"While I was out horsin' around the ventriloquist world a few days back, I stumbled onto this feller named Wild Ol' Dan. Reckon you could say that he's a grizzled ol' cowhand from way, way back. Anyways, I got to readin' some of his stuff...and, it seemed to me, there was a lotta horse sense in it. So I asked him if we might share some of it over here. Here's what he said..."
Howdy N Jay Holtz,
All this stuff is super top secret stuff ya know? Still, it might be kinda fun to have a little section titled "From Outta Wild Ol' Dan's Saddlebags..."
But, you could probably find somebody a whole lot smarter than this ol' cowhand to add stuff to your site. Shucks, there's some
real high class folks out thar wanderin' around...
Reckon it's up to you pard. If ya use my stuff just tell the folks this is from Wild Ol' Dan...that way you wont get blamed for nuthin'...
The way I see it us ol' timers had oughta be helpin' the newer
fellers figure out some of this stuff...help 'em to see there's somethin' more to all this than "not movin' your lips."
If ya decide to use this stuff just let me know ya did...reckon
I'd kinda like to read it too. It's good for my ego don'tcha know?
Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.
Howdy Dan, My gosh thanks for welcomin' me to this here outfit... I reckon I've been interested in ventriloquism since I was a wee youngun way back in the ancient times. Just celebrated my 60th Christmas... Anyways, speakin' of those ancient times...I grew up around the Detroit area...and in those parts, well, I reckon just about everybody knew ol' Sagebrush Shorty. You put a picture up...one of those mystery things...askin' folks to identify the ventriloquist and his figure. Then you said the ventriloquist was Ted Lloyd which was right...and the figure was Sagebrush Shorty which was wrong. You see this feller Ted Lloyd, well HE was Sagebrush Shorty and that thar figure you showed on his lap was none other than BRONCO BILLY BUTTONS. Sagebrush's most popular figure was none other than Skinny Dugan. (A wonderful McElroy figure that he bought from Mrs. Maher after Fred, Skinny's original partner, went on ahead. Skinny is now owned by a feller named Jeff Dunham.) Anyways, I saw Sagebrush and Skinny live and in person once...what a joy that was. Skinny did just about everything he could do...includin' wigglin' his ears, his nose, spittin', cryin', his hair stood up, and he could make faces at ya...shucks, even his nose turned red when he told a lie! There is a great DVD out these days called I'M NO DUMMY. On it, one of the Bonus Features is Jeff Dunham showin' Skinny and all that he can do. What a delight...especially for those of us who remember the great Sagebrush Shorty (Ted Lloyd) and those days a long, long time ago... Anyways, thanks again, pard... Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan
Howdy Pards, Well...I've added a couple photos to a brand new photo album back yonder celebratin' Ted Lloyd aka "Sagebrush Shorty". In one you'll see Skinny Dugan, Sagebrush Shorty, and Bronco Billy Buttons together. As I mentioned earlier Skinny Dugan (2) was originally owned by Fred Maher, founder of the famous Maher Home Study Course in Ventriloquism. Jeff Dunham, Skinny's new owner, estimates that Skinny was made around 1936 by the famous McElroy Brothers. The McElroy Brothers sold their famous figures through the Abbotts Magic Catalog...for, are you ready for this? $125. Course, that was back in the 1930's...I can't wait to get this here time machine of mine workin'... Well, anyways...Skinny is celebratin' mor'n seventy years in show business. Jeff calls him the stratovarius of ventriloquist figures and I couldn't agree with him more. I'm sure if Jeff used him in his act today, he would become a super star once again...as he was for all of us who knew him when he worked with Sagebrush up thar in Detriot City all those years ago. Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan
Hi Wild O'Dan
Thanks for your additions to our group. I just wanted to correct a couple things. I have an original Abbott's Catalogue #4 which is the only one to show pictures of the McElroy figures and it is dated 1937. The price listed in the catalogue for the extra special figure, which was the fully loaded figure, was $115.00. This was for the figure that has garnered the name Troll.This price also included the case. The subsequent figures sold by the brothers including Sagebrush was after that so it was made in more than likely 1939-1940. You can see this catalogue listed on Ventriloquist Central site under the Ventriloquist Central Collection / McElroy figures.Dan
Ya know, I spose it would be kinda foolish to think that you could play the violin the very first time you picked one up. It's an instrument that takes some study to play correctly. Quite a bit of study and practice as a matter of fact.
I reckon I always think of a puppet or ventriloquist figure in much the same way as I would a musical instrument. It takes some study to play it correctly. Quite a bit of study and practice as a matter of fact.
Does that mean you should never try? Of course not. But, it does mean that before you perform for an audience you should put in some serious time with the big mirror...and practice, practice, practice.
I think it is important...just as important... to watch BAD ventriloquists perform...as it is the great ones. You can learn a lot from each. Trust me.
And, believe me, I've seen some bad ones. Really bad ones. The only thing those performers didn't lack was "self confidence".
In fact...some seemed to be motivated...at least a little you might say by an out of control ego.
Study these things. If you see a really bad ventriloquist act...jot down as soon as you possibly can all the things that made it bad. I'm serious. It is very important to know, not only the things that make an act very good...but also the things that make an act very bad.Never pour cold water on someone else's dream. But, learn all you can as you pursue your own dream...Ventriloquism is truly an entertainment art form in the right hands. Learn the details...all of the details...that are involved in a quality performance.
Don't take the easy way... I've seen it time and time again, bad performer uses shocking language or behavior to get a laugh...that kind of thing simply makes folks cringe.
Respect your audience, respect your art...get respect for your performance the old fashioned way...that right...earn it.
When you step to the microphone in front of an audience make sure
you are prepared to give them your absolute best. It will take time...but the results will be worth it.
Do you care enough about what you are doing to only deliver the very best? Think about that as you get your act together...and learn from both the good, the bad, and the ugly... Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan
Howdy Pards,Ya know, there's a big difference in the desire for the spotlight and the desire to entertain. A big difference indeed...
Some folks get started doin' ventriloquism just cause they want folks to look at 'em. They need attention. I reckon they are the kinds of folks who use the words ME, and I, and MY just a wee bit too much...
Others look at ventriloquism as a way of bringing laughter, smiles,imagination and fun into the lives of others. I suppose the big word for all this is "motivation".
And, I suppose it's important for each of us to take a good hard look at what motivates us...at why we do this you might say.
Twas the feller who wrote Peter Pan...you know, James M. Barrie...yep, twas him that said, "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves."
Now, any entertainer will tell you that applause is a wonderful thing. Makes ya feel good all over to know that they liked whatcha did. That's natural.
But, did ya ever see an entertainer who seemed to just expect applause? No matter how good or bad his or her performance was... I have...and trust me, you can tell the difference.
I believe you have to have one goal in mind when you walk out on that stage...and it should not be a selfish one. Nope. Your goal should be to make that audience happy, to bring them joy, laughter, and fun...and to always leave'em wantin' more.
So all that effort you're puttin' in...all that practice...all that hard work...and turns out it ain't about YOU at all. It's about them.Bringing happiness to OTHER people.
Know your audience. Know their needs, wants, and desires. Care about them...and give them your absolute best EVERY time. If you want to be an entertainer...ya gotta know that YOU need that audience. They are the most important people in the world to you as an entertainer because they are the ones you are hoping to entertain.
Do your act for them. And give them your very best. Every time. And, if you do...you may hear the sweetest sound an entertainer can possibly hear at the end of your act...the sweet, sweet sound of genuine, heartfelt, real, honest-to-gosh applause.
Taint nuthin' better in all the world. Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.
Wild Ol' Dan
Howdy Pards,Well I'm smack dab in the middle of readin' Jeff Dunham's new book...
which is NOT titled the Life and Times of Jeff Dunham. Nope, It's titled JEFF DUNHAM ALL BY MY SELVES WALTER, PEANUT, ACHMED, AND ME.
Would I recommend it to Jeff Dunham fans and ventriloquists in general? Yup!
Do I think it's an inspirational story of someone who followed his dreams and made it? Yup! Do I think you will be an even bigger Jeff Dunham fan after you read
this book? Yup! On the back cover of the dust jacket Jeff says...
"Many people would call my life crazy.
I say it's refreshingly unconventional. But whatever you call it, it's all thanks to a trunk full of dummies. I've been pursuring this career since my first performance as a ventriloquist at age eight. Before lunchtime on that particular school day in 1971, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life...."
And inside that dust cover...on the back flap...there is a summary
of Jeff's career so far...
"JEFF DUNHAM is a comedian and ventriloquist whose record breaking specials on Comedy Central launched a global phenomenon of sold-out live concerts, DVD sales, and consumer products. A frequent guest on THE TONIGHT SHOW and LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, he remains the only person to ever win the prestigious ventriloquist of the Year award twice. In 2009 he was named the top grossing live comedy act in the world by POLLSTAR, and TIME magazine called him the most popular comedian in the United States. In 1980, his high school chose him as Most Likely to Succeed, but he's pretty sure that playing with dolls doesn't really count. Dunham regularly plays to arena-sized crowds in North America, Europe, and Australia. He has three beautiful daughters and lives in Los Angeles." Yup...you had oughta get this book...I found mine at Barnes and Noble...Has anyone else out thar read it yet?
Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan