Marshall / McElroy

 

This is a most special figure because it was made by two of the most famous figure making teams ever. This figure was originally owned by famous ventriloquist Bob Neller who made the whistling effect famous with his figure. Originally this figure was Carved by Frank Marshall for Mr Neller in the 1930's and the lips made a pucker effect to accomplish the effect. Later on Mr Neller took the Marshall head to the McElroy brothers , George & Glen , and had them convert all the mechanics to their style contols. So this is one of only a few McElroy figures that has a carved wooden head. The McElroys also fitted the head to their body and used their hands and feet. Mr Neller used this figure until he purchased his McElroy Reggie figure. Then he retired this guy .

Mr Neller was performing in Wisconsin in 1953 and a young fellow named Bernie Kallman went to see Mr Neller perform accompanied by his mother. After the show Bernie's mother took him and went to meet Mr Neller and after introductions informed Mr Neller that her son Bernie was a budding ventriloquist and she would like to know where to purchase a more professional figure for her son. Mr. Neller said I have your problem solved and they met during the next week and Mr Neller sold her this figure for her son for the princely sum of $125.00. After the sale , at a later date , Mr Neller contacted Bernie and tried to buy back the McElroy body and said he had the original Marshall body to go with the Marshall head but Bernie said no thanks. Smart kid!!

Bernie used this figure all through his teen years even taking him to his prom. He performed but never made it a profession. He went on to do other things and the figure was put away. I was lucky enough to purchase this figure from Bernie and I am the third owner of this great example of vent history.

This figure has slot jaw, whistling lips, raising eyebrows, weighted side to side eye movement, up and down eye movement. A stupendous figure that has been restored by Ray Guyll.
 

As He Looks Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Owner - Bernie Kallman

 

 
Bernard Kallman Bio:

"Born: Chicago, Ill moved to Menasha, WI around 1945 Married/Wife Cheryl /Saw Bob Neller for the first time in Appleton, WI at a Synogog show around 1950. I was so impressed with what I saw that my Aunt got me a Jerry Mahoney dummy with a small instruction booklet.....I put my first performance on for a school show when I was about ll years old. After that I started doing birthday parties. Somehow my family got in touch with Bob Neller who lived in the next town and he agreed to sell me his old Frank Marshall dummy that he no longer was using for $75.00. About a year later he tried to trade the dummies body for another one but I decided that I was happy with the one I already had. When I was about14 years old I appeared twice on a local TV station WTMJ called the Wisconsin House Party and from that was invited to appear in a Parade in the city of Oconomowoc, Wi. When I was 15years old I visited family in Los Angeles and while there I decided to look up the Great Lester who lived in a seedy upper apartment in downtown L.A. . He must have been in his 80's. He was very friendly and spent a couple of hours giving me pointers. I also asked my cousin to drive me to the home of Edger Bergen where his daughter offered to take me in the house to met her famous father......stupidly I begged off mentioning that I would like to come back with my dummy that I had forgotten to bring with me....I left my name and phone number so Mr. Bergen could call me to set up another meeting... sadly I never got that call back.

I moved to Los Angeles around 1960 for 10 years......I did get an offer from a writer to appear in shows that he would set up for me but I sadly turned him down and always wonder how my life would have changed......Currently I am semi-retired where I manage about 12 commercial buildings and collect antiques."    Bernard Kallman

 


First Owner - Bob Neller