What makes a ventriloquist dummy such an unusual, and ultimately effective, tool? I started to wonder. After all, we are all pretty familiar with the more common “barking/squeaking” sound produced when our mouth is open, which helps us communicate (if there is one, I’d guess). In most of our daily interactions (most likely for the most part), there is very little that we can do to make our voices “trendy,” if that’s even possible. A very subtle change of attitude is often all it takes to change someone’s tune. This is one part in which a ventriloquist, especially a dummy, comes up trumps.
The way we approach “humor” is by creating a series of stimuli that we can use to make ourselves laugh. This is a process used to create any audience, but especially a ventriloquist’s audience, because the idea is to make your audience smile, and there are a lot of laughs around.
When I was young, there was a show we watched which really emphasized our vocal range (although, it was far from a voice training program, just a little show), it was called “The Dummy,” so I’ll keep the names of the characters private, but the thing is, there was a big change of attitude in the early ’90’s when the show ended, and the last line of the story was a line that stuck in my head forever, “You should be laughing at the world.” So, when I started researching the history of this puppet and all, the biggest shock was learning that this was all done in a ventriloquist’s voice.
As I was researching, I found a website that was dedicated to the history of ventriloquism. This site took me to the page for the Olds Ventriloque Company. I was a little put out, but I looked, and I started to learn more about the company. The story I knew I wanted to tell started there. The Olds Ventriloque Company produced a voice-based dummy that became known as the “Eureka Ventriloquist,” and that dummy is still a highly regarded and sought-after object today. For the past few years, I have been traveling around the United States with my ventriloquist dummy, making it an art form in and of itself. I even had it included in a little movie of mine called “Totally Fabulous” that
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