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Jerry Mahoney Ventriloquist Puppet

Jerry Mahoney Ventriloquist Puppet

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Description (Brief)
Ventriloquist dummy Jerry Mahoney, created by Paul Winchell around 1938. This is the first of many "Jerrys" which the puppeteer used over the course of his decades-long career as a performer on stage and screen. This original Jerry is made of wood and was sculpted by Frank Marshall; he has a detachable carved wooden head and is dressed in a red sport coat and a bow tie.
Ventriloquist Dr. Paul Winchell and his puppets, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, were popular acts from 1938 through the 1980s, appearing on stage in variety acts, in their own television show, "The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show," and in guest appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and other variety programs. Jerry’s wise-cracking, outspoken persona would exasperate straight man partner Winchell in comical songs, skits, and quiz segments on these programs.
In addition to his ventriloquist skills, Winchell was an inventor and holds a patent on an early version of the artificial heart. He was also a well known voiceover actor for children's movies and television shows. One of his most memorable characters included acting as the voice of Tigger in the Disney movie, "Winnie the Pooh" for which he received a Grammy award.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Winchell, Paul
Marshall, Frank
Winchell, Dr. Paul
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
gesso (overall material)
paint (overall material)
wood (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
hair (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 43 in x 20 in x 6 1/2 in; 109.22 cm x 50.8 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Dr. Paul Winchell
Television broadcasts
Radio and television broadcasting
Children's television programs
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I wanted to express my sincere appreciation for the Paul Mitchell museum and all the hard work and devotion you must have. At the age of seventy-years old I still have my Ventriloquist dummy Jerry Mahoney. Sorry to say I am missing his bowtie and one of his shoes, somehow over the years I lost one. I did have his traveling showcase made of cardboard but the years were not good for the box. But happily I can tell you that his beautiful head is in great shape with the original mouth and strings still attached. His eyes and mouth will mouth but a little stiff like most of us today. I easily can remember the first time I used Jerry on stage at my elementary school show. I was in fourth grade at the time, and did alright except I could not throw my voice out strong enough for the kids to hear. Paul Mitchell and his show was one of my favorites as a child, and again I thank you for keeping a part of our childhood alive. I hope to past on my Dummy to one of my grandchildren in the future, I just can't part with it as of yet. Has too many great memories of my grandmother who bought it for me, and my childhood. God Bless you and thanks again.
My Grandmother, Vera Griglak Mihalik (1902-1976) was a friend of Frank Marshall. She lived in Chicago with her family from ca 1903 to ca 1917. The Griglak family lived on Winchester Avenue not far from the Marshall (Marszalkiewicz) family. Frank Marshall made a dummy for my father, Edward Mihalik, at my grandma's request. "Oscar" is about 80 years old. My father was about fifteen when he received the dummy. My father kept a scrapbook about dummies, written on a page is a note to my grandma dated 1938 from Frank Marshall calling her a "real friend." Also there is a picture of Frank Marshall and my father in Chicago dated 1949. I have the dummy in my possession and with it a piece of history.

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