I woke up today with the intention of starting to build my newest ventriloquist partner, “Cecil”. As I explained before, Cecil will be a reincarnation of a previous puppet I once crafted. The project’s beginning required a paper-mache’ paste. The original used a wallpaper wheat paste powder mixed with warm water. It seems over the last 30 years or so that wallpaper wheat paste has been replaced by chemical glues and adhesive-backed vinyl wallpaper. I visited local craft stores, Hobby Lobby and Michael’s Crafts with no luck in turning up the mix.
After searching the vastness of Google, I did find many recipes for wallpaper wheat paste that required wheat flour, sugar, salt, boiling water, and cooking with a double boiler and stirring; not exactly a length I want to travel. I did find the elusive mix online, but in bulk amounts too much for my small project. Finally, I found Golden Harvest that sells a small 3-pound amount that will be suitable for my needs. First I will shop at my local Ace Hardware and Lowes’, since they were mentioned as distributors of the product and if that fails, I’ll place an order online. In any case, this weekend will not see any progress on the project.
On a related puppet improvement project; I have rescued another old ventriloquist partner from the depths of my storage building. “Oliver” was a small red bird purchased from Maher Studios back when I was 15 or so. He helped perform at local library shows and birthday parties. Oliver had flapping wings, moving feet, winking and blinking eyes, and a spitter that could shoot a stream of water about 8 feet.
Oliver later became a “toy” for my kids and suffered quite a bit of damaged before being locked away under a mountain of boxes in a storage unit. A few days ago I contacted Clinton Detweiler of Mr D’s Daily Ventriloquist Journal and “retired” proprietor of Maher Studios to see if “Oliver” could be rescued from the ravages of time and neglect. I’m awaiting the prognosis.
If anybody can put this bird “back in the air” or at least back on stage, I know Clinton is the fellow to do it. Looking at the figure at its worst now, should only make the final refurbish and repair all the more satisfying when it happens. It’s hard to believe that the remarkable figure started out with a can as it’s head and a bleach bottle as a body. I’ve read recent comments from other ventriloquists that are searching for this rare bird at auction sites. The Crazy Bird is no longer commercially available. I should have realized what I had a long time ago. Such is youth.