Monday, June 16, 2014

Doll-A-Day 151: Happy 124th Birthday to Stan Laurel:Stan Laurel Ventriloquist Dummy

  I decided to put off my post on my flea market find until tomorrow, partially because it rained before I could get all my pictures taken, and partially because I had already planned on a specific doll for today. So I'll get to the Flea Market post this week, probably tomorrow.
    Today's doll is a Stan Laurel ventriloquist doll/dummy, in celebration of what would have been Stan Laurel's 124th birthday today.

 Stan was born in Ulverston, England on this day in 1890. For more information on the real Stan, and to see some other Laurel and Hardy dolls,check out my Oscar Week post on the Hamilton Laurel and Hardy dolls.

In case you forget which one is which.

This dummy was made by Goldberger, who produced many different ventriloquist dummies, also known as 'vent dolls'.

 There was also a matching Oliver Hardy vent doll.The dolls also came in two sizes. (I mean there were two different series. Of course Laurel and Hardy were different sizes.That was kind of the point.)

The string in the back of his neck controls his mouth.

 And also, to some extent, his collar!
 This doll did come with a hat, just not when I got him.

Although most people think of Laurel and Hardy in suits, they did do several shorts dressed in bibbed overalls, but still with their stand up collars, ties, and derby hats.

If you ever check the copyright on a Laurel and Hardy item made from the 60's onward, you'll notice that it says   'Copyright Larry Harmon". Larry Harmon, obtained the rights to Laurel and Hardy's images from Stan and his wife, and Oliver Hardy's widow Lucille. Harmon was a friend of Stan's, and was known as the owner and portrayer of Bozo the Clown. (In spite of Harmon's frequent claims to have invented Bozo, Bozo was created by Alan W. Livingston in the 1940's,and was first portrayed by Pinto Colvig. Bozo even served as the mascot for Capitol Records, before Harmon bought the rights from Capitol in 1956.)

I debated using this guy, or an action figure Stan that Emma bought me. In the end this one was easier to grab and it was about to rain. But the action figure Stan will probably show up on here some day. He came in a really cool 'film canister' and has changeable hands.


  1. I try not to have any vent dolls. I am actually scared of dolls, haha! And the dolls I have I try to have as happy as a doll can be. I keep a mental tab on WHERE they are and at night my husband closes my sewing room door because he gets more freak out when the hallway light is reflected by some of my dolls eyes. I love going to fkea markets and finding a well priced vintage doll and vents are my favorite to play, take pictures and joke about but NEVER to bring back home. Have you seen that new commercial with the vent doll at a garage sale? Yeah, i think that is exactly what happens.
    Anyhow, very sad that the widows sold the rights but I wonder if the current family gets something. Thank you for sharing!

  2. A LOT of people feel that way about dummies! They never bothered me. As a kid I loved ventriloquists, and I bought a Howdy Doody dummy and tried to learn ventriloquism. (I really wanted a Charlie McCarthy dummy in the window of a local junk shop, but they were literally never open. He was compo, so think what he would have been worth now!) I think dummies seem scary because they're 'alive', plus the way those creepy eyes roll around! There have been so many movies with murderous or evil dummies too.
    As for Laurel and Hardy, Oliver Hardy never had any children. Stan had a daughter, Lois Laurel Hawes, who is still alive. I'm not sure if Lois gets anything, but probably not, since Harmon owned the rights to the names and images. Sad really. Harmon was a friend of Stan's, but I kind of always felt he pulled a fast one on him somehow, getting those rights that way. Why would they sell them? It's like Jim Henson selling the Muppets. I know he sold them because he wanted to (so they would carry on after he was gone.), but it still irritates me when I hear "DIsney's Muppets". They're not Disney's, and they never will be to me. Same with Star Wars. That and the Harmon thing reminds me of the scene in Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum's character tells 'John Hammond', " didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you wanna sell it. Well..." It irks me that 'Bozo' made, and Disney is making, a fortune on the hard work of others, and all they had to do was buy someone else's legend.


Thanks in advance for your comments.