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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Shirley Dinsdale
Born Oct 31, 1926 -May9, 1999 guess this made her a halloweenie baby A vent of the finer kind as well as my first encounter of the first kind with ventriloquism. through the magic of the television set in the 1950s, but before that she was also a radio personality in the 1940s.
She is remembered for her friend, "Judy Splinters", and for the early children's television show that bears that name. In 1948, she received the first ever Emmy award, for Outstanding Television Personality.
Shirley was badly burned in a household accident, she was given a ventriloquist's dummy, by her father as a get well soon gift at an early age, which helped her recvovery. She named her friend 'Judy Splinters'. With the inspiration set in her she made her break into radio. In 1940, at the age of fourteen, she made her start on local San Francisco radio with a show entitled Judy in Wonderland. Two years passed and like many others before her Shirley was given her big break when she met the great Eddie Cantor, who set her up with a spot on his radio show, The Eddie Cantor Radio Program.
During the second world war, she was involved in the Hollywood Victory Committee. When the war ended she tried her hand at the new fangled radio with a picture in it...Television, on Los Angeles's KTLA doing show commercials, birthday announcements and a spot here and there. These spots, while not initially prominent, garnered her critical acclaim and her Emmy award. (The award was given jointly to both her and her puppet.) After receiving the award, she was given her own Western-themed weekly children's show (entitled simply Judy Splinters) which ran from 1949 to 1950. In the years following, she also had shows in both Chicago and New York City. At a short point in her career she was a true rival to Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy, Dinsdale was a true Soprano, but of course she lost out in the end to Bergars talent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The information you see below has been personnally submitted by Tony, hope you find something here that will spark some interest

Tony Borders is a former school teacher but his first love was puppetry and ventriloquism. For seven years he traveled around the U.S. and in several countries and had no place to call home. He performed 300 shows each year and enjoyed seeing Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines. He often slept in the home of a host family. "I noticed that they rarely had a TV as the center of attention. They had the gift of hospitality."
In 1992 Tony married and settled down in Sacramento, California. He went back into teaching and spent 5 years in a Christian school with 5th graders. "I learned more than they did." But after his second child was born he decided to go back into performing so he could have more time at home with the kids. It took two years of substitute teaching before his income was more than replaced, but he is now in his 16th year of performing.
You will know Tony if you have attended I-Fest, where he has taught and judged for 8 years. He has also been a co-director for the ventriloquist Dream Team in 2006 and 2008.
One of his goals is to make it to Vent Haven, but summers are the busiest time of the year for him.
Tony now performs 200 shows each year, but the majority are within 100 miles of Sacramento. Half of his shows are in churches and the other half are a mixture of schools, libraries, and birthdays. "I get to come home almost every night!" He has written scripts for several other puppeteers and is working on two books currently for Axtell Expressions. You can read many of his ventriloquism tips at the Axtell forum on

This is good, but not enough I need to know what inspired him as a child to go into ventriloquism, who his heroes were in ventriloquism, who helped him along the way, where he is now in his vent career and where he plans to be in the next 5 years, high lights of his career....and a photo of himself and his character(s)...

Tony Borders started ventriloquism as a school assignment during his freshman year. Each student was to given an oral presentation of a poem, story, or speech. Tony spent the week listening to Jimmy Nelson's record on how to do ventriloquism and wrote a skit about Christmas. He had a plastic version of Willie Tyler's "Lester" doll with the pull string for opening the mouth. The teacher enjoyed the routine so much that she sent him next door to the elementary school to perform for the kids.
"I ran into that teacher this summer, over 30 years later. I told her that I was doing ventriloquism as a living now and her assignment was what got me started."
But Tony's first love was puppetry. At the age of 12 a man and his wife came to his home church and did a week of puppet shows. They dressed as Indians and had a puppet called Horsefeathers. Tony loved the excitement of the crowds and the humor of the puppet. A few years later the couple stopped traveling for health reasons and started a children's church. Tony Borders was their first helper and they gave him his first puppet.
It was this love of puppetry that kept him busy summers during college and ten years of teaching school, as he would spend many weeks each summer performing shows for churches. Eventually he quit teaching and went into puppetry full-time, adding ventriloquism when he acquired a puppet with legs that was too awkward to use behind the stage. For seven years he lived out of a suitcase, traveling around the country and overseas, to minister in Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and in 20 different states. "I was single and had no home! I stayed in people's houses all around the world and loved it! Now I'm married with children and enjoy coming home nearly every night."
Today Borders performs over 200 shows each year at churches, libraries, schools, and birthday parties. Most of the shows are within 90 miles of his home in Sacramento, CA.
He owns several ventriloquist soft figures from different companies. "I love the look of the Axtell puppets and the light weight of the Pavlov puppets. I also enjoy doing blacklight ventriloquism with a large Dodo bird from One Way St." He has only one hard figure, which spends its time as a household decoration. "I have GOT to work him into the show. He's a great Craig Lovik figure!"
His list of ventriloquists he admires is very long. He met most of them at I-Fest. They include:
Judy Buch, for letting a puppet speak its mind.
Liz VonSeggen for puppet voices.
Gene Cordova for puppet humor.
Jim Adams for puppet manipulation and acting.
Dennis Lee for energy
and Mark Thompson for raising the bar so high!
"That's just the tip of the iceberg but they have each been an inspiration to me. It helps to meet someone personally."
On his way to a show Borders used to listen to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. "It built my confidence as I heard the laughter of the audience on the tapes. I realized that everyone was going to have a good time at my show as well."
Although his dream of one day working for the Henson company has faded he still hopes to work on video projects. "I'd also like to do a radio show with puppet voices and songs from One Way Street's RPM albums."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


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Denise Borum (CA)
Randy Bright (WI)
Reid Elliott (CT)
Casey E. Hall (VA)
N Jay Holtzman (FL)
Hal Seim (MN)
John Swingholm (NE)
David Thomson (New Zealand)


Many people say that the art of Ventriloquism is dying, you can't prove it by me, not with the likes of Dunham and Fator as well all the other new vents proving what a wonderful form of comedy vent truly is...You know the strange thing about me and Vent is that it took me most of my life to really see the joy in it....I spent years in the field of entertaining folks as a singer, ooops no more singing voice, as well as the musical comedy stage in various roles, haven't done since 2001, but after relocating to S Florida and settling in which took 5 years, I now found my way back into this zany work of vent....I enjoyed all the vents of my younger years like Bergan, Winch, Wenches, Lewis and the various others I got to see origionally on Ed Sullivan's show and all the other variety and talk shows of that era, where have they all gone, possibly to PBS, HBO, ect., and the comedy stations, not quite the same, but similar, hahaha.. I am still in the learning stage and aren't we all, thats what is so wonderful about vent there is always something new and exciting comming up just around the corner, so next time to get to a corner, be careful something could be comming and run right into you. You have all these wonderful Pupper manufacturers, who are busy in the think tank every day, Like Steve Axtell and his crew, Clinton Detweiler, Conrad Hartz, just to touch the very service....So vent is still alive? Very much so and will be for many years to come...I hope.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Dan began practicing vent at the age of five.Dan has been involved in many worthwhile projects over the years, for school aged children In 1979. In 1981 Dan "friends" were honored at the Traffic Safty Council for his unending service to the children and the community. JUST FOR KIDS has won awards for his on screen service, he is the creative advisor as well as co writer for the series, the program was a health oriented series which won an Emmy for Peer Pressure.
In 1981, Dan got his own tv segment on the Wallace and Ladmo show For seven years television audiences enjoyed this children's comedy program featuring Dan and his puppets each weekday morning, his contributions included all aspects of ventriloquism and puppeteering from writing, set design, costume as well as drawing and music, from this well loved kids show loved even by the college aged kids, Dan Horn became well know throughout the southwest. Dan went on to Night Clubs, colleges, comedy clubs, cruises and conventions....A standing O was not suprising to Dan who was used to seeing that wherever he appeared. His TV credits include Showtime's Comedy Club Network, Fox's Comic Strip live, and Sunday Comics, A & E's An Evening At The Improv, VH 1's Stand-up Spotlight, CBS's Entertainment Tonight, NBC's TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, NBC's Fridays, The Vicki! Show !" (where one of Dan's characters referred to Ms. Lawrence as Oprah!), Funny Business With Charlie Chase The Penn and Teller Show. Dan not only is it the SE that loves your work you are enjoyed wherever you appear so we all want to say thank you for being you, vent wouldn't be vent without you... I know you all have a dan horn story to tell.