Site Counter

View My Stats

Monday, December 29, 2008


Hi again,

Can you believe it? Tom Ladshaw went to the nearby museum and found the name of the mystery photo. I wasn't able to find it in my own search.

Your blog is pretty impressive. Some really great ventriloquists there.
I'm not looking for publicity and I am not in that category, so I am declining your offer. Very kind.

Now at eighty-five, I'm all but retired from vent, but still take an active interest in it. Just can't carry the suitcases any more. While I've downsized and sold a number of my puppets, I never will part with my Selberg and Verna Finley puppets. My very first puppet is now living in the Philippines. (a Knee Pal ) I had tears in my eyes when she did her last show here. So did some of the audience as she told them her good-bye !

My "rocking-chair project" although I'm not in a rocking chair, is writing. If you noticed my website, you'd see I have a picture/story vent book for children.

Ruth Means Tucson, AZ


Bill, (I am sorry) 'Mr. DeMar' had sent this to me to add to this blog...G-d bless his happy soul... Mr. DeMar see you in July at the conVENTion..Till then have a wonderful time, keep em laughing.

I was born at a very early age, in fact it was 6:00 am, I remember the time because I was the one who had to shut off the alarm. I only weighed ½ lb. How did you live you may ask? I sold newspapers. (thank you Robert Orben) for those opening remarks.I was a radio nut. Had my ear in the speaker all the time. Loved the Bergan and McCarthy show. All more detailed in my book, “VENTRILOQUISM and related subjects” recently republished by Tom Ladshaw.
Carved my first figure out of balsa wood. Very first vent show ever, was in a talent contest, and I won first place, Demanded by the audience, before the judges could decide. My second show was the next week-end in another contest, and I won that one too. It got into the papers and a local magician ask me to tour with his family, in the vicinity. That was at age 17. At age 20 I went into the army and was sent to Germany and spent most of my time in Special Services traveling around Germany entertaining with various shows. All of them contained someone who made it later in the civilian world, to some degree. When I got out of the service, I picked up my Marshal figure on the way home. Started to work more on a regular basis when I started working Night Clubs/strip joints. Also worked a lot of fairs with many known performers. Traveled on tour for several years with the ‘Ink Spots’ and the ‘Harmonica Rascals’, and some magic circus shows. That also had some names, like ‘Lash LaRue’. In about ’74 I was asked to tour the country doing school show assemblies, one to four a day. Fortunately I had designed my act to set up and pack up quickly. My last school tour was in ’96. I don’t miss the smoking drunks in the night clubs, but I do miss the little kids in the early grades. Always had to travel to get any work, never could get anything in my own home town. Still can’t
This is a great way to introduce you to this man's world buy his book and read it I am sure you will be glad you did... Remember go see a vent show, even if its set for children and you there to watch to learn, a great learning tool. Look over the internet there are great children's vent all across the country, find one pick it up and'll be glad you did.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Mr. Jimmy Nelson
I must say I have not had the pleasure of meeting the great J Nelson, I have been in the business of show for many long years, I have not for the past 6.5 but I must say I remember you well as the spokes person with Danny and Farfel on the 'Childrens Hour' program from NY with Ed O'Herlihey, for Nestles nestles makes the very best CHOO CO LAT, when you snapped Farfel's mouth shut. Because of the many years ago it happened I just can not remembwer what Danny said in that commerciaI, I also remember you when my parents watched the Milton Berle Show on ABC New York and you were spokes person for Texico.. We are the men from Texico, we work from Maine to Mexico...THE BIG BRIGHT TEXICO STAR...
I'd like to do a personal Bio on you and your career for my BLOG
You have probably met many ventriloquists throughout your career, you have opened or headlined many a stage and we would love to record that in our blog for prosterity. Please be so kind as to assist us with a short or medium size bio on the beginning middle and current stages of your career, you know the typical when where why who and what how old you were when you began who were you influences, your role models, where your career has taken you, who you have opened for the high lights and lows of your career thus far, and what others can do to try and get to the stages you have graced. . Hope to see you soon at the conVENTion in July. Thank you so much again
Seasons greetings to you and yours from me and mine

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson catapulted into the limelight in 1952 when he and his faithful companions, Danny O’Day and Farfel appeared weekly on Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre.” Danny is the wise-cracking kid with the soprano voice and Farfel is the floppy-eared hound dog that waxes philosophical. In 1955 Nelson became the television spokesman for Nestle’s Chocolate for ten years. Nelson now lives in Cape Coral, Florida, with wife, Betty. Their six-strong tribe of offspring are grown and scattered throughout the U.S.A. Far from being out of the public eye, Nelson still maintains a break-neck schedule. Several years ago, Society First Federal Savings Bank of Fort Myers, Florida, recruited Jimmy to do a series of television ad spots with Farfel and Danny. The campaign was a success, and he served as Assistant Vice Presidentt of Marketing/Public Relations. He recently retired from that position; however, he continues to carry a heavy personal appearance schedule. In 1988 Jimmy Nelson was inducted into the Ventriloquist Hall of Fam and joined other Hall of Famers Edgar Bergen, Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis, and Senor Wences. All of his figures were custom-made for him by Frank Marshall. Jimmy says, “I’m very proud to have known the man and to have his figures.” In July, 1998, at the International Ventriloquist Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jimmy Nelson was awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by his peers, an honor given only twice in the convention's history.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Russ was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and he found the love of the Dummy at the age of 4, he was a working student of the voice and sang in operettas as a young boy, he made his own Pinnochioand he was booked to appear on Ed Sullivans show in 1962. has appeared on all the great variety shows with some of the greatest entertainers of that era. He appeared on Hollywood Palace 5 times, and the Ed Sullivan's show...But before the big stages were available to him he had to make good on the small stages like amatuer, carnivals, the circus, bars and restaurants, side shows and Coney Island before getting any big breaks. Though he had serious emotional problems, was prone to suicide, low opinion of himself, a perfect psychiatrist couch job, but working as opening act for some of the biggest names like Liberace, Bobby Darin, Victor Borge, Jayne Mansfield, Dom DeLuise, Eartha Kitt, to name just a few, he got booked to Appear on the Dean Martin Show, Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, in Las Vegas at the Dunes, Sands, Sahara,Riviera, and in between his gigs at the hotels he opened his own schools to teach the art of acting at student work shops. He also did caberets and comedy clubs and TV, it was the variety show era and he was booked for most of them and this put him on a steadier road. He taught himself to write his own comedy, he generated smiles and laughs, made a few sheckles, Russ has been before the lights for over 60 years entertaining millions of people on 6 continents. Some of the other shows he appeared on were countless talk shows, Steve Allen Show, Joey Bishop, Mike Douglas, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, and he is still performing today.
With timing, belly laughs, music and glitz, this is a world-class stand-up ventro-comic, a comedian of imagination and scope – surely one of the best ever to cross the stage.
Russo Louis has opened for, or shared the stage with, Dean Martin, Alan King, Rowan and Martin, , Eddie Rabbit, Tammy Wynette, Pat Boone, Louis Jourdan, Victor Borge, Dale Robertson, John Davidson, Oak Ridge Boys, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Pea Picker himself Tennessee Ernie Ford, , Jim Stafford, Goolly!! Jim Nabors Mitzi Gaynor, Norm Crosby, Jerry Van Dyke, Tony Bennett didn't get a dinner Red Buttons and Anne Meara. There is just so much one could add here, its literally an entertainers who's who, you fill in the missing names.. but remember that this man is a gentleman threw and threw who puts on a fabulous show.


The greatest gifts are those of the Volunteers. The Hammer Barber people are are a goodly part of them. They found the time and the talent to donate and help raise funds for those in need. Branson went all out this past weekend to help raise $135,000 by ringing the bells on behalf of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle, Nationally there over over 25,000 bell ringers to get those small change donations. This fine organization helps serve more then 40 million people in need. Jim, the Ventriloquists across america are thankful to have you and your talent as part of that group, thank you for what you do. Those who wish to be included along with Jim go to your nearest Salvation Army Office and make it known that you also would like to be amongst those who do good things... I have done my share of raising single handedly along with my puppet friends to help raise many thousands of Dollars over the past many years for MDA, AIDS, and community fund raisers by phone... Everyone of us can do the same thing...Have a wonderful holiday and give someone you don't know the joy of the season.

Friday, December 19, 2008


The ad appeared on the last page of most every comic book I read as a kid. The cartoon graphics for all the ads looked like they were drawn by the same artist. It's very familiar to any comic book reader.
The intention of the ad is to depict the kid as a ventriloquist. It is after all a comic book ad, but that's never the way I saw it. To me the man carrying the trunk is the ventriloquist and he is performing for the kid, not the other way round.
Even as a child I instinctively knew the rules of ventriloquism. Rule #1 you can't throw your voice past the ear of the listener. Since the trunk is on the man's back and the boy in front of him it is impossible to make the man believe there is a voice coming from his trunk. However the reverse it quite easy. The man can easily pull off the effect being between the listener (the boy) and the object of mystery (the trunk).
If there is one symbol that says ventriloquism to me it is this ad. It has in some way become my life. The first time I saw it I was a little boy wanting to be a professional ventriloquist. Now looking at it I am the old man carrying around a trunk with a voice inside. My role has changed but the feeling I get looking at the piece of art will always be the same.
Learning ventriloquism at such a young age I never felt the need to send off for the 25¢ "instrument". In reality the device was a leather and cellophane "swazzle", basically a whistle fitted inside the mouth at the juncture of the teeth and gums. With the proper air current directed by the tongue the cellophane vibrates and makes a loud high pitched tone. With subtle changes in air stream and tongue position, actual notes can be crafted. Certainly it can make a great whistle sound and imitate birds but as far as helping anyone "Throw your Voice" it can not accomplish that claim. The free book on "How to Be a Ventriloquist" never once mentions the swazzle in creating a ventriloquial voice.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Yes I have many questions and lets just begin at the beginning, a very good place to start..You were born where and when,
Westminster, Maryland - Nov. 1962

Tell me about your studying vent and your practice sessions...
Started studying vent seriously in 2004 - early 2005. I'd pratice multiple times daily as recommended by the Maher Course - also rehearsed chunks of the act with figures in front of mirror and video camera. Its important to say that while I liked vent earlier - I had not practiced since I was a kid, (and then a very limited time) and had never performed it on-stage BEFORE I decided to switch my career from full time magic to full time ventriloquist.

who actually inspired you was it more magic then vent, and if so who were you burning to imulate? I believe you mentioned Paul Henning, was he the person you most wanted to be like?
As a kid, I wanted to be a professional magician. Doug Henning (not Paul) inspired me, but David Copperfield's grand illusions made me want to become an illusionist. My early magic shows were poor attempts at copying him. I look back now and cringe...

Did you incorporate the ventriloqism into the magic?
Not when I was working as a pro. I was strictly a magician/comedian.

Did you do any shows when you were in school, whether elementary middle or high school?
Yes, I started doing shows around the age of 11 for my church. I watched other magicians who were great at promoting themselves and learned their techniques, so I was able to get some newspaper articles which led to more shows. I was fairly active, performing for groups and events all through my school years.

Were you in the military and did you do magic or vent while serving the country?
Never in the military.

How young were you when you had your first performance and who was it for?
First performances for my magic were entertaining my family. My first paid show, I was 11 years old and the show was for a group at my church. Think I made $10.

When and where did you meet the Mrs. How did she get involved in your act?
I was contracted as a strolling magician at the Baltimore Fishmarket Nightclub. She was a waitress in one of the bars there. We met at after-hours hangouts and ended up getting married. At the time I was doing illusions and needed an assistant. She volunteered to help and we worked out an incredible dynamic on stage. Instead of being an assistant, she became a partner. We considered ourselves the "Sonny & Cher" of magic. The show developed to the point it was more about the comedy than the magic.

Where you traveling the circuit at this time?
I'm not really certain there are "circuits" any more. Maybe in some of the comedy clubs. No, I was working civic groups, some corporate events, festivals, fairs and the occasional cruise ship. (VERY occasional.) Back then shopping malls paid very well - but that fell out from under us in the mid-90's when they started doing Kids Clubs. At that time they started hiring less expensive acts. It was always a struggle to keep working as a magician since there was so much competition - but we did okay.

Who were some of the big names you opened for?
Country Singer Rodney Atkins, America, Chubber Checker, The Drifters (multiple times), The Diamonds, The Marvelettes and a few others that I can't remember off the top of my head. I also performed on-stage with Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo in 1990.

You see everyone has a story, but when you think of it, because its yours, you don't think its as big as you might think, but guess again my magical friend. Do you like doing kid shows, shows for adults or mixed audiences?
As a magician, I perferred working family audiences, although I also had a successful school assembly program to help balance out my weekdays. As a ventriloquist, I prefer adult audiences, but also do family audiences.

Tell me about your Vent Figures by name and what they mean to you.
I have too many figures. My main figure is Dangerous Dudley Duck, a Pavlov's Puppet. He is my "say anything" guy and because he is a duck, and cute as heck, he can get away with it. He knows what he's doing, but if he crosses a boundary, its easy for the audience to forgive him. I enjoy working with Dudley and because I do so much with him, I am most comfortable ad-libbing with him.

Deeder is my Robert McRay Basswood Bighead figure. Deeder is a country boy who swims in a very shallow gene pool. Not exactly the brightest guy, but you get the feeling that while he's good natured, you don't want to cross him.

In my shows I also use an Axtell Drawing Board. Those characters are currently working - but I have a bunch that I am playing with and hope to develop into the act. Among those are:
Rauol - A spanish monkey (Pavlov's)
Sammy - A Monster Puppet (Puppets By Cher)
K.J. - A Kem Poyner/Bill Nelson creation who is a drunk
Sin-Gin - A customized Axtell Dragon
Percival - A Pirate Poet that gets seasick
Clair-Voy-Ant - A Psychic French Ant (Pavlov's)
Maurice - A grumpy old nursing home escapee (Dan Payes)

When did you start traveling the world and with who?
I contracted my first Cruise Ship with an agent in Florida. Most of my work had been self-booked to that point and I still do most of my own contracting. The cruise opened some possibilities for international work - but because I was doing illusions and un-experienced with freighting equipment I limited that end of my business. When I switched to vent, the show became easier to transport and I started working internationally again.

How did Ken Groves come into the picture?
I met Ken Groves at a fair in Western Pennsylvania. He was working ventriloquism on one stage and I was doing comedy magic on another. He happened to be staying at the same hotel and we started talking. Because our shows overlapped, I was only able to see his first show, and he repaid the visit and came to see my last show. We liked each others acts and became friends.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Gary Koepke born in Detroit, Michigan May 9, 1957. some of his fondest memories are of Jimmy Nelson, Edgar Bergen Paul Winchell. Liking what he saw drove him to request a Jerry Mahoney figure from his parents, but the early requests were denyed. They thought it was a passing fancy to him. But that didn't stop Gary. azt the age of 8 soon seeing Bergen give some tips on how to become a vent on a tv show. So Gary made his own hand made puppet, got a book out of the library Winchell's "Ventriloquism For Fun and Profit" He watched every variety show hoping to catch glimpses of vents and their banter, especially Ed Sullivans show. And at this time his parents bought him his Danny O'Day figure from a sears catalog.

In 1969 at the age of 11, Gary found a hand-carved figure made by the late Jack Coats in a local magic shop, put a deposit down, and borrowed the money from his parents to pay off the balance. Now with the bug well implanted in him at the age of 12 off he went to Vent-O-Rama in Colon Mich. and a Magic Con as well 'Abbott's Magic Get Together, where meeting and getting good sound advice from the likes of Jack Coats, Bill Boley Howie Olsen and Paul Stadelman. In 1971-2 and 3 he won the junior vent of the year award and origionality award in 1971.

Gary was relocated to Lawrenceville, Georgia in 1974 when his father was transferred with his company. He began performing in his new high school and became friends with another student named Steve Whitmire, now of the "Muppets" fame. They performed together and learned from each other.
The summer of 1975 found Gary performing at the 'Six Flags Over Georgia' amusement park, 8 shows a day, 6 days a week. He also attended the 1st Annual Ventriloquist Convention in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky and performed during the opening evening's festivities.
In 1978 - 1979 Gary, along with Steve Whitmire, co-hosted a local children's TV show and were nominated for a state Emmy award.

In 1982, Gary was laid off from his job as a draftsman and began performing full-time doing club work with invaluable advice from Johnny Main. He continued this pursuit until 1984 when it was discovered that he was going to be a "pa-pa." He returned to working full-time, but kept his interest in vent alive on the side.
Gary has performed for the Amoco Oil Corporation, Exxon Corporation, Motown Records, Chevrolet, Burnam Van Lines Corporation, Pratt & Whitney, the US Dept. of Agriculture, and other major corporations too numerous to mention.
His main characters are Pete Brooks - a 20 year old looking for fun carved by the late Jack Coats, Roscoe Clower - a young country boy from Snellville originally made by Steve Whitmire, but redesigned and built by Verna Finley, and Paco - a Mexican parrot which is an adult sized version of Axtell's 'Burds' puppets. Also included in the figure 'arsenal' are Paul Brooks - Gary's first Coats figure which is an 8 year old boy, Sheldon - a Mary Ann Taylor turtle, Grandpa Jake - a John Arvites figure which was a door prize at the 1982 conVENTion in KY and subsequently purchased from Captain Dick, Georgie - a 19" Coats figure used for fun, Karlton - a talking glove character, and an Axtell magic drawing board which is being used to develop a variety of characters.
Gary's newest hard character is a Conrad Hartz character purchased in May of 1997 which is named R.K. Hill. R.K. is a street person, but one with a difference. He has a job to go along with his IQ of 47. He took to the streets when the premiums were raised on the benefits at his county job. However, R.K.'s always up and his philosophy of life is life's always great!
The year 1996 saw a renewed interest in performing for Gary when his daughter Amber also began performing as a ventriloquist and they attended the conVENTion in Kentucky. He and his wife Vanessa attended the 1st Ventriloquists' Convention in Las Vegas and Gary is a member of the International Ventriloquists' Association and the North American Association of Ventriloquists. He also has 3 younger children waiting in the wings who also have expressed a desire to learn ventriloquism themselves, making this truly a family affair.
Gary's other hobbies include tinkering with figure making and repair, playing guitar and writing music, magic, and administrating S.O.D. - acronym for Speaking of Dummies which is a local vent club in Georgia.


The two remaining ventriloquists with the most votes are Terry Fator and Jeff Dunham neither one is a loser, both are fabulous professional ventriloquists, and its the selection of the people who read this BLOG who selected the winner for 2008. The first winner of this award. We thank all who have participated in this election since the BLOG'S inception in July 2008, that we appreciate all who have cast their vote. 2009 will be a banner year. The voters will be selecting another vent by their peers... This award is similar to The People's Choice Award. We the people select --------as the winner of the 2008 'Vent of our Choice' Award.

For all of you who have placed your vote for Vent of our choice 2008 we applaud you..for those who haven't there is only 2 weeks left to make that selection.. Please pass this on to all who are vents and all who love the art of Vent...An award will be presented to the recipient at the 2008 conVENTion, should he be present or it will be presented in proxy, should he/she not be present. If you belong to other groups please spread the word there as well. We as vents recognize great talent and do our best to let the community know that we like them, so in doing my part with the help of all of you we take the time to vote, thank you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


At the age of 7 TY was inspired by Edgar Bergan, how did Bergen work his magic. So his parents bought him a book and he was introduced to the world of words and before long was putting on shows for his classmates. From elementary thru high school, he had the pleasure of entertaining at his school assemblies. He has been a vent for over 20 years. In 1985 he opened for Maze and the rest as we know is Ventriloqist history. TY got his break in 1994 with the Busch Gardens in his native home of Virginia. Soon he was attracting large crowds. Before long he was entertaining at schools, fairs, festivals, comedy clubs, corporations, cruise ships, family style concerts all across the country. Ty like origionality, he write his own material, who knows his characters better then he does. He looks forward to one day having his own educational show on PBS. Children need guidance and TY-Rone feels he's just the guy who could show it to them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


BURR TILLSTROM. Born October 13, 1917 creator of the puppets Kukla, 1936; Ollie, managed the puppet exhibits and marionette theater at Marshall Field and Company in Chicago, 1938; In 1939 he presented his Kuklapolitans to the NY Worlds Fair, where he exhibited the new media Television, Burt opened the door to the Puppeteers who wouldn't have had an opportunity if not for him, such as Jim Henson,Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis. Burt went on to bigger fame when he produced his own show with his Kuklapolitans which went national. During WW2 he performed with the USO as well as local hospitals and Red Cross. After meeting with Fran Allison and promissing her a 13 week gig, it turned in to 10 years. Burr was the voice of all he created which was all the puppets on his show. They were Kukla, Ollie, Beulah, Cecil Bill as well as 11 others. 1948-52 when it was picked up by NBC. In 1954 it was moved to ABC for 3 years. Has a broadway run in 1960. Made some appearances in1964-5 ' on That Was The Week That Was', In 1969 the show was brought back to life for PBS. He then hosted a CBS Children's Film Festival in the 1970s; appeared on NBC series That Was the Week that Was, 1964-65. Recipient: more than fifty entertainment awards, including five Emmys. Burr Tillstrom died in Palm Springs, California, on Dec 6th 1985. His awards for the work he performed was numerous an Emmy, a Peabody Award, nominated for a grammy, after his passing he was inducted into the Radio and Television HOF.
Thank you for posting that bit about Burr and his Kuklapolitans on your blog today. I was lucky enough to have grown up in a time when puppeteers and vents were all over television. Some like Burr are almost forgotten today. Anyone wishing to know more about Burr and his creations should visit the Unofficial Kuklapolitan Website I also have a MySpace page devoted to Burr, Fran and the Kuklapolitans.Take care,Leslie Evans,Lawrence, KS USA


Bil Baird found the love of the puppet when at the age of 8 his father made him a puppet. Baird was born 1904 in Neb., and grew up in Iowa. At the age of 14 Bil was giving his own shows in the home of his father. Bil went to a T. Sarg performance and found true love in the world of puppetry, and began greating his own puppets., making everything from soft delicate wood puppets to larger then life creations. A graduate of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, he began work with his mentor Tony Sarg in NYC at the age of 24 and by the time he was 30 he formed his own company 'Baird Marionettes' and he gave his first performance at the Chicago Worlds Fair. 1950 his Marionettes performed in the Broadway musical Flahookey, night club tours, commercials, TV specials and the rest as they say was history. He toured the world making stops in Russia, India, Afghanistan, for the US State Department, also made a permanent mark in the movie The Sound Of Music, in the GoatHerd sequence, performed in several Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades, as well as performing at several Worlds Fairs.


Peter son of legendary puppeteers Bil and Cora Baird, passed away 7/16/2004 at the age of 52 from esophageal cancer. He began his training at the age of 5 and carried on the family legacy. He worked for the family business from age 7. By the time he reached the age of 19 he attained professional status. He performed, directed, and wrote for many of the Baird productions. He toured internationally with the theatre until his father's death in 1987, when he began creating on his own. Peter played Broadway in 'Davy Jones Locker and took it on tour with his parents. He was involved in the Pinocchio in 1989 National Festical. He was involved in The Shining Time Station, he operated Grace the Bass in the shows Juke Box Puppet Band.

Peter was pivotol in the Davy Jones show and was in 100s of commercials. He was active on stage, television and films, such as "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and "Howard the Duck".

MacNider Art Museum was visited by Peter to give a show for the 150 or so who showed up when Peter brought back to life the many puppets his father created and donated to the museum. A donation to the BIL Baird Endowment fund will help keep these wonderful puppets alive for many many years to come. MacNider Art Museum In Mason City. BothBil and Peter will be surely missed. If you have memories to share please send them in so I can post them for you.
A longtime friend of Peter Baird has established the Peter Baird Endowment Fund at the MacNider Art Museum to support the care and maintenance of the treasured Baird Collection and help educate future generations of the joys of puppetry. Donations can be given in his honor to the MacNider Art Museum, 303 Second Street SE, Mason City or by calling 641-421-3666.
Peter is fondly remembered as a free, independent, and creative spirit. He will be missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him, both young and old.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Those days have not gone away, not as long as there is a ventriloquist out there doing his comedy with his pal, partner, yes you can say it D U M M Y. Oh how wonderful, those golden days of the comedy duos, like Abbott and Costello , Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, the Smothers Brothers, Nichols and May, Stiller and Meara and I am sure that you can add your favorite here. The comedy of those great kings has not completely vanished, the ventriloquist can rewrite the stuff that kings were made of to fit the routines they have for their figure and themself, yeah your right one of them isn't alive, or at least you might think not, the illusion performed by the vent, at least the better vents brings that illusion to life. Your job is to strive to be one of those better vents, yes you can be a Edgar Bergan or a Paul Winchell or pray with me, evan a Shari Lewis. But have no fear comedy lovers … there are still two person comedy acts to be found ... even if one of those persons is … well … a dummy! I’m telling you to play the straight man to a piece of wood, letting him/her get all the bigger laughs.

Ventriloquism is keeping the art of the comedy duos alive on our stages today. You will need the perfect partner, not just any figure but one that fits the requirements and looks you are searching for that fits. Not gonna be so easy, may we make a few suggestions, if you can't find him, which could be almost an impossibility, due to the fact that there are so many different types out there, well then build him/her yourself. Ok you might say how do I go about doing that Einstein? There are so many how to build books out there, but I am going to suggest some ideas. Mike Brose or go see Al Stevens Pictures step by step directions for hard figures You might also want to visit Steve Axtell's site as well for the soft puppet fancier in you.
First let me say there were some great puppet makers in the 30s-40s-50s and 60s as well as today like the McElroy Brothers, Frank Marshall, Mike Brose, Dietweiler, Payes, Axtell. I mention soft puppet makers here as well as hard because the market for the soft puppet today is just as wide open as that for the hard. Al Stevens has dedicated a large portion of his website to the making of figures and it is recommended reading for any and all wood be figure makers. I know that when I was a kid there was no such thing as a step by step directory on how to build your own figure, but that has all changed today. Today you can buy Figure parts you might need for a broken leg, arm or even repair worn paint, noses, ect. Todays puppets are mechanically able to be free standing without the vent touching the figure , but by remote control, they can make the figure move and speak from a short or long distance from it.
Remember figure making is fun, yes you might be a little frightened at first but by following all the directions available on the internet or the books available at your library or your own bookstore, will help ease the worry. Read Figure making can be fun by Mike Brose and he will walk you through the making of your character, don't worry he's safe. Enjoy go small at first wade in the water, when your learning to swim stay at the shallow end, as you get to be a better swimmer your going to go deeper and for a more lengthier swim... enjoy all the world of vent has to offer.