Wisdom For Dummies

By Sandi Stricker

I'm still new at this ventriloquism - a little over a year into it. I am writing my own scripts, and must say memorizing them certainly is good for exercising the brain at my age. To help me get through a script, sometimes Woody (Mr. Woodrow) has to refer to his reference book, "WISDOM FOR DUMMIES".
I used one of those paperback books with the yellow and black cover called "Internet (or whatever) for Dummies". I took black paint and painted over the "INTERNET" word, and then in yellow paint, painted in the word "WISDOM", so now it read "WISDOM for DUMMIES".
I only use the front cover, and then folded it in half, so when open, the audience sees the cover and the words "WISDOM FOR DUMMIES". I made a couple pages in it, and occasionally he needs to look something up and therefore we have a paragraph of script in front of us.
I stapled the corner of the book to his shirt cuff so it looks like he is holding it in his other hand. Then when he refers to it, I hold the other side in my hand. The audience seems to get a kick out of his Wisdom for Dummies book, even though I never refer to him as a "dummy" (ventriloquisimy incorrect as I learned from your course).

An example of what I put in it for reference and patter assistance include: What the Economic Stimulus Payment is and where the money goes; For bosses day I had patter in it on Woody's quick reference to appropriate (but funny) ways to write lines in letters of recommendation; and, A reference he has to look up regarding a scientific fact about why drinking wine is better than drinking water.

Whatever I use the book for is always something that is appropriate to "look up" in a reference book. It seems to work great.


  1. The word dummy probably comes fron dumb show of mime, when Punch and Judy used an interpreter to explain a puppet play like Shakespeare did in pantomine sequences in an epilogue. Quoting from one of his plays,"O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet! Now will he interpret to her." Back last century in the 50s a person who could not hear or speak was called deaf and dumb, followed in 60s with words to euphemize that such as hearing impaired, speech inpaired, sight impaired, etc. The fact remains, however, that a ventriloquist figure was and still is for the most part called a dummy, although I prefer mannequin or maniken which means little people. Your use of the dummy books to hold script is very good.

  2. Anonymous11/24/2009

    Sounds like you & Woody are having alot of fun! & that's what it's all about!! If the audience sees you enjoying yourself, they are more apt to also. GREAT idea with that book too! Best of luck to you & Woody! N-JOY!! W.S.

  3. great idea!

  4. Mr. D, I misspelled secondary word manikin, and which means little man.

  5. this is a great idea ... especially for newbie vent who is nervous and might forget the script.