Jerry J. Jerrie
1. This head was used by Tom Coram, a well known British
ventriloquist of the vaudeville era.
2. The head was purchased from Irish ventriloquist Navan O'Reilley,
who was acting on behalf of Coram's widow.
3. The head arrived at Vent Haven in August of 1946. It was badly
damaged, with several cracks (visible in the photo to the left) in
4. Berger wrote letters to both O'Reilley and the U.S. Department of
Customs complaining about the condition of the head.
5. O'Reilley wrote back that "It was in good order when it left
6. The U.S. Customs Department wrote that, "Our records show
that the head was never removed from the box and that it was
securely fastened when the package was forwarded on to Covington
(Kentucky) in the same condition as it was when placed in the box by
the shipper...Outside of a few small pieces of paper machie (sic)
chipped from the face it appeared in good condition." The letter
then goes on to suggest that Berger lodge his complaint with the
Covington, Kentucky Postmaster.
7. Fault for the damage was never determined. However, O'Reilley
refunded Berger slightly more than 1/3 of the original purchase
price. O'Reilley stated in his letters that the refund was of little
consequence to him as he was giving all money after shipping
expenses to Coram's widow, but that Coram's widow was upset and felt
she had been taken advantage of.
8. Both Berger and O'Reilley agreed to accept the other at their word
and to not let this "unfortunate deal" ruin their friendship. They
continued to correspond until O'Reilley's death in 1952.
9. When Berger placed this figure on display at Vent Haven, he
placed a sign under the head that read, "A COLLECTORS HEADACHE
Used by the Famous Coram
Arrived from England Broken"
Do you have additional information about this
figure? Do you have a suggestion for a future Figure of the Month? Is there a figure
maker whose work you would like to see featured? Let us know by emailing
the Vent Haven staff.
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