Issue 31
Page 2
June 2020

Your Puppet’s “Likability Factor”

By: Mark Wade

Ever wonder why audiences seem to warm up quicker to a certain puppet , while other characters seem to fall flat?  I think a lot has to do with the “likability factor”  which each puppet has.

What is the “likability factor”?  This “factor” is the way an  audience   perceives  the character from the moment he or she (or it) is on stage until they make their exit.  It is known that people make up their minds about a person in just a few seconds after meeting them.  Wh isn’t this the same in the world of puppets?

I think one big factor is the face the puppet.  When you bring out a character that evokes laughter spontaneously you’re well on your way to having a winner.  People make up their minds that this character is going to say or do something funny.  A perfect example of the sis Jeff Dunham’s characters.  They look unique and their personalities shine through before the first sentence is even uttered,  They have “likability”.

The “likability factor” also plays a big part when picking a puppet for children.  Some puppets are too life-like for a child, and if the face has a scowl ,scariness may may become a factor.  I once had a puppet with a slight scowl and that bothered some kindergarten kids , not all, but enough that I replaced that puppet in my show.

The script, which features the inner character of the puppet, can also make a difference.  If the face doesn’t win the audience over, maybe the dialogue will.  This will often be a bit of an uphill battle because people do have a tendency to make up their minds about a character in a few seconds. A good combination is the face AND the dialogue.

They say “clothes make the man (or woman)”, likewise for your character.

If the clothes looked dated or look like something from a 1960’s television show, you are not going to gain any points with the audience.  My pet peeve is the vent and the character dressing alike, right down to he bow tie.  I feel you want he character to be independent….to be able to stand on it’s own merits.  How can it if it looks like a mini-version of the vent?

“Vent figure” or “Soft Puppet, I think many of these things I pointed out are the same.I love the look of a McElroy  vent figure.  The cartoonish look “sells” the puppet from the outset, and who can resist the soft puppet characters made by Mary Ann Taylor (MAT puppets) or JET (JET Puppets)?

Find what’s right for you, but make sure YOU like the character and your audience will follow suit.

Mark can be reached at:

Well I just got back from a 3 day weekend at the nude beach, and boy did I get a sunburn. Any way here are a couple recipes for your summer enjoyment.

The Raspberry Desert is one of my faves for the summer. David hates cottage cheese so I have to sneak it.
I truly will miss seeing all of you in JULY safe travels all till the next time.

Clara’s Crumbs (as told to David W. Fowler)

The recipe cards are full sized, 4″ x 6″ in the PDF copy of the Spotlight, which may be downloaded on page one of this issue. That will allow you to print them out to use in the kitchen!

Inspiration From Terry Fator

by The International Ventriloquist Society

Listen to Terry’s Inspirational Interview above for more details on his shows and upcoming activities.

To order tickets, visit:

  • 7/31 – Wisconsin Dells, WI.
  • 8/8 – New Orleans, LA.
  • 8/9 – Mobile, AL.
  • 8/23 – Meadville, PA.
  • 8/25 – Rhinebeck, NY.
  • 9/7 – St. Paul, MN.
  • 9/12 – Chattanooga, TN.
  • 9/13 – Birmingham, AL.

To order tour tickets for Darci visit:

Our email did not go out for member news this month due to a system hiccup. Please keep in mind the next issue will come out in September. If you would like to submit any updates to share with the community, please email them to: between August 25 – 30th. Thanks!


The 2020 Ventriloquist ConVENTion in Erlanger, Kentucky is canceled. As a little consolation, enjoy Mathilda Tall’s performance with me (I’m her nephew) from last year. The video was recorded by Natalie Breitenmoser-Tarabanova. It was the first time that Mathilda attended the conVENTion. She prepared and tried to improve her English language. Now in this difficult time we stay at home singing and dancing a lot.


Stay healthy and all the best

Fridolin / Calindo




Mailing Address:
International Ventriloquist Society
c/o Maher Studios
P.O. Box 2131
Westminster, MD. 21158

The International Ventriloquist Society - A Subsidiary of Maher Ventriloquist Studios - All Rights Reserved