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Vent Haven Museum

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723.jpg (73517 bytes)Gallery Eight: The McElroy's (14 images)

George and Glenn McElroy were never as prolific as Frank Marshall, nor were they as well known in their time as Theo Mack. Figuremaking began for them as a hobby in their teen years, and they made fewer than 50 figures before "retiring" from their vent activities and going into full-time war service. Once they stopped making figures, they never made another, save one figure created for a television show in the 1960's, a show which never made it on the air. No, if sheer numbers of figures alone were a judge of greatness, then the McElroy brothers of Harrison, Ohio would be rather ordinary.

More important in the concept of greatness than sheer numbers, though, is quality. And in quality, most experts would agree that the McElroy brothers knew no equal. Their figures, to quote from the Vent Haven tour tape, "are generally regarded to be the finest ventriloquial figures ever built because of the unique artistic design and the many facial movements which, in the hands of a skilled operator, gave an almost unbelievable range of expression to the puppet." The brothers worked as a team, with Glenn doing the mechanics, while George did the artistic work.

441.jpg (64180 bytes)The image at the top of this page shows the Brothers McElroy (Glenn is to the left, George to the right) in their workshop conferring with vaudeville vent Valentine Vox (seated) and a friend of Vox's in the far left of the picture. The image to the right appears to be from the same day and shows Vox holding a McElroy head. 

Below are photos of several of the McElroy Brothers' works.

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Photo Details

1. Dell O'Dell with figure "Chester the Jester" (Photo credit: Dellyvian--New York)
2. Dr. Carlos H. Schott with "Joe"
3. Unknown McElroy figure
4. McElroy figure "Jerry McGinty," used by Valentine Vox (Also known as Cecil Wigglenose)
5. Ted Lloyd with McElroy figure "Skinny Dugan" and non-McElroy figure "Bronco Bravo"
6. Bob Neller with "Reggie" (Photo credit: Murray Korman)
7. Bob Neller with "Reggie" and Rudy Vallee with "Ezry"
8. Kentucky State Police Lt. Lee Allen Estes and "Willy Talk" (Photo Credit: Battalie Studios)
9. Rudy Vallee and "Ezry"
10. Jeff Dunham and "Ollie" (same figure as "Ezry" above)
11. Cy Leonard and "Happy Hazard"
12. McElroy figure "Oscar" used by Colonel Harry Tunks

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