(Close Window)
Topic: How old were you when you started to learn ventriloquism?
Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Oct 26, 2010 04:03PM)
I'm curious to know how old everyone was when they started to learn ventriloquism.

It seems that all the famous vents were proficient before they were teenagers.

Is there anyone on the forum that started somewhat later in life?

I'll start - I was about 12-13 when we took a trip out of town (which in Australia meant driving for hours!). We stopped at a tiny little town and there was a joke shop (which seemed really weird in itself in the middle of nowhere!). I bought a sealed packet which promised "The secrets of ventriloquism". It was an 8 page pamphlet which started by suggesting the user filled the lungs up and forced the air out whilst making a groan as if in pain. I realise now it was referring to the ventriloqial drone.

Needless to say I learnt very little from that booklet!


Message: Posted by: Servante (Oct 26, 2010 05:17PM)
I was just short of five years old when I started. Got a photo in my computer that I should probably use for a pro pic!
I watched Paul Winchell on television and fell in love with the idea of ventriloquism, and so my parents bought me an early Jerry for Christmas. I practiced with him and with some other puppets I had as well. Had the Winchell book and the Alexander Van Rensaleur[Sp?] book which I studied. Immediately I was doing entertainment for money with the puppets, the "Jerry" and some simple magic. A couple of years later I got the deluxe Jerry with the ball and socket head. Worked with him that way for awhile and, when I was about 12, rebuilt his head and reworked his body and dubbed him "Louie." Still got him, but in recent years have acquired a Hartz figure that is a dead ringer for him and have retired the first Louie.
Make my living in theatre as a playwright, but still do vent and magic from time to time, most notably for the local developmentally disabled children's hospital each Christmas for the last 41 years.
Probably more information than you wanted!

Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Oct 26, 2010 05:50PM)

That is exactly the sort of interesting answer I was after!


Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Oct 26, 2010 07:53PM)
I think a lot of us from that era had similar influences. I always had an interest in the variety arts (although I had no idea that's what they were called, and I always enjoyed watching Ed Sullivan. My older brother liked the musical acts on Sullivan, like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but I always looked forward to the variety acts. Among my earliest memories is the excitement I felt when a juggler, plate spinner or ventriloquist would appear. I think the real spark for me was Paul Winchell's appearance on the Lucy Show with Jerry and Knuck. I was 7 years old. I asked for and recieved a 1968 Jerry (which was a little different from the earlier Jerry's) from the Sears catalog. I was thrilled. I also got the Jimmy Nelson Instant Ventriloquism album and read the Alexander Van Rensselaer book. I started doing neighborhood magic and ventriloquism shows within a year or so. I stayed interested in it for a few years, and eventually my father bought me an Insull figure. I started getting more interested in clowning by the early 70's and kind of let my ventriloquism fall by the wayside for a few years. I got back into it about five years ago and found that it wasn't like riding a bike. I had to work pretty hard to re-learn the skills. It's become a feature of my act now. I no longer have my old figures so I built Henry from a Brose kit in late 2005.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 26, 2010 09:26PM)
I started age 12... a friend lent me his Jerry Mahoney doll in the green suit(1968) --and I was "hooked". Like Philip and Mr. Pitts (and I am certain, many other fellow vents in my age bracket), I too studied the Alexander Van Rensselaer book -In fact, I still recall placing it on my chest in the library at school while lying on my back to practice the diaphragm breathing methods I had just read about and meprizing the script in the book:

"...Hi there little lad --don't call me little lad --why not you are a little lad, aren't you? My friend the sun is out --whose son?" --not son, s o n , sun s you n..." :)

That same year , I performed during lunch on the stage in front of a few hundred classmates and continued at summer camp at various talent shows. started charging $25 per Magic show (with my vent act included). By 7th grad (age 14) I was sent out to various non-profit groups to perform by our town's local "operation Community Talent" (Thanks Bob Testa!) where I had the chance to see the healing power of performing magic and ventriloquism during my volunteer shows at the local hospital for kids on Kidney dialysis , and for special needs kids, etc.

Other positive influences and inspirations were:
Watching Shari Lewis, Paul Winchell, Howdy Doody, WC Fields and Edgar Bergen reruns, Nelson on his Nestle commercials (between episodes of David and Goliath and the Gumby/Pokey show... other influences... Wonderama (and having the honor of being interviewed on this tv great kids show with my Danny O'Daty figure --albeit briefly) by Bob McCallister was a thrill, at age 13!). I was a fan of the Cookie Monster on during the early episodes of Sesame Street (=and at age 14, I had the good fortune to perform my magic show on stage in my hometown of Teaneck sharing the stage with the MC for this fundraiser, Sesame Street great Bob McGrath --subsequently, McGrath hired me to do a show for one of his children in his own home (which was also in Teaneck)... watching Kuka , Fran an Ollie --Chuck McMann (?), Claude Kirshner's Circus, Captain Kangaroo, Soupy Sales,

...and so much more...

Ah, those were the days, my friends... ;)

Thanks for starting this thread,Carl, allowing us to tap into our memories and what moved us into this rewarding area of entertainment.

I look forward to hearing more "stories" from fellow Café members. :)

Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Oct 26, 2010 09:29PM)
As a young child, I always liked puppets. Once, when I was 8 or 9, I was running around the house driving my mother crazy. To get me to stop, she grabbed the TV section of the paper, found a show, and sat me in front of the TV.

"Here, watch this," she said. "It's puppets."

Well, I started to watch, and at first I was disappointed. It wasn't puppets as I knew them--no one crouched down behind a little stage. The guy was interacting with the puppets out in front! And how did their hands move in such a life-like manner? And how were they talking???

My mother told me it was something called "ventriloquism." And the man was named Paul Winchell. We found the "ventriloquism" entry in our prized World Book Encyclopedia, and another vent was born.

I started with a sock puppet I sewed with the help of a little girl friend of mine and did shows for the kids. At age 10 I received a Danny O'Day from Sears for my birthday. I used him in magic shows I did for kids. Yes, then there was a more advanced Danny with a ball-joint head. I saved my money from shows and bought a Finis Robinson figure when I was 17. Forty-one years and one Ray Guyll make-over later, he is still with me. (That's he in my avatar.) Along the way I detoured heavily into magic, hypnosis, and--especially--mentalism.

For the past few years I've been doing exclusively vent, creating new characters, doing lots of comedy club shows. It also satisfied my magic bug--without the guilt. Vent is, after all, illusion without deception.

How about the rest of you guys and gals?
Message: Posted by: Servante (Oct 26, 2010 09:54PM)
Wow. This is fun!

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 26, 2010 11:14PM)
Most of you probably know this, but the episodes that Mr. Pitts mentions, of Winch with Jerry and Knuck on the Lucy show, can be found on YouTube. Lots of fun to watch! :)
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 27, 2010 12:03AM)
Below is the link to part 1 of 4, of Winch on the Lucy show. You can easily find parts 2-4 by doing a simple search on YouTube.



Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Oct 27, 2010 02:57AM)
I was about 33!
I'd bought a realy shoddy magic prop that I wanted to exchange. The dealer was going to be at the Magic Circle dealers day. The prop had cost about £50. I spent all day looking at various props but I kept coming back to an Axtell Parrot. The parrot was £100, more than I'd ever spent on a magic prop at that time. Using my great logic I figured that since I only had to add £50 then I'd get him.
I bought the parrot and a stiff rope and my first vent routine started there.

I'd never spent so much and now he's the cheepest of all my puppets!
Message: Posted by: CaptKirk (Oct 27, 2010 06:45AM)
OK, I'll fess up: 60!!! I first bought a "Willy" figure from Gepetto's Workshop and then acquired an Axtell "Big Bear" and an "Old Storyteller". Discovered that I preferred the more traditional vent figures and now have a Poyner "Bobby" and 3 superb figures made by Albert Alfaros, "Uncle Gus", "Cletus", and "Buckley". Still working on developing voices for each and writing routines. Great FUN, IMHO:o)
Message: Posted by: Doug Arden (Oct 27, 2010 11:27AM)
I started 7 years ago, at age 52. With respect to the overall content of my show, it was probably the best thing I ever did.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Oct 27, 2010 12:55PM)
I remember being fascinated with Senor Wences and Jay Johnson as a kid, but I wanted to be a magician like Mark Wilson, Doug Henning, and later, David Copperfield. In 1984 I became a full time magician. In 1991, I got married and my wife joined the show. She left the show in late 2005 to pursue a corporate career. I started looking at vent as a way to recreate myself. So I actually got into it rather late.

The switch-over took a couple of years, but it rejuvenated my career. It was probably the best move I ever made.
Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Oct 27, 2010 01:27PM)
Thanks for your replies - I am enjoying hearing about people who have taken up vent later in life.

The second part of my story is that once I had given up when I was in my teens, never thought about it much until one night last year. My mother asked me what I would like for my 40th birthday. Something special she said as it was my 40th. I sort of mumbled that I had always wanted a ventriloquist dummy (still not too sure where that came from as I haven't thought sbout it for 20 odd years!). So I started searching on Ebay and was horrified at how low quality the cheap ones were and amazed at how much you could spend if you wanted to!

Eventually I found the little guy in my avatar. He came from Tim Cowles and was a lot more than I wanted to spend, but I have him now. Just need to come up with a voice I really like for him. Bizarrely enough, he speaks with a real Aussie accent, and I probably haven't sounded like that for years!


Message: Posted by: Vegasvent (Oct 27, 2010 11:23PM)
I was 7yrs-old. Funny, I was circumcised, and had my tonsils removed the same year!! Wonder if either or both, had anything to do with the development of my voice!? Two years later I was mentored by Legendary Kid-Show Entertainer, Bob McAllister in Baltimore. I performed my first "TV-gig" at 9yrs-old on his show on station WJZ. Lasted all but 2 minutes. However, I was famous for 15.
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Vee (Oct 28, 2010 12:21AM)
I saw a ventriloquist at my elementary school and was hooked. I also saw a magician it had the same effect. I then saw a vent puppet at a magic store but my parents couldn't afford it.

When I was eight years old my grandma bought me a Howdy Doody (Juro) pull string toy dummy. I was very disappointed because I knew that wasn't the kind of dummy real vents used. I knew you were supposed to put your hand inside the back and make the eyes move. I was really into the puppets and this puppet discouraged me.

I never learned vent after that. But my love for puppets never went away. I got a Juro figure every year for the next six or seven years from my grandma but I never learned vent. I was very turned off by these puppets.

When I was in college, I started making marionette puppets in my apartment. I had no idea how to make one but I was just trying. I had never even handled a marionette.

Walking through the local mall one day I found a guy with a puppet cart selling marionettes. I told him about my marionettes and he told me to bring them down. I brought one over and he liked it so much he put it on consignment at his cart. I was super excited.

Then I started demonstrating the wrap around Muppets for him and I was selling these things like crazy. He loved me and started paying me to demo the puppets. One day while hanging out, the guy pulled out a Axtell Bird puppet did a little vent for some kids. When I saw that bird puppet and him do ventriloquism I was hooked again. My fire was lit.

I asked him about the puppet and about learning how to do ventriloquism. He told me to get a book from the library and learn it. I went to the book store and at the time the only book in the system on ventriloquism was, "Ventriloquism Made Easy" by Kolby King. I had to order and wait a week. I did.

I got the book and read it cover to cover and started practicing in the car signing to songs without moving my lips. I learned in a week. I was probably 18 or 19 years old at the time.

Then I revived the Central Florida Ventriloquist Association and from there met a few magicians who both had a huge impact on me. One was a nice old gentleman who taught me a few rope tricks that I still use today. My very first magic tricks. He also took me to a IBM ring meeting. The Bev Bergeron Ring in Orlando. I met Kostya Kimlat there that day. He was just an up and comer at the time.

I also met Mike Palma, a local magician who was also a vent. He's a great guy and we becuase fast friends. He opened a magic shop in Belleview, FL and he taught me some magic and always makes me laugh. This is what really got me into magic and vent.

Fun stories guys,

thanks for sharing.

Message: Posted by: ljlvent (Oct 28, 2010 12:24PM)
It's all my children's fault! They started doing puppetry when they were in middle school. Then when the director left my husband and I were asked to direct the puppet team. I knew NOTHING about puppetry. But we had fun working together as a family. Then I went back to teaching when my kids were in high school and having seen how effective puppets are I really wanted to be able to use puppetry in my classroom. Not knowing exactly what to do I decided that ventriloquism was what I needed to learn so at the age of 44 I started with the Maher course. My students were a great audience for rehearsing my lessons. Now, five years later I have "retired" from teaching to travel full time as a children's ventriloquist! THAT is something I would never have dreamed I'd be doing (incidentally anyone who knew me as a high school or college student would never think I'd be doing this either). My children gave me a gift when they introduced me to the wonderful world of puppetry! I LOVE my new career!
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 29, 2010 01:19PM)
Very interesting (and inspiring story) ljlvent. Many thanks for sharing, and to the many other fellow members that are telling us their stories , as well... any more? :)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 1, 2010 02:25AM)
I can not remember if I started magic or ventriloquism first around the age of 12. My dummy was Lester. Since I got more applause from magic, I let ventriloquism fade away. But every time I see one of Kimmo's videos it encourages me to start ventriloquism again. That is why I bought his DVD. I am not going to make another mistake by letting ventriloquism fade away again.
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Nov 1, 2010 07:46AM)
I had an interest in vent when I was a boy and had a "Danny O'Day" vent doll. I got books on vent from the library, but the real learning came when I took the Maher Course (which I feel is still the best thing on the market if you want to learn how to do vent correctly..). In fact, I took the course TWICE...once in the original Fred Maher style (he printed the lessons on a mimeograph machine!), and later on when my friend Clinton Detweiler owned the Maher Course.

I was also lucky as I met Jimmy Nelson, who used the original "Danny O'Day"" and "Farfel", and we became friends. Jimmy is definitely the reason I am in vent. He is a true inspiration and quite a gentleman and he gave me much guidance. In fact we are honoring him at Vent Haven this year for his vast contributions to vent.

My first vent figure was carved by a guy named Foy E. Brown from Lawrence , Kansas. I still have that figure today. My first really professional figure was a Jack Coats figure that I named "Rudy" (and later renamed "Jack" after Jack Coats) that I used for several seasons, even using him when I did the Maher Course's "Successful Ventriloquism" DVD.

I have also had a figure made by Don Bryan of Canada, named "Arthur" which now resides at the Vent Haven Museum. I switched to using exclusively soft puppets a number of years ago and used Verna puppets, then switched to Mary Ann Taylor (with an occasional Axtell puppet being used from time to time).

I'm happy I made the switch from hard to soft figures as I work almost exclusively for kidshow audiences.
As they say,,that's my story and I'm sticking ot it! :)

Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 1, 2010 10:36AM)
Mark, you have reminded me that I should have mentioned Jimmy Nelson in my piece earlier.
He was on the Berle show, and I'd see him a few times there (I'm going to guess my bedtime interfered with watching Berle all the way through),but like most of us, I remember him best from the Nestle's Quick commercials. Farfel was intriguing to me because I'd not seen an animal vent figure up to that point. I'd watched Winchell and a whole gang of vents on the Sullivan show (Senor Wences and Jerry Layne and Velvel and many others.
By the time I was old enough to do something about it, I made a dog figure a project in my junior high school shop class.
There was absolutely no information back in those days regarding HOW to build such a figure, so I guessed, and not very well. The darn thing's head was way too heavy and the eybrows were controlled individually on dowels and...well, it was a mess.
I abandoned it and stuck with my "Louie" figure and a small leprechaun figure hand-carved by a neighbor, and a gang of soft puppets and marionettes I built myself.
Just a few years ago I had the opportunity and honor to correspond briefly with Jimmy Nelson...and found him an incredibly giving person.
(You also make me wonder if Vent Haven would accept my original "Louie," as I have retired him and brought in the Hartz figure.)

There I go...rambling again. :)

Message: Posted by: ventman (Nov 1, 2010 04:41PM)
I started when I was 5 years old. I received a Danny O'Day figure and the Jimmy Nelson record "Instant Ventriloquism". I was very sick as a child and spent many days and months at home instead of school. After finishing up makeup school work, I would play the record over and over and practice with a mirror. That was 39 years ago. I continued practicing over the years and then when I was 12 I completed the Maher School of Vent correspondence course. At the age of 13, I had saved up enough for my first Pro figure ...Maher's "Homer" composition figure by Lovick (side to side eye movement, winkers, raising eyebrows, spitter, handshaker). I was so excited, I sent out birth announcements.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 1, 2010 08:33PM)
...I hoe Jimmy (Nelson)is reading these posts Mark! :)

Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Nov 1, 2010 09:02PM)
Thanks, Jonathan ("Max")...I hope Jimmy is too. I can't say enough good things about him. Talk about a real mentor..wow!


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 1, 2010 10:09PM)
At the risk of getting a bit (temporarily) off topic, I will suggest something that, IMHO, would serve both the Vent and non-vent communities well...

...I just went onto Wikipedia to look up "Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist", and there (sadly) seems to be a void --no posting on this name to show that it (he) has been a very important and influential figure in the history and evolution of Ventriloquism --nor about his simple being an innovative and wonderfully talented entertainer.

This seems a shame. And, frankly, Jimmy should not be asked to write his own Bio for Wiki, since living personalities writing their own bios make the article highly subjective by the Wiki editors and as such,frowned upon. Therefore, such an article needs to be written by an objective 3rd party (hint, hint, Mark ;) and is actually more credible when written by more than one person (nudge, nudge, Philip ;)

But also be forewarned --for those that have never (yet) tried to write and post an article on Wikipedia, that Wiki editors expect the writers to post articles that are rich with verified information and citation of sources. It is a complicated and challenging universe --this Wiki world.. but an article on Jimmy Nelson can (and should) be done over time. Of course Mark, you also deserve your own space, IMHO, on Wiki --but as mentioned, be sure to get a knowledgeable friend(s) to write and post it. Just some food for thought.

My most helpful suggestion, if anyone is willing to take this idea on --to at least start the ball rolling (ass good Wiki articles can take months to write and evolve to their full potential), is to contact one of the Wiki editors through their site and ask them to help you create a rough draft of your article, prior to uploading --otherwise, you simply risk all of your hard work being removed by the many diligent and meticulous Wiki editors --those vested with the task and the power to ensure that as much information that is posted on Wiki remains credible and verifiable (to as large an extent as is possible). Once "they" give you the green light on your draft, they can also help you to upload it --for all the world (and Jimmy) to see and enjoy! :)

If I seem a little Wiki-fied, (petrified of the Wiki Editors), I am not. I actually see the majority of them as serving as responsible and loyal editors --intent to keep Wiki as credible as possible, in world were the truth about a person (especially a very impactful/well-known person) can be inflated well-beyond the scope of reality.

...now back to the topic at hand --thanks to Carl, who started this wonderful thread to begin with: "How old were you when you started to learn ventriloquism?"

More stories are waiting to be put forth, and we (your fellow Café/Vent members) are all ears :)

Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 2, 2010 12:15AM)
You know, that's a pretty good idea.
I make my living writing, and I'd be happy to write something, or write something with Mark, or stay out of Mark's way while he writes something, or whatever needs to happen.
Jimmy Nelson continues to act as an inspiration and a cheerleader for young (and lots of not-so-young) vents.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Nov 2, 2010 08:46AM)
Could be a cool thing to unveil at the ConVention! Great idea Jonathan!
Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 2, 2010 10:50AM)
And, you know, I've been thinking about this since that last post, and I think the reason I didn't mention Jimmy Nelson earlier is that he's still a vital part of the vent world and our art. Especially since I managed to correspond with him a bit last year.
I still use a lot of the moves I saw him use back in the fifties and sixties. That sort of lazy back and forth head wag that Danny used to do when he'd say, "Like a million," comes to mind (though Louie, Huck and Cooter don't have eyelids, so they can't do that wink Danny would do. The baby figure I recently purchased DOES have eyelids...but doesn't lend himself to the attitude!)
And, analyzing it now...I think the relationship I have with my figures is lifted from Jimmy. Winch and Jerry always seemed in a subtle sort of battle...Jimmy and Danny always seemed like friends. Danny might suddenly surprise or flummox Jimmy...but there wasn't (in my memory, at least) a battle going on between them.

Interesting to think about, once a person starts analyzing his own techniques and philosophies. There's a lot of Jimmy Nelson in all of us, I think. We owe him more than we know. His gentleness, soft spoken attitude and willingness to communicate with us as equals (which we, of course, are not!) prevents us, often, from realizing just how much we DO owe him.

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 2, 2010 11:02AM)
Nice to see your enthusiasm and willingess to add your writing talents to the Jimmy Nelson Wiki project (JNWP), Servante. :)

Glad this suggestion has steam, and will (hopefully) move forward. What a great idea, Tom, to plan an unveiling of the finished Wiki Bio at the next VentHaven convention --in fitting tribute to Jimmy Nelson and his life's work and enormous accomplishments and the inspiration he serves.

Planning an official summer 2011 launch date for such an article would give Philip (and Mark ;) time to write up a very strong article in homage to Jimmy.

Perhaps, Mark, you should "not" encourage Jimmy to jump onto the Café's site, least he read this thread and see the surprise that's in store for him. Simply let him know how highly he is regarded by a multitude of Café Vent members that have found inspiration and knowledge towards their own vent work, through his work, strides and successes in the field.

As for the proposed Wiki article, this is a project that more than two writers can contribute to. If you type Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist into Wiki's search engine, you should see a prompt that states that an article on this person does not (yet) exist, and a link to click on that will allow you to start the article off. But, as previously suggested, I believe it would be best to contact a Wiki editor to ask for help in order to start the article out in Draft form, before posting it for all to see and perhaps inviting other Wiki editors the opportunity to criticize or (worse) remove the article for not meeting the stringent Wiki guidelines.

Personally, I spent about two months (evenings and weekends) writing a Wiki article on my late dad, "Harris Levey" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris_Levey who worked for DC Comics during the golden age of comics and created the super hero "Air Wave" (among others), and I found that one of the Wiki Editors that was most knowledgeable was Senior Wikii Editor (level II) "Tenabrae". He can be found on Wiki and sent a message requesting his assistance for the Jimmy Nelson article, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tenebrae

Another Wiki Editor, with even more knowledge and seniority at Wiki is "OlEnglish"

Now, back to the main topic at hand, that Carl so wisely put forth at the very start of this thread... "How old were you when you started to learn ventriloquism?"
Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 2, 2010 12:09PM)
I've sent a note to Mark.

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 4, 2010 12:59PM)
Anyone else out there willing to share how old they were and how their interest in ventriloquism was first sparked?

Hope so. These stories are fascinating.

Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Nov 4, 2010 02:16PM)
On 2010-11-04 13:59, jlevey wrote:
Anyone else out there willing to share how old they were and how their interest in ventriloquism was first sparked?

Hope so. These stories are fascinating.


I agree! I am finding it quite inspiring that there are people who have started across ages of all ranges. I had thought that about 9 out of 10 would say that they were performing on TV at the age of 10! (or something similar).

Gives me some hope then!

I have hundreds of questions brewing!

I am surprised that the forum is so quiet sometimes!


Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Nov 5, 2010 06:30AM)
Sorry I didn't get back to all of you about Jimmy Nelson...I've been out of town for several days doing shows. I think trying to update Wiki is great and I will answer Phillip today! Jimmy Nelson truly does deserve a good listing with Wiki!


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 5, 2010 08:22AM)
Soounds good, Mark. Thanks!

I just re-visited Wiki.

If you put the key words "Jimmy Nelson" into the search engine, you are taken to the page about a Singer/songwriter named Jimmy Nelson.

Then, you become more specific and put the keywords "Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist" into Wiki's search engine, you are shown that there is an article about "Farfel"


This article certainly talks about Jimmy's contributions, but not in depth --it focuses more on Farfel's importance in television history. There is also a page that seems to state hat there is not an article on Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist", and it invites writers to create such an article and for others contribute to its expansion.


The timing, to create this article, seems right. :)

Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 5, 2010 11:02AM)
I got Mark's note.
Okay...we're on our way!

Message: Posted by: silking (Nov 6, 2010 02:14AM)
Question- Turned 65 and retired, is that to old to learn vent or must you start at a younger age?

Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Nov 6, 2010 06:21AM)
Silking...no, it's never too late to learn vent. The only problem older folks may (and I say MAY,,) have is that they don't have the control of the skin under the chin..in the throat area. It becomes loose with age and can wiggle just a bit more than a younger person...but even at that it shouldn't be a major obstacle. Go for it!


Message: Posted by: silking (Nov 6, 2010 05:45PM)
Thanks Mark, I will give all I got.

Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Nov 6, 2010 06:23PM)

What materials/method are you using to learn ventriloquism?

Just curious from one newbie to another!


Message: Posted by: DaveRobison (Nov 7, 2010 12:08AM)
The story goes that when I was 5 or so, I saw a young girl on the Ted Mack Amateur hour doing ventriloquism, and announced that I could do what she was doing. If a girl can do that, I could, too.

But it took me to about age 9, to ask Santa Claus for a Danny O'Day doll from the JCPenney's catalog for Christmas. After Danny and the Instant Ventriloquism LP arrived I practiced religiously everyday using the Zenith phonograph with the snake's head record arm in my room. By the summer of my 10th birthday I was doing shows at my local library for Story Time. The librarian accommodated my interest by ordering every ventriloquist book available so I could learn different techniques.

I did shows for all the civic luncheons and my school even let me skipped some classes to perform in the local city during those lunches. Local news crews and newspapers visited the house and some of my performances. I remember doing the voice for the local reporter as he signed off from the story. He, moving his lips, and me talking off camera providing the voice.

Through reading and research, I stumbled upon Maher Studios at about 14, and wrote for info on the Maher Course. By the time I was 16, Clinton Detweiler gave me the go-ahead on writing a book of dialogues for bird figures, and I became a "published author" at 16 with "It's For The Birds" based on Clinton's "Crazy Bird" figure.

Of course, I'm still waiting for that something to happen, so I can say, "the rest as you kow, is history."

Message: Posted by: Carl Mustaine (Nov 13, 2010 12:33PM)
Slightly Off Topic, but here goes.

Speaking of the Jimmy Nelson "Instant Ventriloquism" record (which someone posted here as an MP3), does anyone have the Jimmy Nelson blue record (I think it might be Instant Ventriloquism 2!)as an mp3? I would be interested in hearing this one too (mainly because I have no idea what is on it!)

I often listen to a chapter of "Instant Ventrolqism" in the car and then practice on my way to work. Where else can you practice a ventroloquial drone at high volume?!

Still never manage to make the plosives sound anywhere as good as Dannys!


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 14, 2010 06:29PM)
Your expressed interest deserves a separate thread, Carl...

"Instructional CDs for vents for practicing in the car --without their side-kicks!" ;)

Seriously, it deserves its own thread. Albeit with a shorter title. :)

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 27, 2010 08:26PM)
Back on track... More stories?
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 29, 2010 09:53PM)
OK... Wanlu, Ony, other fellow vents --please consider sharing with us "your story",as soon as you have the chance.
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Nov 30, 2010 08:38AM)
I loved ventriloquism since I was a kid, but never got to act on it, though I think I asked for one of those vent dolls every year for Xmas. It wasn't until shortly after I got out of the service in '79, I was 21 at the time. My wife at the time, found a Lester doll in a second hand shop and bought it for me. So I started playing around with that. After a while, I redid the figure, new paint and wig and installed my own headstick and control for the mouth, although at that point, I had no clue what I was doing, there was no internet yet, and the outcome was poor to say the least. About a year or so later, I had enough money together I bought my first pro figure from the then Maher Workshop being run at that time by Craig Lovik.
And the est, as they say, is history....