VENTRILOQUISTS of the 20th Century

 

 

 

 

 



 

TONY ADAMS

England.

 


RAY ALAN

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Born: 1930.  Figure: Lord Charles.  Popular from 1950s to 1980s.  Toured with Laurel & Hardy.

          LINKS

www.imdb.com/name/nm0015943/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Alan

Alan appeared on the BBC programme The Good Old Days regularly, and created the character of Ali Cat for the HTV series Magic Circle (1977).

See Ray Alan and Lord Charles in video clips from their 1960s travel series, Britain By Jove, at British Pathe (www.britishpathe.com ).

Alan also operated Mikki the Martian  in an early TV production.

 



 

DAN BARTH

www.angelfire.com/biz4/danbarthshows/

Magician & ventriloquist.  Figure: Max.



 

ROY BAUMGART

Figure: Lucky

Performed with the Will Rogers Jr. Show in Sacramento, California, in 1965.



 

LEN BELMONT

From London, England.  Appeared on television in an episode of The Avengers in 1968 (packed with gags from beginning to end, this episode constitutes a tribute to the stars of vaudeville comedy.  Also included Monty Python’s John Cleese playing the functionary in charge of recording each clown’s make-up on a collection of eggs).



 

TERRY BENNETT  1930-1977
 

Figure: Red Flannels, created by Frank Marshall.

At WBKB (Chicago) Bennett created, produced, and wrote Jobblewocky Place (1950s), where he introduced to his young television audience a stable of ventriloquial and hand puppet characters including Timothy Timber ( a sailor character and another Frank Marshall creation); Uncle Louie ( a talking picture); Mr. Head (a box with a voice); Mr. Engineer; Bertram Turtle (the largest and sleepiest turtle); and Rusty Hinges (an angry little boy), also a Frank Marshall original. Airing weekday mornings from 8 to 9, the preschool program earned several awards including three nominations for Emmys.

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EDGAR BERGEN  1903-1978

 

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EDGAR BERGEN



 

WILLIAM S. BERGER   1878-1972

An amateur ventriloquist, Berger is known for establishing a museum of ventriloquist figures, Vent Haven Museum. 

Read the lavishly illustrated article about him that appeared in a 1957 issue of The Courier-Journal Magazine.   Additional information about Berger after his death was printed in a 1973 Associated Press Article .

W.S. Berger Article from "The Oracle"

 

 


RON BLASKETT

Figure: Gerry Gee.  Performed when he was in the Australian army.  Gerry Gee was Australia's answer to Jerry Mahoney and had his own TV show during the 1960s.

You, Me & Gerry Gee - A 60 Year History of Australian Showbiz  is an illustrated autobiography by  Ron Blaskett.  Available at www.beamentertainment.com .

LINK to VIDEO CLIP: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7ZFkgAd_A

LINK to INTERVIEW: www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/ling/stories/s352815.htm

 


BILL BOLEY  
1935-2000

bellsouthpwp.net/g/k/gkoepke/ivent.htm

 

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Figures: Freddy, Aunt Fanny, Willie, Jose the Crow, Timex the Dog.  Boley was a real Kentucky colonel.  He is also widely known for his gospel script booklets that are still available today.
 


 
 

JOHN BOUCHIER

www.car-ter.freeserve.co.uk/ventrilo.htm

Bouchier used a coquettish mermaid figure named Miranda as well as a cheeky boy figure.


 
 

GEORGE BOYLE

From Ireland.  Author of I Must be Talking to Myself: www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1900913089/

Boyle had appeared on TV in the USA before the Irish Television service began at the end of 1961.  His performance on the opening night of transmission led to his weekly children's TV show which ran for very many years.


PETER BROUGH   1916-1999

 

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FOY BROWN

Ventriloquist & Figure-Maker from Kansas. Picture:  Brown poses in 1946 with  figures B. O. Baily and Lon Lundy.


 
 

DICK BRUNO  1901-1986

Also known as Monsieur Brunard, the faux Frenchman, beginning in 1947.  Figure: Joe Flip, made by Frank Marshall.  Bruno is also known for coaching Shari Lewis for a short time.



 

TREVOR BURCH

From England.



 

STANLEY BURNS   1919-1998

Ventriloquist and Magician from New York.  Figures: Bruce, the redhead; Cecil, his small sidekick;  Dr. Lichi, who moved by remote control; sexy Lulu; Uncle Sam.

Burns has worked with Woody Allen and Madonna.  He was also a Vent Historian and Author of Other Voices: Ventriloquism from BC to TV.

Read a New York Times article about Burns by Dan Barry entitled "Puppet in Lap, and Audience in His Palm" (2003): BURNS (Members Site: Free Membership).

 


 
 

LORING CAMPBELL  1905-1979

Also known as The Great Alexander.  Primarily a magician.  Figure: Jerry.



 

KAY CAROLE

Figure: Tommy, made by Frank Marshall.  Tommy was a master of insults.  Kay remained mostly silent during the performance.

Two Kay Caroles???



 

KAY CAROLE

Figure: Tommy.  Photo from 1967 LP.


  
 

JOHNNY CARSON   1925-2005

The popular late-night talk-show host began his show business career as a teenage magician and ventriloquist.



 

DAVE CASTLE

Also author of If the String Breaks.



 

DAWSON CHANCE

Chance starred in 1970s kids' show Dawson's Funny Old Farm and also Take A Chance (UK, ITV -- Thames), a children's sitcom in 1980-81 that was a spin-off from the daily weekday pre-school series Rainbow.



 

JACK COATS  1931-1973

Ventriloquist and figure-maker.  Coats made figures during the late 60s and early 70s for Paul Stadleman, Jimmy Nelson, and many others.

Click Here For More Information



 

BUCK CODY

Col. Buck Cody and his figure Freckles.  Circa 1950s.  He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Country Music Associations of America.   Magicians and Ventriloquists also honored him with Hall of Fame Inductions.

 


ROGER DE COURCEY

www.rogerdecourcey.co.uk

Puppet: Nookie Bear

Roger was born in London and started in show business as an Opera singer.   He has appeared  at the London Palladium and at O'Keefe Centre in Toronto, Canada.  he has also performed in Las Vegas.  The irrepressible Nookie Bear first delighted viewers in the TV Series New Faces in 1976.
 



 

CRISS CROSS

American vent who also performed a risqué routine with a life-sized female figure.


BILLY DAVIS

Figure: Li'l Maxie (made by Frank Marshall).  For additional photos of Maxie, go to the Ventriloquist Central Collection page.

Billy Davis was a full time working ventriloquist that worked in every major city in the United States and in Canada. He performed with Sally Rand in her Broadway Show which ran directly accross the street from New York's famous  Palace Theatre. Billy also did many commecials which included his figure Danny Dollar in the Syracuse Savings Bank, an eight year run doing commercials for King Corn, and the use of Lil Maxie in the Russer's Meat add. Billy performed from the 1950's through the 1980's and used a remote controlled Marshall figure in a comedy mind reading  routine. Billy was a great add libber and performed ventriloquism as his sole means of support.
 


LEE DEAN

From Kentucky, Dean appeared with Ken n' Del on KWTX and KBTX TV network for Waco and Bryan, Texas, in 1961.

In 2003 Dean made a figure called Krïket with 20 control effects, and in the process discovered new controls for rolling eyes, varying brows, and other features by variable controllers.  Dean revealed his creation to many figure makers at the 2004 Kentucky ventriloquist convention.  For further info about Kriket, see the following: Kriket.

www.KriketPuppetShows.com

 



 

BILL DEMAR

Figure: Chuck Norwood

LINK: Buy Demar's videos (Bill DeMar: Upside Down and Backwards on Ventriloquism or The Bill DeMar Show Video) at  www.cornellpublications.com/products/videos.htm



 

HERBERT LEE DEXTER   1905-1991

Came from Australia to the US and had his own television show for children that lasted for 14 years.  Bertie the Bunyip appeared on TV in Philadelphia.


SHIRLEY DINSDALE   1926-1999


latvlegends.com/JudySplinters/JudySplinters.html

www.imdb.com/name/nm1589018/

www.imdb.com/title/tt0405556/

Dinsdale and her puppet pal Judy Splinters both started out on a radio station in San Francisco at the age of fourteen in 1940.

"Judy Splinters" (1949) -- first aired live as a local program in Los Angeles in 1947. The show later moved to Chicago in June 1949 and then to New York where it ran as an kids afternoon program for nine months in 1949-50.

In 1949 she accepted the very first Emmy award ever given out. It was for "Most Outstanding Personality".

In 1953, after a six-year television career, Shirley left broadcasting.
 



 

DOC DOUGHERTY

Figure: Willie O'Neal, made by Frank Marshall.  Performed throughout the US from 1945 to 1956.



 

ROY DOUGLAS

Douglas used a 2-headed figure built by John Carroll.





 

PHIL D'REY

New Orleans comedian and ventriloquist from England. Died: 1970.  Figures: Gangrene, the talking gorilla; Drunken Hines, a life-sized figure that walked.   D'Rey was also a musician who played piano in silent movie theatres.

Special Feature: D'Rey's Silent Vent Act from Ireland's 1955 Year Book.  What's a silent vent act?  Open the file and find out!



 

NORM DYGON

Figure: Mister Chips.  Circa 1950s.  Appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.



 

BOB EVANS

Figure: Jerry O'Leary, made from the Willie Talk toy of the 1940s.



 

BOBBY FAY

Ventriloquist from Massachusetts in the 1970s.
Figure: Melvin Mystuff. Fay also played accordion and piano. When people asked him what he does for a living, Bobby Fay replied, "I talk to myself a lot and work with a bunch of dummies."

  

 
 

CHARLIE FOWLER  1923-1994

Fowler was also known as Chuckles The Clown.  Figure: Bumpsy the Clown, made by Frank Marshall.  Before the figure was a clown, he was called Ikey McGregor.  Ikey was presented with a purple heart medal for damage received in the South Pacific during WWII.  Charlie was in the Navy, and as an entertainer he did shows throughout the world.



 

WILLIAM "PRETTY BOPP" FRANKLIN 
1931-1984

Franklin was from St. Louis Missouri and was born on Oct.12, 1931. He started out as a comic and was with the Larry Steele "Smart Affairs Show" and arrived in Chicago with them. Black promoter Pervis Spann discovered Bopp and put him to work in all the top black clubs in Chicago.

Pretty Bopp decided to do ventriloquism in 1976 after seeing a black vent who called himself Alan & Wall Eyed. Bopp was self taught and purchased his first figure from Magic Inc. He called his side kick June Bug and this figure was made by Danny baker and then reworked by John Arvites. You could see Bopp and June Bugg working the streets of Chicago especially on the State Street Mall.

Unfortunately William Pretty Bopp Franklin passed away at the young age of 53 and even though he worked tirelessly with the city of Chicago in Human Resources and later with the Belmont Police in the task force to deal with fire, rape and crime victims he remains for the most part an unknown vent.
 

For More About Pretty Bopp, click here



 

ARTY FREDA

Figures: Luigi and unknown. Both figures were made by Len Insull.



 

FREDDIE

Figure: Grady.  Or is Grady the ventriloquist and Freddie the figure?



 

JIM FROMEWICK

Leader of the Ventriloquist Dummy Choir on Late Night with Conan O'Brien during the 1990s.



 

FRANK GABY

Died 1945.



 

MIKE GERSTENECKER

members.tripod.com/~jmgerst/vent.htm

Magician, Clown, and Ventriloquist from St. Louis area. Died: 2005.



 

GREENE

Figure: Dooley.



 

CLIFFORD GUEST

Born in Australia, Guest performed in both the US and England.  Figure: Johnny, made by Frank Marshall.  In his act, Guest would chase Johnny around the stage.



 

TERRY HALL

poll.imdb.com/name/nm0356149/

British ventriloquist popular in the 1960s.  Puppet: Lenny the Lion. 

Lenny the Lion Show ran from 1956 to 1963 on BBC TV.  Lenny was one of the first animal puppets on children's TV and one of the first to have arm movements.





 

DWIGHT K. HAMBORSKY

Dwight K. Hamborsky learned the art of ventriloquism while he was living in Detroit Michigan. He ordered a ventriloquist figure in 1938 from the world renowned maker Frank Marshall.

Dwight worked his way through Wabash College and then University of Michigan Law School doing ventriloquism and magic. He performed in both Indiana and Michigan. In 1943 he entered the Army Air Corps flight school in San Antonio Texas and he took his ventriloquist figure with him. He had named his figure " Joe Doaks".  

After the was Dwight finished Law school and over the years performed with Joe for various community events. Joe was a great swami and fortune teller.

Click here to see "Joe Doaks"



 

 

DWIGHT K. HAMBORSKY JR.

Dwight Hamborsky Jr. born in 1944 had a Danny O'Day figure and would on occasion join his Dad and would work on some events together. Dwight Sr. Passed away in 1973 and Dwight Jr. continued the tradition performing with Joe for community events and for the neighborhood children on Halloween.

Click here to see "Joe Doaks"

 

 


  
 

KEITH HARRIS

www.thebubbleburst.co.uk

www.imdb.com/name/nm0364934/

www.slot32.co.uk/bigindex/

Born in 1947, UK.  Puppets: Orville the Duck and Cuddles the Monkey.

The Keith Harris Show -- BBC TV Show, 1982-1990

TRIVIA: There is only one Orville and he is insured for £100,000.

TRIVIA: Orville was named after Orville Wright, one of the famous Wright brothers who together achieved the first controlled flight of an aeroplane.


JIM HENSON   1936-1990

Puppeteer (not a ventriloquist) best known for his Muppets.

1955-1961 Sam and Friends  (TV Show)

1968 Hey Cinderella! (made-for-TV movie starring the Muppets)

1969-2005 Sesame Street (TV Show)

1971 Tales from Muppetland- The Frog Prince (made-for-TV movie starring the Muppets)

1972 The Muppet Musicians of Bremen (made-for-TV movie starring the Muppets)

1976-1981 The Muppet Show (TV Show)

1982 The Dark Crystal (Movie)

1986 Labyrinth (Movie)

     LINKS

Bio  www.geocities.com/Hollywood/

Bio  jim-henson.biography.ms

IMDB  www.imdb.com/name/nm0001345/bio

Jim Henson Company  www.henson.com

Jim Henson's Creature Shop  www.creatureshop.com

 


FRANK HERMAN   1916-2000

Also known as Skipper Frank - Host of Cartoon Carousel, For Kids Only, and Magic Party in Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s. Skipper Frank performed magic tricks and ventriloquism with his wooden sidekick Julius.


 


ALEX HOUSTON

www.williamclare.com/stars.html

Figure: Elmer.  Houston has been entertaining for more than 50 years, beginning in 1954. He has appeared with many stars, including Elvis, Red Skelton, Patsy Cline, and Jimmy Dean. His act includes parodies of country songs.
 


ROD HULL  1935-1999

www.thebubbleburst.co.uk

povonline.com/cols/COL236.htm

www.tvacres.com/birds_emu_emu.htm

www.imdb.com/name/nm0401467/

Puppet: Emu.

Emu was born in a props department on an Australian Saturday morning TV show that Roy presented in the 1960s.

1970: In Britain Hull became a TV star.

Late 1970s: Hll starred in the TV show "Emu's Broadcasting Company".

1980s: Hull starred in the TV shows "Emu's World" and "Emu's (Brand New) Pink Windmill Show" which also featured the character of Grotbags.
 


 


 

BILL HUME

www.pbase.com/csw62/hume

Born in 1916 and primarily known as a cartoonist, Hume performed as a ventriloquist during and after World War II.   His figure, Rosita, was a Panamanian beauty.

In the early 1950s, while stationed in Japan, Hume created the cartoon character "Babysan,"  a beautiful Japanese girl  in Western clothes who spoke broken English.



 

JAY JAXON


Also known as The Great Jaxon.  Figure: Jerry Jordan.

 


JAY JOHNSON

BORN: July 11, 1949

FAME: writer, comic, cartoonist, poet, puppeteer, ventriloquist

CHARACTERS: Squeaky, Bob

LINK: www.thetwoandonly.com

LINK: www.monkeyjoke.com

LINK: www.imdb.com/name/nm0425318/

1977: Soap (television): In this prime-time sitcom (1977-81), Johnson played Chuck Campbell, a slightly schizophrenic man who used his dummy Bob to express off-color opinions towards his family.

2004: The Two and Only (live one-man show)

LINK: "Jay Johnson: The Two and OnlyRadio Interview on Boston NPR here-now.org/shows/2006/07/20060728_17.asp
 



 

KEN KARTER

USA

www.funnydummystuff.com

www.sharpeworld.com/hal_morris_museum/


 
 

BOB KING

FIGURE: Tiny, made by Frank Marshall.  Other figures also made by Marshall.

Performed circa 1940s.



 

KOLBY KING

Author of Ventriloquism Made Easy.



 

NEVILLE KING

Used an old man dummy that he would substitute with a midget.  Also proficient at distant voice ventriloquism.



 

KRIS KIRBY

Australian ventriloquist.  Figure: Terry.


  
 

TED KNIGHT   1923-1986

The actor best known for his performance of Ted Baxter on the hit TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) tried his hand at ventriloquism early in his career.

  


DON KNOTTS   1924-2006

Don Knotts was born Jesse Donald Knotts on July 21, 1924 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

His first stint as an entertainer was as a ventriloquist. He briefly attended college at West Virginia University, but when World War II engulfed America, he enlisted in the Army. The 19-year-old soldier was assigned to the Special Services Branch where he entertained the troops. Apparently, those in charge insisted that most of his work be with Danny, his dummy. Knotts had other plans; so, when they sailed from Manos Island, he left Danny on the beach and reported him missing in action.

Knotts was cast in Andy Griffith's TV series about a small-town sheriff in the role that would make him a legend. For playing Deputy Barney Fife, Don won nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor five times from 1961 to 1967, winning each time.

Knotts also tasted big-screen success, starring in "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" (1964), "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1965), "The Reluctant Astronaut" (1967), "The Shakiest Gun in the West" (1968), "The Love God?" (1969) and "How To Frame A Figg" (1971).
 



 

KARL KRUG

Appeared as Uncle Frank with his figures, Tiny and Chocolate, on Story Time and Sing Time during the 1950s in Canada (CKNX in Wingham/Owen Sound on Channel 8 --a CBC affiliate).



 

TOM LADSHAW

Figure: Stanley.



 

LIZ LaMAC

Figure: Little Joe.  Circa 1980s.



 

ROBERT LAMOURET

French ventriloquist circa 1950s.  Puppet: Duddles.


ROY LANGER

Langer was on the Horn and Hardart Children's Hour (NBC-TV) from  the late '50's through the '60's.  He was also the winner of the Paul  Winchell Best Young Vent in America contest in the '50's.  His picture is in Winchell's  original "Vent for Fun and Profit" book.  In addition, he also won the Edgar Bergen Best Vent in NY contest.  Figure:  Mickey Malarkey.  Langer currently lives in Miami, Florida, and does voice and speech coaching for executives.
 


  
 

JERRY LAYNE

Ventriloquist & Figure-Maker.  See page on Makers of Dummies & Hard Figures.

 


RICKIE LAYNE   1925-2006

www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=8929

Figure: the Yiddish Velvel, a dummy with a Jewish dialect.  Velvel was a modified version of the Willie Talk toy that became popular during the 1940s.  Layne appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 with the help of Nat King Cole.  That was the first of 48 appearances.

ANECDOTE: Clean-shaven in the 1950s, the team filled out, grew their hair and sported mustaches by the late 1970s. "I was up in Reno in 1978 and I did a gag with the dummy where he had a mustache," Layne says. "I’d say, you’re just jealous because your mustache is bigger than mine, and Velvel would answer, ‘Anything I have is bigger than yours.’"

SPECIAL FEATURE: Read about Layne in an article from the Los Angeles Times: Rickie Layne.

 

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CY LEONARD

Cy Leonard was the first ventriloquist ever to appear on Canadian television in a CBC-TV show called The Big Revue (1952) and was in what was probably the first situation comedy show made in Canada called Tugboat Annie.

His TV work covers everything from appearances on one of Canada’s early situation comedies, Troubles of Tracy to a number of guest spots spots on the Tommy Hunter Show which ran on CBC-TV and the Nashville Network in the U.S. plus many years on CTV’s Uncle Bobby Show as ventriloquist and puppeteer.

Figure: Happy -- has 10 moving parts including the ability to stick out his tongue, go cross-eyed, wiggle his ears and flip his hair. Over ten years ago Cy was offered $10,000 U.S. for Happy and he is probably worth close to $20,000 now.

Click Here For More Information

 



 

SHARI LEWIS   1933-1998

 

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FRED MAHER  1896-1952

Figure: Skinny Dugan, built by Glenn and George McElroy.   Founder of Maher Studios.


JOHNNY MAIN  1938-2003

Figures: Gutters McGraw; Archie, made by Frank Marshall.  TV personality during the 1970s and 1980s.  Voted best
ventriloquist in the world in 1981.

Main also made figures, including Gutters.

For additional photos, go to the Dan Willinger Collection page.

Tribute to Johnny Main

 

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JAY MARSHALL 
1919-2005

Chicago magician and ventriloquist performing for over six decades with his wiseacre dummy rabbit ,Lefty.

Marshall appeared with Lefty on the Ed Sullivan Show 14 times and was the opening act for such performers as Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, and Liberace. He was also the owner of Magic Inc. in Chicago's North Side since 1962.

While on Army duty during World War II, he brought Lefty to life with a khaki Army glove.
 



 

ANGELA MARTIN

Figures: Angel, Tiny.  Got her start on TV during the early days of television.


 
 

GEORGE McATHY

Ventriloquist, Magician, and Figure-Maker.  1940s-1960s. His shop was located in Burbank, California.



 

BOB McELROY

Figure: Tommy Knots, made by Frank Marshall.

For a photo of one of Bob McElroy's Marshall figures, go to the Ventriloquist Central Collection page.



 

MEGUMI

Japanese ventriloquist.  Studied with Noda.  Figure: Taka-Chan.



 

DON MESSICK   1926-1997

Messick performed in over 100 animated programs, providing voices for numerous cartoon characters on television, including Astro and Rudy on "The Jetsons," Bamm Bamm on "The Flintstones," Boo Boo and Ranger Smith on "Yogi Bear and Friends," and Scooby Doo.

At age 13, Messick was performing a ventriloquist act  with  his dummy, Kentworth DeFrost.  Two years later,  Messick was on the air with his own weekly radio show.  During WW II Messick performed before the troops with his ventriloquist dummy, now named Woody DeForest, who wore a uniform for the occasion.



 

TED V. MIKELS

Circa 1949



 

PACO MILLER

Mexican ventriloquist.  Figure: Don Roque.  He was born in Ecuador in 1909 (or 1908) as Edmundo Jijon Serrano, but he became famous in Mexico, where he died in 1997 after an incredibly long and successful career as an artist and impresario.

The movements of the figure are jaw and raising eyebrows, a strange combination, but a standard one in Mexican figures, believe it or not. Don Roque was designed by cartoonist Miguel Angel Gomez and carved by carpenter N. Cruz.
 


BOB NELLER

Died: 1989.  Figure: Reggie, made by the McElroy Brothers, had 12 different mechanical movements.

Neller toured with Rudy Vallee and was the first ventriloquist to appear on TV:  he appeared on NBC on June 9, 1939.

More Information About Bob Neller

 


JIMMY NELSON

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BORN: December 15, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois

FAME: Ventriloquist of Nestle TV Commercials

CHARACTERS: Danny O'Day, Farfel

LINK: www.tvparty.com/lostny2nelson.html

LINK: www.imdb.com/name/nm0625466/

LINK: www.talkingcomedy.com/SI-Vent-2005/legends-siVENT05/JN-LGND-siVENT05.html

1950: Holland's Happiness House (local TV show in Chicago)

1950: Texaco Star Theater (Milton Berle's live variety TV show)

1955: Spokesman for Nestle Chocolate TV Commercials

1960: Studio 99 1/2 (local TV show in New Jersey)
 


  
 

REV. ICHIRO NODA

Japanese ventriloquist.  Also ran a ventriloquism school.


HOWARD OLSON  1910-1992

Figure: Cowboy Eddie.  For 11 years  Olson hosted Circus 3, a TV show for kids in Madison, Wisconsin .  It ran daily throughout the 1960s.  During the late 70s and early 80s, Olson made ventriloquist figures and conducted ventriloquism workshops. 

Trivia: (1) Howard Olson is the son of The Great Chesterfield (see Vaudeville page). (2) Cowboy Eddie is being used by contemporary vent Jacki Manna.  (3) Olson performed under the name of Chester Leroy until 1957.

LINK: TV party article: tvparty.com/lostwisc.html

LINK: 2006 article: www.channel3000.com/anniversary/9280473/detail.html

LINK: 1986 video clip: www.c3ktogo.com/video-player.php?id=4012

LINK: 1990 video clip: www.c3ktogo.com/video-player.php?id=3548

Olson Quote: "It all began in 1911 at Mack Brother’s Furniture and Wood Carving Shop on Clarke Street, in Chicago. I was a year old when my Dad purchased the red-wigged figure that for over 50 years has been my constant companion. The price: $11.00. His name: ‘Reddy’." [Reddy was later renamed Cowboy Eddie]
 



 

JOHN OSBORNE

www.magicentprod.com/ventriloquists.html

From Canada.



 

CECIL PARKEE

Chinese ventriloquist who settled in Australia.  Figure: Dim Sim.



 

SANDY POWELL

Provided a parody of ventriloquism -- the world's worst ventriloquist.



 

GEORGE PUTNAM



 

WILLIE REED

Also performed under name of Chilly Willie and Rosco.  Reed performed in the Ventriloquist Dummy Choir on NBC's Conan O'Brien Show.



 

DANIEL REMY


  
 

PETER RICH

Figure: Rawhide.  Rich began performing circa 1945.



 

GEORGE RISSEN

UK.  Died: 2005.



 

DAN RITCHARD

Appeared on television in a documentary called The Art of Ventriloquism in 1979: see IMDB www.imdb.com/title/tt0426916/.  Author of Ventriloquism for the Total Dummy.


  
 

TERRI ROGERS   1935-1999

Performed in numerous television shows in England.



 

RICHARD SANFIELD

Figure: Willie.  Adult humor.


 

JOHN R. SCHAIBLEY

Author of Memoirs of a Ventriloquist.



 

GEORGE SCHINDLER

Magician and Ventriloquist.  Author of Ventriloquism: Magic with Your Voice (1979).



 

REV. PHILIP SCOFIELD

The first ventriloquist to use a puppet in the pulpit (in 1948).  Figure: Johnny.



 

TOMMY SCOTT

www.imdb.com/name/nm0779682/bio

AKA Ramblin' Tommy Scott.  Singer, Actor, Entertainer, Medicine Show Performer.  The western "Trail of the Hawk" (1935) features the music and comedy of Tommy and his Hollywood Hillbillies.  Scott also hosted two of television's first country music shows: "The Ramblin' Tommy Scott Show" and "The Smokey Mountain Jamboree."



 

ALAN SEMOK

Also Maker of Hard Figures/Dummies.



 

JOE H. SHULTZ

Figure: Jake.

  


CANFIELD SMITH

Figure: Snodgrass.  "1950. Original Theatre Programme ... from the Chiswick Empire for STAND EASY ... First Time Here, The Famous American Recording Star, Rose Murphy, the Chee Chee Girl ... second billed is Canfield Smith, The Sensational American Ventriloquist with his almost human Snodgrass, and supporting variety, billed to appear Monday August 21st. 1950." 

In 1953, Canfield lived at 6613 Kindred Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Canfield T Smith was born January 1906. He died March 1990

Click Here for more information

 

 


DENNIS SPICER

Figure: Jimmy Green

Performed circa 1950s and 1960s.  Appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

ANECDOTE:  "There was a brilliant ventriloquist called Dennis Spicer who sadly was killed in a car crash. In the wreckage the police found a pair of small shoes and they assumed there must have been a child in the car, but that was not the case - they were the doll's shoes that had been ripped off in the crash. 

Once I was in Newcastle doing a show with Ted Ray and others at Tyne Tees Television, and Dennis, who was also appearing, arrived very late. He finally entered the dressing-room, apologizing profusely and talking about the traffic, and put a case down on the table. He opened the case, took out a small doll and hung it on a hook on the wall. Then he said, 'I must have a pee, I must have a cup of tea, I'll be back in a minute, sorry about all this,' and left the room. He'd left the case unfastened, and the lid was ajar, so Ted Ray said, 'Oh, let's have a look' and he opened the lid of the case, and there was a frog with rolling eyes and all sorts of interesting props and bits and pieces in there, and then Ted said, 'We shouldn't be doing this.' He closed the lid, and when Dennis Spicer entered the room the doll on the wall said, 'He's had a look in your case, Dennis.'"  from Barry Cryer, "Pigs Can Fly"
 


PAUL STADELMAN

dickensndave.bravehost.com/stadel1.htm

Figure: Windy Higgins, made by Charlie Mack.  Stadelman started as a magician in the late 1930s.  He also began the first school for ventriloquism in the US.

HEAR Paul Stadelman: Sound Clip

 



 

TODD STOCKMAN



 

ASTA SVEN

Figure: life-sized and lecherous Senator Birch.  Performed during the 1940s.



 

JAMES TATTERSALL   1917-1999

James (or Jimmy) Tattersall was both a ventriloquist and maker of life-sized dolls. Among his figures he had a life-sized drunk doll and an old lady who traveled across the stage by remote control and landed in the old man's arms. Tattersall was well-known for the figures he made with big eyes and big expressions.

During the 1940s Tattersall performed as "Tattersall and Jerry'" (upper photo).  He also also used a figure named Tony, a Liberace-like pianist (lower photo).

Tattersall performed in a children's series on Scottish TV, Mr. Fixit, which featured puppets Rosabell and Hoppy. There was one human in the show, Mr. Fixit, who was played by Roddy McMillan or Roy Kinnear.

 

Click here for more information about James Tattersall

 

Click here to see Tattersall Figure in
Ventriloquist Central Collection

 



 

VICKI TAYLOR

Married ventriloquist Roy Douglas and began to perform a double-act with him.  After the birth of their son, they divorced.  Vicki went on to perform solo successfully and was known for being able to produce two voices at once, as reported in Ripley's "Believe It or Not."

Click here for more information


MAX TERHUNE   1891-1973

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BORN: February 12, 1891 in Amity, Indiana

FAME: Movie Star, 1/3 of the Three Mesquiteers

CHARACTERS: Elmer Sneezewood

LINK: www.surfnetinc.com/chuck/terhune.htm

LINK: www.imdb.com/name/nm0855579/

LINK: www.talkingcomedy.com/SI-Vent-2005/movies-siVENT05/EBMT-MOVIES-siVENT05.html

1936: Republic Pictures, Three Mesquiteers (21 Films)

1940: Mongram Pictures, Range Busters (24 Films)

1950: Alibi's Tent Show (television show)
 



 

BUB THOMAS   1911-1997

Charles David "Bub" Thomas: Entertainer. Barbershop Quartet Singer. Ventriloquist.



 

GEORGE TIZZARD

Ventriloquist, Writer, and Musician.  Originally from England.  Lived in New York City.  Began performing circa 1938.



 

GEORGE TROXEL

Figure: Danny O' Grady.  Troxel was a Country Music Star & Ventriloquist circa 1947.

 


WILLIE TYLER

BORN: September 8, 1940 in Alabama

FAME: TV & Las Vegas Ventriloquist

CHARACTERS: Lester

LINK: www.willieandlester.com

LINK: www.imdb.com/name/nm0878939/

1970: The Merv Griffin Show (television)

1971: The Flip Wilson Show (television)

1972: Laugh-In (television)

VIDEO LINK: Vegetable Soup -- Time to Tell a Story: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjAZDiw_dfI

 



 

JIMMY WALLIS

jimmywallis.com

Figure: Wally.  Wallis began performing in the late 1950s.



 

WALTER WALTERS, JR.

Son of vents Walter and Emily Walters.  Known for the "crying baby" routine that his parents originated.


 
 

JIMMY WELDON

jimmyweldon.com

www.tvacres.com/puppets_ventril_jimmy.htm

Puppet: Webster Webfoot, the sassy, talkative little duck on the The Webster Webfoot Show in 1954-55, a game show for children broadcast from Hollywood.

TRIVIA: Jimmy Weldon's "quacky" duck voice which he used with Webster Webfoot later inspired the 1960 Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Yakky Doodle.


SENOR WENCES   1896-1999

BORN: April 17, 1896 in Spain

FAME: Talking Hand, Head in a Box, Surreal Ventriloquism

CHARACTERS: Pedro, Johnny, Cecilia

LINK: www.tvacres.com/puppets_senorwences.htm

LINK: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920777/

1947: Mother Wore Tights (motion picture)

1948: Texaco Star Theater (Milton Berle's television show)

1949: The Ed Sullivan Show (Wences appeared 48 times on this television show)

1978: Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris

1980: The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson's television show)

 

More photos

Bill Smith's Flickr page

Bill Smith's Facebook photo page

 

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DICK WESTON

Figures: Clarence & Aunt Martha.  Weston, a popular Las Vegas entertainer, built the two ventriloquist dummies himself and would conduct clever debates between the two.



 

NANCY WIBLE

In 1951-1952 Wible performed in a successful TV show in Los Angles called Candy's Playhouse with her doll Candy Sugarpine.  Wible also was a professional singer and voice artist for several animated cartoons, including The Flintstones and Gumby.



 

PAUL WINCHELL   1922-2005

 

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RITA WINCHELL  1929-2011

Sister of famed ventriloquist Paul Winchell

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TOMMY WINDSOR

Author of Do Ventriloquism the Easy Way.


 
 

KEN WOOD

Wood began performing in the 1960s in England and also performed in Australia and New Zealand with the Black & White Minstrels.

 

ARTHUR WORSLEY  1920-2001

www.imdb.com/name/nm1242865/bio

www.turnipnet.com/radio/arthurworsley.wav

Worsley and his talkative dummy Charlie Brown appeared regularly on British television from the 1950s to the 1970s. 

"Charlie Brown ... dominated the act with his forceful personality. He would criticize Worsley's appearance and jibe him with remarks such as 'Turn me round son!' and 'Look at me when I'm talking to you!'"

 

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