Terry Bennett was born on April 25, 1930. He began his career at age
14. His interest in the art of ventriloquism began at the age of 10
when his Uncle gave him a small Charlie McCarthy figure as a
For several years, Terry entertained friends and relatives. During
those years he developed the technique needed and defined the
character of his figure. He also invested in a couple of Turner
figures from Lou Tannens in New York City.
He entered talent contents and appeared on weekends at the RKO and
Loew’s theaters throughout the New York area. During these formative
years he joined a group of young but talented semiprofessionals and
went on tour with the USO to entertain those in the military.
By the time he was 17, he had won enough talent contests to have
earned himself a certain amount of recognition. New York agents
approached him and he began to receive offers for future bookings.
He appeared in such television shows as Arthur Godfrey, Johnny
Johnston and the Kate Smith Hour. TV was in its infancy but it was a
marvelous medium and showcase. The exposure enabled Terry to receive
offers to appear in larger and better known theaters and nightclubs.
He was then appearing with top name headliners in New York,
Washington DC, Miami and New Orleans.
He had saved enough money to be able to send away for his first
Frank Marshall figure. Frank Marshall lived in Chicago and he was a
master at his craft. You could go no higher. It took Frank three
months to create Red Flannels. This was to be the beginning of a
long and lasting friendship between Terry and Frank.
Terry's career came to an abrupt halt when in the Spring of 1951, he
was drafted and did a compulsory stint in the Army. He spent two
years in Orleans, France from 1951 to 1953 but was allowed to take
Red Flannels along and continue entertaining for the troops.
When he returned from Europe he was 23 years old. It was difficult
to start over. He had lost most of his contacts but not his drive.
In a sense it was a new beginning.
He married Joy Ann Page, a young girl he had met three years
previously when his agent had sent him to Florida. Terry and Joy
were married June 18, 1953 in New York City, two weeks after his
discharge from the Army. It was time to create a new act - one that
would include his wife Joy.
Terry, Joy and Red Flannels went on tour in Canada for approximately
one year. It was a way to iron out the wrinkles and develop the new
act. They felt they were all ready to go back. They decided to leave
Canada and head for Chicago. It seemed a good place to start. It
From 1954 until 1963, the Bennett’s and Red Flannels, along with
several other ventriloquial figures and hand puppets, appeared on
WBKB—TV an ABC Television network affiliate. These were the years of
live performance. It was a challenge. Terry created, wrote and
produced a television show called Jobblewocky Place. It aired every
morning from 8:00 `— 9:00, five days a week. It was a preschool
children’s show that met with great success. Terry cast Joy in the
role of a precocious 12 year old ward named Pamela Puppet.
Jobblewocky Place was presented with numerous awards for both its
content and versatility. It was one of the first live TV shows to
encompass both education and moral lessons in a very entertaining
format. As a ventriloquist, Terry was able to create many other
personalities as well. He introduced: Timothy Timber (another Frank
Marshall figure) into the show. Other characters that followed were
Bertran Turtle, Homer, Mr. Head, Mr. Engineer and Uncle Louie (a
talking picture that hung on the wall of the set). A third Marshall
figure was created and Terry named him Rusty Hinges.
During the same period of time, Terry put together an entirely
different type of TV show, one that was to air every Saturday night,
on the same station. It was called Shock Theater and it developed
into the highest rated show WBWK had. Terry played the role of an
comical, ghoulish, befuddled yet lovable character named Marvin.
This was in sharp contrast to the engaging young ventriloquist of
the morning children’s show. Joy would then become Dear, the
faceless counterpart of the macabre Marvin. It would be years before
the TV audience would see what Dear really looked like. It was a
gimmick that enhanced the already popular show.
As a result of the tremendous following, the show: was expanded by
an additional two hours. Shock Theater remained Shock Theater but
was followed by the Shocktale Party that included guest celebrates
and a live band affectionately known as the Deadbeats.
Both Jobblewocky Place and Shock Theater lasted eight years through
their continued popularity and the support of the fans.
By then, the Bennett's had become parents. Yes, Red Flannels had a
rival. Their first son, Kip, was born October 22, 1960 and that
happy event made the front cover of the Chicago Life, a Sunday
pictorial of the Chicago Daily News.
In 1963, Terry, Joy, Kip and of course, Red Flannels, and other
members said good-bye to Chicago and headed home to New York.
Terry went on to become Program Director for WPIX TV. As a director
and producer he was responsible for conceiving the ideas that went
into creating live local shows. He wrote the skits that were used on
the Clay Cole Show, another Saturday night show featuring top names
in the business. One show, The Wacky World of Mr. B., although short
lived, received great review by the critics.
His last show on TV was a Sunday morning show geared for the small
fry. It was called, Lets Have Fun. He was back again doing what he
knew and loved best. Ventriloquism was his first love and he was an
By then, Terry and Joy had two more children. Jill, their daughter,
was born May 11, 1966. Their second son, Kerry, was born January 17,
1967. The Bennett family lived in New Rochelle, New York.
Terry Bennett died October 12, 1977. He was only 47 years old. He is
still remembered by many.
RED FLANNELS: Created by Frank Marshall, the man who made
Charlie McCarthy. Red is the mischievous 'boy' image of children
everywhere. (Terry Bennett's original Red Flannels was a J.C.
Turner figure and now resides in the Ventriloquist Central
here to see him)
A TWIN: What? A twin brother for a dummy? Terry's got him,
and you should see what happens when they both get together to
confuse Terry! Terry is the world's ONLY ventriloquist working with
MORGAN, THE MOON MAN: Morgan is the FIRST Puppet from the
Moon to arrive here to create a bit of havoc with Terry and his
MISSY: A precocious girl dummy who tries to 'control' the
boys in the 'family'. (Missy was carved by Frank Marshall
originally for Roy Douglas. It now resides in the
Ventriloquist Central Collection.
Click here to
MR. HEAD: A little Box with a voice. (We never do see who's
in it) but he's magical and mystical, and can do the greatest magic
tricks in the world.
UNCLE LOUIE: A talking picture, you say? That's right! Uncle
Louie hangs from the nearest wall . . .AND HE TALKS!
BERTRAM, THE TURTLE: Bertram is perhaps the worlds LARGEST
turtle but he's also the sleepiest. Try and keep him awake!
HUGO, THE ANSWER HAND: The smartest GLOVE in captivity!
THE MAILMAN: Who would believe a dummy lived in ea mailbox?
There's one complete with voices in Terry Bennett’s world. See for
HIPPO HIPPO: When Terry went Big Game hunting he caught
something special. As a matter it's so special it just won't stop
PETER PARROT: What a parrot! So life-like . . he tries to
repeat everything you teach him. Oh yea?
RUSTY HINGES: This "angry" little Boy wants to be the ruffian
in the neighborhood. . . that is, until you pin him to action.
TIMOTHY TIMBER: Here is the worlds smallest Sailor. Hear him
tell about his adventures. You won't believe him either.
THE FUN BOOTH: FUN booth or PHONE booth? Judge for yourself
although you'll find a combination of both. Including the appearance
HELEN: Helen is the telephone operator. Who doesn't get the
number correct often, but when someone answers, you'll meet:
THE PHONE: An old—time telephone, complete with MOVING LIPS
and voices of the different people you call!
THE THREE SMART MEN: Three heads on a shelf! Yet they talk
INDEPENDENTLY and ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME! Can a duck, a dog and
a man do it? See for yourself!
THE TALKING SHOE: Why Not? A shoe has a tongue, doesn't it?
DICKIE DUCK: A duckie character!
KENNETH KANGAROO: The worlds smallest kangaroo . . . You can
hardly hear what he's saying! But you do!
THE LITTLE PEOPLE: An original "cut-out" satire of events
with Characters and voices enacting little events.
THE SUITCASE STAGE: Who would believe a suitcase converted
into a puppet stage? You'll believe it with Terry Bennett!
.... and add these character dummies:
A Talking bottle
Terry Bennett Videos