Knucklehead Smiff Ventriloquist Puppet

Knucklehead Smiff Ventriloquist Puppet

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Knucklehead Smiff was a Paul WInchell creation that appeared along side Jerry Mahoney. The Paul Winchell television show ran from 1950-1954. In 1951, Mahoney was joined by his friend Knucklehead Smiff. Smiff was sculpted by Winchell and laid over a Jerry head and was made of plastic wood with a detachable wooden head. He wears a casual red and blue jogging suit with matching blue sneakers. This is the original version, and later versions were made of lightweight fiberglass.
Winchell appeared as a guest on numerous television shows and from 1965-1968, Winchell and his side kicks starred on a popular children's television show "Winchell-Mahoney Time". While controlling both dummies simultaneously, Winchell came up with the idea to put his hands into the sleeves of the two characters, giving the effect that the two puppets were talking not only to him but each other.
In addition to his ventriloquist skills, Winchell was a well known voice over for children's movies and television shows. One of his most memorable characters included acting as the voice of Tigger in the Disney movies "Winnie the Pooh," for which he received a Grammy award.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Winchell, Dr. Paul
Marshall, Frank
Winchell, Dr. Paul
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 44 in x 19 in x 9 in; 111.76 cm x 48.26 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Television broadcasts
Radio and television broadcasting
Children's television programs
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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