(1900 – 1969)
Frank Marzalkiewicz was born on March 9, 1900. His parents lived next door to the son of Maryan Czajkowski. Maryan was professionally known as The Great Lester, the man who taught Edgar Bergen ventriloquism.
As a child, Frank contracted polio. Maryan took the 13 year old Frank to The Mack & Son Woodworking Shop at 720 S. Clinton Ave in Chicago , Illinois. The shop specialized in architectural wood carvings and signs. The Macks had also carved The Great Lester’s figure, Frank Byron, Jr.
When other ventriloquists discovered that Mack & Son had made Lester’s figure, they started contacting the woodworking shop.
The Macks gave young Marzalkiewicz a job to help with his rehabilitation from the disease. Later, Frank changed his last name to Marshall. When Frank’s apprenticeship completed, he started doing most of the puppet/figure work for the business.
Louis Mack passed away in 1921. The next year, his brother Theodore was placed in a nursing home. When Charles Mack passed away in 1924, Frank and another employee, Alex Cameron, purchased the business from Charles’ widow.
The business began focusing on puppet work. Frank ended up taking over the shop three years later. At the time, the shop was at 53 W. Erie Street. In 1931, he moved the shop to 837 State St. In 1938, he purchased a two flat apartment at 5518 S. Loomis. He lived on the first floor, rented the second floor and worked in the basement.
For a short time, from 1950-1954, he moved his workshop to an office building in downtown Chicago. When that closed, he continued to work out of 5518 S. Loomis until his death in 1969.
Frank Marshall built some of the most famous ventriloquist figures of all time. Among his creations are Jerry Mahoney for ventriloquist Paul Winchell and Danny O’Day and Farfel for ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson.
Today, Marshall figures are highly collectible and treasured by ventriloquists.
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