCarthys, Danny O'Days, etc. But if one totally re-scuplts the face with the original dummy head acting as little more than an armiture, it seems okay to me. Building Charlie 1 and Charlie 2 has been a deeply creative process for me.

In fact, there will be a Charlie3. I just bought another old Charlie McCarthy on Ebay.

Expect more blogging!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Little girls

I have been invaded by three little girls from Minnesota. They're my sister's kids. Undoubtedly, I will be entertaining tonight with Chester, my cute little talking dog. My routine with him always begin with:

Kenny: "Chester, you're very special. Can you tell the audience why you're special?"

Chester: "Well... I'm a DOG!"

Kenny: "Yes, you ARE a dog. and we can all see that. But that's not the only reason you're special."

Chester: "I'm a TALKING dog?"

Kenny: "That's right, Chester. You're a talking dog. And because you're a talking dog, we can find out what you're thinking."

Chester: "Well.. I'm a TALKING dog... not a THINKING dog!"

Monday, August 07, 2006


I've listed Charlie1 on Ebay. My wife did a great job detailing his face with highlights on his cheeks, nostrils, chin and that little spot just under the nose. (Just what do you call that little indentation anyway?) I've made him as durable, cute and easy to manipulate as I could. I hope he goes to a good home.

Meanwhile, Charlie2 is nearing completion. His head is sealed and he's got a curly fleece wig like Charlie1. You can see his proud Papa in the photo.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A special day

Back in 1978, my singing partner was Carolyn Miller, a lovely and very talented singer and guitarist. We primarily worked a room in Newport Beach, California called The Cannery. It's still there. Today she's flying into North Bend, Oregon (where I live now) for a visit.

Her beau bought a motel in Port Orford, about an hour south of here. He visits on occasion to check on the property, do some repairs and maintenance and just hang out whle the weather is so perfect. Carolyn is coming to hang out with him, but the bonus is that I get to see her, too. But what's really cool about this visit is that we're going to play music together for the first time in nearly 25 years.

My wife and I will pick her up at the airport at noon, then drive down to Port Orford. We'll play music, walk on the beach, drink good wine and laugh about "the good old days".

Wow. Seems like it was only yesterday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Getting ready

My Brose figure, Jackie, is ready for the stage. I cut his hair a little more. He has no sideburns, but with his spikey look, I'm thinking of leaving off the sideburns so he'll look a little different. My haircutter even suggested an earring.

Hmmmmm... maybe so...

My first gig with him is coming in October at a benefit variety show for a senior volunteer group. The group is called RSVP. So I'm writing a routine with a "who's on first" discussion dealing with RSVP and whether or not we RSVP'd our attendence at the event. My wife also wants me to learn a song for us to sing. No ideas yet, but I'll come up with something.

The local community theatre group is after me to perform as Pish-Tush in the musical The Mikado. So I'll be learning some Gilbert and Sullivan. Maybe a song from there?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Will I or won't I

I'm in the home stretch of my Charlie2. I'm leaning toward purchasing two more dummies to re-make. I think I'd like to try my hand at a pair of Danny O'Days. I had a souped-up Danny O'Day with moving eyes, felt eyebrows and a wig, but I sold him because he was just too small for my hands.

But I'm a little less motivated to start the next two. Mike Brose suggests that a builder should add one more new animation to each new vent figure. I'm considering animating the eyebrows on the next two fellas.

I keep an eye on the Ebay sales of Danny O-Days, and I get a little twinge of excitement when I see one sell for a reasonable price.

Yeah... put your money on two more projects in the near future.