Used by: L.E. Gerde
1. Quitz is a walking figure used by vent L.E. Gerde
2. Gerde was inspired to become a ventriloquist after seeing a vent
perform when he was nine years old. The vent imitated a human voice,
a bumble bee, and a cat. According to Gerde, "Then and there I said
to myself I would try to learn the art, so whenever I was alone,
would try to make the sounds as he had given."
3. In a 1945 autobiographical essay, Gerde wrote, "Am now using a
walking figure which I shall give Ken Spencer credit for making;
have been using it for many years, and it is still strong and
4. Berger acquired the figure from Gerde's widow in 1953.
5. Nine years later, Berger began to wonder whether Ken Spencer was
actually the figuremaker for Quitz. He wrote a letter to Spencer, to
which Spencer replied: "Yes, I made the figure used by L.E. Gerdes
saw me using it in 1935 or so and he wanted it--Gave me $75 for
it--It was the first walking figure I ever made, straight legs, I
believe, no bend in the knees--made the legs up in a motorcycle shop
in Sioux City Iowa in 1930 or so."
6. Quitz can be seen in
Quicktime Virtual Pan Number One.
After the page loads, turn slightly to the right. Quitz can be seen
standing just to the left of the decorative plant.
7. Since this Quicktime Pan was made in 2005, Quitz has been moved
to the left side of Building Two.
Do you have additional information about this
figure? Do you have a suggestion for a future Figure of the Month? Is there a figure
maker whose work you would like to see featured? Let us know by emailing
the Vent Haven staff.