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. http://www.puppetsandprops.com/ Mike Brose or go see Al Stevens Pictures step by step directions http://www.alstevens.com/ventriloquism/fred.html 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.