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Saturday, October 30, 2010


Anyone who will be celebrating the event of All Hallows share with us here what you did to celebrate thei year. Eric and I went to a fun night at a friends place and then we hit the casinos/arcades. Fun was had by all.


I was requested to inform the readers here about the McElroy figures (dummys) fan page, and that there is a fan page on face book. So anyone who wants to know all there is to know about McElroy figures, they have it there for you, at least thats what I am told.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


1. Consider the age: A figure that's appealing, words and action appropriate.


3. Preschoolers: less dialogue, more action. Older: More dialogue, action & jokes

4. A quality presentation

5. Don't talk down to your audience no matter what age

6. Sound effects, magic, songs, story-telling, riddles, knock-knock & nursery
rhymes are all appropriate for kids and they love em

7. Lots of enthusiasm really put yourself into your show, give em 110%

8. Younger children like animals and birds. Older any animals and people

9. Softer appeals to younger & family Harder to older & family

10. Keeping those vent figures alive to holds the aud interest

11. Don't put figures in childrens' faces-they get scared easily, use a soft approach

12. Keep children at a safe distance from you & the figure for control, try to have
adult supervision available

13. Use figure for discipline and maintaining order-not you, the kids respond to
the figure more readily then you

14. Not necessary to answer every question from audience during show, figure responds
Always repeat the question asked from the aud. If you try to answer all of the
questions all you will be doing is Q&A.

15. React to the unexpected such as camera flash, outside noise, ringing of phone but
don't overdo it. Some of your funniest lines can come from these ad libs

16. Be prepared for your stage and sound system, stand in front of aud, kids sit on
floor or theatre seats. If outside, stand down wind of aud for best hearing
results. Avoid the aud standing behind you, this can not always be the case.

17. The vent is the master of his show-YOU are the boss, don't let anyone tell you
how to run YOUR show

18. Be dramatic in your presentation-You are not only a vent but an actor as well,
use your acting ability at all times

19. Don't be a bully to your figure, don't put your hand over the figure's mouth
while he is struggling to breathe or free himself. Don't hit, twist or toss the
figure. Don't forcefully remove or return figure to his case. When returning
figure to case let the figure request to go back as part of your dialogue.

20. Be original and creative. Be yourself in your opening & closing of show, many
new vents have trouble writing their own material, so they borrow, try to twist
it to make it your own...

21. Upon dismissing your aud be sure to replace your vent figure to its case or
preferred location

22. But most of all, leave the aud always wanting more. Better to have your show
too short than too long...

I hope that the above 22 suggestions work wonders for you & your kids performance. If there are any questions or comments feel free to leave them with me and I'll respond to them. Until then, FUN FUN FUN!!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tony Curtis meets the real spartacus

Tony Curtis leaves us a wonderful display of his work in Movies such as the above Mentioned Spartacus as Antoninus, Captain Newman MD as Jake, The Great Race as The Great Leslie, Sweet Smell Of Success with Burt Lancaster and of course his most memorable role in Some Like It Hot with Marilyn and Jack Lemmon and the great Joe E Brown 'Well we can't all be perfect'
Tony is now making those epic films in the sky...has passed away Wednesday Sept 29th Speaking for myself Tony you sure will be missed...
Why is Tony Curtis in a Vent/Magic/Clown/Storytelling Blog, its because of is starring role in The Great Houdini, one of the greatest magicians of all times.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The death of British comedian Ray Alan recalls a lost age when ventriloquists were cosy family entertainment favourites. Today, they are more likely to be found at the cutting edge of subversive alternative comedy.

Go on, try it. Try saying something - "bottle of beer," even - without moving your lips.

Now imagine keeping 30 million TV viewers entertained at the same time.

Once ventriloquism was not just a party trick or a kitsch throwback. It was a major branch of showbusiness.

The passing of Ray Alan - a ventriloquist of rare technical accomplishment - is a reminder of how far from public favour this branch of stagecraft has fallen. With his sidekick puppet Lord Charles, Alan became a prime-time favourite in a more innocent era.

It's a sort of licensed Tourette's

Nina Conti
In the 1950s and 60s there were thought to be some 400 full-time ventriloquists working in the UK - but by the early 2000s this had dwindled to just 15, according to estimates by Professor Steven Connor of Birkbeck University.

But if the act now calls to mind working men's clubs and end-of-pier shows, or nostalgia clip show staples like Roger de Courcey (and Nookie Bear) and Terry Hall (with Lenny the Lion), its latest incarnation is very different.

Nowadays the biggest names in ventriloquism include Americans like the brash, politically incorrect Jeff Dunham and David Strassman, whose Chuck Wood puppet makes Eric Cartman from South Park sound like Larry the Lamb.

The shift in the craft's centre of gravity is symbolised by America's Got Talent winner Terry Fator, an all-round entertainer and singer whose ventriloquism act nonetheless plays with taboos surrounding race and sex.

All have achieved this by tapping into the latent weirdness of the form - let's face it, those puppets are creepy - and refashioning them with an edgy, punk rock sensibility.

One ventriloquist - or, as those in the know would put it, "vent" - who has been at the forefront of this new wave is Nina Conti, whose sweetly-spoken onstage persona is thrown into darkly comic relief by her puerile, foul-mouthed monkey puppet Monk.

Even Keith Harris has updated his act to keep up with the new ventriloquists
Now an award-winning staple of Britain's comedy clubs, Rada-trained Conti turned to ventriloquism when her acting career initially failed to take off.

Initially she dismissed the craft as a throwback to a bygone era, but quickly discovered its subversive potential - and has been working on a documentary, Her Master's Voice, which explores its subversive roots.

"It's a sort of licensed Tourette's," she says. "I'm shocked by what the puppet can get away with - things I could never say to someone in a million years.

"I started this thinking one day I wanted to give it up eventually. But then I realised that there are really no limits to what you can do with it."

Still, Conti's street credibility is far removed from the previous generation of British vents who suddenly found that their work had become unfashionable.

Usually recruited from the working men's circuit or even, if they were old enough, music hall, they suffered from television's move away from traditional variety formats.

One victim of the shift in attitudes was Keith Harris, whose partnership with Orville the duck and Cuddles the monkey had made him a major star before he was dropped from the airwaves as the 1990s dawned.

"All of a sudden we didn't get the chance to be on TV any more," he complains, still audibly bruised. "Running things you had these new, young guys from universities who thought they knew what people wanted."

Whoever was to blame, it still was a long way from the days when the act was so popular that vents like Edgar Bergen and Peter Brough could, bizarrely, deliver their routines on radio to general acceptance.

But perhaps, all along, it was the unthreatening, mainstream entertainers who were out of step with ventriloquism's traditions.

Ray Alan and Lord Charles were more subversive than their image suggested
Dr Helen Davies, a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University who has studied the subject, believes there was always a darkness to ventriloquism during its peak years, which ran from the late-19th to mid-20th Century.

"The subversive properties are all there," she says.

"It stems from this idea of mimicry and parody and the idea of the dummy talking back, as well as the inanimate becoming animate - it's all about a transgression of boundaries."

In this respect, she says, the most successful modern vents have cannily tapped into the legacy of dummy-themed horror films like 1964's Devil Doll and 1978's Magic, which starred Anthony Hopkins as a deranged ventriloquist.

And, indeed, even the most popular vents of the television variety era appeared to realise this.

Ray Alan may have presented an unthreatening, cardigan-wearing charm, but Lord Charles's drunken, lecherous persona allowed for comedy based around sex, class and alcoholism.

"I dreamed the other day that I was giving a speech at the House of Lords, and d'y'know, when I woke up, I was," ran a typical Lord Charles routine - predating the anarchic, anti-establishment puppetry of Spitting Image by decades.

And even Keith Harris - whose career apotheosis came with Orville's rendition of the sickly ballad I Wish I Could Fly - has moved with the times, offering an adults-only version of his act in which Cuddles turns the air blue.

"Maybe with the Americans coming over - they're a bit more straight-talking," he adds. "But there's nothing new in ventriloquism. The basic gags they do, like leaving the puppet onstage on its own, are ones I was doing 35 years ago.

"It's just about bringing it up to date."

Perhaps, all along, ventriloquism has been about telling the audience to talk to the hand.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


How do I deal with hecklers, particularly if they are unruly children making noise?

Every ventriloquist,storyteller, clown,balloonist and magician eventually has to deal with members of the audience disrupting the show in one way or another. Whether they are drunk, showing off, rude or amateur magicians whispering to their dates how it is done, they can throw the performer off pace.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the rest of the audience may not notice the heckler or attach as much importance to the heckling as you do. Working in night clubs, Mr. Magic has occasionally had to deal with noisy drunks, mainly by ignoring them. The interesting thing is that after the show other members of the audience told Mr. Magic they didn't even hear anyone making noise. So remember that you as a performer are much more sensitive to all this than the rest of the audience.

Let's stop for a moment and consider what a heckler does. Mainly he or she interrupts the show. Now when you're just starting out as a performer, having the show interrupted will definitely throw you off. And thus you'll try to deal with the heckler in an abrupt manner which might not work. Frankly Mr. Magic feels that if you can't ignore the heckler the next best thing is to stop the show and give the heckler some attention. With a smile. Usually these people are jerks and are uncomfortable when everyone is looking at them.

Whatever you do, don't get in a verbal duel with a heckler. If you win the audience may feel that you've somehow put them down. If you loose the audience will feel that you're not as calm and collected as they thought.

Often the audience will be more annoyed by the heckler than you are - after all they paid to get in. And they may eventually turn on the heckler in an attempt to quiet him down, thus saving you the trouble.

When the loud mouth is a child the problem is more delicate. You can't really go around telling kids to shut up since their parents will be likely to take offense. You might consider inviting the trouble maker on the stage to participate in an effect and thus getting them on your side.

However you deal with noisy audience members, keep in mind that the audience will judge you by your actions. They know the heckler is a jerk, but they don't know you and if you react in an unattractive manner they may decide there isn't much difference between you and the heckler.

Enjoy and have a great show!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I believe-
That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
I believe-
That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and, you must forgive them for that.

I believe-
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe-
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe-
That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe-
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe-
That you can keep going long after you can't.

I believe-
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe-
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe-
That regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe-
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe-That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe-
That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time!

I believe-
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe-
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe-
That just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I believe-
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe-
That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe-
That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe-
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe-
That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other, And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I believe-
That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe-
That two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe-
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe-
That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

I believe-That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe-
That the people you care about most in life are the essence of life. Tell them today how much you love them and what they mean to you.


For those of you who work with children this is a must read:
You have to watch this. I'm not giving you a choice. Watch this and marvel at the world so many of us grew up in thanks to people like Fred Rogers. Do our kids get this today? 'Mr. Rogers Defends PBS to the US Senate'

In 1969, Fred Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. His goal was to support funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to significant proposed cuts by President Nixon.

If you get a chance, check out the WQED documentary "Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor" from 2003. (they have plenty of copies in most all library systems, if you haven't seen it.) It's hosted by Michael Keaton, who got his start performing on the show, and it highlights what an amazing man he was.This clip is included, as well as his induction into the TV Hall of Fame, which is one of the most touching moments ever filmed.

--I just checked in my own (Ft Lauderdale, FL) library system, and they've got a copy of the DVD. I'll be watching it this weekend. And I'll probably get all teared up.

I work with the children in my neighborhood and thanks to Mr. Rogers he has opened many new windows, windows that would not have been opened had it not been for him. Watch this tape for memories of a time that was taken away from us once Mr. Rogers began sharing his magic world with the angels. Many of Mr. Rogers ideals have been incorporated into what I try to teach the kids in storytime I do with the children.

Also go to youtube and watch what it has to offer...

Please after reading this, go directly to your own library and request a copy The Mr. Rogers Doc.'America's Favorite Neighbor'aired on WQED...Please share with us here what you havegotten from this documentary I know others would want to hear it as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


For those friends of mine who aren't vents who might be clowns, story tellers, magicians or a ballonie toon artist and you have a club in your area being part of the club has benefitted you in what way.
Jerry N' Jenny Bell I'm a vent, but I joined a local clown club. I was going along with them to some of their shows already so they asked me to join. It gets me into venues I wouldn't be aware of otherwise, and I am able to try out new stuff on them first and get their critique. Our meetings are held once a month.
you forgot to tell me where and when its held how many members and some information to post if they have a business card or post card to add to the blog i will add it as well
Jerry N' Jenny Bell It's held the second Wednesday of every month at the Wellness House here in Yakima. As far as I know, they have no cards. Everything they do is by word of mouth. There are about 12 total memebers, but not all show up for the meetings or for every event.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


During a conversation I recently had with Dirk Golden, “The Strolling Ventriloquist”, we talked about how he got involved in a dream of his. Dirk, considered one of the better strolling ventriloquists, hails from California.

Dirk was a fan like most of us old enough to remember Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show ‘Winchell Mahoney Time’. He watched the show with his cousin Larry, who owned a Jerry Mahoney Doll, made by JURO, to help him with his speech impediment. Dirk got his inspiration while working with his cousin. He got the ‘VentBug’ and he wanted to learn more on how to do ventriloquism. He bought his first figure for $11.95 from the Sears catalog. However, due to a Truck Drivers strike at that time, Dirk had to wait for his new friend to arrive.

Dirk was 11 years of age, and in the 5th grade, when he found his love for ventriloquism blooming with his Danny O’Day doll. He tried out for his 5th grade talent show and was surprised that he actually got in. He used to walk around the neighborhood and entertain the people on his block.

At age 12, Dirk saved up some money, and for $21.50 at Toy World, he bought his first hollow body figure, a JURO Danny O’Day that he named Dennis. It had a counter weighted mouth. Dirk remembers how he had to pull the string to close the mouth and not the other way around! He went out in public with his figure just to practice and noticed that people were fascinated by it. Occasionally he would go door-to-door in his neighborhood putting on 5-minute shows just for practice. The neighbors loved it!

As Dirk entered his high school years, he was still practicing his vent work. He even won the High School talent show his jr. year. Dirk liked the attention that he got with his ventriloquism. About this time he realized he wanted to have a pro figure, so he bought a figure from Story Teller Studios. He saw one he really liked, which came without the slotted jaw. This was back in the early 70’s, the price for this figure back then was about $260. It was his first Craig Lovik figure. This was before Lovik was associated with Maher Studios.

Dirk said that back in the early to mid 70’s,The Hollywood Magic Shop, on Hollywood Boulevard, would stock a few of these figures. He informed me of something I was not aware of, that my figure from Maher Studios, who I have finally come to call Chipper, after various changes from JC to CJ to Joey, that he was a converted Howdy Doody, which sort of makes me happy in a way, because when I was the ripe old age of 6 I was a member of the Peanut Gallery (the children’s audience) on the Howdy Doody Show.

For 30 minutes, Dirk and I went off on a tangent talking about Chipper. When we went back to his story, Dirk did not miss a beat, right where we left off. Without a cue, Dirk picked up on his world of ventriloquism.

Dirk bought his first Pro figure back in 1973, and he said he has owned about 4 or 5 Lovik figures altogether over the years. Dirk shared with me that he still has a box in his garage, that’s loaded with his ventriloquist memories of the past 30 years.

In 1979, Dirk upgraded to a basswood, it was a Chester Figure from Lovik Maher catalog. Dirk named that figure Joey and worked with it for 20 years !

Right out of High School he began working at Disneyland, his life-long dream since he was 11 or 12. Some friends at his High School got jobs at Disneyland, and Dirk followed suite, applied, and got accepted in March of 1977 as a ride operator. He used to work the Sky Way Ride, Through the Matterhorn. The reason why he did that first was because he wanted to get his foot in the door and audition to become a Disney Character. In May that same year, he went for the character audition and was surprised he made the cut, he felt he was so blessed that he was going to be a World Famous Disney Character! Well, he got the job and worked for Disney 14 ½ years. When he was hired back in 1977 he made about $2.50/hour. How he made it on that small salary he didn’t know, but he loved the FUN of the job he was doing. During his stay at Disney, he did everything from In Park Characters to Launching & Catching Tinker Bell for the fireworks. When he left in 1991 he was making a little over $12/hour. During his stay at Disney he married his first wife Lorraine, in 1980. Sadly, was divorced about 10 years later.

After working for Disney he changed careers and got into the Health Care Industry, working for Kaiser Permanente, where he is still working today. In May 1999, Dirk married for a second time to his current wife, Rita Marie. They have four adult sons.

About two years after Rita and Dirk got married he was looking for a way to make some extra money. So, he retrained himself back into ventriloquism. However, he needed some better equipment. His figure, Joey, was already old, 20 years, still worked just fine. Dirk bought his figure Joey from the Lovik catalog for a little over $500, and sold him for between $700-$800 on ebay, Ventriloquist Bob Carroll bought it. Dirk wanted a Selberg figure but couldn’t afford it at that time so he bought a Kem Poyner figure, a Virgil, named it George, but for Dirk’s type of Strolling Ventriloquism, the figure was nice, but a little too heavy.

Getting back to Dirk’s days at Disney, he did work as the Ventriloquist with the Dog puppet at the Golden Horseshoe Review, Dirk would fill in for Jim Adams, who was the full time Ventriloquist there.

Anyways, so now Dirk needed a replacement figure, so he and a Sammy figure, from Selberg, he named it “Charlie”. While on his way to Las Vegas, Dirk made a stop at Victorville to see his friend Jim Adams, who told Dirk that he needed to add more characters. So Jim introduced Dirk to Steve Axtell’s Puppet characters. Dirks first two Axtell characters were Reginald the RAT, and the Old Storyteller, Clarence.

So, for the last 5 or 6 years, Dirk has been back into ventriloquism and seriously working it. He feels that if you like your puppet characters, your audience will like them too. If you move your mouth just a little, the crowd will overlook it because they build a relationship with your character. Dirk went from Charlie to Stanley, also a Selberg, because he was doing more kids shows and needed a figure that was a little more kid sized. His latest additions to his family of puppet characters are Rocko the Mafioso Bulldog, and Link the Chimp, both from Axtell. Dirk is having Tim Selberg create a new figure for him, a Rupert, and he’s looking to add the hang on monster from Axtell.

He feels that the Vent Haven convention is a treasure of vital information that one needs to move forward as a ventriloquist. He enjoys doing strolling ventriloquism at carnivals, grand openings, fairs, and churches. If you are ever in California e mail Dirk who you can find on face book for his schedule of appearances he always welcomes his friends and fans.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Steve and Faith Treague have a love for children. That is why both of them became teachers. Being teachers allowed the Treagues to develop a summer ministry of Reaching the Children or RTC. (See Living Stones News – Sept. 2006). In 1990 BURNNIE the Bunnie® made his debut.
Burnnie’s character was developed and born in 1990. Steve Treague said, “His personality grew as we presented him before live audiences and received feedback from children. They loved him. He’s a friendly kind of guy with a bit of an edge. He just says is like it is; or at least how he thinks it is.”

That is what gives Burnnie a life like and realistic personality. Burnnie teaches others as he learns from his own mistakes.

BURNNIE the Bunnie® has received two media awards. The Treagues were awarded a CINDY (Cinema in Industry) Award for “Burnnie Goes To The Hospital”, a video to help relieve a child’s fear of the hospital. For their radio program of BURNNIE the Bunnie®, they received the Covenant Award in 1997 which is a national award given for excellence in Christian media. Also winning the award that same year were James Dobson and VeggieTales.

Treague said, “After the first TV show in 1990, we went into radio. Many listeners thought the radio show would make a great TV series, but with teaching and live performance opportunities, we never even gave going back into television production another thought.”

When Steve left the teaching profession, the Treagues were left wondering what God had in store for them. It didn’t take long to realize that God had a plan for the Treagues. One that would require the Treagues to let God take the reigns and work out many of the details that seemed overwhelming. This road led Steve Treague into full-time ministry.

Treague said, “We felt God’s leading to produce what is now known as ‘BURNNIE: Tails from the LIGHT Side.’” After a year of discussion and raising financial support, we had the ingredients needed to begin the series. We now have the first program completed and are moving forward to being on the air in September. God is leading the project in a big way!”

You may wonder exactly what it takes to film a show and prepare it for television. The Treagues needed $80,000 to start production on the show. This money was used to purchase HD (high definition) cameras, sound, lighting and other necessary elements for producing a television show.

Each show is 30 minutes in length and is aired on a weekly basis as a series to over 250,000 viewers. It is seen in the United States on Direct and Dish TV. The United Kingdom airs the show on the UCB network which also reaches Australia and the Netherlands. The program is viewed in Jamaica on the FFTV Network.

The Treagues are targeting children ages 5 years to fifth grade with each episode. Treague said that the purpose is to help these children to know the Savior and make Him known to others.
This is where Burnnie steps in and comes to life on the screen. Treague said, “Burnnie tries his best to live his life pleasing to the Lord. But he makes mistakes along the way. Each program focuses on a specific Christian character concept which children are encouraged to develop in their own lives.”

“In addition to each story’s plot, conflict and ultimate conclusion, we have another very unique component to reach children with God’s message,” said Treague. “The character of BURNNIE the Bunnie® works at the TREGGLLUSIONS Shop where interesting puzzles, games, toys and tricks are demonstrated and sold. Each of these colorful and visual object lessons is presented with a gospel message.”

Treague said, “Live actors are used with BURNNIE the Bunnie® being the only puppet character in the entire series. Having only one puppet, along with Burnnie’s mischievous personality, helps to create a presentation at a fifth grade level and beyond, still maintaining the interest of a younger child.”

Each live filming has a need for about 150 extras to fill the auditorium for the TREGGLLUSIONS Show. Treague said, “It is necessary to call ahead (605) 988-4140 to be an extra in the audience for this segment. Individuals, families and groups are welcome. Be prepared to show excitement, clap loud, laugh a lot and share in the purpose to help spread God’s Word to children locally and world wide through this television outreach.”

Treague spent months adapting his 36 radio scripts into a format for television. He has additional titles in development, too. Treague is set up to film two shows each month. “We’ll need actors, extras, boom microphone handlers, assistant directors for various locations, make-up assistants, set-up and take-down helpers, lighting assistants and more,” Treague said. “This is a large production project with four to six set locations.” He also adds that they are always looking for more people to get involved with this exciting project.

Treague said, “Each location involves set-up, filming, and take down. For example, we filmed a segment which will take up six minutes of the program. We began setup at 12:30 and were finished filming by 5:00. It took four and one half hours to film this six minute piece of the 30 minute show.” This doesn’t include the additional time needed to edit and prepare for the final product to be complete.

Monday, March 22, 2010


If you have a hard figure that wears a turtle neck' s a way to keep the turtle neck part looking good. Men's dress shirts come with a strip of clear plastic to make the collars stand up. Take this strip out and take a box cutter and trim off down one side as needed to fit under your turtle neck collar. Figure out the proper diameter measurement of the collar and trim again leaving an inch or so. Get clear tape and fasten the ends to the diameter of the turtle neck collar and slip under same. You will now have a collar that stands up nice and firm and will probably give you some head turning room to boot.


Before you give a program on bully study what bullying to children is all about,name calling is one great example so instead of discussing what someone might be called you might want to use your figure and call him anyone of these names, watch as his feelings get hurt, and go into a skit as to how someone can turn that name calling around and appologize for his action... TERMITE SNACK, BOBBLE HEAD, FIRE STARTER
RUMMY DUMMY, PILE OF PLYWOOD, WOOD PILE, HOLLOW HEAD, TOOTH PICK FUTURES. NO BRAINER. Verbal abuse is very hurtful not just for children but adults as well. With adults its just a little more difficult to back away, because this has been going on for a much longer time then it has with children. The above names are what a heckler might call on figure or infact being called himself and is using the figure as his escape.
You can use slurs in reverse as well, when the figure is being called by a name he in turn can vent out and say, AIR HEAD, SPACE CADET,WHOSE PULLING YOUR STRINGS, ARE YOU MAKING HIM SAY THAT, LIP FLAPPER.

Know your character, is it an animal, what type how would he respond to this bullying, a goat would say i'll butt in whenever and where ever, A dog might say life being too ruff for you...

Kem Poyner Is Back

Kem Poyner is back on line with a new website I know that most of the readers would love to go see it as well as his new figures just go to


The Top teeth lightly touching the bottom lip method is based on a nice smile. When you smile you automatically assume this position.
A soft smile will do it. Then you're set for the mouth position. Even if you have
to frown at the figure you can frown with your eyebrows and still
have the slight smile on your face. For a title I have called
this mouth position, This is the smile position it allows good arch positions for the tongue to contact the roof of the mouth and all. Plus it gives you a pleasant rather then a stone face look.

It seems as though this method will stop clinching and might just be easier to to the hard letters.

Learning to adjust from a smile position to a neutral.non-smile and back again without moving your lips adds to the reality of two different personalities on stage. With practice you can achieved this very nicely.

The tongue can be arched back in the mouth and move more freely than the other two positions. All this discussion means one thing elaborate more on mouth positions that writers in the past. They usually dedicated It is important to study mouth and tongue position and work on your labials with this mouth position. With this position one doesn't need to worry if his/her lips are moving 15 to 20 minutes into the act.

I have always been disappointed in most vent books that say, "Open
your mouth approx. 1/4" keep your jaw still when speaking for the
figure. Then, they go on with volumes on the drone sound, etc. etc.
Well, I'd like to offer you my opinions on three more positions so you
can try each according to your teeth and mouth physics and then decide
which(if) one may be better than the one above for you:

1) Top teeth lightly touching bottom lip. I currently use and like
this position. It allows enough air flow and locks both your lips and
jaw in one position. Also allows a pleasant smile.

2) Teeth lightly touching. This is good for close-ups. There is a
lower air flow though. Also, some words sound slurred a bit when

3) Canine position. This is where your third teeth from dead cent
touch each other on one side of your mouth to lock your jaw. This one
allows lots of air flow, but kinda make your smile a bit skewed to one

Try all three in addition to the "open your mouth 1/4" one. Again, I
use and like number one above.


I must admit due to my love for the yourger person who roams this globe with us I needed to let you read a story by a puppeteer who has put the hammer squarely on the her story and see for yourself.

Let me introduce to you my first puppet. It will explain some of what you read below as to how I came up with his name, his voice and his personality.

His name is Herman. He is a hot pink furry monster similar to the construction of Cookie Monster. He is a three handed puppet - his mouth and both of his hands can be worked by the puppeteer. If only one person is operating the puppet (which is most of the time), then only his mouth and his right hand are used. The right hand is used so that the puppet can shake hands. If two people are working the puppet then one person works the mouth and the other person works the hands (that makes clapping easier). Herman is now 33 years old and he still can't count past three (he only has three fingers on each hand).

I had never made a puppet or worked with a puppet before, so I had no idea where to begin to determine his voice. I tried several voice types such as a high pitched female voice, a medium voice, a fast talking voice, a soft / shy voice and I finally settled on a male voice. The main reason I selected the male voice is because I wanted a voice that was not at all like my voice. I decided that no one would be able to tell it was me doing the puppet since I would be behind a curtain and it would be a deep male voice totally unlike my own voice. Also, I would feel less nervous when performing if no one could figure out that it was me.

I continued to work on Herman's voice until it became more natural to do a male voice. Sometimes I would even practice doing his voice without him on my hands (mostly when I was alone or with other pupeteers). That helped me to make his voice more natural to me and less like a stranger. How long that process takes depends entirely on how much time you have available and how quickly you determine what voice works best for you. It can vary significantly for each individual. I do not remember how long it took for me to get comfortable with Herman's voice. It just seemed that one day I realized that his voice was as comfortable as my own.

Since I was still a little nervous performing with a puppet I decided to add another feature to his voice. Herman now had a voice of a distinctively less intelligent type. When he introduced himself to others, he usually couldn't even remember his own name without some help. He also said "duh" a lot and had a totally ridiculous laugh. That helped my nerves a lot and made him very popular with kids. I also changed Herman's introduction of himself so that he added that he could count to three. He was so proud that he could count so high. He always laughed after he had introduced himself and after he had counted to three. The kids really liked it because they could usually count higher, so they began to teach him the next few numbers. When that started, my nerves melted away. I knew then that Herman had become real to the kids. And that is the goal of finding the perfect voice.

Since then I have added 14 more voices and personalities. I have a grandma, a little girl, a fast talking male puppet who looks somewhat like a human, but he is blue with long gloves for his hands (his name is Big Blue), a squeaky mouse, an intelligent worm named BW (book worm) and many more. Sometimes I can pull a personality out that I never knew I had and do a show that is a hit with kids and adults.

To me, puppeteering is a gift from God that has helped me and helped many kids get thru some tough times. My puppets have gone to the MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston, and brought joy to many kids who were stuggling with some of life's most difficult diseases. The show I did there was a total flop. The reason: most of the kids were from other countries so they didn't speak English, and I didn't speak their language either. But when I let them work the puppets and do their own shows, their faces lit up like Christmas trees. My most popular puppet there was my unfinished (or so I thought he was unfinished) bald human puppet. He was so popular because most of the kids there were bald. That puppet made them feel welcomed and without embarrassement. There were so many kids that wanted to use that puppet that we had to set up a line and limit how much time each kid could use the puppet. That puppet show had nothing to do with my performance, and everything to do with entertainment. And, for a short time those kids were able to forget where they were and why they were there, and just enjoy being a kid.

Nothing is more motivating than that.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share. As you can tell I love talking about puppets.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Walking around the town March 20 2010, 5:59 PM

I find that actually walking from place to place works for me...its gives me new ideas and I bring the mountain to the people instead of the people going to the mountain, but either way works great...while at a fair you might find new ideas to talk about while moving about, a booth that draws your interest might be a great topic to discuss with your listeners as well as another new face to talk to, as you are walking about talk to the people just a bout anything that comes to your mind, maybe your talking to children eating a water mellon or a baker baking his loaf, all is good, but you have to learn to be quick witted, if you want your walk around to be funny, but if you have a message to share like how come you've come to the fair today, nothing better to do, did the wife throw you out, itsa a beautiful day today glad you've come out to join us here today, do you come here often...make sure your telling your friends about this fair, we need more bodies...ect.
So if you wish to stay in one place and have the people come to you or move around which I prefer is up to you, as for portable mics all the above work well,with 6 amps I just have one problem with them, my belly is too large for the belt, can anyone out there recommend something, don't be cruel!! I just wanted to add my nickel, but whatever you do as a walk around have fun because walk arounds are just that is anyone form of Vent.


Another way to get known is in your walk around, if you do walk arounds you can carry business cards and flyers you might want to have a pouch belt that holds your flyers or business cards and if someone approaches you with a nice compliment you could then hand one of those items to them with a smile and a thank you and "I hope to see you again real soon"...


In responce to Al Stevens on Manipulation of your figure... I generally don't add my views here at this site I am more of a reader but thought that this would be helpful
The best way to manipulate a figure is to look at the person sitting next to you when your speaking to them how they move do they scratch their head turn their head from side to side, looks up towards the ceiling or any other direction while speaking to the person shy and can't look at you, is he naughty as you speak and becomes rude and turns away or might even laugh as you speak, finding what your saying as funny, if your figures doesn't have blinkers you can put the figures hands to its eyes scratch its jaw or any other place that may have an itch, rub its brow or eyebrow for that matter place its hand through its hair, don't be ashamed put its hand near its nose as to pick it, its all good, there are 1001 other movements when talking to a child a child can not sit still long even when being scolded he /she is jittery, swinging their feet, looking almost everywhere but at you, it could be deep in thought and thats when he is stearing out into space and you can use the phrase earth to figure come back, which will startle the figure and return it to you which could cause it to shake...I could go on and on but remember that there are times when your figure like a human can stare out into space...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pete Michaels Wants to Invite all of you

Pete Michaels sent a message to the members of Pete Michaels Fan Club.

Subject: Thursday, Feb. 25: LIVE at Uncle Vinnie's!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be performing Thursday, Feb. 25th at
Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club at The Lane Theater on New Dorp Lane, Staten Island,

Yes, my Home Town! I actually used to go to see movies at the Lane back in the
day, so this is a special place for me.

Come on out and see why I was voted one of the BEST Comedian-Ventriloquists in
the country!

I promise you a fantastic show!

Reserve your tickets NOW by calling: 1-877-UNCLE VIN

Or visit the website:;

Sunday, February 14, 2010


My name is Matt B. I am 15 years old and recently joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians. I have an idea for a big stage illusion and I need to see whether or not it is my own original idea. imagine this: A lady vanishes with nothing on stage but the sheet that covers her. It doesn't just cover her being held in front of her, rather, it is draped over her. as soon as the magician pulls the cloth down. the lady is GONE!...this illusion is inspired by the workings of some other illusions, however, I want to know if I have combined these illusion principles to mae something new. I know that I am 15, and as such, I do not have exstensive knowledge about stage illusions, so any help I could get in finding out more about this would be highly appreciated. If you wish to help me, please email me at so I can email you more about it. Thanks again for your time and help!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Your doing a wonderful job your opening of the olympics was worth staying up late to watch..who has stuff they want to add to this message?

Friday, February 12, 2010


vist there website
What is "NBTV" you ask? Well, "NBTV" is a series of Live-Stage Shows that are available to be performed anywhere in the world. It's also a pending comedy Television series that will soon be on-the-air in the United States and Overseas. "NBTV" also includes a service of using the NB Puppets to help advertise and promote a business' products and services in television or internet commercials.

Take some time and visit our site. If you're interested in booking one of our shows, check out our Live-Stage Shows page. If you're in the market for help in advertising your products and services, check out our TV-Internet Spots page. If you're looking for a brand new comedy show for your audience, or if you just want to laugh, check out our "NBTV" TV series page. And for Press Information, Schedules and how to Contact us, check out those pages as well.

It is our fondest desire to satisfy our clients and the public, and if we can be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to contact us. Also, if you have attended one of our shows and would like to leave a comment, or if you'd just like to say hello to us, please click here for our comments page.

To learn more about the business of Natural Bridges Puppet Production Company, visit our website at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Steve Axtell Has A Wonderful Guest

Terry Fator's special forum area will be here..
AX will be bringing to his forum Terry Fator, for a question and answer delight, Terry has millions of followers all over the world...this blog has many readers around the world and my job is to inform you of anything that is happening within the vent, puppetry, clowning, storytelling world...your job is to send the stories so that you can share then through this blog...
So you can either google axtell or go directly there through my link you will find on left margin of page or by typing into the search bar on left margin axtell no matter how you do it have your questions ready for Terry and go to axtell this coming tuesday, wednesday and thursday...I am sure you will be in for a great time.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


A portion of this piece came from Austin, TX newspaper The Statesman....with additional information entered by yours truly Jungle Jay aka N Jay
Mr. and Mrs. Puppet Keep a shrine to to bygone days in a memorabilia way, such as I, you writer, but must admit his collection has me outdone by a long shot. He has ventriloquist dummies, marionettes, Beatles memorabilia which has been added to the collection by his wife's passion, which Bob has adopted as well. Bobs big hero was the famous Soupy Sales, who took more pies in his face then anyone else ever did.There are magazines with the famous on its cover memories of Happy Days, Sesame Street and the Muppet show, which he keeps out in the open for his guests to see. He has welcome Back Kotter and the 3 Stooges on the second floor. There are three 3 rooms off limits to the memories-the kitchen, not mine, the bedroom, not mine, and the living room again not mine, I keep memories in every room...its just what I like to do, but this is not about me. Mr. Puppet is also a huge Banana Splits collector, I have one item from this memory.

Mr.Puppets is Austin Texas' only full time Ventriloquist, he loves those corny one liners,which comes from the stages of vaudeville, to the radio days and back full cycle to the vaudeville days of television,with stops at the Borscht Belt in the Catskills, guess that's why he loves the art. I keep those same memories.
Mr. Puppet once said ' you want to know why vaudeville died, watch my show...I must state for the records I whole heatedly disagree...Mr. Puppets show is wonderful, make sure if you can to catch it.
Mr. Puppet said the reason for his making people laugh at school programs, lodges, clubs, day care centers and corporate functions is because he never had a childhood. Now on the other hand the reason I do the same is because I have the Peter Pan syndrome "I'll never grow up, I'm a toys are us kid"

A little history about Bob, OK yeah there is also something about me as well... he was born some 50 years ago raised as one of four children,in the area of Fairfield, NJ, which is near Paterson, the birth place of Lou Costello I was born 62 years ago in Brooklyn, NY as one of 4 children, I was able to view all those classic TV shows ( had the pleasure of being part of 2 of them, Howdy Doody Show and Lets Have Fun, Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoneys Show) as a first run live show, not a lets go to the video tape rerun. Another thing in common that we both have is not a pleasant on ..there are few pictures remaining of my childhood, but I guess if i searched hard enough I might be able to find more then I thought. Abdou says few pictures exist of him as a child. His mother was busy working as the secretary to the board chairman of a chemical company, my mom was a sec to senior supervisor for the Welfare Department his father a "professional alcoholic, my dad owned a dry cleaning business". Birthdays came as a once in a while pleasure for me, my friends were few but they were friends, my best friend was the happy children shows I was able to watch on TV, Bob didn't have birthday parties, except the time when he was turning 13 and his mom and his step dad said he could invite anybody, so he invited his whole class from school. And one kid showed up. They spent the whole party putting together the airplane his guest had given him. Its amazing not having many birthday party's but now helping other kids have a happy one themselves. "I was devastated," Abdou says. "And now I'm in the birthday party business."
BUT there was one other birthday of note, when he was about 11, when his aunt and uncle gave him a Danny O'Day dummy. That was the seed of Mr. Puppet, although it wouldn't sprout for some time. My first puppet came from a family who is a mystery, but it was a Jerry Mahoney toy, with a string, of which I played with everyday till the string broke.. As a child growing up I has a passion of collecting whether it was sports/non sports cards-from the 50s and 60s my collection stood taller then me and piled up against the wall, hundreds, maybe thousands...magazines of all types from show biz, sports and comic books. One day after comming home from school I went to go get some cards to flip with a friend, one of the few I had and the cards were missing, when going to mom to find out what happened to them she told me she thought they were getting out of control and tossed them, I didn't get over that insodent for sometime. That maybe why later in years I went into the sports collectible/comic book dealer business. At her home in Fort Myers, Fla., Phoebe Abrams, Abdou's mother, makes it politely clear that she doesn't like to dwell in the past, that things weren't perfect but she loves her children then and now as do all good and imperfect parents. I wasn't into sports like most of the boys in the neighborhood, but i did assist as a coach,or gopher or what ever so i could be involved. I did have a baseball glove and ball myolder brother brought back on his leave from the service on his leave. "Robbie loved baseball and his mother loved to play catch with him," she says. "He didn't have a father figure growing up. He did not have it easy. We had no money. He never grew up hungry or without clothing but he never had some of the things other children had. We never went on vacation."

I need to make people smile or laugh I find that very important in a childs life.
"He IS making up for that," Phoebe Abrams says. "And he's giving everyone that sees him some sort of smile."

When I got to be college age there wasn't money left for me to go due to the fact that my two older siblings were doing that. When it was my turn, not enough money to send three, so I struck out to the work aday world, making money in one job or another, but never staying long enough in one to make a career out of it, and my desires were still in the world of show business of one form or another..I sang since 1st grade in the school choirs till graduation..I was the only one in the graduating class to receive a sheeps skin for 13 years of continued membership in the school choirs, as well as staged programs. After leaving school I joined the local productions of the musical stage. I got married in 1970 had two children and decided not to keep the secret any longer and we agreed it was best for both of us to be open and honest so we devorced.
By 1986 Bob was married, going to Braves games, running a printing business that was "too successful" and, eventually, volunteering weekends at the Center for Puppetry Arts Museum, which is where, as much as any place, he learned the craft — "the art of everything," as he puts it. He ordered a real dummy, not a toy one, of himself and "when I opened the box a beam of light shot out and I heard angels sing," he says. "I became one of those guys who took their dummy everywhere. I took it on sales calls. If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy."

My love for ventriloquism came back to me in a later part of my life, in fact as of this writing I am still considered a newbie and I feel the same, there is so much to learn about vent..I go to the puttery guild as a member as well as attend many vent and puppet functions. I am a grad of the Maher Basic home study, Steve Taylors course, Paul Winchells home study and just so many others.

You know tragedy is comedy turned on its head, most people have their share of the tragic monster, I have been bit a few times through out my life.

Bob abdou had been hit more then he wants to remember...By 1997 he was divorced, bankrupt and about to apply for food stamps. But he hadn't lost his sense of humor. He commemorated his divorce with a Mediterranean feast for friends,and topped it off with the grilling of his ex's wedding dress.

By then he'd also become Mr. Puppet. Chuck Field, a mentor from Chicago whom he'd gotten to know at the annual VentHaven convention for ventriloquists told him that printing was keeping him from doing what he really loved. He pored over joke books, wrote his own material as well as culling jokes from the history books of jokes..remember that jokes may be old but to someone who never heard them before they become new again.
I an proud to say that I am an aquaintence of Bob Abdou's throught the world of vent, meetingf him at VH Con 2009 and hopefully again 2010.

For those of you who know Bob please leave a few thoughts to be posted or those who were at one of his performances and want to share I know he would love to see it......

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It was good chatting with you. Sorry my typing was slow I also had someone else
chatting. Not that I would be typing much faster if you were the only one. Im
glad we chatted becasue there arent any vents located in my area. Do you make
gag files to keep your jokes in or just do scripts? Im looking for ideas to help
me organize. I have index cards broken into topics and working on adding them
into my computer but wonder what other vents or even comedians do. Alot of the
kids jokes I get from the tons of joke books I have read. Of course I may find 3
funny jokes per book. My kids are co-workers are my guinia pig. I never let them
know I am telling a joke when I start the story but after it gets ridiculous
they finally figure out I am trying a new gag on them. The book "Complete
Idiots Guide to Comedy Writing" has helped me write alot of funny original gags
but most of them are geared for the teenage or older crowd not kids. Here is one
of my favorites that I sometimes do in mixed crowds. The older kids laugh
becasuse they get it the younger ones laugh too but not sure why. This is for my
figure Tim.
TIM: Man its hot here in Fort Lauderdale.
VENT: Sure is.
TIM: It so hot I saw a squirrel swimming in Mills pond the on the way here. Did
you know they swim on their back?
VENT: Squirrels swim on their back? Why would they do that.
TIM: Because they dont want to get their nuts wet.

Well my 12 year old thinks its hilarious. What do you think? Be honest should I
save it for the 12 year olds who like fart jokes or is it adult worthy too?

Take Care,

Anyone who can help casey please post your ideas and i will make them visable


Ok where to start. I was mainly influenced by Jim Henson. I watched Sesame Street and the Muppets. My favorite was Kermit. I loved the monsters too. I was also influenced by Star Wars, Star Trek, Mr. Rogers, Lambchop , Captain Kangeroo and Sid and Marty Kroft . I started making things since I can remember. My Mom and Grandmother both sewed. I learned from them how to make creatures out of cloth. My first creation was a noseless purple Teddy Bear I called a " Jacob". Then I started making monsters because of the Sci Fi influence of Star Wars and Star Trek. I used coat liners. Coat hangers rags and anything I could get my hands on. I made up stories and I even learned to draw from a dream that was an answer to a prayer. I made costumes etc also. After I got saved I lost interest in scary monsters. I started making puppets once my two daughters where born. I was into Civil War reenacting for a while. I got out of it due to the expense. My oldest daughter was learning Civil War era in school. I made a puppet of a Confederate Soldier to help teach Civil War life. It went over well so I made a Sleestack puppet to use to teach Natural History . That went over real good. Then in church My wife and I did Childrens Church. I made several puppets for that. We started our own church and I did puppets there. It got to hard to maintain a church in "The City of Churches" so we joined a nice big church. Now I am ready again to do puppet ministry with the hopes in one day starting my own Christian Muppet Show. I am still making puppets out of old clothes. I discovered Youtube and started learning various techniques. I found PuppetsnStuff on the web and got advise from there and friends on Facebook. I am learning how to do puppets the right way. Since I have discovered better ways and gotten great advise from awesome puppeteers all around the world I have made 23 puppets and learned how to use foam. Foam really adds to the look and function of the puppets. I went back and remodeled my older puppets. The internet is an awesome resource! I have found that Puppeteers are a wonderful, kind, helpful group of people that I am thrilled to be part of! I have learned alot of tricks of the trade such as making puppets with moving eyebrows etc. all thanks to the wonderful resources of the internet and great puppeteers willing to share the information. So thanks guys!
A returned message from Bludolph:
Thanks I viewed it everything looks good. could you add this to it I just want people to know they can go to to view more of my artwork and that I have videos on Youtube under BludolphDolph. Thanks.

Friday, January 1, 2010


And now I will reveal who the readers of this blog have chosen as their choice for the 2009 Peoples choce for vent of the year For retired vent....he has made us laugh for many years in many commercials on various variety shows and has graced many stages all around the world, we are honored to present this years retired nomination to Jimmy Nelson...

The active vent chosen by the readers of this blog has performed for many years,he is still performing in his award winning staged show on broadway The Two and Only, he was one of the stars on tv's comedy sitcom SOAP and we are sure to see much more of this talent for many years to come...The people have chose Jay Johnson as their choice for 2009....

We do not want to forget the other ventriloquists who were chosen at the beginning of last year by the readers who have already chosen this years nominees to be posted soon. If you wish to add your favorite vent please send an E mail to me at I will glad to ad them...

Thank you to those who have participated...


Mike is no longer going to sell parts from his cast dummy parts heads hands feet body and eyes. The last day that you could have placed an order was yesterday 12/31/2009 read more about it on his website... www.puppets and puppetparts
He wisheds to send his many thanks to those who have supported him and his company
His finished figure business is keeping him very busy with little or no time for anything else, he regrets the decision he had to make but yet it had to be, if he wants to do justice to the finished figures he so much wants to excell with. Mike we thank you for being a very integril part of this business, we all appreciate your service.
Well I must say that it surely will be missed, but look forward to what the future will bring from Mike hurray!! hurray!!! hurray!!!!


An old one has gone by into the history books, we shed a tear for the one that left us with all the joy and all the pain it brought along with it...some happy memories some not so happy, we hope with anticipation of the coming year with work for those unemployed, with health for those who are ailing and prosperity for those with nothing... A Very Happy New Year may you all have exactly what you deserve plus a little more to share with those less fortunate..