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Dickens & Dave
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Some years ago I came up with an idea for a program that as far as I knew then, no one else was doing anything like it (and if I'm wrong about that, I'm sure someone will let me know), but more importantly, I thought it had potential to be educational (about ventriloquism of course), maybe even contribute slightly to promoting interest in the art, and mostly, just be a lot of fun.
I never got to implement the idea, and life being what it is, for me anyway, I don't see any prayer of being able to, so I thought I'd pass on the idea here. Maybe others will like the idea and be able to put it to use, and that would please me almost as much as getting to do it myself.

The nature of the program would make it mostly suitable for school and library programs with children, but I was also working on ideas for using it for private parties and even getting the adults involved. This could have been posted in the birthday party thread as I'm sure it could be used easily for such parties as well.

The program was to be called "Interactive Ventriloquism".
It would start out with my partner and I giving a very brief history of ventriloquism - (pay special attention to the "very brief" part) - or more accurately, me explaining it to my partner.
Then we would go into a brief instruction on how to do ventriloquism, again, brief, mostly saying what people know about being able to do it without moving your lips, etc.
I really saw a slow goof character being the best partner for all of this. Trying to get these things through to him would provide the humor needed to keep these parts, that could be dry and dull, from being that.

Part of that "instruction" would be demonstrating a basic idea of how a real vent figure works. I say a "basic idea" because I had no plans to pull my figure's head off and show them, or even turn him around and show the opening in his back - through all this, I still want to maintain his illusion of life (not to mention the potential for scaring some children by pulling his head off).
So for this part, (and the next part of the program), I decided to enlist an old vent doll by the name of Simon Sez.
I'm sure everyone here is familiar with Simon Sez dolls, but just in case there's someone who isn't, the Simon Sez dolls had a hollow plastic body and a plastic headstick with a trigger to operate the mouth, so basically, it was a very simplified doll version of a "real" vent figure with a headstick.
So this would allow me to give a basic (and non-scary) idea of how a real vent figure works.

So that would be the first half of the program. I know I had that all pretty well scripted at one time, but where that is now in the too many files, folders, and binders that became somewhat disorganized in a recent move - it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack now. If I ever trip across it, I will be more than happy to post it here.

Now for the second half of the program, and in this, I had inspiration in the form of an old TV program some of you may be old enough to remember: Art Linkletter's "House Party". Since most won't know it - at the end of the show, Art would have a half dozen kids sitting on the stage and he would ask them questions, and he would play off their answers.
This is where this program could keep some people from doing it - there's no way this part can be scripted, it's pure ad-libbing and it requires the ability to do so without embarrassing the children or making them feel uncomfortable. Although in many cases, parents of those kid's on Art's show got a touch of embarrassment, but Art knew how to play off that and where to draw the line, and even as skilled as he was, there were times when even he was left speechless and times when he knew he had to quickly get the kids on another track or move on to another child.

Anyway, for this part, I'd have the Simon Sez I used to demonstrate a basic figure concept and five more Simons waiting for me to bring up a half dozen kids to be ventriloquists and my figure and I get to play Art Linkletter. And there's many ways to go with this, just have them talk to the dummy, ask them questions for them to make the dummy answer, etc., hopefully, anyone thinking of doing this will have the idea.
And there are other possible ways to go with this - have a dozen Simons to pass around the class and have them trying it, although that cuts down on your control, but Simons are tough they can take it - or some other idea I haven't thought of.
I was so sold on this idea and so certain it would be a good program, I gathered nearly two dozen Simons. Even though I'd only need 5 or 6 at a time, again, being certain this was going to be a successful and long running program, I didn't want to take a chance on ever being without what I needed readily available and in working order.

This post has been long enough, too long, sorry about that, but I wanted the idea to be complete.

-------------------------------------

BTW, this is some wording I had planned for flyers and other assorted promo material.

Interactive Ventriloquism
A Program For The Whole Family To Enjoy And Participate!
Ventriloquist Dave Boiano, along with his ventriloquial partners, present a brief history of the art of ventriloquism, followed by demonstration and general instructional information on performing ventriloquism.
The program concludes with an opportunity for members of the audience, both the young and young at heart, to test their own ventriloquial abilities!

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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Great idea Dave. Someone will take the ball and run with it. It could become a major piece of their financial pie.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com/blog
creativemac
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Neato idea.
Donald Woodford

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CaptKirk
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A "School of Ventriloquism" - hummmmmmm! Something for the right person to consider establishing. I'd just be concerned about ongoing students. Neat idea tho!!!
Dickens & Dave
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Thanks guys, glad you like the idea.

Steve - I hope you are right that someone will take the ball and run with it and that it will be successful for them (I'm also kind of hoping they'll drop a note to let me know all about it as I would really enjoy hearing about it).

CaptKirk - It's not meant to be a "school of ventriloquism", basically just a show, just one that gets members of the audience involved in a whole different way and more hands on than something like a mask does, let's them really be part of the fun. If someone developed an interest as a result, then like any of us would do, they could just be guided to where they could find the materials they need to learn the art.
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
creativemac
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Hey Dave, nothing for me?
Donald Woodford

"Invite a Dummy, to your next function."
http://www.woodynfriends.com
Dickens & Dave
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Donald - I think I had you covered in the first line - sorry, I didn't put your name in there. Smile
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
CaptKirk
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Well, your idea certainly COULD be made into an actual "School of Ventriloquism", IMHO:o) At the least, someone could offer special ventriloquism classes via a Craig's Listing or something like that. Just a thought:o)
Dickens & Dave
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Yes, they could, someone on worldvents the other day mentioned advertising on craigslist about giving lessons in vent (although they were talking about getting the scam replies everyone gets if they advertise on there). I don't know if I'd want to advertise something like that on craigslist, some of the people that craigslist draws.....
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
creativemac
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Dave, I feel better now.
Donald Woodford

"Invite a Dummy, to your next function."
http://www.woodynfriends.com
Dickens & Dave
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That's good, I wouldn't want anyone to feel slighted. Smile
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
KeithS
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I think you may have something there, Dave.
Dickens & Dave
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Thank you Keith, I hope some will find it useful and put it to good use.

Probably something I don't need to add but, although my "plan" was for using a hard figure for my partner and the small hard figures (Simons) for the participants, it could obviously be done with soft figures too.
The downside to using soft figures though would be the fact they they would be getting handled, and mishandled, a lot and get dirty and damaged faster. That was another plus for using the Simons, they're plastic, easily cleanable, and the clothes could be taken off and washed, and they are tough enough to take a lot of mishandling.
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Howie Diddot
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Dave;

Out of the original twelve Simon Sez figures, how many do you still own?
Dickens & Dave
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It wasn't just twelve Simon Sez figures I gathered, it was nearly twice that - the number 22 comes to mind, maybe it was 20 or 25 I had, I'd have to go count them to be certain. And I still have all of them. At some point, I've got to get those cleaned out of here too.
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
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