US 2698499 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 4, 1955 N. s. DYGON FOOT OPERATED DUMMY 5 Shets-Sheet 1 Filed May 29, 1952 IN V EN TOR.
AT TOEHEYS Jan. 4, 1955 N. s. DYGON 2,698,499
FOOT OPERATED DUMMY Filed May 29, 1952 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN V EN TOR.
Jan. 4, 1955 N. s. DYGON FOOT OPERATED DUMMY 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed May 29, 1952 QVENTOR. 811W 4% ATTOENE Y5.
Jan. 4, 1955 Filed May 29, 1952 N. S. DYGON FOOT OPERATED DUMMY 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.
BYW W ATTOQNEYS.
United States Patent FOOT OPERATED DUMMY Norman S. Dygon, Chicago, 111.
Application May 29, 1952, Serial No. 290,803
3 Claims. (Cl. 46-144) This invention relates to dummies or manikins of the type used by entertainers in conjunction with their acts, and is particularly directed to a novel construction by means of which the dummy can be operated by an entertainers feet.
It has been customary in the past, for some entertainers such as ventriloquists to employ one or more dummies in their performances. Almost universally, these small dummies of which Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd are two well known examples, have been placed upon the seated performers knees so that one of his hands could be inserted into the dummy to operate a mechanism for causing it to make certain movements such as opening its mouth, turning its head, or the like. The elfectiveness of this type of device is readily izgttejsted to by their wide popularity in the entertainment There is, however, one serious objection which arises from the use of such a device; that is the operation of the dummy places a severe limitation upon the activities of the entertainer. For example, he cannot gestieulate with his arms, or himself play a musical instrument, without removing the dummy from his knee, and placing it in a lifeless position in which the entertainer loses all the effect of the dummys participation in his act.
This invention is predicated upon the concept of providing a dummy which can be positioned at a substantial distance from the entertainer and can be operated by the entertainers feet, leaving his hands free to play a musical instrument or do any of a number of other things. For example, in one preferred form of the invention, the dummy is placed at a small toy piano, while the entertainer is seated at a conventional piano some distance away. From this position the entertainer can operate the dummy with his feet while he himself plays the piano with his hands. If the entertainer simultaneously plays a piano recording of the same tune which he is performing and moves the dummys arms with the proper rhythm, the effect, or illusion is created that he and the dummy are actually playing a duet.
More specifically this invention contemplates a dummy having a plurality of movable members including a head, arms, eyes, and month. These members are arranged to -make a number of lifelike motions, for example, the
arms can be raised and lowered to simulate the motions of a piano player, the mouth can be opened or closed, and the head and eyes can be turned from side to side. Furthermore, the entire dummys body can be made to sway from side to side or to bounce up and down in an animated fashion. In order to effectuate these movements, a series of dilatable elements is placed within the dummy, each element being connected by a suitable mechanical linkage to one of the movable members, in such a manner that dilation or contraction of the expandable element results in a corresponding movement of its associated member. Each of the inflatable elements, located within the dummy, is connected through a length of flexible tubing to one of a series of inflatable elements placed at the entertainers feet. These latter elements, I shall call actuating bulbs and, as explained, more fully hereafter, these bulbs may be constituted by any type of air tight element which can be compressed by stepping thereon.
The actuating bulbs are preferably secured to a panel or to the floor, in a predetermined spaced relationship so that the entertainer may step on a particular bulb to move any desired part of the dummy, such as his head, withice out the necessity of his looking to see which bulb he is manipulating. Thus an entertainer while he is playing a piano or some other instrument, can operate the dummy so that it will appear to accompany him in his performance, converse with him, converse with the patrons or do any of a number of other things.
One of the principal advantages of a dummy constructed in accordance with this invention is the fact that its response to movements of the entertainers feet is almost instantaneous so that the dummy can be made to sway or bounce in time with a fast tune and its arms can be moved so that it looks as though the dummy is actually playing at a tremendously rapid rate. This can be effectively utilized to create a humorous situation in which the dummy and the entertainer appear to be engaged in a mock race to finish a piece of music and consequently play at a greatly exaggerated pace.
A second advantage of the preferred dummy construction is that it is extremely simple, requiring no delicate parts or adjustable valves, so that there is little likelihood of a mechanical failure during a performance, and also a small likelihood of damage to the dummy during its shipment from place to place.
Furthermore the dummy of the present invention is very flexible, both as to its possible arrangements with respect to the entertainer and its actions during a performance. That is, the dummy and its actuating mechanism can be adapted to a wide variety of operating conditions; for example it can be placed close to the enter tainer or at a considerable distance from him. The actuating apparatus does not require any outside source of power, and the connections between the operator and dummy can readily be stretched around any intervening obstacles. This is highly advantageous in view of the many different places in which an entertainer may per-- form. Also, the dummy is not limited to any set routine. If, for example, in the middle of a number, the entertainer decides to stop and converse with the dummy or to have the dummy turn to look at a patron, he need only step on the appropriate bulb. Additionally, in this preferred embodiment, the dummy is maintained in a lifelike position even when the entertainer is not actively operating it.
These and other advantages of my invention will be more readily apparent from a further consideration of the following detailed description of the drawings showing a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings:
Figure 1 is a perspective view illustrating one way in which a dummy, constructed in accordance with this invention, can be used by an entertainer.
Figure 2 is a front elevational view of the dummy with its clothes removed to show details of the construction.
Figure 3 is a rear view of the dummy.
Figure 4 is a partial side view of the dummy.
Figure 5 is a top plan view of the actuating bulb assembly.
Figure 6 is a diagrammatic view of the dummys mouth mechanism.
Figure 7 is a diagrammatic view of the dummys eye mechanism.
Figure l discloses a dummy constructed in accordance with this invention, and shows one way in which such a dummy can be utilized by an entertainer to accompany his act. The dummy is placed at a point remote. from the entertainer and even though the entertainers hands are fully occupied, playing a piano or some other instrument, the dummy can be operated to move in a lifelike manner by the entertainers feet. As shown, the dummy 10 is shaped and dressed to resemble a human piano player, and is seated at a small piano 11, removed a substantial distance from the piano 12 being played by the entertainer 13. In a typical act, the performer has previously prepared a record of the same tune that he is playing. This record is played back simultaneously with the entertainers live performance on the real piano, and the dummy is manipulated in time with the music so that a very effective illusion is created, that the dummy and entertainer are actually performing a duct. The en tertainers hands are obviously fully occupied playing the piano, and the dummy is manipulated by the entertainers feet which operate a series of actuating bulbs arranged in predetermined spaced relationship beneath his feet as shown at 14.
The dummy is preferably constructed so that it can make several lifelike movements. Generally, the more movements to which it is susceptible, the more realistic the illusion which is created. In the embodiment herein disclosed, the dummy is adapted to bounce or sway upon its chair 15, to turn its head 16, move its eyes 17, open and close its mouth 18 and raise or lower its arms 20 to simulate the movements of a piano player.
Control over the various movements of the dummy is exercised through a pneumatic operating system including a plurality of expandable elements located within the dummy, and a like plurality of actuating bulbs placed in spaced relationship at the entertainers feet. Each of the actuating bulbs is connected to its corresponding expandable element, or response bulb, located within the dummy, by means of a flexible tube. The actuating bulbs and response bulbs can be constituted by any suitable air tight elements such as, hot water bottles, balloons, syringe bulbs, bellows or the like; hereafter when the term bulb is used in this connection, it will be understood to include any suitable element of this type. Each actuating bulb, connecting tube and corresponding response bulb form a closed fluid circuit or, an air tight system so that compression of an actuating bulb results in dilation of its associated response bulb and release of the actuating bulb is accompanied by a contraction of the response bulb. It will be understood that when the external pressure is removed from the actuating bulb, a portion of the air entrapped in the connecting tube and response bulb will flow back into the actuating bulb, dilating it so that it will be conditioned for subsequent contraction. Preferably, the relative size of the tubing, and the bulbs and pliability of the bulbs is such that dilation or contraction of the response bulb occurs almost simultaneously with compression or relaxation of the actuating bulb.
Any suitable mechanical connection can be employed for transforming the dilation and contraction of the response bulbs into corresponding movements of the dummy. Several typical arrangements are illustrated in the drawings. As shown in Figures 2 and 3, one preferred embodiment of a dummy 10 includes a body member 21 which is slidably secured to vertical bar 22 by means of bolts 23 riding in slot 24. The lower edge of body member 21 rests on two response bulbs (hot water bottles as shown) 25 and 26 and the whole member r -is yieldingly urged against the bulbs by means of resilient bands 27, engaging hooks 28, attached to stool 15 and screws 31 secured to the body member 21. Thighs 32 are hinged to the legs 33 as at 34.
Response bulbs 25 and 26 are connected through lengths of flexible tubing such as rubber tubing 36 and 37 to their associated actuating bulbs 38 and 40. The actuating bulbs 38 and 40 (Figure shown as hot water bottles, are fastened in spaced relationship either to floor panel 41 or directly to the floor itself, by any convenient means such as cords 42 and pins 43. The floor panel is placed at the entertainers feet, and is preferably arranged so that the portion indicated at 44 is closest to him. By stepping on bulb 38 air is forced from the bulb, through tube 36, to response bulb 26, dilating that bulb and causing the dummy to lean to the right. Similarly stepping on bulb 40 causes him to move to the left, and simultaneous compression of both bulbs causes him to bounce up and down in a very lifelike fashion.
The foot panel also carries the remaining actuating bulbs which are secured in place as by brackets (not shown), hooks 45, strips of tape 46 or in any other suitable manner. In the arrangement shown, bulb 47 controls arm movements and is connected through tube 48 to response bulb 50. Similarly, bulb 51 controls mouth movements, and is connected through tube 52 to response bulb 53 disposed within the dummys head. Actuating bulbs 54 and 55 are used to turn the dummys head to the left or right, and are respectively connected to response bulbs 57 and 58 through tubes 60 and 61. Bulbs 62 and 63 are used to move the eyes to the left or right, and are joined to bulbs 64 and 65 through tubes 66 and 67. As shown, the foot panel contains one other control device, which constitutes no part of the present invention. This device is an electric switch 68 for starting and stopping the recording device that is used to supply the sound for the dummy.
Any suitable mechanical linkages, or arrangements, may be used in conjunction with the response bulbs, to move the parts of the dummy; preferably, however, the linkages are simple so that they will not readily get out of order, and are such that a rapid response is obtained upon dilation or contraction of the inflatable element. Several typical arrangements are illustrated in Figures 2 to 7. For example, arms 20 are hinged to frame member 21 by means of hinge pins 70. The forearm and upper arm are preferably joined by a piece of material such as a heavy leather strap 71. A rod 72 is connected to each of the arms 20, and carries a plate 73 which abuts response bulb 50. The response bulb is secured in any suitable manner, either to frame member 21 or to plate 73, and is positioned so that it is interposed between these members.
When the bulb is inflated, plate 73 is forced outwardly from frame member 21, and the arms 20 pivot about pin 70 into a raised position similar to that shown in Figure 1. Alternately, inflating and deflating bulb 50 by pressing and releasing actuating bulb 47 causes the arms and hands 74 to be raised and lowered, simulating the action of a person playing the piano. The slight flexure of the forearms at the elbow joint adds to the effect, furthermore the response characteristics of the system shown are so rapid that the dummy can keep time with the entertainer even when the entertainer is playing at an exaggeratedly high rate of speed.
In the preferred embodiment, the dummys head is movable to the left or right. This is accomplished by compressing either bulb 54 or bulb 55 which inflates either bulb 57 or 58. Bulbs 57 and 58 are suspended from the rear portion of frame member 21 by means of hooks 75. Preferably, a plate 76, carried by the body member, is provided to furnish an abutment surface for the bulbs. Two flappers 77 and 78 are mounted to plate 76 by means of hinges 80. The flappers are disposed so that the bulbs are compressed between them and plate 76, and include depending extensions 82.
The dummys head is mounted on post 84 which is rotatably supported from the frame as at 85. The head is journalled by the frame as at 86, and a curved wire 87 may be provided to maintain it in its proper vertical position. A rope 88 is wound around post 84, one end of the rope passing over pullies 90 and 91 and being secured to extension 82; the other end of the rope passes over pulley 92, and a pulley 91 (not shown), and is secured to other extension 82 of flapper 77. Dilation of bulb 58 forces flapper 78 outwardly pulling on the end of the rope 88 attached to extension 82. This turns post 84 and causes the head to rotate to the right. Similarly, dilation of bulb 57 causes the dummys head to turn to the left. The dummys head is returned to a straight forward position either by release of both actuating bulbs, in which case the tendency of the pressure of the bulbs to equalize will cause the head to return to its position, or. by application of slight pressure to the opposite actuating bulb from the one previously compressed.
One type of mouth moving mechanism is shown in Figure 6, and includes an abutment surface formed by plate 93 which is secured to the dummys head. The curved mouth 18 and chinpiece 94 of the dummy are hingedly connected to the head as by pins 95,and provided with rearwardly extending strips 96 which carry plate 97. Response bulb 53 is placed between plate 97 and abutment member 93; consequently, inflation of the bulb causes the mouth to rotate downwardly about pins 95. The mouth can be returned to its closed position when bulb 53 is deflated either by making plate 97 of some heavy material to overbalance the weight of curved portion 94, or in any other suitable manner such as by connecting a small spring to plate 97 or the strips 96.
An etfective form of eye moving mechanisms shown in Figure 7, and includes a generally U-shaped frame 98 carrying backing plates 100-100 upon which are mounted hemispherical eyes 101 and 102. A ball 103 is secured to the U-shaped frame 98 by pin 104, and is disposed between bulbs 64 and 65. In the somewhat diagrammatic representation of Figure 7, the mounting means for securing bracket 98 to the head are omitted. It will be understood that the frame is mounted to the head for horizontal pivotal movement as at 105. Inflating bulb 64 will cause the ball 103 to move to the right and the eyes to the left; similarly, inflation of ball 65 will cause the eye movement to the right.
A dummy constructed in accordance with the general principles I have just outlined can be used to a very good advantage by an entertainer in conjunction with his act, even when he himself is actively engaged in operating another device such as a musical instrument. For example, the present inventor makes recordings of the various numbers he is to perform. Then while he plays and sings a song, he plays back the record and simultaneously operates the dummy so that it appears to be playing in time with the entertainer. A very humorous illusion is thus created that the dummy and entertainer in fact are playing a duet. Furthermore, without any visible movement on the part of the entertainer, the dummy which is placed at some distance, can be manipulated so that it appears to engage in conversation with the entertainer, or to converse or stare at any of the customers present.
Obviously, many minor modifications can be made in the precise structure which I have illustrated as the preferred embodiment of my invention without departing from the scope of the invention. Furthermore, it is quite possible that two, or even a larger group of dummies, can be operated in the manner I have just outlined by grouping the actuating bulbs for each of the dummies on a foot panel adjacent the entertainer.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. A dummy adapted to be operated by an entertainers feet, said dummy including a body having a plurality of movable members pivotally secured thereto, means for operating said members to cause them to have lifelike movements, said means comprising a foot panel adapted to be disposed at the entertainers feet, a plurality of compressible actuating bulbs mounted in spaced relationship upon said foot panel, a like plurality of dilatable response bulbs disposed interiorly of said body, a plurality of flexible tubes, each of said flexible tubes interconnecting one of said actuating bulbs and one of said response bulbs to form a closed fluid circuit, whereby compression of said actuating bulb causes dilation of its associated response bulb, and mechanical means interconnecting each of said movable members to one of said response bulbs so that dilation or subsequent contraction of any one of said response bulbs is effective to cause pivotal movement of its respective one of said members, and means for causing said subsequent contraction.
2. An entertainment device comprising a simulated piano, a bench and a dummy adapted to be operated by f i an entertainers feet so as to simulate the movement of a piano player, said dummy being disposed in sitting position on said bench adjacent to said piano remote from the entertainer and comprising a body having a plurality of movable members, including a pair of arms pivotally secured to the body, and a head pivotally secured to the body, a plurality of dilatable response bulbs disposed within the body and other dilatable response bulbs disposed between the body and bench, means mechanically interconnecting one of said response bulbs with said arms and means mechanically interconnecting another of said response bulbs with said head, whereby dilation of said first named response bulb causes movement of said arms and dilation of said second named response bulb causes movement of said head and dilation of said last named response bulbs raises said body relative to said bench, and means for selectively dilating said bulbs, said means comprising a floor panel adapted to be disposed adjacent to the entertainers feet, a plurality of compressible actuating bulbs mounted upon said floor panel in spaced relationship with one another, and a plurality of flexible tubes, each flexible tube interconnecting one of said actuating bulbs and one of said response bulbs to form a fluid tight circuit, so that compression of one of said actuating bulbs causes dilation of the response bulb to which it is interconnected by said tube and means for returning each of said actuating bulbs to a dilated condition sub sequent to the compression thereof.
3. An entertainment device comprising a simulated piano, a bench and a dummy adapted to be operated by an entertainers feet so as to simulate the movement of a piano player, said dummy being disposed in sitting position on said bench adjacent to said piano remote from the entertainer and comprising a body having a plurality of movable members pivotally secured thereto, means for operating said members to cause them to have lifelike movements and for raising said body relative to said seat, said means comprising a foot panel adapted to be disposed at the entertainers feet, a plurality of compressible actuating bulbs mounted in spaced relationship upon said foot panel, a like number of dilatable response bulbs, a plurality of said dilatable response bulbs being disposed interiorly of said body and other dilatable response bulbs being disposed between the body and bench, a plurality of flexible tubes, each of said flexible tubes interconnecting one of said actuating bulbs and one of said response bulbs to form a closed fluid circuit, whereby compression of said actuating bulb causes dilation of its associated response bulb, and mechanical means interconnecting each of said movable members to one of said response bulbs so that dilation or subsequent contraction of one of said response bulbs is effective to cause pivotal movement of its respective one of said members, and dilation of said last named response bulbs raises said body relative to said bench, and means for causing said subsequent contraction.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 409,701 Phillips Aug. 27, 1889 1,605,738 Idemoto Nov. 2, 1926 2,065,473 Liwschutz Dec. 22, 1936 FOREIGN PATENTS 27,720 Great Britain 1907 614,344 France Dec. 11, 1926 376,701 Italy Nov. 23, 1939