The Ventriloquist and the Dummy

According to Flickr stats, this photo is my most popular/interesting photo in my Flickr photostream, and it is probably one of my personal favorites as well.

My love for ventriloquists and their dummies goes way back to my childhood. I believe it all began with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Then there was the film Magic starring Anthony Hopkins as Corky a ventriloquist who's psychosis becomes a bit too attached to his dummy Fats. Somewhat similar was the Twilight Zone episode The Dummy. Oh, and I can't leave out Chuck and Bob from the show SOAP. I am a still a big fan of all those things, as well as vintage photographs and footage of ventriloquists with their dummies, and basically anything ventriloquism, with the only exception being those that use non-traditional style dummies.

When I was very young I received a Charlie McCarthy dummy for Christmas. I was extremely excited. It came with an instructional record, and I remember practicing speaking without moving my lips in the mirror. I never mastered the skill, or even close. Ultimately I think I was more into the weird creepy dummies than the actual art of ventriloquism. I have always been a big fan of monsters and the like since a very young age, and as if they needed the help, Magic and Twilight Zone cemented dummies as massively creepy. When I was slightly older I had a generic dummy, I believe he was called Simon Says, or original. For a year or so I took him pretty much everywhere I went. I was a weird kid into weird things, and wouldn't have it any other way.

The subject in this photo is the incredibly cool and creepy GreGory from the Living Dead Dolls line by Mezco Toyz. In 2007 my brother and I went to the Wizard World Chicago comic con., where Mezco were showing prototypes of upcoming products. I pointed out GreGory, and come Christmas he surprised me with it as a gift. I was instantly dying to shoot him, and snapped off a few shots. I doctored it a bit (something I used to pretty much be against) and really liked the results. Apparently many others agree. In fact, I liked the way it came out so much, that I told myself I would never shoot them again, but that changed when Mezco ran a Valentines Day card contest this year, in which I entered the following photo. The backdrop was hand painted.

I didn't win....

~ Jason

*click on photos to get a better view

About this entry