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Theo. Mack & Son

The Charlie McCarthy Connection
a photo and a letter

Theo. Mack & Son was a Chicago company of wood carvers who specialized in what they called Ventriloquial Figures. Edgar Bergen is known to have commissioned them to create the first Charlie McCarthy.

It is ironic that Bergen is said to have named Charlie McCathy after Charles Mack, the son of Theo. Mack, and then to make him seem more Irish, changed his name to McCarthy.

Our Prof. Charles Mack had of course changed his name from 'McCarty' (and sometimes 'McCarthy') to 'Mack' in order to avoid being thought of as Irish.

The photo is from the Theo. Mack letterhead. It appears at the top of a letter to Prof. Charles Mack dated: Chicago, January 9, 1915. A facsimile of the letter appears below.

A close look at the photo reveals a strong resemblance between these 1915 Theo. Mack figures and the Edgar Bergen figures of the 30's and 40's. The figure at the top left resembles Charlie McCarthy and the small figure in the center looks a lot like Mortimer Snerd. The black figure bears a strong likeness to Charles Mack's figure "Danny."


Theo. Mack figures

Telephone Harrison 6097

Theodore Mack & Son
Ventriloquial Figures
Novelty Advertising Figures

Punch Figures Marionettes Talking Dolls
doll Racks Magicians Cabinets

Stage Properties and Theatrical Wood Carving

619-621 S. Clinton St.

Chicago Jan 9/15

Charles Mack:
Dear Sir: -

Your letter at hand
and we enclose you our booklet.
which we ash you to rean care-
fully _ as it states facts you ought
to know when buying this line of
goods. We have no second hand figures
at present, and rarely have them
as we sell direct to the performer
As you are a professional there
is little use of us telling you not
to buy a cheap paper mache fig.
as most professionals have long
ago given them up. So we trust
you will find what information
you may want in our booklet.

Trusting to hear from you we

Very Resp.
Per. Theo Mack Son
Chas. Mack

By the way you have the same name as
I has.