Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tongue-Tied

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to install in a new figure a realistic extending tongue. Not a painted flat tongue depresser, mind you, but a tongue that looks real in both its positions, lays flat behind the lower teeth when retracted, and moves naturally with the jaw when the figure is speaking. That is to say, the tongue doesn't hover motionless in the mouth when the jaw goes up and down, but moves with the jaw in its relaxed position behind the teeth. Just like a tongue that is sculpted as part of the jaw and does not extend at all.

Furthermore, the tongue must come out without the mouth having to be wide open. People don't open their mouths fully when sticking their tongues out, except maybe for the doctor.

Finally, the tongue must be able to stay out hands off, meaning the ventriloquist doesn't have to hang onto the control. This allows the free manipulation of other controls while the tongue is sticking out.

This has all been done before, of course. I'm just trying to do it again.

What do you think? I've got a start on it. There are several details to work out, particularly with respect to the controls, springs and so on, but here's my first prototype. This picture shows the jaw outside the head with the tongue retracted.



This next picture shows the tongue extended.



Here's the jaw installed with the mouth wide open and the tongue retracted.



And, finally, here's the tongue extended.



As I said, there are more details to work out. I'll post more progress when I have something to show.

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