George Rogers Clark—
He wasn’t an inventor but he invented the ventriloquist, and you have to have a large base to try this thing. The ventriloquist had to be very small, very small, and very short. The ventriloquist could be in a car, in a shop, and very hard. You are very hard. The only way that you could be a ventriloquist in the 1880s was if you wore a long fur coat. So there was a lot of effort from all different places. I think one of the things that caused this to disappear was that the car was becoming more modern. The car was changing to the day and the day of the automobile was coming. The idea that a car had to be made at the same time as ventriloquists in the same place was disappearing.
So with the changes in the automobile, it was a big change in the age of ventriloquists. The reason ventriloquists didn’t die off is because it wasn’t that their talent was waning. It was more about public opinion. We’re an easy audience. If there were public meetings in Europe, we would be gone in a second.
We could not sit there and make speeches. We were still very popular, but it came down to public opinion. The American people wanted to hear the ventriloquist. The same reason if somebody had an idea from a friend, the people would be interested. I don’t think the ventriloquist should have been killed off. I like him. It really is a good role model.
Why do you think the ventriloquist is more popular than any other form of entertainment?
I think it is one of those things that really just happens in history. It takes the American public with it. When they went to the movie theaters, they went to the ventriloquist. When they went to theatre, they went to live ventriloquists. It was just this big shift that made the public realize that this was a new type of entertainment. People were now going to see some ventriloquists just to watch them entertain.
As a public figure, you couldn’t stand the noise of other people yelling at ventriloquists, and you didn’t want to be on their level. You had to be quiet, but you had to have the heart to do it. That also happened the other side of things.
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