Monday, August 25, 2014

Doll-A-Day 214: Talkin' 'Bout Boys Week: Otis O'Brien

  As the title says, this week we're talking about boys. Today specifically, Otis O'Brien.

Otis is a ventriloquist dummy, or vent doll, as they are sometimes called.

He was made by Uneeda in 1972.
Otis came wearing the same little girl's bow flats (shoes) as all the other dummies.No wonder there are so many evil dummies! They all have a complex from being made to wear girls shoes! Check out the kid with Otis. Who knew Matt Smith did child modelling?

"What's she talking about? That kid doesn't look anything like me..."
I love his red hair and silly face. I found him at the big doll show a few years ago and couldn't resist.

Ivy thought he looked like Tessie Talk's big brother.

Otis with his 'sister' Tessie Talk.

"Mom! Take the picture!"

Since I didn't know who he was at the time, and he was a bit disheveled,we named him Messie Talk.

Otis is about three feet tall, but of course, being a ventriloquist dummy, known for their dangly legs, he can't stand up.

A lot of people are freaked out by ventriloquist dummies. The movies that have been made about evil dummies don't help. Two of the best are "Magic", with Anthony Hopkins, and "Dead of Night", a 1945 British movie made up of several stories. The dummy story stars Micheal Redgrave.
Anthony Hopkins, when he was still a hot babe,and his creepy dummy "Fats" in "Magic", from 1978. He learned ventriloquism for the part.Thirteen years later he became creepy himself, as Hannibal Lector in "Silence of the Lambs". Apparently the director and writer wanted Gene Wilder for the part of 'Corky', the shy magician and ventriloquist with a problem. (Hopkins was actually too old to play the character, and Wilder was even older.) But the producer didn't "want any comedians in" the movie. "Magic" had the world's creepiest commercial too. People who never saw the movie still remember it with a shiver. Watch it HERE. I saw the movie at the drive in with my Mom after begging her to take me.
Micheal Redgrave with his creepy dummy, Hugo, in "Dead of Night", 1945. Sir Micheal Redgrave was the father of actresses Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave. The sequence with Redgrave and Hugo is probably the most memorable one from the movie, but there are several others and they are all excellent. The theme of a ventriloquist who loses himself  in his aggressive dummy is a popular one, and has been used many times: the idea that someone who essentially has to be two people could one day actually think he is...  

I've never had a fear of dummies, and I love both of those movies. I highly recommend them both. "Magic" is R rated, and not for children, but "Dead of Night", which features at least one story that I read a version of in one of the books of scary short stories I have from when I was a kid, could be enjoyed by older kids. It makes a great Halloween movie! (Pre-watch it. You know what your kids can deal with.Some of the stories are scarier than others, and one is even a humorous ghost story.)

See you tomorrow for another 'boy'.

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