Currently, special custom orders are mainly available ONLY to serious professional vents, established collectors, and for the motion picture, television, and commercial industries.   In order to avoid potential misunderstandings, for custom built orders we require use of a written contract where a mutually agreed upon deadline for delivery is clearly specified. In order to meet custom deadlines, you would be engaging our studio on a full time basis for the duration of the project. Prices are variable and negotiable, dependent upon the project and the required delivery timeframe. Please email us for more specific information.

Please note that we usually have available fully nor nearly completed hand built one of a kind "ready to deliver" figures;  these are offered only to the ventriloquist and puppet collector communities at what is considered to be an artificially low price for handmade figures. These are top notch, hand made figures made in our increasingly rare time leisure and offered from ready stock at special prices.

Custom figures and special order figures (whether for Film/TV use or as ordered by an individual performer) come at a premium.


Please note that we do not sell vent figures or other puppets to Prop Rental companies.          We are, however, happy to rent or lease figures and puppets (even custom built designs) to any type of production and we have a great deal of experience working directly with production companies, art directors, and through prop houses acting as rental agent.  We have a good understanding of, and have plenty of experience with typically tight production deadlines! (Industry references upon request)

Our figures are made from various materials, depending upon the individual project.

The current, preferred material is our very own proprietary "homebrewed" wood dough formula (similar to the classic material which was used to make the original Mortimer Snerd, the original Howdy Doody, as well as our own best output from 1966 through 1990). 

The original classic, commercially made material was discontinued nearly 30 years ago,  and reserved stocks are long gone.  So, a few years ago we went to work diligently experimenting on re-creating the classic wood dough formula used by puppeteers since the early 20th century.  Our concentrated efforts have succeeded and as a result, we have reintroduced this material in a greatly improved and even more durable form.

We also continue to produce select figures using our own fibreglass laminated resin material.

Each of these materials has its own special properties and advantages, and both have proven themselves to be ideal media for the construction of vent figures.

WE DO NOT CURRENTLY USE URETHANES in the fabrication of heads for our figures. While urethane is easier, cheaper, and far quicker to work with, we have not found it to be a reliably durable material. 

>>Our special wood dough formulation was developed by us, exclusively for our own use, after almost eight years of experimentation.  The result is that we’ve come up with a durable hybrid material that can be cast from a specially tooled mould to shape the head, and then carefully refined with hand carving for a classic look which rivals the construction and handling characteristics of the best traditional basswood figures, but with a very important difference: it is not as vulnerable to instabilities due to atmospheric conditions as could be the case with an improperly cared for wooden head. It is important to note that while parts of the process may include the use of a mould, the vast majority of figures we build this way are one-of-a-kind originals.   This material should not be confused with any current commercially available wood dough/filler material. It is much, much more durable.

>>Our fibreglass figures are made to combine the look, feel, and handling balance  of classic basswood heads,  with an unmatched durability.

While it is possible to make very lightweight figures from any of these materials, our vent figure heads are designed to weigh about the same as a comparably sized basswood head for proper handling balance, but without the potential problems with certain wood carved heads (such as cracking/splitting, surface dents, or expansion/contraction from moisture resulting in stuck mouth action, and paint peeling).

THE MECHANICS in our lever operated figures are primarily brass and since our studio is not an assembly line operation turning out stock designs, the mechanics are engineered and fitted specifically for each and every head we make.  Where possible, we use sealed, silicone lubricated bushings which are braised or soldered with sturdy silver alloy for maximum dependability.  Anywhere where cords are utilized for controls, we are very careful to eliminate friction points that cause wear.   We have met and/or spoken with performers who purchased figures from us more than 40 years ago who state that original controls (even corded ones) are still original from the time of manufacture!


About The Dummy Doctor
Information about 
Repairs & Restorations to ANY make or vintage vent figure or puppet, by the internationally recognized expert!repairs.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0
Information about our work with 
a collection of television, commercials, and film appearances by THE DUMMY DOCTOR  (coming soon)
Information about our work on “DUMMY” starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody (coming soon)
Information on consulting services and puppet rentals.



Prices for our ventriloquial figures range from a low of about $2400 to a high of about $15,000....

Actual prices will depend upon mechanical configuration and required delivery time. Any prices listed at any time in our website or catalog pages apply ONLY to working performers in the ventriloquial community.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our figures are not represented as, nor have they ever been sold as "works for hire" and as such, we retain all artistic and manufacturing rights on our creations.  The sole exceptions would be if such rights are negotiated at the time of purchase, or when we are contracted to work from your specific artistic renderings or designs. 

Purchase of a figure does NOT include rights to duplicate or otherwise manufacture copies as toys, dolls, premiums, etc. unless such rights are purchased at the time or original sale or a royalty arrangement has been agreed upon.

DUMMIES IN A RUSH! (yes, there is such a thing, and we can do it)

Are you on a TV or Film deadline (or a performer just needing a custom dummy without a long wait)? We can also accommodate the typically super-rushed deadlines required by this type of work; contracts are available for rush delivery of either modified figures from our stock puppets on hand,  as well as custom figures built from scratch to your specifications.

Rush orders are accepted as schedules allow, and will generally result in slightly higher pricing since rush orders involve engaging our studio on a full time basis;  In order to avoid confusion and misunderstandings, deadline delivery dates are now  guaranteed in writing by a binding contract.

(Since this comes at a substantial cost premium, contact us with your specifications for a price quotation and availability).  Full industry references are available on request.


Do you have a favorite figure that you've been using for a long time and need a copy? If it's a vintage creation, it means that the original artist may be no longer active or no longer alive. If that is the case (or if the original artist is still alive and has granted you permission to make a copy), we can make exact fibreglass replicas of your vintage figure, or nearly exact replicas in traditional basswood, laminated fiberglass, or our special exclusive wood dough formula. We can also enhance a replica as desired,  incorporating any changes or improvements you may want or need. Contact us for details!

Availability of this service should be confirmed with us well in advance of need whenever possible.

Since most figuremakers (including our studio) retain duplication, manufacturing, and other copyrights to their original work, please remember that you should always first contact the original designer/builder if you are looking to duplicate an original work.   We accept duplication work ONLY if the original artist is no longer living, or if they are unavailable or unable to accept the assignment and have granted permission.

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All text, photos, and other material contained herein is ©1994 - 2017 by Alan Semok, The Dummy Doctor, and A R S Productions.

All rights are reserved and no text or graphic material may be reused without express written permission.

We utilize various materials to make our figures, but ALL of our work is designed to last a lifetime, and increase in value.

A rather long and admittedly wordy page with a lot to read, but it provides answers

to the questions we are most frequently asked.

If we’ve missed anything, feel free to drop us a line.

This page also includes more selected photos of our past assignments

Alan Semok Ventriloquial Figures are individually hand crafted at the Dummy Doctor Studio in Somerset, NJ.

Alan with an exact replica of the original HowdyDoody marionette, created for the late “Buffalo Bob” Smith in 1995.

Alan is the only puppet artist who received official  authorization to reproduce the original marionnette.