2010, 2011 PRSA WI Paragon Award of Excellence

About this blog

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin
Mannequin American views and guidelines on marketing/PR trends, news from the world of puppets and ventriloquism, bits of humor and other interesting but useless information. I post every Tuesday and Friday.
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Funny Signs That Caught My Glass Eyes

A Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American Marketer
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15 workers being paid to stand around and watch one guy dig the hole.

Chip Shot: I am forever disappointed that a group of squids is not called a squad.

Signs that Caught My Glass Eyes





100 Years Old

Speedo was founded in 1914 (104 years old) … regretfully.

Vintage Ads


Ad guy: “How should we sell Simoniz car polish? I know, let’s show a woman taking a bath!" 


“Projection equipment.” Get it?

Being Different is an “Ass-et” … Better Butts Song


According to this odd song, any kind of butt are better than a cigarette butt.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, and they're toxic. So lets sing about butts!

Lessons from My Neighborhood



Here’s another puppet PSA from Young Ambassadors, called “Duck, Dodge and Roll.” It’s about what to do if you’re caught in a shootout.






ConVENTion Reflections 5 ... Dunham Touches a Puppet

A Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American Marketer
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Chip Shot: Telephone poles are trees that cleaned up and got a job.



THE Dale Brown and me with Danny Jones and his buddy.




Danny was gracious enough to “adopt” the original Chip Martin at Vent Haven Museum, (in the background) along with two or three other characters. A big “Thanks!” to our friend Danny Jones. The “Adopt a Dummy” program is still running and we are thankful for everyone’s support.


ConVENTion Reflections 5 ... Dunham Touches a Puppet 

Where’d the Drawbridge Go?

Jim Barber, Annie Brooking Roberts, and Jay Johnson show up for the ConVENTion, only to discover that the check-in sign is the lone remaining remembrance of the Drawbridge. (I wonder where all the cockroaches went to live?)


Prior to the ConVENTion in 2016, Leslie and Dale renewed their wedding vows at Vent Haven. (Yes, you can do that, for a price). Tom Ladshaw officiated the ceremony. Tom’s incredibly well-scribed words were bound in an old Cup and Chaucer Menu, from the Drawbridge. That valued keepsake now holds a place of honor in our residence.

More Drawbridge Memories


Bob Abdou always seems a little out of focus.


Verna look-alike puppets in the hands of friends, Bob Hamill and Phillip Jones.




Dan Horn and Dale at the Drawbridge. (Thanks for putting a sweater on me in July!)




Bill DeMar and Roy White at the Drawbridge.



On a personal note, Bill stayed at our house a few times and his one-on-one guidance on manipulation was treasured advice. I doubt Dale ever performs without thinking of Bill.




Vent Haven set up a great tribute to Bill. Undoubtedly the last time all of his characters were together. Bill was the only vent I ever knew who did an entire four and half minute, hilarious bit without having the puppet (Feldon the Frog) utter a single word. Brilliant. Here’s a clip of that bit that Dale taped while Bill was performing in WI in the 80’s.




We have scores of photos of Clinton and Adelia Detweiler from conventions and personal visits. Our hearts ache a little every time we think about those treasured souls. (We also have scores of photos of Lee Cornell, on the left … but that’s usually because he’s hanging with other people who we wanted to photograph.)




When Dale was ConVENTion Chairman, a special award of recognition was presented to Clinton and Adelia for the many contributions “Maher Studios” had made to the art and popularity of ventriloquism. Without a doubt, Clinton was the person responsible for Dale becoming a professional vent. So, blame him. Tom Crowl is now handling Maher Studios and the International Ventriloquist Society.




I include this photo because on several occasions, Clinton told us this was one of his favorite bits from one of the ConVENTion Saturday Night Shows. It was from a time when it was perfectly normal for audience members to be smoking in their seats during performances.  So, Dale and I donned protective masks to shield us from the cloud of smoke hanging over the room. We took advantage of the situation to perform a number of very difficult tongue twisters including Peter Pieper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. If I remember right, we got a standing ovation … which proves ventriloquism doesn’t take as much skill as it does sheer nerve.




Here’s Jeff Dunham with the very first figure he ever made. It resides in Building Two of Vent Haven Museum. (Speaking of “nerve” how about those shorts?!)




Here, Jeff dismantled the figure so that he could take a photo of what the internal mechanisms looked like. (Wouldn’t you think he’d know?) By the way, if curator Lisa Sweasy ever asks, this never happened.







Sammy. During conVENTion tours, probably the most photographed puppet head in the Vent Haven Museum collection. Glass eyes, human teeth and real hair. Beautiful or slightly odd, depending on your point of view. (Photo used with permission of Vent Haven Museum.)







Funny Friday

A Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American Marketer
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Pretty sure this fire started in the bathroom.


Chip Shot: When giving birth the pain is so great that a woman can almost imagine what a man feels like when he has a cold.

Truth in Advertising?






Car Signs








Do We Really Need These Signs?








Advertising Facts


1. A study at York University revealed that pharmaceutical companies typically spend nearly twice as much money on advertising than they do on research.


2. Kids in ads are typically a few years older than their target demographic. For example, a toy ad meant for 5-6 year-old kids might feature kids who are 7-9 years old. This is because advertisers believe young kids see these kids as role models.

3. In nearly every ad featuring a watch, the time is set to 10:10. Seriously, start looking at watches in ads … it’s true.


Funny Monday




Here’s a pretty entertaining ad for MGM National Harbor Resort … “It’s 5 in the afternoon for crying out loud.”


Puppets Teach “That’s an Overdose” … A Real PSA



How sad is it that we have so many kids growing up in homes with drug abuse that we have to use puppets to teach them how to recognize an overdose and what to do when it happens?


One in three urban core kids must deal with this issue and they are 10 times more likely to become drug addicts themselves, 7 times more likely to become alcoholics, and in some cases, their life expectancies are decreased by up to 20 years.


Through creative programs and real-life job training, Youth Ambassadors helps urban core kids not only deal with symptoms related to drug abuse and PTSD, but gives them the tools they need to become active participants in their communities.






ConVENTion Reflections 4

A Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American Marketer
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Pretending to take a selfie is the only way Bob Rumba could get a photo of himself with Dale and Tom Ladshaw.

Chip Shot: Do you think the guy who coined the phrase, “One hit wonder,” ever came up with any other popular phrases?

Convention Reflections 4

A continuing Tuesday hodge-podge of photos we’ve collected from nearly 40 years of attending the Ventriloquist ConVENTions.




Above: ConVENTion attendees standing in line to get their pictures taken with myself and THE Dale Brown. (That may be an exaggeration. Some of them wanted pictures with Jimmy Nelson.)




Here’s Annie with Bryan Simon during the taping of a “My Favorite Figure” segment for Vent Haven Museum. Bryan is a Vent Haven Advisor and an award-winning film and stage director, including the feature length documentary on ventriloquism, “I’m No Dummy.” He also directed the screen adaptation of Jay Johnson’s, “The Two and Only.”




Here Dale and Jay Johnson are making fun of a puppet that looks suspiciously like Bryan Simon. At least the puppet makers—Mary Ann and Melissa Taylor— got the size right.




Bill Geist from CBS Sunday Morning, interviewing what’s his name … who looks like he’s playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.




Jim Barber, Virginia Menes Petersen, Todd Oliver and Irving, the talking dog.




Two of the nicest people in the world, Betty and Jimmy Nelson.




Here’s Vent Haven Advisor, Kelly Asbury with Dale during a visit to Vent Haven. Kelly is an animated film director, screenwriter, voice actor, author and illustrator. He may be best known for directing Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet. He also authored “Dummy Days … America’s Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and TV.”




Two really happy puppets … undoubtedly waiting to perform for a children’s birthday party.




Another popular figure from the Vent Haven collection; Woodrow. An Alan Semok figure, Woodrow was used by Adrien Brody in the motion picture, Dummy. (Photo used with permission of Vent Haven Museum.)




David Crone and Eugene … I think during an appearance on the Wednesday Night Show.




Surprise … Rumba has the microphone during this panel discussion on how to find your “niche” in the world of ventriloquism.




First time conVENTion attendees, Rick and little Rick?




This photo was taken in the dealer’s room last year. Rain and Darci recently appeared on Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots. Darci continues to tour the country after winning America’s Got Talent.




So much for the myth that all ventriloquist figures look alike.




Probably the greatest thing about ConVENTions is the opportunity to make life-long friends. We’ve been friends with this duck for many, many years.




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