|Chubby Cub is a unique Marshall
figure with a great story. Lee Dean contacted Frank Marshall
to make this "bear figure".
Here's the story.....
Lee Dean was born Oct. 30, 1941 in Kentucky.
His interest in ventriloquism started in the third grade because of
a newspaper detective comic strip that had a dummy character named
Poddy Majure and also Trooper Lee A. Estes did a school program on
traffic safety that really influenced him. Lee built his first
figure in 1950 and used it for a few years until he purchased an
Insull figure from W.S. Berger. The Great Lester tore out the
control post spring which really upset Lee and used a Frank Marshall
figure instead to perform at the 1955 Pittsburgh convention. In 1956
Lee won a Kentucky TV talent contest and got to be on a benefit for
children with disabilities telethon.
In 1958 Lee purchased from Frank Marshall two figures one of a boy
and one of a girl both of which cost him $275.00 He used these
figures when he attended the Chicago convention in 1958. Frank had
brought to the convention a small boy figure which Lee bought for
80.00. In 1959 Lee went to Baylor University on a full scholarship.
He had to keep up his GPA to keep that award. While attending Baylor
the first year he had The Ken n' Del Show, TV show on KWTX and KBTX,
Waco and Bryan, TX.. Baylor was big on its live bears mascots, so
Baylor rarely used the Bear figure Lee had commissioned Frank
Marshall to build him, the one you see here, and unfortunately Lee
never did use Chubby Cub like it should have, or much at all for
that matter except on the TV show.
Lee Dean traded this Bear to W.S. Berger for the Clifford Guest
figures, mother Kangaroo with baby in pouch, shown in photo of W.S.
on Vent Haven Museum site, but that trade lasted just one half a
day. Muzz , W.S's. wife , got so upset with W.S. that he made this
trade, that Lee was forced to reverse the trade and took the bear
back. Lee's GPA dropped and before he knew it he lost his free pass
to school. He continued to perform ventriloquism but he told me that
children pulled his figures off the set and dropped them while he
was working on the air on the live kid's show. He sent them off to
Frank Marshall for much needed repairs, both heads being cracked
open, and, at the same time had them overhauled with all the extra
controls. In 1961 Marshall after long delay and upset over Lee's
persistent calls to get them done because Lee about to lose kid's
show told him "You're just another lousy ventriloquist" which upset
Lee terribly. Lee also had to pay Frank $400.00 each for the repairs
and when he got them back from Frank he was not happy with the job
Frank had done.
Lee teamed up with a fellow named Ralph Sparks and the 2 fellows
performed at Six Flags Texas doing a duo ventriloquist act. They
worked in 1962 together and then split up the act and went their
separate ways. Ralph kept the Chubby Cub bear figure and as everyone
knows time passes.
When I started chatting with Lee I asked him about the Bear figure
and his other Marshall figures. He said the other Marshall figures
were all long gone, destroyed but that Ralph still more than likely
had the bear. I did some detective work and located Lee's old
partner and when I told him who I was and what I was looking for he
got very very excited. He said to me " My Old Friend Lee I can't
Believe it". They had not been in contact since 1962 and here it is
2007. They are in contact now and have rekindled their friendship.
Ralph told me he did in fact still have Chubby Cub and that he was
just holding it for Lee who says no, gave it to him. I worked out a
deal and so now Chubby Cub is part of the Dan Willinger collection.
To see a picture of the mascot that Chubby Cub
was made to look like, click here: