The MAGIC of Puppets - Part 3
By Steve Axtell
Axtell Expressions, Inc.

Our company Axtell Expressions has become known for innovations in magical puppets. Over the years we have developed some really cool stuff. Recently I have had the honor of being included in the book The Magic Of Thinking Creatively

A Professional Magician's Path In The Pursuit Of Creativity by Barry Mitchell, and have been put on the cover of Ventriloquism Made Easy by Paul Stadleman and Bruce Fife. Weve been creating magical puppets for over 20 years now! If you are not familiar with Axtell products let me introduce you to some of them.

During your show you pick up a framed board and a marker. You draw a cartoon face on the board of someone in your audience, or a popular character. Then while you are talking about the drawing, it starts looking around. Your audiences sees it and starts laughing (actually kids will start screaming and pointing). Then you notice it and it starts talking to you! The controls in the back of the board allow you to actually control the eyes and mouth movements. Heres a look at the back of the board

You can draw ANY face on the board and bring it to life. We have quite a few drawing examples in the instructions and on the web

I invented the Magic Drawing Board in 1980 while preparing for a show. I wanted to combine my cartooning ability with magic and a puppet. I kept brainstorming on it and came up with this great idea while sitting in my car on a lunch break under a willow tree. It was one of those great EUREKA moments in my life.

For those magicians who do not have the time to learn ventriloquism, we have produced a few routines for the Board. These routines are interactive! You secretly turn on the CD in your player (or sound man does) and the music starts. There are blank spots for you to speak and the character voice of the board starts talking with you. You can read all the routines at If you like the concept but not our specific routine you can still create your own pre-recorded dialog using our soundtracks and music (without the voice) which is provided on the AxTrax CDS.

This AxTrax concept goes far beyone the Magic Drawing Board! We have a number of CDs for various puppets and you can choose from a variety of routines and character voices. Listent to them all at


There have been a few attempts to copy our Magic Drawing Board over the years and its been an interesting road watching them come and go, but were still here selling and improving what is becoming a classic of magic. Several of the improvements and changes we are introducing are..

Imagine drawing a cartoon with the board and setting it on an easel and walking away. Then it comes to life in the same way as the standard board totally under your control yet you are not touching it! You hold only the marker and the eraser. We have been in development on this for 5 years! The first board was purchased by David Allen who immediately won the UK Children's Entertainer of the Year award at Blackpool Magic Convention! Read more about the Remote board at

Imagine putting on a couple of bird gloves in front of your audience and bending down behind your magic stand and bringing up a BIRD PUPPET sitting on your arm. Your hand is outstretched and the bird is sitting near your elbow! It can hold your magic wand, do one handed magic tricks with you, lay eggs, dialog with you for a quick routine or more. The illusion is so strong that people try to figure it out. Many will come up to you after a show and say you were probably using high tech electronics to make the bird move! Really its so simple and amazing youll have to take a look There is a link on the page that will show you how it all works.

We also have AxTrax CD routines for the Bird puppet for those of you that are not a ventriloquist.


A few year ago we developed an animatronic Bird Arm and when you flip the switch on, the fingers in the glove move! Its very subtle and natural and random. Just enough to throw them another curve!


Many of our puppets have magical features or special effects built into them.

Our Slippy the Seal puppet can balance a ball on its nose!

Our Dusty Dragon Puppet blows smoke!

Peanuts the Elephant Puppet squirts water at your audience!

The Cry Baby has two faces and is cute until you flip it around and it screams loody murder!

Bubba the Bullfrog can grow from a balloon tadpole into a full grown frog! It is transformed using a Duckpan. The routine is really cute and easy to do.

These are a few of our innovations that will help you discover the Magic of Puppets!

If you are interested in finding a perfect puppet for your act or learning more about the art of ventriloquism please come to our web site and start with our FREE Vent lessons.
God Bless.
Next we'll explore Ventriloquism!

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