Thursday, April 26, 2012

Episode 2

Here's Episode 2 of the Cincinnati Airport Marriott tour, site of this year's Vent Haven Convention.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One down... one to go

My presentation at Rotary went well.  As I mentioned, the ventriloquism part only lasted a few minutes.  The audience laughed at the right spots and didn't throw any food.  (Always a good sign).  The biggest laugh came at the end. I asked Zoomo if he had any parting words.  He said, "Take me to your leader!".  Since I'm my club's president, I said "I'm the leader."  Zoomo leaned forward and said to the crowd, "What were you thinking?!". 

Tomorrow I'll do the little show at Kiwanis.  (Hope they don't throw food.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Performing is alien to me

My Rotary club has been after me for years to do a presentation about my Kenny Croes Dummy Store.  You may recall that I make these little mannequin munchkins, but I don't perform with them very often. Recently I was asked by a friend if I would do a presentation for a local Kiwanis club, and in a moment of weakness, I agreed to do it.  So that's scheduled for Wednesday.  Today being Monday, I'm going to do a dry run at my Rotary club.

The presentation primarily consists of a PowerPoint about the dummy makin' business.  It has photos of their innards and outards. I even have some photos of the Vent Haven Museum and the convention, famous ventriloquists of the past and present, and that old photo of me with my Jerry Mahoney dummy.

I plan to end my presentation with a very brief demonstration using my Zoomo the Space Cadet figure.  My routine will last about 60 seconds, but it will show off a real "live" dummy (the alien... not me).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blinking backwards

Well, I screwed it up.  I busted off the tab I'd cut at the top of the ping-pong ball.  That left me with no place to attach a synchro bar. So I ripped the ping-pong balls from the wire frames (##*&^$+/!!), tossed 'em in the trash, and cut another two blinker shells.  This time I was able to glue them to the wire frames with Gorilla Super Glue.  I let the glue dry a few seconds before I attached the shells.  Seemed to work better.  Then I made a couple of tabs from Magic-Sculpt.  I even had the foresight to punch holes where the wire synchro bar will insert. 

I have a feeling there will be more minor disasters before I get this done. But at least I'm learning something every time I mess this up.  I am determined to see this through.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I have successfully made free-swinging blinker shells.  But not without some difficulties.

First I realized that the wood block I cut, though cut to the dimensions I intended, actually made the bracket slightly too large.  Luckily I had cut some wood blocks for another purpose that were smaller, but had possibilities.  They proved to be a better size for the bracket bending.

I figured out ways to mark and drill the holes properly.  I bent the coat-hanger wire to fit the shells.  However attaching the shells to the wire was tougher. I tried using Gorilla Super Glue (the clear kind) because it sets up almost instantly. But I had difficulty holding the shells in place without gluing my fingers, too.  So I fell back on my tried-and-true Magic-Sculpt.  Four tiny dabs worked great.  This morning I tested the shells swinging over the eyeballs and they cleared them with no problem.

The next step will be to attach a synchro rod to the shells so they open and close together.  Believe it or not, I actually worked up a sweat getting this far.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On the blink

From these humble beginnings, I hope to build my first set of blinkers.  I studied Al Stevens' Fred Project instructions. 

I cut a wood block to the proper dimensions so I can bend the brass stock into a bracket frame.  I've chosen coat-hanger wire for the blinker frame.  I'm still debating the right glue or epoxy to attach the wire to the blinker.  I'm using a ping-pong ball for my blinker since I've destroyed every styrene blinker set Braylu Creations has ever sent me.  That's why I know I learn best from trial and error... because there haven't been too many other ways I've improved my skills.

But I really think I got a shot this time. (Either way, you'll probably hear about it.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Non-dummy-makin dummy makin'

Last few days I've been tending to peripheral Kenny Croes Dummy Store business.  Got a nice order, got an auction going, and I'm messing with the internet.

I learned a cool new HTML trick for improving and economizing code-wise on my website.  Writing code sucks me in sometimes.  I'm glad I don't build websites for a living because I think it would turn me into a zombie.  I admire those who can do it and still have a life.

So that's why no posts of note.  A photo of my hands pounding on a computer keyboard is not very interesting to look at.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

He ain't what he used to be...

The old coot is now taller... 41".  (I thought we all shrunk as we got older.)  He's now available for sale on Ebay.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Big Uncle Earl

I completed my first Full Size Uncle Earl.  He's about 42" tall. I was pleased the way the mechanics turned out.  Plus he was lots of fun to build.  Soon he'll be looking for someone to show him off in front of audiences. Now I gotta make a video of the old feller.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Loved this show

Monday, April 09, 2012

Desert dummy

Otis, the Moonshiner has found a home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I'm not sure what the state  liquor laws are like there, but I'm pretty sure the Feds will frown on any refreshments he might be prone to ferment.  I'm hoping his new partner will direct Otis in a more positive direction... like making people laugh because of what they saw instead of what they drank.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Next look

So now Uncle Earl has static eyelids (still unpainted) and eyebrows.  He's looking more and more like the original 2T Uncle Earl. 

Friday, April 06, 2012


My first full-size Uncle Earl is still moving forward. He now has eyes and eyebrow frames.  I plan to give him static eyelids to reduce his "surprise" look.  I'm not quite ready to add blinkers, though I've been doing some experimenting and I think I'll be ready for them on my next full-size figure. 

I've decided to make a wood block template for bending the brass blinker frames.  I also worked out a way to accurately do my measurements based upon Al Stevens' tutorial, "The Fred Project".  (What a great resource!)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Take a quick tour

This July I will be attending the VentHaven Convention for the first time. It will also be the first time the convention will be held at the new venue, the Cinncinati Airport Marriott. Watch the video below for a brief (and fun) tour of the hotel.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Something to hold onto

I really like the newest style of hands from Braylu Creations.  They're very cartoon-like.  Plus their in-between size works well with 2T or 3T figures.  I painted a pair green and gave them gold fingernails for my "Zoomo, the Space Cadet" figure.  The only issue I ran into was that the wrists don't get wider in the back.  So it was more difficult getting them wired to the stuffed arms.  To remedy that, I added dabs of Magic-Sculpt on four sides of the wrist so the hands won't slip out of the wire. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Monkey business

This little movie features Nina Conti.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Casper the spooky freak

Wish Icould say I know exactly what I'm doing.  But I don't.  So as scary as this might look, it actually captures the essence of my project at this juncture. (My project is sculpting a new 2T cheeky boy character). 

I have cut away the generic Braylu head to make ample room for a free-swinging jaw frame (now installed) and soon-to-be eyes.  The really scary part is deciding what to do next.  I waste a lot of time staring at the thing, stroking my chin and thinking, "Hmmmmmmmm". 

I think setting the eyes in place is next.  Or maybe adding a platform in the jaw for the eventual tongue and teeth.  Possibly forming a nose...