In the 70s I remember one winning the $10,000 Grand Prix, another winning $5,000 and the third one won $3,000! But when a contestant won a million dollars there were questions about the ability of such a person to pay off a mortgage, and the money was gone before it was claimed, yet one of these ‘sporty’ guys managed to win $10,000 in a little more than two hours, and I just had to ask the judges, ‘How did you do that?’ But it was too late for the ‘grand prize’ he still had to pay off the mortgage.
You get the idea.
To be fair the old-school ventriloquist used to be a lot more sophisticated with the techniques. Like that one who could make the “I’m sick, but I’m going in for stitches” trick from the movie “Ghosts of Midwich” as the old boy sat in a bed and cried as that doctor pulled him out.
He was also a real good reader. A good reader was a trait in ventriloquists that has always been missed (although some of the very best have come from the very best schools). They liked people; and they knew what a “gift” it was for the viewer to watch a ventriloquist work with people. So they could create a persona that worked on all parts of the brain. That’s just the reason they got that name.
There’s also an old saying, “The ventriloquist makes the man.” Which is a great adage for any ad man; but one I especially believe to be true in advertising because we really do tend to want everyone to take his or her own direction rather than someone trying to give us what we want.
It was one of those moments where someone in the audience was screaming out “Why didn’t you say that earlier?” And I said to myself “Don’t you take the direction of the audience on that; it sounds like you’re trying to get a straight answer out of people.”
It happened again, when the old-time ventrilloquist, when telling a story with a kid, was making sure the kid knew that he’s talking to the one who’s really going places! When he told a story I found that when the story had the kids all getting their hands on a knife, my gut reaction was usually that I would do a quick ‘wink, wink, nudge nudge
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