When I was a little boy in 1968 I saw the great ventriloquist Paul Winchell in an appearance on The Lucy Show. I was fascinated by his famous puppet characters Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. I knew right then exactly what I wanted for Christmas. I circled a Jerry Mahoney puppet in the Sears catalog, and when I received him from my granparents, I was just thrilled. Shortly after I got him, I found a book in the library called "Fun With Ventriloquism", by Alexander Van Rensselaer. This little book intrigued me. I spent many hours practicing the techniques it described, learning the comedy routines it contained. I carefully studied illustrations of ventriloquism technique. I spent hours gazing at the photographs of famous ventriloquists. This book planted a seed in me that continues to grow to this day. It launched my interest in show business history, puppetry, magic, clowning and theater arts. This little book changed my life.
With the win on America's Got Talent by the very talented young ventriloquist Darci Lynn Farmer, the interest in ventriloquism among children is at an all time high.
I created my new library reading club show, "Fun With Ventriloquism" to both entertain and introduce children to the fun and fascinating art that has given me so much. This show is full of hilarious puppet characters, magic and even a little history of this ancient art form.
I will be presenting this program at the Cody Branch Library in San Antonio, Texas at 2pm, Wednesday, June 14th. The show is free of charge and fun for the whole family.