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Dickens & Dave
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Well, I was going to suggest this book to my girlfriend as an idea for me for Xmas, but found out she already got whatever it is she's getting me (without getting ANY ideas from me first - that scares me...), so I went ahead and ordered it myself from Amazon.
I'll have to save this thread to my favorites until I get it read, though I doubt I'll have much to add over what's already been said.
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daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2010-11-19 11:54, Servante wrote:
Just finished buying and reading the book. It's a really good read and it humanizes him nicely.
Some of the grumbles people have had (Walter's design, etc) are explained without being confrontive.
Really added to my respect of Jeff. He's more than paid his dues.
The only problem I have with the book is that it's such a fast read, it's over way too soon.

-Philip


People complained about the way Walter is designed? Could you explain that further?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Eddie Garland
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Not the "way" Walter was designed Daffy but the who designed Walter.
Dickens & Dave
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Yes, I remember hearing about some of that back when, forgotten all of the specifics, so it will be interesting when I get the book to be reminded what it all was, and get to read Jeff's side of it.
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daffydoug
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So enlighten me, guys. Who designed Walter and why was the audience griping about it?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Bob Baker
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Quote:
On 2010-12-09 16:11, daffydoug wrote:
So enlighten me, guys. Who designed Walter and why was the audience griping about it?


Let me quote myself on this (from my review above):
"I also know that there have been some controversies in Jeff’s career (the birth of Walter, for instance), and he writes about these as well. There are some who would disagree with Jeff’s take on these, but he presents his case forthrightly, and I’ll leave the disagreement to those who were actually involved. "

Doug,

I don't have a dog in this fight and don't want to weigh in. (Besides, it's an old, old fight.) If you read the book, you'll get Jeff's version of the creation of Walter. You won't have to read too much between the lines to realize that other people involved might see things differently.

Best,

Bob
Dickens & Dave
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Quote:
On 2010-12-09 16:11, daffydoug wrote:
So enlighten me, guys. Who designed Walter and why was the audience griping about it?


Audiences weren't griping about it, I'm sure his audiences know nothing about it. It was something in the vent community.
I won't go into specifics about it - mostly because I can't because as I said, I don't really remember the specifics, (like Bob said, it's an old, old fight). Basically, you can tell from the answers already that there was some dispute over who originally created Walter.
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Servante
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Okay. Real quick.
Basically, Dunham was looking for a character and wasn't sure what he was looking for.
In '87 he went to the vent convention where Bill Nelson was showing a frowning dummy that looked, Dunham says, a little like the Charlie McCarthy frowning dummy Bergen had made for a Disney film. Chuck Jackson had built the figure based on Nelson's sketches.
People were saying, "You can't do comedy with a frowning dummy," etc.
Dunham took it as a challenge.
Nelson didn't care to perform. Dunham said, "Would you mind if I demonstrated it for you?"
Nelson told him that would be fine.
So Dunham went onstage with the figure (called Mr. Horowitz)and something felt right.
He tried to buy the figure from Nelson, but the price was, he felt, too high.
So Dunham went home and, after a few weeks, got some clay and sculpted a frowning character.
There were some who perceived that Walter was a pure ripoff of Mr. Horowitz, because they had that grumpy frown in common, and, therefore, Dunham had unfairly copied.

But it's really hard to stake a claim on a frown.
I dunno. People are still combative about it all, I guess.

-Philip
daffydoug
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Thanks. That clarifies the mystery quite a bit!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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It is also very possible in some cases to be accused of "ripping somebody off" when in fact you can be totally innocent of that. Because there are a finite number of possibilities for a given character (be it human or animal) there is eventually going to be some overlap and someone will hollar "foul".

If you are doing a sheep, all sheep have four legs, two eyes, etc. There is a limited number of possibilities. Maybe God should sue all of us since he owns the original designs for everything. - lol All you can do is to be as careful as you can and have fun doing it.

Steve
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Dickens & Dave
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Thanks Phillip for the synopsis.
It's funny, while I don't remember what I'd heard about the "Walter issue", I do remember that I never heard either Nelson or Jackson's names mentioned. Either I have totally forgotten, or there was some other issue either about Walter, or maybe one of his clones.....I don't know now, I've never been good at remembering trivial stuff.

Steve, you're right, some figures, it can be pretty obvious they are an attempted copy, and some you can tell were just based on the same idea of a figure - like Walter for example, I've seen so many figures that were obviously, no doubt, someone's version of a Walter. But sometimes it can go too far - if the grumpy frown was the only thing that justified accusing someone of copying - that definitely qualifies as going a bit too far.
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Servante
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Y'know...I've seen a jillion Mr. Horowitz pictures, but the minute I start looking, I can't find a single one. I've got a frowning figure myself...and I admit that watching Dunham and Walter made me want one, simply for the comic possibilities. Cooter doesn't look like Walter...and, as he was conceived and built in Rio de Janeiro, I'm not sure how much Walter influence there was in the design.

-Philip
Dickens & Dave
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Just like with goofy figures, after Mortimer, how different can it get. Bergen could have spent the rest of his life accusing others of copying him.
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Servante
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Yeah. I've got a Conrad Hartz goof figure, too. Got him because he bore a striking resemblance to "Louie," another goof figure I built from a Jerry Mahoney back in the very early sixties. I wanted an upgrade...but none of the figures I'd seen came close to Louie, until I saw the Hartz figure. The hair was wrong (Louie's got flyaway black hair), and Louie didn't have the protruding tooth...but the face was so close I couldn't resist. Bought him and wigged him.

-Philip
Servante
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In that post above I said that Cooter was built in Rio de Janeiro. I need to stop multitasking and pay more attention. I MEANT Buenos Aires.
Jeez.

-Philip
Bob Baker
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OK. I don't have a dog in the "Walter's creator" fight, but I do have a friend in it. The above is Jeff's version. That's fine. Let's just say that Bill Nelson's version is different. I wasn't there. I have no first hand knowledge. I will really try to restrain myself from commenting further. Best to let sleeping dogs lie (as in "lie down," not "prevaricate)".
Dickens & Dave
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I don't have a dog or a friend in it. I've never met Bill Nelson and though I met Jeff at a convention, I don't "know" him any more than I know Nelson. So in reading or hearing anything about this, for me it's basically, "whatever", I've got no reason to pick a favorite in that dispute.
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Servante
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And, in my case, I'm just answering a question about what the book says. "Rashomon" is in my list of Top Five Favorite Movies.

-Philip
tacrowl
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Bill's version of the event is posted somewhere in the archives of WorldVents. If you are really curious, that is the place to look.

Philip, I haven't seen "Rashomon". I'll have to look for it!
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Servante
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It's a Kurosawa film, Tom. It's about a rape and murder that takes place in the forest in feudal Japan. There is a trial, everyone involved tells his/her side re what happened. Each believes to be telling the truth. Each story is different.
Love it.

-Philip
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