Past Figures

May: Johnny Jordan
April: Jerry O'Leary
March: Cleo
February: Selberg Boy

January: Billy

December: Kenny Talk
November: Granny
October: Tommy Baloney
September: Coach
August: Lester Boy
July: Woody DeForest
June: Quitz
May: Elmer
April: Jerry J. Jerrie
March: George
February: Rosita

January: Gutters

December: Jane Jones

November: Little Joe
October: Hanley Head
September: Junior
August: Knucklhead Smiff
July: Clyde
June: Joe Flip
May: Shorty Jones
April: Maisie
March: Art Anteak
February: Charlie McCarthy
January: Cecil

December: Reagan
November: George

October: Sammy

September: Farfel
August: Jacko


Vent Haven Museum

Home  William S. Berger   ConVENTion  Multimedia Figure of the Month FAQ

Figure of the Month
June 2006:


Figure Name: Quitz

Date Created: Circa 1930

Created by: Ken Spencer

Used by: L.E. Gerde

1. Quitz is a walking figure used by vent L.E. Gerde (1875-1953).
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 healthy."
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 (sic)--He 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.

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