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Topic: Vent mask ripped off ?
Message: Posted by: AndyComic (Jul 18, 2011 12:53PM)
I read that the vent mask idea was ripped off Ron Lucas much to his disgust? It this true of it is just sour grapes on his part.

Andy
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Jul 18, 2011 02:14PM)
This has been the subject of much debate. I don't know the details, but I know that Lucas did trademark a version, but there's a lot of question about whether or not he developed the concept. There are those that claim versions much earlier than Lucas' mask.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 18, 2011 03:45PM)
Andy - there are plenty of threads in this forum that discuss that story.

If you are looking to add a mask to your act and are worried, I'd suggest Axtell's new product - Mic Mouth. It is a microphone that has lips attached. Creates the same illusion without the need to strap a mask on a volunteer. Plus - no concerns about Lucas.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 04:03PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-18 15:14, Mr. Pitts wrote:
This has been the subject of much debate. I don't know the details, but I know that Lucas did trademark a version, but there's a lot of question about whether or not he developed the concept. There are those that claim versions much earlier than Lucas' mask.
[/quote]

An interesting question, Donald Trump has trade marked “ Your Fired’ it has been used for a very long time, now he has the legal rights to use it and the funds to seek litigation if it is used by anyone that he deems to be interfering with his copyright.

I do know that in the past Lucas has sent cease and desist letter to some others that have produced the mask.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Jul 18, 2011 06:08PM)
Talk about these matter to Joe Boley at the ConVENTion, Joe said that gave hard time to Bill, but Joe no worry to sell the mask until now.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 07:56PM)
Budihaha;

Who is Bill?
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 18, 2011 08:21PM)
That was Bill Boley. He used to make and sell a vent mask, in fact, for a long time, he was the only one doing it. But he stopped because of threats of litigation.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Solar (Jul 18, 2011 08:29PM)
That would be his father, Col. Bill Boley. Way back in around '97 Ron sued Bill for making masks. Bill did not have deep pockets so was unable to take on the litigation thus setting presidency in favor of Ron. Ron knew Bill was suffering medical issues and could not respond legally to Ron's suit. The mask idea had been used before Ron but nobody ever made legal issue about it. My understanding, having talked with Bill much back in '97-98. I do own one of Bills.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 18, 2011 08:42PM)
I forgot about that all coming down when Bill was having medical problems.
I had a mask from Bill once upon a time, wish I kept it just to still have something of his making.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2011 09:33PM)
I read a document from Ron stating that the letter was sent before he knew that Bill was having health problems; the document said that Ron felt badly about the letter and never followed up with further letters
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 19, 2011 12:17AM)
Here is the link to the information I was speaking of;



http://www.ventriloquist.org/interest/themask1.html
Message: Posted by: AndyComic (Jul 19, 2011 01:37AM)
Well that letter was an interesting read. Whats the view on the makers that sell stuff here on this matter?

Andy
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 19, 2011 03:30AM)
I've seen that letter before, I read it in it's entirety at the time, but now......
This whole topic has gotten so old, and really, the horses are all out of the barn, and have been for a long time now. There's so many people making masks, so many of them sold over the years, heck, I even bought a halloween costume and a part of the costume is a pretty decent vent mask. For Lucas (or anyone else) to pursue the matter, would at the very least be a logistical nightmare.

The part of this I get a kick out of, is the people who have since claimed they came up with the mask idea long before Lucas. Okay.....well, guess they didn't do anything with it, or much of anything, or anything impressive because no one was copying it and doing anything with masks before.
Message: Posted by: AndyComic (Jul 19, 2011 06:43AM)
I do see your point. I feel its like Micheal Davis and the juggling eating the apple routine. Well for a time they had a unique act. Such is life. There is whole angle of that it seems obvious but then again Amazon did win with their 1-Click patent.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Jul 20, 2011 07:58AM)
I just see Terry Fator's DVD, he said that he rent Ronn's mask routine, paid a big bucks for 99 years. Terry use full face mask, not half face mask.

So the issue is the routine, not the mask any more, I think.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 08:19AM)
I just recently saw some video of him using a mask routine and was wondering about that. Before, you never saw any nationally knowns like Dunham and Johmson use a mask, but now here is Fator doing one, and right in Lucas' stomping ground, so I was wondering and figuring he must have had to come to some agreement with Lucas.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 20, 2011 08:41AM)
Terry made mention of his license with Ronn at the 2008 convention.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 10:14AM)
See what you miss when you don't attend? I haven't been to a convention since 2003, Fator wasn't a star yet then.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 20, 2011 10:20AM)
I would think it lends credibility to Ronn’s claim of owning the rights to the entire mask routine
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 20, 2011 10:32AM)
I'm not so sure Buzz. Years ago, when Kevin James released the Snow Animator, he offered snow machines with it. I purchased them for a Santa arrival magic show. The next month, Copperfield ran a full page ad that threatened a trademark (or copyright - I can't remember) violation if anyone used the animator and snow machines together. I had just spent a ton of money (for me) and went to my attorney to see if this was possible. The response was one I've never forgotten...

My attorney said it may or may not stand up in court - but he asked who had the deeper pockets - me or Copperfield. From a legal point of view, the side with the largest bankroll can tie you up in litigation and appeals until they bankrupt you.

Terry thought it would be easier to pay Ronn, than risk being tied up in potential litigation. It would have been worth it to Ronn because Terry had just signed some huge contracts and if he did win, the payoff would have been substantial. Terry may have won, but it would cost a lot more than buying the license outright. (And I understand that wasn't cheap.)

So does Ronn have a claim? My guess is with so many people using the prop and so many selling masks openly - that he would eventually lose for not "protecting" his claim all these years. Still, if he wanted to, he could afford to put a lot of people out of business.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 20, 2011 10:55AM)
You CAN'T copyright an idea--the mask.
You CAN copyright a script.
You CAN PATENT a mechanical process.
You CAN TRADEMARK a NAME.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Jul 20, 2011 11:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 11:55, Servante wrote:
You CAN'T copyright an idea--the mask.
You CAN copyright a script.
You CAN PATENT a mechanical process.
You CAN TRADEMARK a NAME.

-Philip
[/quote]
You are right, and my next question is... Is it covered internationally or just in USA?

If a guy, say, in China starts selling vent masks in huge quantity, the laws can't reach him right? It sucks...
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 20, 2011 11:40AM)
Well, again, with vent masks, you really can't copyright the IDEA of one, but Tom's absolutely right: if the guy who sues you has more money than you have, he may not win, but he'll break you before YOU do.

However, let's assume for a moment that you COULD copyright the IDEA of a vent mask: Copyright is, as a general thing, an international agreement...with most countries signing on. BUT...China doesn't really give a *** and Russia's always been a little iffy. They translated two of my plays in Moscow and didn't offer any royalties. I knew better than to fight it, but I did ask them for a ruble note, just so I had something to put in my scrapbook. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 01:24PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 12:40, Servante wrote:
but I did ask them for a ruble note, just so I had something to put in my scrapbook. :)
[/quote]
Did you get it?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 20, 2011 01:29PM)
I did. But I was never sure if it was one they sent me or one the agent just had around his office on THIS side of the Great Pond.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 20, 2011 04:06PM)
OK here it goes WHEW...

Everyone is correct about the law and the copyright issues.

I am not attempting to shape the law here; I am comparing this to the Tape Over The Mouth issue

In a recent thread everyone posted that Bill’s routine (idea) being copied without paying the fees is a violation of the creative development of his idea; it was also mentioned that that TOM has been used by other Vent’s before he perfected it.

Everyone in the thread agreed that the routine and the method of applying tape over a Ventriloquist mouth belonged to Bill and should be respected.

I am very new and have not been involved with many past issues I have learned many things in the “It’s a Boy Forum”, like Tom’s issue with the snow machine, and the past issues with Walter, Jeff's figure; so this is a learning experience for me.

Can anyone tell me the difference between the Ronn Lucas developing a mask that looks like every other mask I see being used now with very minute changes and Bill Demar having an assistant apply tape over his mouth.

why is Bill’s developed idea supported and payment required so as not to be ridiculed, and Ronn’s idea of a manufactured and highly publicized mask rejected as an original routine to be performed without payment to the creator of the routine?

I am not accusing anyone here of any wrong doings, the issue has been brought up in this thread and I am only asking for clarification
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 05:15PM)
Well Buzz, I gotta tell you, I'm not so new, and I'm not clear about the difference either.
Message: Posted by: Steve at The Dummy Shoppe (Jul 20, 2011 06:23PM)
I will attempt to explain it the best way I know how.

Uncle Bill's "Tape Mouth" was his creation. The fact was nobody could figure it out. So he had a legal beagle draw up licensing papers and he basically sold 150 copies of his secret. I was in the booth next to Lee Cornell last week (a real nice guy) and I saw somewhat at a distance the licensing paperwork that you must sign with Uncle Bill. Big bunch of little tiny print. Somebody had done their homework and Uncle Bill is quite well covered in the sale of his intellectual property.

As I understand it, Ronn Lucas (although he may not have been the first) started using the mask. He felt that he had an ethical ownership of it. From a conversation I had with Paige Parnell Phillips back in 06, he may have had a form of ownership on a product. However, he failed to file the appropriate paperwork with the FTO to get the (circle R) registration on it as a product name. Therefore, it was still legally open season in that unlike Uncle Bill (who did not move his lips OR talk) Ronn did not have the legal ownership of the product. If I am a little off on the details, I appologize but I have slept in the last 6 years.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
Message: Posted by: Vegasvent (Jul 20, 2011 06:29PM)
About 9 years ago at the Las Vegas International Festival. I was in the back of the room with Valentine Vox and Ronn. Ronn's back was to the stage and he was not paying attention to the open-mike show. One of our attendees got up and did a rendition of Ronn's actual material using a mask, not knowing that Ronn was in the room. Val and I were looking at each other, anticipating what would happen once Ronn glanced toward the stage. Ronn usually ends his bit with "When your Smiling". This vent changed the song, but his bit, obviously stolen from Ronn's show, was so lousy that Ronn let the guy go, of course knowing that the Vent was no threat to his career. At Ronn's request, I did have a talk with him later, and apologetically, he promised never to do the bit again. He has since actually given up Ventriloquism altogether.
Message: Posted by: creativemac (Jul 20, 2011 07:08PM)
WOW!!!!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 20, 2011 07:51PM)
Steve and Duane,

Thanks for the updated information; it seems Steve’s narrative is that Bill has spent money for an attorney to licenses the routine. What I am understanding from Duane’s description of the event is that Ronn has claimed ownership of the mask routine, but has not spent the time and funds to legally register the mask as a trademarked product.

I am not talking little R’s or bunches of papers for licensing, I am asking about the gentlemen’s agreement, that an entertainer does not steal a routine from another entertainer unless an agreement is completed, then it is not stealing.

Again when Jeff started with Walter by making a figure like one that was at the convention I understand it was a discussion as well

My question is not who is right, or who is wrong; I’m asking what the guidelines are?
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 20, 2011 08:40PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 20:51, Howie Diddot wrote:
My question is not who is right, or who is wrong; I’m asking what the guidelines are?
[/quote]

My guidelines:
1) Golden rule ("Do unto others.....")
2) If you have to wonder if what you're doing is right, don't do it.
3) Always ask permission of another performer to use his/her material.

Performers always really appreciate the last one. Three examples from my career:
I was the first person to persuade Bill DeMar to teach me the TOM routine. I paid him $500 to teach me and give me the rights to do it. That was the same amount he later charged everyone else. Another member from the other side of the world figured out how to do the routine and still paid Bill to license it's use.

I asked Jay Johnson for permission to use the term "wooden American." Jay requested that I not do so since it was integral to "Two and Only." However, Jay also kindly suggested an alternative which I have used effectively. I have seen one very famous vent use the term "wooded American" on TV, I'm sure without Jay's permission.

At the ConVENTion Don Bryan used a great line that I requested his permission to use. He informed me that it was another performer's line which accidentally slipped out during Don's performance. As good as the line is, I won't use it.

B
Message: Posted by: Steve at The Dummy Shoppe (Jul 20, 2011 08:44PM)
To some extent, one must rely on an old fashioned sense of right and wrong. The golden rule so to speak. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I know that is not PC but when it keeps folks from being mad at each other, it is a great place to start.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 20, 2011 09:16PM)
OK Bob;

I understand this guidelines, I agree with your guidelines and do this myself, as hard as it is for me, I'm developing my own scripts and relying on the aids such as the book Philip made me buy to expand my routine; it’s hard, it’s fun and I am not asking, taking or stealing any routine from any other person, living, or dead.

Now Bob, my question is, is it right to use the mask that Ronn has claimed as his, or in your opinion, is Ronn not the rightful owner of the routine and anyone can use the mask without any repercussions?
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 09:41PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 20:08, creativemac wrote:
WOW!!!!
[/quote]
In reference to Duane's story - Double Wow!
How could that guy even consider doing.....it's just as well he gave up vent.

Steve- great answer to the question, it explains a lot, as usual, it all comes down to legal-beagle stuff.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 20, 2011 09:52PM)
Here's my take on this - everyone else can decide right or wrong.

The TOM is a routine. The mask is a prop. The TOM has a beginning, middle and ending. The mask is a piece of costuming.

How many magicians have ever dressed up a volunteer or had them wave a wand at a prop? Have they asked permission or paid someone for that right? No. Because the outfit is a costume, the wand is a prop and the routine is (hopefully) their own.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 10:25PM)
Steve's answer covered the legalities, and Tom's answer covered why one person's claim was considered and another's wasn't.

Now the really BIG question: does anyone think this topic will ever be laid to rest once and for all, or will we forever see someone periodically bringing up the whole Ronn Lucas/mask issue.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 20, 2011 10:49PM)
Give it another twenty years. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dr. Solar (Jul 20, 2011 11:07PM)
Back in '97 or '98 at the Vegas International Ventriloquist Convention Ron Lucas supplied enough video tapes to pass out as a "gift" to all attendees. Right then I sensed there was an attempt to lay claim to the vent mask bit he had recently performed at a Presidential event. I told my ex that I was sure that this was his way of staking claim to the usage by establishing notice to all vents, at least those who attended, that it was his idea as well as routine. Bill Boley had already been making them due to an "accident" with one of his dummy heads her was making did not turn out right leaving him with a perfect lower face form and the rest of the head way too thin. He then got the idea to carve it up and save the mouth portion. People in the past used such things as paper plates fashioned in a way with clasps holding the "jaw" to the face portion. I have not viewed the Lucas tape to this day.

Buzz, please email me about the Jeff/ Walter issue.

It is all silly, as was said, are magicians to refrain from the use of a magic wand? This could be settled in small claims court easily without great cost. Neither party would be allowed lawyers so both sides would be able to present both sides. Pictures from children's craft books on the subject of puppetry that most likely predate Ron's birth, would be enough to dismiss any claims.

Steal his routine? Of course not. Sing his song, that would be a no-no.

Doc
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 20, 2011 11:45PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 23:49, Servante wrote:
Give it another twenty years. :)

-Philip
[/quote]
Really? That soon?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 20, 2011 11:52PM)
I'll meet you back here in twenty years. Just see if I wasn't right.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 20, 2011 11:57PM)
Tom;

What you say sounds logical, and in any other field you would have a majority of your peers agree with your reasoning.

In my short experience I have observed that Ventriloquist’s believe differently.

I remember a post in this forum that discussed Jeff Dunham picking up a figure at a convention and performing his original routine using the figure in front of other Ventriloquist’s; for some reason Jeff did not purchase the figure at that time, but eventually crafted a similar figure that he named Walter.

Walter was a prop, Jeff had scripted an original routine using Walter and I read in various posts and blogs that for years and even now many Ventriloquist’s are very upset that Jeff “stole” and copied the figure.

Why did Jeff suffer the indignation of people stating he copied a figure (prop) for his original routine while Ron’s creation of a mask goes into the utility prop category after he claimed ownership and at one time went so far as to successfully threaten litigation to others manufacturing the mask.

The figure was a prop; no one had an exclusive on that figure.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 21, 2011 05:48AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 00:07, Dr. Solar wrote:
Sing his song, that would be a no-no.
[/quote]

Not so sure I agree with that - Ronn didn't write the song. At worst it shows a lack of any creativity. And since we are discussing rights - songs are copyrighted. Is the venue ascap licensed to pay royalties? At some point this stuff becomes ridiculous.

Buzz - the Walter issue is over. Jeff discussed it in his book, Bill put it to rest. That was more gossip than issue looking back at it. Success often breeds jealousy.

As for successfully threatening litigation - huh? Anyone can threaten litigation, it doesn't mean they have a case. Threat of litigation is often enough to scare people into succumbing to your wishes. In Bill Boley's case, he was having medical problems, he wasn't a rich man and it was easier for him to stop making the mask.

Let me ask everyone a simple question: If Ronn had the rights to the face mask, why would he allow Paige Parnell to sell the Ventrilo-Mask? She is in the U.S., so borders aren't an issue. She has used them on TV. She sells them for other vents to use. It is a mask that is placed on a volunteer. So why? No case.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 09:45AM)
Tom's right.
But it's been an interesting discussion, eh? :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 10:02AM)
And, I guess, it could continue to be if folks want to talk about it. I think Dr. Solar's contribution up at 12:07 am is particularly interesting.
What I like about this bunch here is that we all discuss these things like ladies and gentlemen. In some other locations people get a bit nasty. What I like about this bunch is that everyone's supportive of everyone else. Even in heated discussions, we are civilized.
The Mr. Horowitz idea is a fun one. It's also an old one. I could probably dig up any number of similar vent figure and puppet characters that predated it. The Major Domo puppet in the old Johnny Jupiter TV series comes to mind immediately. Of course, a good many folks here have brought up the Charlie McCarthy that Bergen had carved with a deep scowl. Jeff Dunham liked the idea. Something sparked for him when he picked up the figure at the convention. He built one. He didn't steal anyone's material. It was the grumpy character he liked. An idea.
You can't copyright an idea.
And Ronn Lucas can't copyright the IDEA of a vent mask. I don't know Mr. Lucas. I have long admired his work. I can see what probably motivated him in the incident Dr. Solar mentions. He wanted to stake SOME sort of claim on something that was working for him...something he was known for. But Frank Sinatra only SANG "New York, New York." He didn't write it. Others can sing it, too.
Provided, of course, the proper ASCAP or BMI contracts have been signed...the proper music has been purchased and so forth.
Again, like many of you, I own copyrights on things that are published. You can't present my plays without paying a royalty. If you do, you get sued...and you lose.
But you can't copyright an idea.
A vent mask is an idea.
A scowling vent figure is an idea.
And Tom's point here is a good one, too: "Ronn didn't write the song. At worst [using it in your act]...shows a lack of any creativity."
SOME things may be unethical, but scowling vent figures and vent masks aren't. Stealing a line without permission or stealing a routine? These are both unethical.
And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I've got a scowling figure with crossed arms. His name is Cooter. He was built in Buenos Aires. I'm not sure the builder had actually ever heard of Walter or Mr. Horowitz at the time. Maybe so. Maybe not.
I love these conversations.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 21, 2011 10:14AM)
Steve Martin did not invent the arrow through the head gimmick, since he performed the joke on TV I have not seen any other comedian duplicate this.

It was branded as Steve Martin’s signature routine.

The TOM has been branded as the signature routine of Bill DeMar, he did it for many years without anyone duplicating it, when others did insert it their routine, it was called stealing; Bill used a prop, a roll of tape; anyone using a roll of tape to cover a mouth was called a copy of Bill’s routine, I read that here on the Café and no one disputed it; and one post stated that one person sent Bill $500.00 just to use a roll of tape in his routine even though he was not using the same routine.

When I first came on the Café and landed here last year, everyone knows I was buying stuff left and right. I saw the mask and sent an email to inquire about the price; while searching on the internet about the mask, I came across the document I linked here; after reading about its history and thinking about other threads here concerning the copying of routines I decided not to purchase a mask.

I think it’s a wonderful prop to use and I can think of many uses for it in my show, I just don’t feel right buying it

Tom, I only brought up the litigation to point out at one time Ronn was very serious about protecting his mask as his creation.


Please allow me to repeat myself. “I am not talking little R’s or bunches of papers for licensing, I am asking about the gentlemen’s agreement, that an entertainer does not copy a routine from another entertainer”
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 21, 2011 10:30AM)
I just looked at the ventrilomask on youtube; Paige claims to own the copyrights and trademarks to the “Ventrilomask”; it is constructed differently than the Ronn Lucas mask, so it is impossible to contest the copyright; it is not the same mask and legal to produce and sell.

If I were to construct a vent mask that worked by remote control and had a different face on it, I would have not trouble having a trademark issued since it would be much different than the Ventrilomask

I would like to know who performed the “we’ve been everywhere” routine first, Paige Phillips or Ventriqulistpatty?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 10:45AM)
You don't copyright a mask. And perhaps the term "Ventrilomask" is trademarked. Now, if Paige claims to own the PATENT, that'd be another thing. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 21, 2011 10:54AM)
This is a copy of a post on a website on the internet, I cut and pasted exactly as I read it

Alice:

Yes, I own the copyrights and trademarks to the Ventrilomask. I am getting ready to put them on the market, so check back with me in 2-3 weeks. I will be selling a male and female mask.

Thanks for your interest!

Warmest Regards,
Paige
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 10:57AM)
As for Bill DeMar's tape over mouth...heck, I don't know WHAT you do about protecting a method...except keep it a secret. You couldn't copyright it, although you could write it down and copyright what you've written down, but that would protect only the writing. I don't think you could patent it, as it's not a THING, it's a method. You couldn't trademark it, though you could trademark whatever you named it. Bill DeMar first started doing it in 1959...but I vaguely remember seeing other vents doing similar acts in my childhood (and I'm, like, old). Jay Johnson did it not so many years later on the Mike Douglas show. Did Bill DeMar teach it to him? I dunno.
We walk a thin line here, don't we?

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 10:59AM)
Buzz...again, she doesn't own a "copyright" on a thing. That's okay. She's doing what she can to protect a revenue stream. Can't blame her.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 21, 2011 11:19AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 11:30, Howie Diddot wrote:
I just looked at the ventrilomask on youtube; Paige claims to own the copyrights and trademarks to the “Ventrilomask”; it is constructed differently than the Ronn Lucas mask, so it is impossible to contest the copyright; it is not the same mask and legal to produce and sell.

If I were to construct a vent mask that worked by remote control and had a different face on it, I would have not trouble having a trademark issued since it would be much different than the Ventrilomask

I would like to know who performed the “we’ve been everywhere” routine first, Paige Phillips or Ventriqulistpatty?
[/quote]
I know with copyrights on songs, that can be tricky because all someone has to do is change a few lyrics, a few notes and it's considered a different song, so probably it's the same way with an item, a few subtle changes and you're home free.

The “we’ve been everywhere” routine - are you talking about the song? In that Dumbstruck video, they showed Kim (Yeager?) performing that in a beauty pageant, and isn't that the song the recent beauty pageant one, Alyse Eady, did.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 11:24AM)
Changing a few things wouldn't be enough. Consider "He's So Vain" and "My Sweet Lord." As for the song "We've Been Everywhere," It's been around about fifty years.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 11:33AM)
And...um...it's been everywhere. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 21, 2011 11:36AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 12:19, blueshawk1 wrote:
[quote]

The “we’ve been everywhere” routine - are you talking about the song? In that Dumbstruck video, they showed Kim (Yeager?) performing that in a beauty pageant, and isn't that the song the recent beauty pageant one, Alyse Eady, did.
[/quote]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1n30NKvITo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUunRWoxYIA

In my opinion Patty beats Paige in this routine
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 11:37AM)
Don't quote me...but I have this eerie feeling I've seen Jimmy Nelson and Danny O'Day sing that song, too. I could be wrong...but there's something just on the edge of my memory that I can't quite bring forward.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 11:40AM)
It's way back in my memory. I know it wasn't Winchell...and it SEEMS more like the kind of rapid voice change stuff Jimmy used to do. Anybody have any similar memories, or am I just imagining this in my dotage?

-Philip
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Jul 21, 2011 12:22PM)
Some song just seam to work for ventriloquists. There are at least 3 of us in the uk using the same song for our veny mask routines! I'm looking for a new way to finish my show, infact I'm looking at a whole new way of presenting the vent mask. One of the problems with ventriloquism is there are way too many people using the same ideas, it's hard to break away from them but I think we should try.

I liked Paige's routine but I think the string on her masks is way too short, I have what I think is a Bolley mask and the string is much longer so your hand is not in frame with the volunteers face!
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 21, 2011 01:28PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 11:57, Servante wrote:
Bill DeMar first started doing it in 1959...but I vaguely remember seeing other vents doing similar acts in my childhood (and I'm, like, old). Jay Johnson did it not so many years later on the Mike Douglas show. Did Bill DeMar teach it to him? I dunno.

-Philip
[/quote]

I do. Jay's routine uses one small strip of vertical tape over his mouth, but his mouth is still open. Bob's mouth is taped in a similar fashion. Bill's routine involves completely taping over the mouth with 4 pieces of tape. It looks very different from Jay's taping and indeed is used in a different sort of routine. I happened to discuss the two routines with Bill at the recent ConVENTion, and he considers his own routine to be very different from Jay's.

Regarding Howie's statement that someone paid Bill $500 to use a roll of tape, that is not what happened. The other performer saw a video of Bill's routine and figured out how to do it. When Bill started licensing the routine to other vents, the performer who had been using it bought a license. He performs on the other side of the world but still did what I consider to be the right thing.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 01:34PM)
Thanks for clearing that up, Bob.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 21, 2011 04:09PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-20 23:49, Servante wrote:
Give it another twenty years. :)

-Philip
[/quote]
Heck, we may not finish this thead in twenty years........ :lol:
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 21, 2011 04:13PM)
I knoooow. :-D
Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Jul 21, 2011 09:54PM)
I agree with what's been said about not using another vent's jokes. However, if I find that the joke was used by an earlier, deceased vent, before the current "owner" started performing, then I consider the material to be public domain. If it works in my act I will use it in some modified form and I don't feel guilty about it.

I also agree that the mask is a prop, like a figure. If someone claimed the exclusive right to using a figure in a vent act it would be absurd. But a performer's act belongs to him or her and should not be copied (although I see prominent vents do it all the time).

Now if I made a grumpy mouth attached to a microphone...
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 21, 2011 10:31PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 22:54, olivertwist wrote:

If someone claimed the exclusive right to using a figure in a vent act it would be absurd. But a performer's act belongs to him or her and should not be copied (although I see prominent vents do it all the time).

[/quote]

olivertwist;

So is another Vent started using an exact copy of Jeff’s Dunham’s Walter, but did an entirely different routine, you don’t see any confusion with this?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Jul 21, 2011 11:49PM)
Walter can't really be seen as separable from the act. Walter, Peanut, Jose and Achmed ARE the act. They are very specific characters. The vent mask is different, in my opinion. It's a logical extension of the idea of using an audience volunteer as a puppet. Like the knee figure generally, it has become more ubiquitous and non-specific. So, knee figure; not stealing. Knee figure that happens to look exactly like Walter; stealing. Knee figure that is used with the original material of another contemporary vent, regardless of the character; stealing. I don't see most of this being that gray an area. To me it's simple. I know if I paid for it, I know if it's adapted from classic material made famous by someone who has already died, and I know if I wrote it, and I know if I'm stealing. If I steal, I may or may not get called on it, possibly nobody will ever know. But I would know. My take on the mask... I would use it without guilt. I think the prop is, for all intents and purposes, public domain.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 12:20AM)
David I agree with you 100% I think the very same way you think about the info you posted

We are getting away from my original question posted at the beginning of the thread, let me paste it here for comments on why it is that the mask that Ronn made famous is conceded public domain and TOM that Bill made famous is a gimmick that everyone has agrees should be paid to Bill even if you don’t follow the routine Bill originated, but still apply the tape over your mouth.


“Everyone is correct about the law and the copyright issues.

I am not attempting to shape the law here; I am comparing this to the Tape Over The Mouth issue

In a recent thread everyone posted that Bill’s routine (idea) being copied without paying the fees is a violation of the creative development of his idea; it was also mentioned that that TOM has been used by other Vent’s before he perfected it.

Everyone in the thread agreed that the routine and the method of applying tape over a Ventriloquist mouth belonged to Bill and should be respected.

I am very new and have not been involved with many past issues I have learned many things in the “It’s a Boy Forum”, like Tom’s issue with the snow machine, and the past issues with Walter, Jeff's figure; so this is a learning experience for me.

Can anyone tell me the difference between the Ronn Lucas developing a mask that looks like every other mask I see being used now with very minute changes and Bill Demar having an assistant apply tape over his mouth.

why is Bill’s developed idea supported and payment required so as not to be ridiculed, and Ronn’s idea of a manufactured and highly publicized mask rejected as an original routine to be performed without payment to the creator of the routine?

I am not accusing anyone here of any wrong doings, the issue has been brought up in this thread and I am only asking for clarification."
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 06:35AM)
Okay, here's some stuff that enters into these topics that no one is going to say, but I personally believe are valid factors, a lot of it having to do with personalities, perception, and practices as much, if not more than, legalities and ethics. Some may disagree, that's fine, it's just my opinion.

First the Jeff Dunham/Bill Nelson/Walter issue;
Now the first thing that many have alluded to is the fact that it's a old man character - which has probably been or become as standard as a slow/goof character. So as some have said, how can anyone say Walter is a ripoff of someone else's figure. (And really, what about all the Walter look-a-likes since Jeff's popularity with Walter - I know I've seen a LOT of figures that look very similar to Walter since - seems Jeff has more to complain about now than Nelson did before).

But here is the more important factors;
Jeff became the vent community's 'golden child'.
A minor aspect was Jeff starting at a young age, attending Vent Haven every year, going on to fame and fortune, and he still attends the convention every year, still hob-nobbing and friendly with the rest of the vent community, the struggling, the newbies, etc. While no one may consciously think about it, that definitely puts someone in his position in a good place in the hearts and minds of everyone else in the community.

But more importantly than that is the fame he's attained as a vent. He was the first vent in a long time, and for a long time, that people saw on TV fairly regularly. The last was Jay Johnson on "Soap" - and really, that wasn't a good portrayal of a ventriloquist, it really bowed to the old stereotype of a vent being 'not quite right'. And Terry Fator is a relatively recent addition, but there was a long period there where Jeff was THE one really out there, nationally known.
Yes there are many others out there making a decent living with vent, there are those like Jay Johnson and Ronn Lucas making a VERY good living with it - but how many non-vent people know the names of their characters?
But everyone knows Walter, and Peanut, etc. Many non-vent people I talk to don't even remember Jeff's name, but they know his characters. Jeff, for a long period, was the one out there in the national public eye, keeping vent out there, and positively too, with great technique and material, and consequently popularity, which of course was great for the rest of vent community.
I've never seen the figure that Jeff was supposed to have "copied", but I'll bet now, someone could post a picture of that figure and Walter side-by-side, and even if they looked exactly alike, no one would condemn Jeff at all.
And on the other side of the issue, no one thinks badly of Bill Nelson for having made his claim partly because no one has any issues with him otherwise, he's well known in the community, and he didn't pursue it and dog the issue. It's barely been the 'issue' the mask has been which I believe is due to all those factors in regards to Jeff and Bill.

Now the TOM/Mask thing, which Buzz basically wants to know why one's 'rights' are respected (DeMar's TOM) and the other's isn't (Lucas' mask).
Personally, I see a big factor in this has to do with personalities.
Bill DeMar has been (and is) a long respected member of the community. Not only has he protected the TOM routine legally, but the routine is considered his, and no one would dare do it, especially around other vents without having clear license, any more than they would consider getting a frog puppet and doing the same wordless act Bill does with his. I've no doubt there are some who have seen the TOM routine, figured out and copied it, without license, but you won't hear from them here, especially with what's been posted about it.

Then there is the mask thing.
Many have defended everyone's right to use it because it is a prop, not a routine, even comparing it to a vent figure.
Okay, let's go with that. So if someone starts producing and selling, and everyone's using a non Axtell Magic Drawing Board - will they be wrong? Never mind the legalities, I'm sure Steve has that well protected, but forget that for now - it's a prop. Using that "it's a prop" argument, there should be no problem with everyone making them and selling them, and vents using them, like they do masks.
(And I give very little validity to claims made by others that they developed the mask prop before Lucas as most of the 'claims' came about long after.)
And I'm sure we could come up with many other "prop" examples. No - IMHO, I think the mask 'issue' hinges on two other factors;

1). Personalities.
Col. Bill Boley was the first and most known for making and selling vent masks.
Bill was probably one of, if not, THE most loved and respected people that ever graced the vent community, and those who knew him can easily say, rightfully so.
Now enter this big, wealthy, Vegas entertainer swooping in and picking on Bill, threatening him with litigation over producing the mask, and that happening while this so loved person was facing personal health issues.
Who is bound to be considered the "bad guy"?
Who are people going to naturally, instinctively, feel compassion and sympathy for and side with? Is it going to be the big, wealthy entertainer, or that well loved by everybody guy?
The answer is obvious.

The other factor is;
2). the popularity of the mask.
Everybody is using the mask - okay, I know that's an exaggeration, not 'everybody', just seems like it sometimes - but it is almost like everyone has to have and do a mask routine. It became popular from the start, and now here was this guy threatening to take it away, saying no one else can use it.
But everyone wants to use it, everyone thinks it is just the greatest addition to their act, they don't want it taken away. They aren't going to let it be taken away. They will defend their right to use it, coming up with justifiable reasons why it is totally okay for them to use it.
Some can claim it isn't so, but anyone being honest about it knows it is.

There's my take on it. It may sound like I'm defending Ronn Lucas' position - and I'm not. I just have always perceived that Lucas was generally considered the "bad guy", apparently that's his own perception as well, hence the letter that Buzz linked to.
Personally, I don't really have a side, I don't use a mask, but that's not due to an ethical belief, or legality concern, I had a Boley mask and sold it along with my MDB simply because everyone was using them, they weren't 'fresh' any more.
No, I'm just saying what I personally believe (notice I said "personally believe") what I think the real issues are.

Or as some say...."I'm just saying......"
Message: Posted by: Steve at The Dummy Shoppe (Jul 22, 2011 08:45AM)
Thanks Blueshawk,

Understanding the law is fundamental, but I totally agree with your take. Anyone watching last week can see the difference in the human factors that you alude to so elequently.

Yes, Jay was there. No one disrespected him because he has notoriety in the community. Everyone was friendly to him, but. . .

Bill DeMar was also there. Watch the difference in people interaction. Bill is everyones "Uncle". Ten to One more people walked up to Bill and hugged him with genuine affection. Bill financially does not have much at this stage of his life. He gave his life for the cause of vent. To "steal" from him, by not paying his small tribute at this phase of his life would be like taking the food tray away from your own mother in a nursing home.

It just goes beyond the law. It is from the heart.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 09:33AM)
Fred Russell just called. He's suing all of you for using a single figure...especially those of you who perch yours on your knee. You're in trouble now.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 09:48AM)
I stand and hold mine, so who's going to sue me?
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 09:58AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 01:20, Howie Diddot wrote:
Can anyone tell me the difference between the Ronn Lucas developing a mask that looks like every other mask I see being used now with very minute changes and Bill Demar having an assistant apply tape over his mouth.

why is Bill’s developed idea supported and payment required so as not to be ridiculed, and Ronn’s idea of a manufactured and highly publicized mask rejected as an original routine to be performed without payment to the creator of the routine?

I am only asking for clarification."
[/quote]

Buzz - It isn't rocket science and while the personality theory may have some merit, as I see it, it comes down to this...

First, Ronn didn't invent OR develop the mask. He made it popular. Its no different than Paul Zerdin's mask routine getting millions of hits on Youtube and people thinking he's the guy everyone is copying. Ronn's mask is NOT like Wanlu's, or Lou's or Paige's or Boley's. They use different mechnaics and look different - the only thing in common is they are a jaw mask.

Bill Boley's mask, like Paige Parnell's mask, used a pull string. Ronn threatened Bill - but not Paige. Why? She can handle her own legal defense, so he can't scare her. Ronn has no legal rights to the mask prop - only to his performance/routine. If he did have a claim, don't you think someone would have been sued by now?

The mask is a prop just like a knee figure. Just like a wand. NOT like a custom character of Jeff's. It's a piece of costuming. You dress kids in a costume during your show - do you pay anyone for permission? You aren't the first to do it. But no - because it is your routine and the costume is just a prop.

So why don't people respect Ronn's rights? He didn't invent the mask - and doesn't claim he did. He popularized it. He only has rights to his routine. He doesn't offer rights to his routine. But he DOESN'T OWN the mask concept.

With Bill's TOM - Bob Baker already answered you:
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 14:28, Bob Baker wrote:
Bill's routine involves completely taping over the mouth with 4 pieces of tape. It looks very different from Jay's taping and indeed is used in a different sort of routine. I happened to discuss the two routines with Bill at the recent ConVENTion, and he considers his own routine to be very different from Jay's.
[/quote]

Bill invented and introduced his version of TOM to the vent world. It is his routine and method. You want to use his version - multiple strips and method, pay the man. You want to do the single strip - contact Jay and get the details. It may pre-date his usage. He'll probably know...

Tom
Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Jul 22, 2011 10:01AM)
Howie,

I said "figure" as in "using a figure as a prop". I didn't say character. Walter is Jeff Dunham's character. No one should steal or copy his character. Similarly, no one should copy Ron Lucas' mask routine or his particular style of mask.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 10:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 07:35, blueshawk1 wrote:
Then there is the mask thing.
Many have defended everyone's right to use it because it is a prop, not a routine, even comparing it to a vent figure.
Okay, let's go with that. So if someone starts producing and selling, and everyone's using a non Axtell Magic Drawing Board - will they be wrong?
[/quote]

Difference - Steve Axtell INVENTED the Drawing Board. Ronn DIDN'T invent the mask. Joel Hodgson created the version Ronn used.

[quote]
On 2011-07-22 09:45, Steve at The Dummy Shoppe wrote:
Yes, Jay was there. No one disrespected him because he has notoriety in the community. Everyone was friendly to him, but. . .

Bill DeMar was also there. Watch the difference in people interaction. Bill is everyones "Uncle". Ten to One more people walked up to Bill and hugged him with genuine affection. [/quote]

Bill has been at the convention for years - he's one of the family. Jay is extremely friendly as well, but commands a different respect in the community. You don't see people hugging Jeff either...
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 22, 2011 11:24AM)
Great discussion. I think both Tom and Blueshawk1 have made excellent, valid points. (Not to disparage you other guys, but they nailed it.)

Bpb
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 11:29AM)
I feel so disparaged. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 11:35AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 11:10, tacrowl wrote:

Difference - Steve Axtell INVENTED the Drawing Board. Ronn DIDN'T invent the mask. Joel Hodgson created the version Ronn used.

[/quote]


I have read that Ronn Lucas paid the inventor Joel Hodgson for the rights to use the mask; it must have included the complete rights because Ronn has also made a business agreement with Terry Fator to use it in Vegas.

No different than when Wanlu was paid for the rights to use the yellow duck in the USA. The rights were purchased from the inventor and should not be copied or used in the USA
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 11:46AM)
Oh, but it IS different. Wanlu could reasonably have copyrighted the APPEARANCE of the duck (and, actually, once a thing is created it already has a common-law copyright). Wanlu hasn't promised to stop making ducks...only THAT YELLOW duck (I own one, incidentally :) ).
JOel could easily have copyrighted the APPEARANCE of his mask, and, of course, it actually is CLC...or he could have easily patented (though patents aren't easy...and he would have to show that his was somehow different and new) the mechanics of his mask.
As for Ronn paying Joel...that's a precautionary measure more than a legal necessity. Same with Terry paying Ronn.

Isn't this fun?

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 12:16PM)
Philip;

I don’t believe Ronn paid Joel as a precaution, I believe Ronn paid for the rights to use the mask in his routine,

Terry may have thought he was doing the right thing by paying Ronn, or may have paid as a precaution, we don’t know.

Tom’s post pointed out that Ronn did not invent the masks, but Ronn paid for the rights and now I just found out that Joel Hodgson was the inventor, why hasn’t Joel been paid by anyone else using a mask?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 12:25PM)
Because he's an extra step away from the fray, maybe.
And he's mainly a producer and a writer and (to an extent)a puppeteer.
And a hilarious movie critic...but he hasn't done much of that lately.

If you're a big shot, like Ronn Lucas or Terry Fator, it's usually a good idea to pay folks, even if they might not be able to win in court. Stops a lot of hassle later...and, yes, it seems the right thing to do if there is a popular notion that a person invented or originated a thing.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 12:48PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 13:25, Servante wrote:
Because he's an extra step away from the fray, maybe.
And he's mainly a producer and a writer and (to an extent)a puppeteer.
And a hilarious movie critic...but he hasn't done much of that lately.

If you're a big shot, like Ronn Lucas or Terry Fator, it's usually a good idea to pay folks, even if they might not be able to win in court. Stops a lot of hassle later...and, yes, it seems the right thing to do if there is a popular notion that a person invented or originated a thing.

-Philip
[/quote]

Who is "HE" we are discussing Ronn, Terry ans Joel, and I don't know enough to know who the "producer and a writer and (to an extent)a puppeteer" would be
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 12:50PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 12:46, Servante wrote:
-Philip
[/quote]
It might be except I'm still waiting to find out who's going to sue me because I stand and hold my figure.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 12:53PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 13:16, Howie Diddot wrote:
Tom’s post pointed out that Ronn did not invent the masks, but Ronn paid for the rights and now I just found out that Joel Hodgson was the inventor, why hasn’t Joel been paid by anyone else using a mask?
[/quote]

Buzz -
I never said Ronn PAID for the rights. (Although people assume he purchased them outright.) I also never said Joel INVENTED the mask. I said Joel invented the VERSION Ronn used. Major difference.

Contact Ronn and offer to purchase the rights for the mask. See what happens. Contact Joel and ask him exactly what the agreement was between he and Ronn. Ask Joel what rights, if any, he maintained. You assume way too much there Buzz.

After Terry made the announcement in 2008, I contacted him about it. An interesting conversation by e-mail that will remain personal. I'm done here Buzz, you seem not to understand the points I made and I'm not sure how I can clarify them further.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 01:00PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 13:53, tacrowl wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 13:16, Howie Diddot wrote:
Tom’s post pointed out that Ronn did not invent the masks, but Ronn paid for the rights and now I just found out that Joel Hodgson was the inventor, why hasn’t Joel been paid by anyone else using a mask?
[/quote]

Buzz -
I never said Ronn PAID for the rights. (Although people assume he purchased them outright.) I also never said Joel INVENTED the mask. I said Joel invented the VERSION Ronn used. Major difference.

Contact Ronn and offer to purchase the rights for the mask. See what happens. Contact Joel and ask him exactly what the agreement was between he and Ronn. Ask Joel what rights, if any, he maintained. You assume way too much there Buzz.

After Terry made the announcement in 2008, I contacted him about it. An interesting conversation by e-mail that will remain personal. I'm done here Buzz, you seem not to understand the points I made and I'm not sure how I can clarify them further.

Tom
[/quote]

I was not clear enough in my post, I should have written I have read in another internet post, not on the Café that Ronn Lucas paid the inventor of the mask Joel Hodgson for the rights to use the mask.

I understand the points clearly, I am not assuming anything, with every post I am learning more; I am asking more questions to fully understand the facts
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 01:00PM)
Oops! In my last post, I meant to quote Philip saying "Isn't this fun?", but instead just quoted his name - oh well!
You know the more I think about it, can someone sue me for standing and holding a figure, or for doing a routine where I stand and hold a figure?
Or maybe both.
The first person to stand and hold a figure could sue, and the first person to do a routine standing and holding a figure could sue - they might not necessarily be the same person.
Could be an interesting correlation there.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:10PM)
Tom, I think Buzz is just trying to untie a Gordian knot and engaging in a little conversation in order to learn.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 01:11PM)
Dang - I bit. Okay Buzz. I'm glad you are learning. But everything I say is based on conversations I have had with others. Everything others say is based on their conversations with others. All of it, tinted with our interpretations and thoughts.

A long time back, when we were discussing performance rights and about asking permissions, someone brought up a performer who they thought stole a routine. I pointed out that the performer personally knew the person they supposedly stole the routine from. We have no idea if the two developed it together, if one gave the other permssion, or what. Unless you know the back story and talk to one of the people involved, you just don't know.

So - if you have questions about the legality of it all - personally contact Ronn and Joel. You can find them - its not that hard. Get the story directly from them. THEN, you will know.

Servante & Blueshawk1 - I'm starting to find myself wishing I was two decades in the future! ;-)
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:14PM)
No, stick around, Tom. We may be able to get you some money for inventing standing and holding your figure. For one thing, Blue's gonna owe ya somethin'. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:15PM)
Remember: Buzz is new to all of this. It's actually made me think a little about the history. I had to go look up Russell's innovation.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 01:29PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 14:14, Servante wrote:
No, stick around, Tom. We may be able to get you some money for inventing standing and holding your figure. For one thing, Blue's gonna owe ya somethin'. :)

-Philip
[/quote]

I didn't invent that - I invented walking onto a stage. Before that, everyone just stepped out. I'm certain no one here would steal that without paying the licensing fee because I am such a nice guy! :D
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:32PM)
The check's in the mail, Tom.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:33PM)
Hey, wait a minute! I've been doing this since I was four years old, and I'm ancient! You might owe ME money! :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:37PM)
Just got a telegram from The Lone Ranger. He says he invented the mask.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 01:39PM)
A telegram.... is that like tell a woman????

very old joke, who do I owe for telling that one?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 01:47PM)
You owe Tony Pastor a couple of bucks, I think.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 01:50PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 14:11, tacrowl wrote:
Dang - I bit. Okay Buzz. I'm glad you are learning. But everything I say is based on conversations I have had with others. Everything others say is based on their conversations with others. All of it, tinted with our interpretations and thoughts.

[/quote]

Tom.

Thanks for understanding.

I will not contact Ronn only because I don’t want to start a process that may have him decide he again needs to protect his “rights”.

Like Las Vegas “ what is said here stays here”. But you are exactly the guy to answer my questions about this since as you say, you have had many conversations.

About Ronn not threatening anyone about using a mask, I AM NOW ASSUMING by my own deductions and nothing anyone has said to me; that the first time he did have his attorney write a letter he was so badly injured by the impression that he was attempting to bully Bill, he decided it was not worth his reputation to continue to defend it.

My ASSUMPTION ONLY
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 22, 2011 02:10PM)
Philip -
Although you have been doing it since the age of four, I obtained the idea by agreeing to give a dollar to Ken Groves who, using parallel thinking claimed to have developed the concept in an elevator based on a poster that was plastered against the wall. I never gave Ken the dollar but people assume I did and their belief is all that matters. I did popularize it on the Internet by placing a video of me walking on stage in the early 90's. Since you never thought to create this trail AND you did not make it popular, I therefore claim all rights. My attorney, who is busy on an important case will be in touch as soon as I can reach him.

;)
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 02:13PM)
Tom, it sounds fair to me, Philip pay up, I have not walked on a stage yet, so I need not pay, but I will find someway around it when the time comes
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 02:20PM)
Buzz--I recommend either diving or driving onstage.

Tom--The check's in the mail. It may take awhile as I simply put your profile picture on the envelope as an address.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 02:27PM)
Philip;

The way I feel some mornings, crawling on a stage is best; then climbing up my super secret figure stage that I will not advertise for fear of someone duplicating it and grasping Dan to start my original routine that I will not advertise for fear of someone duplicating it and I will start my show

I don’t even allow the little children to repeat my line as they laugh hysterically at my funny jokes and comments
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 02:33PM)
Should probably dose 'em with some sort of amnesia drug before they leave.

(Hey, this reminds me...what'd you think of "10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories?")

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 03:07PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 14:11, tacrowl wrote:
Servante & Blueshawk1 - I'm starting to find myself wishing I was two decades in the future! ;-)
[/quote]
Good luck with that, I'm still betting it won't be over yet then.

[quote]
On 2011-07-22 14:33, Servante wrote:
Hey, wait a minute! I've been doing this since I was four years old, and I'm ancient! You might owe ME money! :)
-Philip
[/quote]
Hmmm, maybe if no one is claiming standing and holding a figure, I can claim to be the originator, trademark it and sue everyone who does it.
Cool!
Of course then there will be a 100 people claiming they did it first.
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Jul 22, 2011 08:42PM)
Soon, everyone in the world will have seen the mask....(almost there now)....then someone will actually come up with something NEW!!!!!yea!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 08:51PM)
Jim, look at Axtell's Mic Mouth
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 08:59PM)
Philip;

The book came on Monday; I had a very busy work week between performing, posting questions about a mask here and the agency.

I have not had time to look closely, but a quick look by flipping through the book leads me to believe I received the Kings James translation of 10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories.

:gift: :bunny: :baby: :bigsmile: :dancing: :yippee: :banana: :bigdance: :sun: :bubbly: :dancing: :comply: :bigsmile: :banana: :dancing: :bigsmile: :bigdance: :dancing: :bigsmile:

LOL
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 22, 2011 09:07PM)
At least it's not in Aramaic. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 09:16PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 21:42, Jimeuax wrote:
Soon, everyone in the world will have seen the mask....(almost there now)....
[/quote]
I think the "almost there now" more applies to everyone having seen it repeatedly by now.


[quote]
On 2011-07-22 21:59, Howie Diddot wrote:
:gift: :bunny: :baby: :bigsmile: :dancing: :yippee: :banana: :bigdance: :sun: :bubbly: :dancing: :comply: :bigsmile: :banana: :dancing: :bigsmile: :bigdance: :dancing: :bigsmile:
[/quote]

Holy cow! Did you just discover the smiley link?
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 09:21PM)
LOL NO, I found them about 1100 posts ago, I just save them up for special occasions so I can make an impression
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 22, 2011 09:22PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 21:51, Howie Diddot wrote:
Jim, look at Axtell's Mic Mouth
[/quote]
I was going to edit my last post to include a reply to this, but you beat me to it Buzz, got a post in before I could.
Anyway, while that's something new, it's kind of sort of the same thing.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 09:26PM)
Well Jim was asking for something new
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 10:42PM)
Where did the guy Andy Comic go off too?

He was the original poster to this thread and he hasn’t posted in awhile; did we scare him away?
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Jul 22, 2011 11:02PM)
Wait, this just in...apparently Ronn claims he invented the microphone!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 22, 2011 11:32PM)
I have been piecing together the entire discussion in my head and I am now on the fence about buying a mask, at first I was against owning it, now I’m starting to think differently because of the entire discussion.

I am formulating ideas in my head that would make a good routine, but now I have other concerns about using a mask in San Francisco, other than Ronn or the origination of the mask
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 23, 2011 12:31AM)
You should, you wouldn't want to be one of the few vents who don't use one. If you live in Elephant's Breath, Nebraska, or Bumfuct, Egypt, you might even actually find some people who have never seen it before.
:bg:
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 10:33AM)
Nebraska sounds good to me now, lately no matter where I walk in San Francisco it’s an uphill walk, both ways, I think someone re-tilts the street after I arrive at my uphill destination for the uphill trip back to my office.

About the mask; there is another vent in the San Francisco area that I think has just got a mask, he posted a thread on the Café asking for someone to send him a routine to use.

I looked at his website and this vent has sort of copied my signature concerning the moving of my lips; I would think it’s counterproductive with both of us advertising a mask which based on the lip movement copying, I’m sure he will do.

I can create other routines that would be exciting while he uses the mask with borrowed routines.

It’s like Wanlu agreeing to not use the TOM in the same area that Ony is performing it. I have not decided yet if I will buy the mask and create a routine or just move on to another product that I will not have to compete with in the same market.

With a little more information about the mask here I will decide what I want to do.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 23, 2011 10:57AM)
Buzz, lips not moving isn't an original. Check out: http://www.mylipsdontmove.com

There have been lots of ventriloquists that push that. Unfortunately some of them shouldn't.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 23, 2011 11:16AM)
Wow, I forgot all about her. She's from the area where I just moved from. There was a period, years ago when we were in touch via emails, even briefly talked about having me "guest" in one, but we never got to meet and I never got to see any of her shows.

[quote]
There have been lots of ventriloquists that push that. Unfortunately some of them shouldn't.
[/quote]
Most of the ones that shouldn't are usually the ones that say it's not important.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 11:47AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-23 11:57, tacrowl wrote:
Buzz, lips not moving isn't an original. Check out: http://www.mylipsdontmove.com

There have been lots of ventriloquists that push that. Unfortunately some of them shouldn't.

Tom
[/quote]


Tom; I am refering to;

"My lips are not moving and there is nothing up my sleeves"

Not my lips don't move
Message: Posted by: Steve at The Dummy Shoppe (Jul 23, 2011 02:00PM)
In this case we are talking about our good friend Sylvia (Markson) Fletcher. The website protrayed needs to be updated because she is now using 4 of JETs puppets. 2 Diva's, 1 very mischieveous little girl, and one old Hindu man that she renamed in my "honor" and now calls him Steev. He is Hoooot! (And she is nuts - in a good way). One of the best Vents I have seen and she keeps it totally clean.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
Message: Posted by: wizardpa (Jul 23, 2011 05:12PM)
Buzz, Maybe you should try walking backwards while walking around SF. Then you might be walking downhill.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 05:40PM)
Maybe I can wear the mask on the back of my head when I walk backwards; that would be a good use for the mask,

Chris, do you own a mask?
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 09:08PM)
Steve;

I think you posted in the wrong thread; I looked back on this thread, I don’t see any posts about websites that are being analyzed; I do know they are posting about vents doing blue material in the Americas Got Talent thread, but I know they are not analyzing website in that thread either.
Message: Posted by: Steve at The Dummy Shoppe (Jul 23, 2011 11:23PM)
Buzz,

I posted in the correct thread. I was talking about the site that Tom commented on with his remark about "My Lips don't move" and Blueshawk1 immediately followed with his comment about having known her when he was in her part of the country. I added the part about her act being clean, but it was the correct thread.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 23, 2011 11:59PM)
Steve;

Then I got lost in the conversion. Tom was telling me that I was not the first one to use a not using lips slogan.

I was explaining to Tom that I knew I didn’t invent the Lips anything, but another vent in the San Francisco area has copied my slogan [i]"My lips are not moving and there is nothing up my sleeves"[/i] almost exactly on his website.

After the thread here, I was thinking of using a mask; I’m on the fence about using a mask; I think this other vent also has a mask since he has posted on the café asking if anyone had a mask routine he could use.

We are both in San Francisco, he has already copied my slogan; he wants to use someone else’s routine; I don’t want to advertise with the same prop he is going to advertise since he may copy everything I’m doing; I’d rather get something else and let him do a mask; anyhow blueshawk has posted that everyone already has a mask and it may be overused, I didn’t think about that.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 24, 2011 08:53AM)
Don't go by me, that's just my opinion and why I personally don't and won't have a mask any more. I considered it a novelty bit, and once something's been done to death, it's not a novelty any more, but again, that's just me.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 24, 2011 10:08AM)
Dave,

I respect your opinion along with Philips and Tom’s, all three of you have been very supportive with every post; because of the three of you guys, I am a better Ventriloquist.

You did bring up an important issue of how many people are now using a mask.

I had an issue during a show I did where I was performing a trick and a few of the kids in the audience had seen it before and knew what was going to happen next; it was an popular and over used trick.

So when you mentioned the mask being over used, it struck a chord.

Tom, Dave and Philip, everything you post is important and I do go by what you say.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 11:18AM)
Send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 24, 2011 11:55AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-24 12:18, Servante wrote:
Send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip
[/quote]

Too late, I can’t, you made me spend all my money on the stuff that you said I needed to be the best Vent in San Francisco; cameras books and the bridge you sold me

Dave went to Florida and sold me some land for a big development in the Everglades

No money left
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 12:45PM)
Sell the bridge.
THEN send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 12:52PM)
As for the vent mask...I'm beginning to think that, if I want one (So far I don't, but I can be wildly capricious) I should just make one myself. It'd be WORLDS easier than building (or even seriously rebuilding) a figure. A person could do it with a styrofoam ball on a stick in a vise as a base and build it up with non-drying clay...then make a negative mold and put in several layers of papier mache' or cloth mache' (I'd prolly use acrylic medium instead of wheat paste, myself). You could even skip the negative mold step and apply the mache' directly to the clay, providing you'd slightly over-emphasized the original sculpt. You could sculpt such a thing on a mannequin head as a base, too, if you wanted some indication of where the mouth should be in relationship to a nose, etc. The mechanics of the jaw would be pretty easy...and you could work it all with a string or even a bicycle brake cable and handgrip. Hmmmm.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 01:09PM)
Now, the Axtell mic mouth, on the other hand, that really IS a new twist. I could almost see Steve watching one of those old Dairy Queen TV spots where the logo turns into lips and suddenly saying, "Eureka!"

It has the advantage of being lightweight, no set up time...no concern about germs...etc. Disadvantage, of course, is that you couldn't make your volunteer say, "Watch me dance," or some such, because the minute s/he moved, you wouldn't be able to keep up the mouth/face illusion...but there are possibilities all over the place. Consider, for instance, TWO or even THREE volunteers...a single mic...three different voices...and rapid fire conversations. THAT seems like a winner right there.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 24, 2011 04:38PM)
That's one of the things I was thinking about with the mic mouth, keeping it where it needs to be in front of the person so it's positioned right, even if you don't have them dancing or anything. People don't always just stand still, and just having to hold it there in front of their face, I'm sure it's light, but....I'd want it to be a very short routine.

[quote]
On 2011-07-24 13:52, Servante wrote:
As for the vent mask...I'm beginning to think that, if I want one I should just make one myself. It'd be WORLDS easier than building (or even seriously rebuilding) a figure.
[/quote]
It's even easier than that, and cheaper too, I posted about it once. They have ventriloquist's costumes out there that comes with a vent mask. I picked one up for 54. shipped. I got it for the costume, but if anyone wanted to use the mask from it for a mask routine, it's the same thing.

[quote]
On 2011-07-24 11:08, Howie Diddot wrote:
You did bring up an important issue of how many people are now using a mask.
I had an issue during a show I did where I was performing a trick and a few of the kids in the audience had seen it before and knew what was going to happen next; it was an popular and over used trick.
[/quote]
Yes, that's why I sold the magic drawing board I had at one time. After doing a few shows, in front of kids I knew I had not performed in front of before, and as I was getting it out, hearing one say, "I seen this, the picture's going to talk" (or something to that effect), that was it for the mdb for me. It was just a novelty bit, it's biggest plus, to me, was the surprise value when they saw the eyes move and it started to talk, once that was gone, it was just another figure and I have enough of those already.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Jul 24, 2011 05:26PM)
I think what you say about the MDB and other novelty vent items is valid, a vent gets one of these out, and chances are, somebody in the audience has seen one. So if the main thrust of the routine is the surprise and novelty, then you're dead in the water with at least a couple of people in the audience. That's why it's important to develop good, original material and presentation with any vent figure, novelty or not.

When I first got back into vent, I already had an established family comedy act. I was excited about Henry though, I knew people would be impressed with him because he's a good looking puppet. But the truth is, if you get out something like a pro figure, a mask, or the MDB, everything you get after the initial surprise is up to your material. I think classic hard figures are intrinsically cool, and a lot of people do respond well upon my just getting him out of the case. At first my material with Henry was weak, and this created a real letdown in the middle of my act. I had got out something cool, and then the audience is even more let down because I've created an expectation and then dropped the ball. The material is better now, and Henry's personality is stronger. That's very important also, as I find a lot of the laughs don't come as much from the jokes so much as the personality.

I think the mask is intrinsically funny, and can get some laughs just by looking funny on your volunteer. And having a volunteer on stage is exciting to the audience also. I think the MDB initially still holds some surprise for most of the audience. But once you've gotten something like this started, you've set the bar for the routine. You have to follow up with funny material, hopefully funny ORIGINAL material. They'll forgive you for the same old prop, they might not forgive you for the same old jokes. And THAT is probably the biggest problem with the MDB... too many people use EXACTLY the same jokes. I have an MDB in need of repair or replacement. I used it for a while with the same jokes everybody uses and I just hated it (although it got some laughs). I set it aside while I figured out something new to do with it. I came up with an idea, but then I discovered that the trigger that operates the mouth had been damaged when I put it away last. (Anybody got one for sale?).

So, I guess that's my point. It's not the prop, it's what you do with it that matters.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 24, 2011 05:44PM)
Yes, I know what you mean about people using the same old jokes with the mdb. I think it came with some ideas and routine, but when I get any "material" with something, it goes straight in the circular file and I come up with my own stuff. I know any material that comes with something like that is either old, weak, or being used by everyone else that has one (or all of the above). For me, I was mostly enjoying the surprise factor, and any laughs that came after that were just icing on the cake - the surprise factor was the cake, the easy part right at the start. I'm sure it can have use otherwise, but like I said, with that gone, it's just another puppet, figure, whatever, and I'd rather actually work with a regular figure or puppet, any other props or novelties have to have their own value separate from just being another figure.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 24, 2011 09:32PM)
In talking with blueshawk, another issue has surfaced; I understand that kids are sometime frightened of hard figures; I am concerned about the reaction of using a mask with children, I am curious to find out from everyone what the reaction from the kids is; is it possible to scare the kids by using the mask?.

What has the experience been by using a mask during a children’s performance; will they start crying?

My biggest worry is my show falling apart during the mask routine with every kid in the room hysterical and the parents are all upset with me
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 24, 2011 10:13PM)
Many parents asked me to put a mask on myself so as not to frighten the kids. Now I do only adult shows.

B
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 24, 2011 10:18PM)
Thanks Bob, I think that would be hard to do
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 10:27PM)
I'm pretty sure Bob was pullin' your leg, Buzz. Pretty sure. :)

Yes, some small children are frightened by hard figures. When I was deeply involved in doing shows, I always used soft figures for puppet shows, but hard figures for vent. There were some children who were afraid...but mostly, people know what they're getting when they hire a ventriloquist.
I've always felt that one shouldn't pull of the vent figure's head or put him together onstage...but I had very little trouble with the hard-figure fear. Just wondering if much of that isn't parents' fear based on watching "Magic." :)

I have absolutely no experience with a vent mask. Seems to me, though, that if it's slowly and carefully set up, it wouldn't be a problem and, of course, the Axtell mic would be even less in that regard. I'm not sure it's a concern in any case...y'hire a vent, you're gonna get vent.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 24, 2011 10:46PM)
Thanks for the feedback Philip;

The concern about the mask in a the children’s show is not a determining factor in making the decision of buying or not buying the mask, this is the concern of ruining a show because I was not prepared for a disaster.

It is a definite plus to have the feedback from Café members who have the past experence

Wizardpa has related a story to me about the first time he used a rabbit wringer in his show, some of the kids started crying when the rabbit came out flat
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Jul 24, 2011 11:47PM)
You bring up a good point Buzz, and if I'd thought about it, I'd have mentioned this pages and pages ago. Probably the main reason I haven't bought a mask or two is that 90% of my shows are for kids. I'm not so much concerned about scaring them, I'm concerned about embarrassing them. If you do that, they are likely to walk off in the middle of the routine. I'm careful about not embarrassing my kid volunteers. Also, I think a kid might simply not like having a mask put on their face. I'd never try this routine on a kid younger than 9 or 10, and I'm not sure even with older kids. It works great for adult audiences. Adults are usually good sports. But kids don't care as much about being polite to the performer if they feel embarrassed or tricked (not happily fooled, like in a funny magic trick, but really tricked, made a fool of) . Little kids will leave you standing there alone with no way to finish the routine.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 11:52PM)
David's right.
Silly me, I wasn't thinking that you might use a mask on a kid. I figured this might be for one of the adults. THAT would be funny to a kid.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 24, 2011 11:54PM)
It's like when I do magic with the kids...on rare occasion,I may sucker trick them once...but before they leave the stage THEY'VE done the magic and I'M the sucker and THEY get the applause.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 25, 2011 12:40AM)
Two good points, if I place a mask on a kid he, or she may react as David described.

If I place the mask on an adult, it may scare a younger kid in the audience, thinking it’s a monster; or a kid may be embarrassed thinking the parent is making a fool of him, or herself.

Not a big deal here, but interesting discussion on all the ramifications
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Jul 25, 2011 12:51AM)
When I had a mask, I used it in some school shows. I never even contemplated putting it on a kid, I corralled a teacher into it - the kids loved that.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 25, 2011 01:23AM)
Exactly.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 25, 2011 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-24 23:27, Servante wrote:
I'm pretty sure Bob was pullin' your leg, Buzz. Pretty sure. :)

-Philip
[/quote]

Thanks, Philip. Yes, I was just making fun of myself!
Message: Posted by: Vegasvent (Jul 27, 2011 06:13PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-21 00:57, Howie Diddot wrote:
Tom;



I remember a post in this forum that discussed Jeff Dunham picking up a figure at a convention and performing his original routine using the figure in front of other Ventriloquist’s; for some reason Jeff did not purchase the figure at that time, but eventually crafted a similar figure that he named Walter.
[/quote]

Jeff did the same thing at the Vegas Convention maybe ten years ago. There was a figure that Dan Horn had been playing with, I am quite sure he was contemplating it's purchase(he found it hard to put down). He finally set the figure down to stroll the rest of the Dealer's room while he "mulled it over". Jeff came by maybe 5 minutes later and the figure caught his eye. He picked it up did a quick bit with a random voice, and bought the figure. That became the origin of the original "Melvin the Super Hero"!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 28, 2011 09:45AM)
Seems Jeff has determination; when he makes up his mind he acts on it and moves forward.

A good quality; the others that just think about making a decision and think about moving forward sometimes lose out
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 28, 2011 10:17AM)
Got no beef with Jeff Dunham. The guy was instrumental in making vent a "thing" again. Can't quibble with that, eh?

-Phil
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 28, 2011 05:15PM)
I still have some questions about the mask
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (Jul 28, 2011 07:34PM)
Another problem is sometimes the kid will get up on stage, start to put on the mask and then when the others laugh, they will run off stage.
Always use an adult. Teacher, principal,parent, mother in law. I just did a show for my son's high school yesterday. These kids are much older so I used the class leader, they loved it. I have had kids run away though, dead time on stage, terible.
James

[quote]
On 2011-07-25 00:47, Mr. Pitts wrote:
You bring up a good point Buzz, and if I'd thought about it, I'd have mentioned this pages and pages ago. Probably the main reason I haven't bought a mask or two is that 90% of my shows are for kids. I'm not so much concerned about scaring them, I'm concerned about embarrassing them. If you do that, they are likely to walk off in the middle of the routine. I'm careful about not embarrassing my kid volunteers. Also, I think a kid might simply not like having a mask put on their face. I'd never try this routine on a kid younger than 9 or 10, and I'm not sure even with older kids. It works great for adult audiences. Adults are usually good sports. But kids don't care as much about being polite to the performer if they feel embarrassed or tricked (not happily fooled, like in a funny magic trick, but really tricked, made a fool of) . Little kids will leave you standing there alone with no way to finish the routine.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Chatterbox41 (Aug 12, 2011 06:19AM)
Late reading the thread. A year or so after Bill Boley passed away and before anyone else was making the masks a friend of mine was doing a show. The child took off the mask and threw it on the floor breaking it into a lot of pieces.

I always used the mask with an adult, whether a teacher in the school, or the pastor of a church, etc. And I'm one who no longer uses it because so many people do. Most of the masks looke pretty much the same. I did make one for a friend in Canada that was a bit different and actually made it to his specifications. Knowing him, he had a good routine for it before it arrived and different from all the others I've seen.

Gary
Message: Posted by: Vegasvent (Aug 12, 2011 08:20AM)
Think that there are were a lot of Masks out there? How many "Mic Mouths" do you think have been sold just since Venthaven? Now they are back-ordered.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 12, 2011 01:42PM)
Haha, I think it's possible there's already been near as many mic mouths ordered as masks are out there already, and one person has already put their their mic mouth up for sale in that section of the Café (don't bother looking, it was already sold).
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Aug 12, 2011 10:48PM)
Well, I figure that the average person sees about 1.3 ventriloquists per lifetime, so the chance of someone seeing two of us do a mask or Mic Mouth routine is probably pretty small. And so what? If your routine is funny and original, what do you care if they've seen someone else's?

Bob
(Provocateur)
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 13, 2011 02:29AM)
Interesting number, 1.3, I don't know how you came up with that number or who took the poll, (or maybe that's one full size vent and one midget vent?), but I would assume that's supposed to be a number for how many vents people see live. But let us not forget the internet - there's a lot of mask videos out there, and a lot of them have a lot of hits. And now you have Terry Fator doing a mask bit, and he's in the national eye, I saw his mask bit on youtube - repeatedly.
And really, are any of the routines original? What's being said may be different, but it's the same basic bit - if they have a guy volunteer, they give him a high pitched girlie voice, and if it's a female, she gets a deep man voice, and in both, they have them acting accordingly.
Even Terry's bit, he's got something a little different going doing a Cher impersonation, but it's on a guy volunteer, so still basically the same old, same old.
The mask is a novelty bit and a it's value came from being something fresh and different - it's not any more. It's kind of gotten to be a lot like that tired old joke that's been done to death a thousand times over about having a "hand up the puppet's butt" - no matter how differently it's worded, you heard it so many times you want to run screaming from the room when you hear someone start to use it.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 13, 2011 10:13AM)
There are some good points being made here. Perhaps this should be the focus of a separate thread, but I think it has some bearing on this discussion on “the mask.” Basically, I think what makes a vent act “unique” or “original” is bringing one’s own personality and perspective to the act.

Let's face it, unless you are doing something completely avant-garde in a dark NYC loft, where about 10 people will see you and think you brilliant, most of us will be doing pretty standard vent acts for people who will have certain expectations for what they will see. That’s part of why vent acts are fun and enjoyable. Even those few contemporary famous vent acts are basically doing that. Peanut, although a purple creature called a Woozle, is still the standard cheeky boy character. Walter, who I absolutely love, is also an archetype. Look at theater history and you’ll see these standard stock characters in ancient Greek theater, Commedia dell'arte, Punch and Judy, as well as in Shakespeare. David Strassman who is thought to be an original is doing similar things with his characters, as is Terry Fator, Dan Horn, Otto Petersen, Jay Johnson, and just about every other popular vent act. But I think what makes these and other vents unique and interesting is that they have brought their own personalities and visions to their acts. I mean, how many vents out there have fuzzy monkey puppets? But Nina Conti has brought something a bit different that makes her stand out. Senor Wences also comes to mind, as does Carla Rhodes with her one-woman show. All have taken the standard vent act and made it their own.

That’s one of the reasons why I am completely not interested in doing a mask bit. That and the fact that I think it has a creepy and weird “Big Brother” aspect to it. I am certainly not saying that I’m so different and unique. Hell, I’m currently having a cute little girl figure made that will, again, be the basic cheeky boy character. However, I hope to bring my own personality to it and do it slightly different.

Clinton recently posted on his blog my favorite quote from Taylor Mason's book, which I think is worth repeating:

"It is very easy to want to imitate or copy what you've seen someone else do. Perhaps you were inspired by a ventriloquist you saw on stage or in a video, and thought, I want to do that! Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but it won't get you very far when you're trying to forge a career path. Most agents, bookers, and audiences want to see something original - something they haven't seen elsewhere. Sure, they probably like the same act you saw, but doing someone else's act with your figure really isn't flattering - it's plagiarizing. That doesn't just apply to material; don't buy a figure that will have you doing the exact same act someone else does, either."

This should be our mantra.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 13, 2011 11:22PM)
Blueshawk1;

I have figured it out; 1.3 means the average person Bob was referring to, went to see a ventriloquist and enjoyed the show so much, he went to see another ventriloquist that was horrible because his lips were moving and he walked out about one third into the routine and never went to a vent show again for the rest of his life.

And you can’t say “midget”, it’s not PC, you now have to say “little People”
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 13, 2011 11:41PM)
Sorry, I don't do "PC".
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 14, 2011 12:07AM)
So you own a Mac?
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 14, 2011 04:54AM)
Okay, you got me, I have a PC, but I don't do PC, but I did used to shop at P&C and another store who's initials were PC.
(sorry, that's all I got for now, I just got up.)
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Aug 14, 2011 03:35PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-14 00:22, Howie Diddot wrote:
Blueshawk1;

I And you can’t say “midget”, it’s not PC, you now have to say “little People”
[/quote]

I used to date a midget, I was nuts over her.
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Aug 14, 2011 06:21PM)
My quasi-humorous point about people seeing 1.3 vents per lifetime was simply that vent is still a relatively rare form of entertainment, and people are unlikely to see that many vents in their lives, even on YouTube. Hence, not much chance of seeing two mask acts.

As far as the Mic Mouth is concerned, I've thought of a way to use it that is not the stereotypical act that Dave so accurately described. C'mon guys and gals, think outside the mask!

B
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 14, 2011 06:25PM)
I've done that. When the mic mouth was first mentioned, I wrote about using it as disembodied lips like a ghost talking and all you could see was their mouth. Although truth be told, you know what made me think of that? The commercials for Twizzler's licorice (hopefully some of you have seen those over the years and know what I'm talking about).
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Aug 15, 2011 12:20PM)
Interviewing a ghost! Genius idea. Can you imagine that in a Halloween show?
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 15, 2011 02:24PM)
Halloween would be perfect for that.
Or anytime, you could be interviewing "the Invisible Man" (or woman). Could do a bit about how the experiment didn't go quite right and his lips are still showing and inconveniences of being invisible, or worse yet, only partly invisible.
Message: Posted by: Matt_24 (Aug 17, 2011 08:55AM)
Way to go, Dave. In a few months you'll see 27 different videos on YOUTUBE of Vents using your Axtell Mouth idea. Don't you know how this works? ;)

P.S. Pete Michaels was the first I ever saw do the Mask/Sonny and Cher routine.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 17, 2011 09:00AM)
Haha, that's okay Matt, if anyone sees and likes an idea I suggested, it doesn't matter to me if they use it, I have no plans to get a mic mouth.
Message: Posted by: creativemac (Aug 17, 2011 08:31PM)
Nick Pawlow had a workshop at the convention about "Thinking Outside the Box." One of the figure he showed was a GHOST. Simple PCV pipe covered over with a sheet. Lever moved the sheet so it appeared to be speaking. Had a pair of sun glasses on.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 17, 2011 11:04PM)
Does this mean I can no longer use a PCV pipe covered over with a sheet in my routine any longer without it being concreted stealing?
Message: Posted by: Dr. Solar (Aug 18, 2011 02:44AM)
Now that you've been told about something half way across the country at a workshop. Had it not been broadcast here and you just thought it up without prior knowledge I guess you could have. Wait, it that another tree falling in the forest?
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 18, 2011 03:15AM)
These days, more often than not, those trees ARE getting heard, with everyone broadcasting themselves with all the electronic gadgets and social networks, etc.
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 24, 2011 08:14AM)
I have written in the past that I use a paper mask(I laminated it to make it last longer) from Steve Knowles. It is held in front of your face. (and cleaned each time prior to use) So far I have not had it thrown down. The reactions of the volunteer of course vary from show to show. Every once and awhile it is a real gem. One example is seen in a video from a church show. The secretary for the pastor was the perfect pick. One more benefit of using the paper version is that it takes up no more space in my prop box. I just put it in the front of my song book 3 ring binder.

Axtell's lips could also be another Ax gem in your show. His props are very important to this nearly normal vent.

In an hour, I will start setting up the 1st of 4 puppet workshops today and tomorrow. ...Now where is that duct tape...

Harris
laughologist and nearly normal puppeteer.
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Aug 24, 2011 12:56PM)
I was at a freinds preview show yesterday and he picked me to be the "volunteer" who got to wear the mask. It was interesting being the other side of the mask and realising how vulnerable you actually feel!
I will keep doing my mask routine but I will have a better insight as to how the volunteers is feeling.
You all should try it! This was a live show infront of people I didn't know.

Colin dymond
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Aug 24, 2011 03:34PM)
That is a unique experience that most who use the mask would never get to experience who use masks in their shows, I'll bet that does seem odd being on the other side of it. Doesn't seem like it would be a bad thing to get to experience what it's like for the volunteers.
Aside from the insight, do you think that experience will affect what and how you do things when you use the mask in the future?
Message: Posted by: Hagerman (Jan 3, 2018 09:06AM)
Https://www.ebay.com/itm/MONKEY-ABSTRACT-MASK-ARTICULATED-MOVING-JAW-ASIAN-JAVA-DANCE-WOOD-INDONESIA/360725358724?hash=item53fce82884:g:m6wAAOSwMTZWRHl5

I learned today that these where in use 30+ years ago.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Apr 1, 2018 11:59AM)
[quote]On Jan 3, 2018, Hagerman wrote:
Https://www.ebay.com/itm/MONKEY-ABSTRACT-MASK-ARTICULATED-MOVING-JAW-ASIAN-JAVA-DANCE-WOOD-INDONESIA/360725358724?hash=item53fce82884:g:m6wAAOSwMTZWRHl5

I learned today that these where in use 30+ years ago. [/quote]


That is a mask used for monkey dance from my country. But not used as vent mask. So it is different issue.