Note to winners of gift/prize drawings

Winners of drawings have 14 days to contact me to claim their gift or prize. After that period of time, unclaimed prizes are forfeited, and names of new winners will be drawn at a future date.

Christmas in January

Last week I received a package in the mail from M.A. Denemark. When I opened it, I found it filled with "goodies" that made me feel like a kid in a candy shop! There were sets of Great Ventriloquist Collector Cards, ventriloquist themed postcards, and more. With a note that read, "Here's some things for your blog give-aways."
Wow - what a delightful, generous gift! I emailed M.A. and told him, that thanks to him, it was "Christmas in January"! And now, you, the readers of this blog, will receive gifts all year long from this box of collectibles as I periodically pull one out for a drawing. We'll begin with an Edgar Bergen photo postcard which I have matted and framed (above). Jeff Walters is the winner of today's drawing. (Contact me , Jeff, to claim your prize.)

Reader Writes:

From Jim Burke: When we were missionaries in Colombia, South America, I had order a 'wig' from you for a figure and you were gracious in sending it. My introduction to ventriloquism was with the book, "Ventriloquism in a Nutshell" which I purchased in 1975. I actually learned the art of ventriloquism from that booklet. Your supplies have been used throughout the years, and I was saddened when Maher Studios was closed. You even sent the Millennium Course to me because you included something I had sent to you in one of the lessons. All this is to say, "Thank You" for your graciousness throughout the years in helping me and countless thousands others in the ministry through your assistance in so many ways. You have and continue to be an inspiration. Jim Burke, Associational Missions Director.
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From Clinton: "Give and it will be given unto you", and this is truly what I have experienced throughout my entire ventriloquist career. So while I humbly accept your comments with sincere gratitude, I do owe you, along with those "countless thousands" of others you mention, a huge "Thank you", as well!


Who's Influence?

"Who influenced you most with your Ventriloquism?" Dave Miller asked this question in a post earlier this week and then told his story. Several readers were then inspired to comment with their own story.

I found each individual's story uniquely fascinating. And inspiring. And encouraging. So much so that I have set up a permanent page for their stories and an ongoing place where YOUR STORY is welcome as well:
"Who's Influence?"

A Tedtoon by Ted Nunes

copyright 2010 . Published by permission.


McElroy Magic - WIN this amazing book!

In 2007 Greg Claassen authored this amazing book filled with photos and information about the rare, oft-envied, McElroy figures. I've read it once just for the information, history, and background on Glenn and George McElroy and the incredible figures they built. I read it a second time just to study the amazingly detailed drawings of the individual mechanics for each animation and the description of how they can be replicated. And before shipping the book to the winner of this give-away, I'll page through it again, just to review and enjoy one final time the experience of the McElroy "magic". (Fred Maher's popular Skinny Dugan, even found his way into this book!)

Greg has built several McElroy replicas, true in every way to their original works. When this book was introduced in 2007 and I saw the retail price advertised, I thought it a bit "pricey". But after I actually saw the book and the professional manner in which it was produced, and the incredible amount of history and details included, I actually think of it now as being offered for a bargain price!
The FREE book offered here, was provided by author who signed the copy.
Knowing the book has little value to some, but would be priceless to others, I will not use a drawing to determine the winner of "McElroy Magic." Rather, I will ask any of you who would like to receive this copy FREE, to Contact me and tell me why I should award it to you. From your emails, I'll pick a winner. NOTE: Contest now closed to entries. Winner to be announced 2/2/10.

And if you choose not to wait, or to participate in the contest, you can purchase a copy of McElroy Magic from Greg's website: http://gregclaassen.com/For_Sale.html
On Greg's site you will also find additional information about this book as well as the McElroy replicas Greg builds.

Remote animations

Comment: Hi, Clinton. I found a man to animate my puppets remotely. I'll update you as we progress so you can let me know what you think. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to install. You were so kind and helpful to me so thank you again.
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I'm glad you found the help you need with animating your puppets. At this point in my retirement, I'm as busy as I want to be without adding another facet of building. Let me know how the finished project works for you. I've had two of my own vent figures fitted with remote controlled animations. One can be seen on my Photo Album (scroll down until you see "Albert"). When the batteries died I did learn the importance of building the figure in such a way that it can be controlled both manually and remotely! The show must go on!


Win this item!

Coming up tomorrow (Friday) will be a contest where the winner will win a new, autographed copy of McELROY'S MAGIC, by Greg Claassen. A fascinating history of the famous McElroy figures with many photos, and very detailed plans and descriptions of all mechanics for those considering building a replica. It's an amazing work. Details tomorrow.

Hospital Ventriloquism...

Some EXCELLENT feedback, suggestions and comments have been submitted for those ventriloquists who are considering (or involved with) entertaining hospital patients. So much so that I have posted them on a permanent page: http://www.venthospital.blogspot.com/ Please check it out. And if you have experience in this area of performing, send me your thoughts and suggestions. I will add them to the site.

Ventrilopedia Ready

Those of you who preordered the VENTRILOPEDIA should have received and email from me with word that the books are now ready to ship. But, if you did not , Contact Me now to arrange payment and shipping. Thank you.


Hospital Ventriloquism...

Question: Can you put some information on your blog on performing ventriloquism in hospitals. I'm exploring the possibilities at the moment, but have no idea where to start. I love your blog, I'm checking it daily. Best regards,Walter van der Hoeven, From The Netherlands.
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Answer: While I have one book of dialogues written for this purpose*, I have little else. So I promised Walter I'd give readers a chance to send their comments and/or suggestions. I'll compile them and post them here. Contact me here.

* Cheerful Visits, $6.00 postpaid.
Does anyone have contact information for Stanley Allym? I'm pretty sure he is from Europe, but could be wrong. I want to confirm the maker/source of the puppet as well as get updated status of the ventriloquist himself. (The vent figure may be a converted commercial doll of some sort - or a character that started "life" as a marionette.)


Gift Give-away

This 8x10 framed photo of Bob Bradford and two of his primary figures (Jiggers on the left and Snookie Snitzel on the right) has been awarded to Howie Myers (NJ) by today's drawing.
Thank you, Lee Dean, for the following two links on Bob Bradford in 1951 Looking Back and 2003 on his daughter, Debbie Ann .

Reverse Auction

I've listed this fellow on eBay with another "reverse auction". Buy it now price of $350.00 will be lowered $10 weekly until sold.

Jigger's Happy Cabbage - issued by Jiggers Johnson, President of United Dummies of America. This funny money was used as a giveaway by Bob Bradford (see post below), and this "Genuine Bogus Bill" was sent to me a few years ago by Bob's daughter, Debbie Gaccetta, who is a ventriloquist in her own right.

A drawing has been made and the winner of this "Illegal and very tender, Simple Simoleon" is Harry Schwab.
(Contact me within 14 days to confirm your address and claim your prize.)

Whose Influence?

By Dave Miller

"Who has influenced you the most with your ventriloquism?" Have you ever been asked that question?

In 1954, I was getting ready to start high school when I received a party invitation from Youth for Christ, an inter-denominational Christian ministry organization. The invitation said ventriloquist Bob Bradford (left) would entertain. I had recently taken up ventriloquism, doing shows at school, church, scouting events, any place that needed an entertainer. Any chance to see a live ventriloquist act was a real treat to me. Bob was technically the best ventriloquist I had ever seen, and had been taught by The Great Lester. Bob would bring out a trumpet and have his figure "Jiggers Johnson" play it. Obviously, it was Bob making the trumpet sound. I watched with amazement as he completed this feat without showing a single facial movement. After "Jiggers" was through playing the trumpet, Bob placed the trumpet back in the case and made the sound of the trumpet just fade away as he closed the lid. At age 13, I was blown away by Bob's mastery of ventriloquism. Following Bob's show there was a question and answer session. Some of my classmates told Bob that I was a ventriloquist too. He spent a great deal of time talking with me and giving me information about The International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists, W.S. Berger, The Great Lester, etc. Information on ventriloquism was scarce in Portland, Oregon in 1954 and his conversation opened up a whole new world to me. Bob helped me to hone my skills as a budding ventriloquist and that help lasted a lifetime.

Bob invited me to join him on the big Saturday Youth for Christ show. It was hosted at the Portland Civic Auditorium (now known as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.) It seated more than 3,000 people and was, at that time, Portland's largest auditorium. Bob wrote a few jokes for me to use and coached me in timing, delivery and anything else I needed to do a good show.

Bob introduced me to the audience for my short little show. When I was done, Bob asked me if I would like to sing for the audience. I said sure and that I loved to sing. I started "singing" a spiritual song called "He's the Lily of the Valley" and of course it was Bob that was really doing the singing as I moved my lips, I walked off the stage "singing" the song and the voice faded away with me. Soon, though, the voice changed and started getting louder and louder as Bob brought his figure "Jiggers Johnson" out of his trunk. Bob's skill as a distant vent pulled this little stunt off brilliantly and when Jiggers finished the song, Bob called me back on the stage and shared the applause from the audience with me. I am just one of many that Bob Bradford has had a profound influence on. The Great Lester told me that Bob was one of the best ventriloquists he ever coached, and I'm sure he was. It was such an honor to have known Bob Bradford and to have had his influence in my life.

Who has influenced you the most with your ventriloquism?



From Mark McClintock:

Since my marriage and my daughter's birth, I have drastically diminished the amount of travel I do as a ventriloquist and have now created an ecumenical camp for children called "PASSPORTkids!" It is an all-consuming job and one that I enjoy very much. As the Spirit leads, however, Sidney and my other buddies continue to entertain and enlighten locally in Birmingham, Alabama, and on occasional journeys throughout the US and abroad.
Thanks once again for the fun and faith you continue to share!



99 Cent book auctions

My 99 cent book auctions this week contain several titles from bestselling ventriloquist authors:

Col. Bill Boley:
Ventriloquist Comedy Dialogues Vols 1 and 4
Talk To The Animals
Letters to Freddy

Dale Brown:
Audience Participation
Trade Show Ventriloquism

William H. Andersen:
My Favorite Routines
School Talk For Dummies
Ventriloquism For Senior Citizens

To see these and all items I have on eBay auction Click Here. Auctions end Monday AM, 01/25.
One pretty lady and two old geezers.

Photo taken this morning at a local McDonalds. Hillary Saffrin is holding J.D. Haile's sharply dressed, "Earl". I just stood in the back to make them both look good (or was it the other way around?). :-)

Movie: Dumbstruck

From Dan Horn

On Monday, Jan. 11, I attended a screening of Dumbstruck. I believe I am the first one associated with the film outside of the filmmakers to see it. I didn't know what to expect and, for obvious reasons, I was apprehensive at the screening. The title is perfect for the movie because at the conclusion of the film, I was left dumbstruck.

Mark and Lindsay Goffman have created an extraordinary film. They managed to portray us as real people following a dream, and not as social misfits lacking a grip on reality, which is the way we are usually presented. The film was, by turns, funny, sensitive, poignant, honest and above all, respectful. The film is amazing and unique--and I am so proud to have been a part of it. I believe it is the first project ever to portray our humanity as a group, and demystify misconceptions the general public collectively holds of us. That's not to say that some of our eccentricities are not depicted, but by painting accurate portraits of us as real people, those same qualities become endearing.

The film is making waves at the festival in Palm Springs and judging by the very positive audience reaction at the screening I attended, I believe this film will do more for the whole of us than any other project I've seen.

I hope we can persuade Mark Goffman to screen the film at our next convention, for I believe everyone of us will be thoroughly moved by the experience. Spread the word: see this film.

Ventriloquist Treasury of Ideas

The Man Upstairs excerpt (below) by Arty Freda, was taken from a chapter by the same title found in Ventriloquist Treasury of Ideas, a special 64 page limited edition 1974 publication by the N.A.A.V. The book is filled with ventriloquist features, tips, articles, dialogues, cartoons and more.

As a result of today's drawing, the winner of an original copy of this book in mint condition is: Richard Glantz.
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Reminder: If you are not signed up for all my free gift/prize drawings, all I need is your name with a one time email request to sign you up. mahertalk@aol.com

The Man Upstairs

By Arty Freda

A few years ago during my travels to Indonesia, while working for the A.I.D. Program as a Photographic Specialist, I happened to visit a hospital staffed by the Seventh Day Adventists. I spoke to an American nurse asking her if I could put on a show for the patients and staff. She said, "That's great, but I am most certain we could not afford you." I replied that I was on a mission for the government and on my own time I like to spread a little cheer. She remarked, "If you don't want any money, who are you doing it for?" "For Jesus", I replied, "and I am most certain He will see that I have a good audience."

Two months ago one of my students was doing a ventriloquism and magic show along with me at one of the homes for the aged. We entertained from the altar to a wonderful crowd of residents. The chapel was very nice. When the show was over, I remarked to my student about the fine job he did. "Well", he said, "Arty, look who was watching over our shoulder." I looked back, and there on the wall hung a large portrait of Jesus. "With a coach like that", he continued, "you can't go wrong."

I am sure that all of us in the entertainment field have the talent God gave us, so why not cast forth your talent and it shall come back to you a hundred fold. As my young student said, "Let's do it for the Man upstairs."

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Shopping for your vent figure

By Arty Freda

Interested in buying your vent figure a sharp looking tux? Go to a formal wear shop where they rent formal wear. They sell used tux outfits in children's sizes at a fraction of new prices.

In some cases it would pay you to visit second and thrift shops, where clothes and even uniforms in top condition are sold for a very nominal fee. When I do Cub Scout and Blue Gold dinners I usual ask den leaders to send me the pack numbers which I pin to Luigi's jacket.

Another good source for props and clothes are garage sales. At one garage sale I purchased a doll with a lion's head. I revamped it and use it when I do a Lion's Club function.

Perhaps your next door neighbor has some clothes that a son or daughter (once the size of your vent figure) has outgrown. A kindly neighbor would likely be more than happy to give you such clothes for the asking.

You could visit the local theater. Children patrons sometimes leave hats, jackets and the like that go unclaimed. The manager would be more than happy to give them to you.

If you want something really special for the figure, you can always go to the costume designer. This is especially helpful when you're doing a special show.

Good luck in your venture of shopping around for your figure.
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Adapted from Shopping Around For Your Vent Figue, Newsy Vents, Vol. 34, Issue 1, Jan/Feb 1978, copyringht North American Associatoion of Ventriloquists.


Lucky Duck!

On more than one occasion I have written about one of my favorite creations, and a favorite of my audiences as well, "Lucky Duck". Using the "third arm illusion" (my right arm and hand are fake), this highly animated puppet had light up eyes in addition to moving head and mouth. Probably one of the most fun puppets I've worked with! Photo from the '70s.
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From Jeff Brown:

Hello Clinton,

Well here he is, Jeremy O'Shea.

Naming him was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Using everything I learned in Lesson Six of the Maher Course I thought back over the years and realized that my first experience with a vent figure and my favorite television show was Jerry Mahoney. I combined Jerry Mahoney and came up with Jeremy and since it seems like the only word in my vocabulary anymore is SHAY .... O'Shea. The added benefit to saying his name is that I can O'Shea into my vent voice!

Thank you again for all of your guidance and expertise. Jeremy and I look forward to your continued friendship and mentoring. Jeff

Jackson at his shop

This cleverly posed photo (framed) came from the article, Cutting A Figure, The San Diego Union, Saturday, April 1, 1989. (Also see post below.) The caption read, "Chuck Jackson with some of his 'children' at his shop in Grass Valley." Photo by AP photographer, Rich Pedroncelli.
As a result of today's drawing this 8.5 x 11 framed photo has been awarded to Rodger Riggs.
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To All Readers: If you have not signed up for my gift/prize drawings, you can do so now. Just
Contact Me
and say, "Sign me up!"


Maher Workshop questions

I have 2 questions for you. 1. When you owned Maher studios during the period that Craig Lovik was making the figures, what Maher Workshop figure was the most popular from Lovik's line of figures?

2. Other then the Jingo in the Lovik catalog, Have you ever seen a Jingo that looked like the one in Lovik pictures? Mike Palma
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Answers and comments:
1. Randy was the most popular figure from the early Storyteller line of characters. The Archie was best seller from the first edition of Knee Pals. Then from the series of New Knee Pals that was introduced in the '80s it was Willie Winkle. Then came Comical Clyde in the '90s. All these were sold by Maher Studios.

2. Jingo was a carved basswood character, so while I can recognize the characters in all that were made (at least all that I have seen) , they do have variations. Craig built the first ones with the help of his brother, Brian. Then Chuck Jackson bought Craig's business and Brian teamed up with Chuck. Several different hands may account for some variations. All sold by Maher California Workshop. Here's a quote of Chuck's about the Jingo character: "If I start doing a Jingo I have lots of latitude with the catalogue sketch. I have to make sure every Jingo is a Jingo, but on the other hand I don't want every one to look alike. You'd know they were brothers." (The San Diego Union, April 1, 1989 "Cutting a Figure" feature article on Jackson, written by Joe Gandelman. I have 10 copies of this article reprinted in 8 pg booklet format. If you would like to have one no charge, Contact Me. )


Reserve your set of Ventrilopedia now

From Bill Smith: Dear Clinton, I am the one who inquired as to you possibly reprinting this great set. I never DREAMED I would see that you would! I don't know if I'm STILL #1 or if someone has written to reserve a set before me, but I would VERY much like to reserve a set. As you can see by my email address and this picture, I am VERY big on Senor Wences.

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From Clinton: "Saw-right!" I'm glad you suggested a Ventrilopedia reprint. I never dreamed I'd actually do it either, but enough readers have asked for a set, I do now plan to do a short reprint. It will take a bit of doing on my part to get the master copies together - I need to do some search and rescue (from my files and library) in order to make it happen.
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To all blog visitors: All sets of Ventrilopedia reprints have now been reserved. Advance order taking has ended.

"Eddie O'Day"

From Steve Schultz: I’ve attached a photo of the figure I purchased from you a couple months ago. I meant to send something sooner, but we’ve been incredibly busy over the holidays. Meet Eddie O’Day, named in honor of World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker and, with the very kind permission of Mr. Jimmy Nelson, Danny O’Day. I’m glad I was able to welcome him to our home! Thanks again!


Happy Birthday!

January 17, was Shari Lewis' birthday. Marking this anniversary date today, I will give away this very nice 8x10 wall hanging photo. The drawing has taken place and the winner is Brad Bosen. Please Contact Me, Brad, to confirm your address and claim your prize.


In an Christmas letter from Rev. Leo Miller, our former pastor of 60 years ago when we lived in Wichita, Kansas, I found included loose a newspaper article about ventriloquist Ryan Baumgartner (pictured here). Ryan is a professional entertainer, performing about 130 shows each year (out of 500+ invitations!). In 2006 he was named Artist in Residence of Sandy Cove Conference Center in Maryland, where he performed for leadership groups, church conferences, and concerts. When Ryan is not performing live, he is a comedy columnist and hosts a cable TV show.

The fascinating aspect of this for me personally is the fact that it was Rev. Miller who actually encouraged me to develop my ventriloquist interest. He made sure I had the venues I needed through various functions and groups at our church during the first decade of my performing career. I seriously doubt I would have become a ventriloquist without his constant support. And now in his own retirement years, he sent me this newspaper article about Ryan Bumgartner who was presenting a full program to the Ohio church the Millers now attend. So what's so fascinating? To me, it's the fact that Ryan Bumgartner is a graduate of the Maher School of Ventriloquism in Colorado, a member of the NAAV, and a customer of Maher Studios. Rev. Miller played a key role in my career and as a result it carried over to Ryan's, who would now come into Rev. Millers life briefly. Sometimes the tangled web of life is woven with amazing purpose and productivity.
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Normally such a newspaper clipping would go into my files, but as you know, I'm "sizing down". So, if you keep a collection of news article about vents, and would like to have this one, Contact Me .

"Coach Cookin'"

Another one by Kevin Detweiler, owner of Animated Puppets. Everyone needs a "Coach" in their life to give some guidance and direction, help build character, and the like, so meet "Coach Cookin". Also known as "Ben". That's right, "Ben Cookin!" On or off the court he's ready to spice up your life with some fun! He will add some flavor to your day and he is always ready to junp in with some words of wisdom on any subject!

"Coach Cookin" is a 35" Ventriloquist Figure, with a hollowbody with headstick, turn head full circle, tilt, nod etc. Raising eyebrows! Coach Cookin wants to be apart of your team! Listed on eBay auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130359482009


Enroute to Delaware

Here's the way he looked at 10am this morning, Jeff. 60 minutes later he was on his way East! I always prefer to ship the figure inside the carrying case when both have been purchased. For 35+ years I've shipped figures inside these custom cases without incident. You will be very pleased that you invested in it from the start.
And to those of you reading this post - yes, I continue to stock and sell cases this winter: http://www.maherstudios.blogspot.com/ Just scroll down until you see the Custom Carrying Cases.

"Can we purchase?"

Question: Clinton, The package arrived today and the Great Lester memorabilia arrived yesterday. I had an incomplete set of Ventrilopedia --missing the Build it Yourself book - now I have a complete set. THANKS for reprinting it.

We are planning scout and school shows around our paleontology backgrounds. I will be Fossil Phil and Melissa will be Mesozoic Mel. I will use the "Lucky Duck" plans (from "Build It Yourself Book" to build my pteranodon figure...P Terry Dactyl. So many shows to get done!
Also could I purchase another "shop copy" of Build it yourself? Philip
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Answer: Yes, Build It Yourself is available for purchase ($6.00 ea. PP), Contact Me>


Reader comment: I may be wrong, but wasn't "Build it Yourself" one of the booklets in the FANTASTIC set of I think 7 booklets you put out back then called "ventrilo-pedia"? I had that set and wish I still did! SO much wonderful stuff in those covers! Any chance of a reprint of ventrilo-pedia? I'd buy one for SURE! Keep up the GREAT work!
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Answer: You are correct. And three of the 7 Ventrilopedia books are still in print and available, ON STAGE, BUILD IT YOUSELF and TIMELY TIPS. $6.00 each postpaid. Contact Me

Vol. 1 ONSTAGE (available)- Titles include: Showmanship, Audience Acceptance, How To Hold Your Audience's Attention, The Psychology of Being Remembered, Professional Etiquette, Memorizing Your Act, Sound Systems, Etc.

Vol. 2 TIMELY TIPS - (available) How to Handle Criticism, How to write a dialogue, Rules for successful routines, Novelty bit, gags, Unusual ventriloquist ideas, comedy acts, and more.

Vol. 3 ADVERTISING & PUBLICITY (out of print) - Where to begin and how to get started in show biz, Publicity tips, Promotional letters and business card ideas, television appearances, mailing pieces, etc.

Vol. 4 JUST FOR FUN - (out of print) Just as the title implies this volume is just for pleasure and enjoyment. Ventriloquist cartoons by 17 different artists. Every page, a new chuckle.

Vol. 5 VENTOONS - (out of Print) The first (and only) book devoted entirely to the clever work of America's best known ventriloquist artist, David J. Miller.

Vol 6 BUILD IT YOURSELF (available) - Eleven different projects for the do-it-yourselfer. Vent figures, puppets, props, and novelty items. Complete instructions with pictures and/or illustrations and plans.

Vol. 7 POTPOURRI - (out of print) A little bit of everything from the serious to the hilarious; from prose to poetry. Pause to reflect the wisdom on one page, then laugh at the humor on the next.


Happy Birthday NAAV

January 15 is the birth date of the NAAV, although the exact year is a bit elusive. One document Mrs. Maher provided me indicates the year of registration as 1944. However, another seems to point to 194o as the initial year with 1944 as a renewal. The organisation was disbanded in 2004 so whether it was 60 or 64 years, the NAAV provided support and service to ventriloquists around the world through several generations. Today, with ventriloquists so well connected around the world, to be successful, a similar type of organization would need to be International in both name and policy. But for those pre-Internet years, the NAAV provided a valuable service.

In the early '70s we offered to members a variety of items featuring the NAAV logo. I still have a few of those items and today I will give away four NAAV money clips, unused, still in their original boxes, and the winners are: Lila Shaw, David Turner, Bob May, and Abhijeet Deshpande. You must Contact Me to confirm your address and claim your gift. Thank you.

Register ONCE; be eligible for ALL FREE GIFTS!

You send me one email, one time and I'll put your name "in the hat" for drawings to win all future gift give-aways. I'll periodically publish each upcoming gift (2-3 times weekly on average) and then announce the winner(s) shortly thereafter. You sign up one time only and then wait for your name to be called!
As always, Nothing to buy; no obligation and your address will be kept in total confidence.
Send me an email, and just say, Sign me up!
Clinton Detweiler - "Mr. D."


And the winners are...

In 1977 Maher Studios published a book with instructions for building ventriloquist puppets and figures. The book, Build It Yourself, has been out of print for a number of years, but I recently had occasion to reprint several copies due to a reader request. As I was doing so, I reread a chapter on how to make a glove puppet. Remembering a related post several weeks ago, I will publish here a condensed version of this chapter.

by "Cleo the Enchanted Clown"

Some of you may remember Senor Wences who painted a mouth on his bare hand, added a wig, eyes, and finally a body and there came to life "Johnny"! Jay Marshall came on TV in the '50's with a white glove, two black button eyes, held a pair of long white ears and I saw "Lefty" come to life for the first time.

With practically no investment and only a little bit of work you can come up with a similar, very entertaining bit of business. The illustrations show the process of creating your own glove friend.

The snap or hook eye between thumb and forefinger will aid in control of mouth movement. I begin with a white glove. Holding my palm up I attach the various parts of the face which are held in place with hooks and eyes already attached to the glove and painted white.

I tell a short story during this bit, something to the effect that since I travel a great deal I often get quite lonely, so I've invented an imaginary friend. Most children have an imaginary friend at one time or another. Then I introduce Willie and go into a typical vent routine.

So this presentation is quite simple. Figure 4 shows some minor changes that can be made to alter the character. Try it, you'll like it - and the kids will too!
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From Clinton: I printed five extra copies of Build It Yourself. We've drawn the names (see post below) of the following winners, each to receive one signed copy:
1. (unclaimed), 2. Doc Lowrey, 3. Ron Scherer, 4. (unclaimed), and 5. Donald Woodford.
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Note: Winners of drawings have 14 days to contact me to claim their gift or prize. After that period of time, unclaimed prizes are forfeited, and names of new winners will be drawn at a future date.

From Maher Graduate

Walter van der Hoeven
the Netherlands

I graduated from the Maher Ventriloquist Course a couple of year ago. It was not until the beginning of last year, that I got the courage to start doing shows. And what a year 2009 was for me. I did school shows, a corporate show, and my favourite show of all I gave last month for about 150 mentally disabled children. A boy came up to me after this show and wanted to know exactly how I "did it". I promised him that I will give him a private lesson next time I will come back. Ventriloquism is not only giving joy to my life but also to the life of others. The photo is of me and Waldo the dodo bird. The photo was taken at one of my performances.


We have our winners!

Following the death of Paul Winchell in 2005, the British Association of Ventriloquists (no longer functioning) published an issue of Vent-News which included a nice tribute article to Winchell. It begins by telling how Winchell was a fan of Edgar Bergen, how he purchased a booklet written by Bergen and actually made his first figure at the age of 14. Winchell performed impressions of Bergen and Charlie McCarthy at a school function and was later invited to enter the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a popular radio program at the time. The young vent broke the record for audience votes. Just two weeks after he won, Winchell went on tour with a travelling unit of the amateur hour. (Sounds a lot like TV's American Idol of today, doesn't it?).

The above biographical information is from the opening paragraph of the 3 page Winchell tribute article written by Paul Story. In this same issue there are also feature articles on other vent subjects written by Story, Trevor Burch and Len Belmont.

The 7 persons who won a free copy of this newsletter were (in order): Joshua Minetree, Larry Colombo, Bob Abdou, Dr. Dan Bartlett, Mike Palma, Geoffrey Moran, & Donald Woodford.

"Uncle Harry"

Hi, Clinton: It’s been a long time, but I had purchased a figure from you something like 10 years ago or so. I've been inactive from Ventriloquism for the last 5 or 6 years (had a nasty form of Tendinitis in my hand that took a long time to resolve). I've had no problems with the figure I bought from you, and have just picked up a used figure that may have been one of your figures that was tweaked a bit (see photo which was taken at the antique store where I found the figure). I’m tentatively calling him “Uncle Harry”. Eric Hilding

* * * * * *
Eric: Yes, the figure was sold by Maher Studios. The catalog name was "Rick E. T. Wobbles" - later shortened to simple "Mr. Wobbles". Created and built by Lovik. A great character you will enjoy using and I believe he'll soon be an audience favorite. I'm sure he's happy to have been rescued from antique display and be going back to work - he's far too young for retirement! Clinton


We have a winner!

This handout/flyer (late '40s?) gives us a fun "look-back" at the latter years of the Great Lester's career. At first glance, it appears EDGAR BERGEN is appearing "In Person" at Wally's Show Bar. But a more careful reader will discover it is "The Great Lester" who is appearing. "Teacher of" Edgar Bergen is the qualifying statement in small print. (One does have to wonder why Bergen's name gets top billing if Lester is the "Greatest", but oh well...the circle of life.)
The picture above is a scan of a yellowing copy of an actual flyer held in my collection. It is a unique piece of ventriloquist history.
Because he has a wall display collection of Bergen memorabilia which this item, framed, will compliment nicely, I am gifting this original flyer to George Boosey. All others who entered for consideration will receive an actual size photo copy. My thanks to all who responded!

Break Apart dummy

From Kevin Detweiler:

You need to see the Break Apart Dummy that I am working on for a customer. It's crazy, I wish it was a little easier to make, be great item to sell. Of course, arms come off first and then legs. Then you push forward body and head slides out, one lever releases top of head then another lever releases back of head and it falls off, and then one more lever and front half of face falls off - all that is left is you holding a headstick with workable mouth! It's great!!


Reverse auction! - price lowered until sold!

She's 31" tall with side-to-side moving eyes and raising eyebrows.

Price will be LOWERED $10 each week until sold...wait as long as you dare!


Great Lester's Slate

Nearly 40 years ago I received this small slate from W.S. Berger. W.S. told me the slate was one used by the Great Lester in his act. Although erased many years ago, faint chalk markings can still be seen on the slate. So I've kept it carefully protected and in storage all these years. After reading Dr. Klock's comments about his time spent with Lester, I mentioned the slate to him. The following was his reply:

From Dr. Larry Klock: "Hello Clinton, Regarding the slate, I think I know exactly how Lester used it. He did a 'memory' act, where the audience would yell out objects, someone would write them down and he would remember all of them--up to 100 items, in order, when asked. Usually he only did 20 or 30 objects, and this slate may have been used to record these. That's my best guess. Lester taught us this memory method (which used association), and I used it all through medical school to memorize the nerves, muscles, etc. It got me through many exams! I still remember precisely the system we learned right down to the very detail.

One day a friend of Lester came to the door and Lester met him and asked him to remove a card from a deck, which he did. I was sitting in an adjacent room but could see them. Lester introduced me as one of his students, and asked me to reveal the name of the card. As he did that, he "flashed" quickly the bottom card of the deck, and I knew immediately what the chosen card was. Of course, I waited a few seconds and concentrated hard and then revealed the card. His guest was flabbergasted and amazed. Lester had used a simple 'stacked deck' effect (which he had taught us previously), so all one had to do was to see the card next to the one chosen to know its identity. That kind of stuff went on all the time around his studio!"

* * * * * *


Memories from a student of the Great Lester!

Readers, we have a rare treat today! The post below is from Dr. Larry Klock who spent two summers as a student of the Great Lester. At my invitation, Dr. Klock generously took the time to write some of his memories of that experience. Read on and enjoy this priceless opportunity to catch a first hand glimpse of the master ventriloquist, Harry Lester.

Remembering my time with the Great Lester

Dr. Larry Klock, MD
Spokane, Washington

Thanks, Clinton, for featuring The Great Lester and for the generous gifts. I'm a physician in Spokane, Washington, and had an opportunity to spend two summers studying ventriloquism with Lester when I was a teenager in the mid 1950s. It was an amazing experience.

Lester lived in a small apartment above a hardware store on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California. I spent nearly two months there each summer, and we would have lessons daily in his flat. My parents were with me and we lived in a small, nearby motel room. We worked very hard on voice technique and figure manipulation. Lester had very precise and specific ways he approached teaching. He was in his seventies at the time and was a gracious and patient instructor. He was a perfectionist, but in a gentle way. We would practice for hours at a time and record our lessons on a reel-to-reel tape, so we could listen to our voice.

He emphasized attention to detail. He insisted that one never performed in public unless his shoes were recently shined. He prohibited "touching" the figure with the free hand. Of course the words "dummy" and "puppet" were absolutely prohibited, and we could only use the term "figure." He had many of these "tips." We also worked on the "distant voice" for which Lester was famous. When we would take a break, Lester would perform and teach us magic tricks. I still do his cut and restored string for my grandkids, exactly as Lester had taught.

The wall of his apartment was covered with dozens of glossy photographs of entertainers. We heard many stories of his life as a performer. Various friends would come and go in his apartment each day. There were four or five of us "students" there at same time, but we all received individual instruction and had our own pace. One of my fellow "students" was Stuart (Stu) Scott, who went on to a vent. career in Las Vegas. Bob Bradford was also there, and worked as a professional ventriloquist.

We spent one memorable day with Edgar Bergen, which included lunch at his "studio" and had an opportunity to see his various figures and their large wardroom rooms. Lester had been Bergen's teacher and mentor.

I've performed in various settings as a ventriloquist since those days, and still have clear and fond memories of many of the techniques that Lester taught. I've used an Insull figure obtained from Mrs. Maher for many years and have used Clinton as a resource and supplier for scripts, figures, repairs and cases for a long time.

Thanks, again, Clinton, for your devotion to the Art of Ventriloquism in the tradition of The Great Lester.


And the big winner is ...

Congratulations to Wes Green, winner of the Great Lester wall display (right). The actual number of persons responding to the Great Lester give-away was 119. Major Green came closest to that amount with a guess of 120.

Second place was a tie between Andy Mrkvicka and Shawn Patrello, both of whom entered a guess of 122.

Thanks to all who made the effort to participate in the 24 hour give-away. Your gifts are being prepared and will be mailed 01/11/10.

Great Lester newspaper ad from 1945
announcing the opening of his studio to teach
Voice and Ventriloquism


Great Lester

I received this 8x10 photo from W.S. Berger years ago. One of the few I've seen of Lester without his vent figure. The inscription reads: "Fond memories and recollections of Muzz and Skipper Berger. Harry Lester (Great Lester)."

Comments from yesterday's entrants

THANK YOU for all your entries to my 24 hour give-away yesterday! The offer has now ended. Final results and tallies are being completed and double-checked. But while we do so, here, in no particular order, is a sampling of comments several vents included with their entries.
* * * * *
From Budi HaHa (Indonesia): I just want you know that I'm still doing ventriloquism especially for church and school shows. Once (in) a while I give training for young people about puppetry and ventriloquism too. So hopefully ventriloquism is more popular in Indonesia. And I'm not sure how many other Indonesian took Maher Course until now, but I still tell anyone, who ask me how to learn ventriloquism, to get Maher Course as their best effort.
* * * * *
From Franna Barger: It's been a long time since our last communication with you. Our daughter bought a dummy figure from you back when she was just a teen about 16 years ago. With the changes of hair color, style, when she got DARLENE people thought it was custom made to look like her. She has gone far since then. Christine has been living in L.A. for about 6 years after graduating from Ball State. She has made entertainment her life. She has done serious acting and ventriloquism. Keeps herself very busy. I have the copy of the your newsletter she was in and look at it often remembering back then . How how life does change over years. PS. Darlene is still alive :) and looks the same!
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From Canon John Jordan: "Thank you" for more than 40 years of giving of your time and talents not just to earn a living, but also to use your God-given talents and abilities in service to your fellow man. Your figure-making and repairing provide the tools, and the Maher Course provides the instructions and guidance to ventriloquists the world over. In a very real sense, your "daily blog" is an on-going source of knowledge and encouragement to the hundreds who turn to it daily for inspiration and information. That as a Christian, you encourage others to reach out with the help of the ventriloquist's art to bring others to our Lord, is a very real Ministry that you offer to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. This comes with a prayer that you will be spared and encouraged to continue this Ministry for many more years to come.
* * * * *
From Ken Howell: Thanks again for all you have done in support of the vent community all these years. Also thank you for taking on my project this past year. (You agreed to complete the figure that I had started 20 years ago) It will always be a cherished possession. Have a great year.
* * * * *
From Matt Sponaugle: Thanks so much for your blog. I've learned so much over the years and it's been a wonderful way to keep in touch with the vent community past and present.
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From Evelyn Hickam: Happy New Year, and thank you for being so generous! However, I do think you could be just a little more giving and include in this offer an autographed picture of Clinton and Adelia Detweiler since, in everybody's book, they rank right up there with all these greats you have mentioned. Certainly you have been so very helpful to all of us over the years -- and you continue to be! Your Blog is an interesting and enjoyable way to keep in touch with the vent world. Thank you!
* * * * *

From NJay: It is with utmost respect I send you this e mail to inform you of my visit to your blog today, not as much for the gift, but for the knowledge he gains by visiting. I would like to in earnest state a very large thank you for the information I have gained from your blog. I am also a graduate of your Maher Basic Course and I thank you for that. I am still looking at the Course on a daily basis - you have so much information crammed into so few pages, it's amazing. Last, but not least, I want to wish the great Lester a happy 129th birthday...he will live on forever in all the minds of the students of ventriloquism.
* * * * *
From Allen Fuller: I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the NewsyVent from 1988. It brought back memories of when I joined N.A.A.V. as a teenager after my parents purchased a Knee-Pal from Maher in 1983. I recall eagerly reading all the articles in each NewsyVent that I received. Thanks again for your continued support and encouragement to me and to the entire ventriloquist community.
* * * * *
From Joyce Carroll: Thank you for your great service over the years. I have been a vent for over 35 years! I am still telling folks how it has made all the difference in my life ( in fact, may have saved it, but that's a long story). I have some precious stories about children who have touched my life in an in-measurable way. Some of the jokes that I have acquired from your dialogue books are still some of my best, and friends tell me that no matter how many times they've heard a few of them, it still makes them laugh. Thanks for laughs.
* * * * *
From Wes Green: Where do you come up with such treasures? When you share these artifacts, you perpetuate ventriloquism and immortalize a craft worthy of honor. Thanks for keeping the voice alive, even if the lips are still. If any should find their way into an envelope addressed to Wes Green, just know that it will not stay in the mailbox long, but will join other treasures destined for "Inspiration Alley" on the way to a future "Great Lester". God bless you with all that you need to be all that He needs you to be.
* * * * *
From Melissa Nichols: I just wanted to drop a line and share my enthusiasm and love for vent history. I am by nature a lover of all things historic, and have spent many years in private scholarship reading about various and sundry dates in history. At one time I was pursuing a degree in history, but over time I was taken down various other paths instead. I do FX work and Entertainment with my brother and business partner Phil Nichols. From the time we were children we've loved vent. Now we are venturing out into the vent world in all seriousness and it is an exciting journey. I was thrilled about your Great Lester give away today. I've been collecting old digital images of Vents from the 19th century and I wish to become a serious student of vent history.
* * * * *
From Martin Gutzmer: I still have my "mouth coin purse" from my Maher course years ago. I do not know if I ever told you that I got a job as a pastor over 20 years ago because of my mouth coin purse. When our United Methodist Bishop read my resume' in front of the Central Illinois Conference Cabinet - and said - "I notice you are a ventriloquist, do some for us", - I dumped the contents out of my coin purse, and "Percy" the coin purse talked for a couple of minutes, and here were grown men laughing themselves silly. The bishop said - "Well, that's GREAT ', -turned to his secretary and said, "get Roy (my old bishop's first name) on the phone, and tell him we'll take Martin!" Then turned to me with these words, "Welcome to the Conference Son - How DO you do that?"
* * * * *


For 24 hours, Everyone was a winner!

January 6, marked the anniversary of the "Great Lester's" arrival in America as an infant. The year was 1881. Lester began his vent career at the age of 20 (1901) and his impact on vent history was in many ways equal to that of one of his better known students, Edgar Bergen.

I spent several hours last week rereading hundreds of pages of correspondence between past century ventriloquists including: Judge Frank Carter, Madame Pinxy, W.S. Berger, Great Lester, Edgar Bergen, Frank Marshall and several dozen others. So fascinating and insightful it was to step back in time in that manner! I was once again reminded of how much we vents of today's era owe to those who paved the way - arguably, none no more so than the Great Lester.

So in his honor on January 6, for a period of 24 hours, I offered a FREE "Lester themed" gift to every person who responded to this post!
Thanks to the generosity of M.A. Denemark, every respondent wasl sent one new genuine (not a copy) Great Lester Collector Card from The Great Ventriloquist series (card #2). This rare out-of-print card has Lester's picture on the front with "Frank Byron, Jr.", and a brief biography on the back.

In addition, every sixth (6, 12, 18, 24, etc.) person receives a Collector Card, PLUS a copy of a 1960 issue of The Oracle ventriloquist 12 page newsletter with the Great Lester on its cover. (What a treat to browse these pages of news from half century past!)

There's was MORE! Every person then had a chance to win a one-of-a-kind framed Great Lester wall display (photo below). Featured on this large attractive 11"x 21" framed unit are photo cover reprints of a very rare 1921 issue of The Magic World on which The Great Lester was the cover feature, and the cover page of the aforementioned 1960 Oracle. Plus two Lester collector cards (showing both front & back sides)!

This one-of-kind piece of ventriloquist history was awarded (along with the other item or items won) to the person who came closest to guessing the number of people who will responded to the Great Lester give away. Not every person chose to participate for this prize, but the majority did so, and of the winner was (to be announced 1/8/10).
*One entry per person. Every respondent will be notified of their entry's position by letter with their gift or gifts. Please note: This 24 hour give-away has ended. However, I will continue with 2-3 give-aways each week (on average), so return to visit this blog often!
Nothing to buy, no obligation. As with all gift give-aways on this blog, they are simply my personal thank you to an amazing vent community which has provided my family's livelihood for more than 40 years. Clinton D.


From previous winners:

"Thank you for the 'Issue #6' of 'Newsy Vents' which I won in one of your raffles, and which arrived quickly. It is interesting to read about what happened 20 years ago. I have added it to my collection of 'Newsy Vents' from the last few years of publication. Your efforts in the world of ventriloquism are greatly appreciated." Harry Schwab
* * * * * *
"When I went to the mailbox and found the 5x7 envelope with the prized #16 Authographed book inside, I stopped before opening it and recalled some years ago when I opened a similar envelope with a catalog I had requested to purchase my new bride a basswood figure from Craig Lovik's line. My mind raced as fast as my heart when I thought of writing the check and mailing it for Clementine to be created. When she arrived my wife teared up and bowed her head and dedicated this 'dummy' to Glorify God. (I always wondered if she meant me.) She renamed her Jenny Lynn and proclaimed the Gospel to thousands of all ages. Wow, look what sending a simple book in an envelope can do." Wes Green

New for 2010!

In addition to my weekly Give-Aways,
I will periodically have a 24 hour Give-Away
where everyone wins something!
Be sure to watch for them!

Mostly personal...

Tomorrow is my brother Jerry's birthday. Happy Birthday Bro! We grew up as wild west Kansas cowboys, and if you don't believe me, I have photos to prove it. (Jerry is the rider. I'm the stable boss on the right. Our brave sister, Marjorie, chief handler, is asking me why we didn't have a bridle on the colt.)

On a more serious note, two months ago Jerry, and his wife Jane, made a trip to Atlanta to assist as volunteers for Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child. I wanted to share their experience in hopes that some readers will want to take part this year. Jerry wrote:

"Jane and I returned from a week in Atlanta with Samaritan's Purse /Operation Christmas Child. It was a wonderful experience and a huge blessing. Wow! We processed (along with a couple hundred other volunteers) over 200,000 boxes in the days that we worked in Atlanta. It is an amazing operation-over 5,000,000 boxes collected in the U.S. alone plus 2 or 3 million more boxes collected in 10 other nations world wide that collect the boxes and then help distribute them. This year for the first time, Samaritan's purse was allowed to send boxes into Pakistan although they had to be very carefully screened (no religious symbols, nothing American, no farm animals, no dolls that could be dressed and undressed, nothing provocative, nothing scary, nothing that in any way referred to Christmas-which means no wrapping paper, no Bibles, no Christmas cards, etc.) Jane and I weren't involved in the packing for Pakistan. All of the boxes that we worked on went either to India or to the Ukraine. " Jerry

For more information on Operation Christmas Child, go to:


Getting into shape

It's a little hard to see from this photo, but all three of these Goldberger heads have masking tape taped under their chins, running cheek to cheek. Some dolls arrive from the manufacturer with the cheeks out of line with the mouth. I suspect this is caused by too much tension on the rubber band as it is installed. While the dolls likely look great when they are first packed in China, the newly molded heads are slightly flexible and the tension of the rubber band pulls and distorts the head during the long boat ride across the ocean to the USA. So once a doll with this problem arrives at my shop I have learned to reverse the process by first heating the misshapen head to soften it again, then using my hand to reshape the head as it was originally intended, tape the head to hold it in shape, and then letting the head slowly cool and rest for several days with the masking tape in place. After a few days have passed, I remove the tape and the head will retain the proper original shape. Problem solved.


From previous winner:

Playing Santa...

I don't know if you remember my post a few weeks ago concerning the mother wanting a puppet for her son, but she lacked the funds to buy one. I suggested she make a sock puppet, and provided the link to a site for puppet-plans. After posting that blog, I received the following email:

"Dear Clinton: I'm reading today's post and I think I could do something for this mother who is asking for a puppet. I have a brand new Folkmanis shepherd dog that I bought years ago but I never used. Can you forward this message to this lady so she can contact me and I can send her the puppet? When I was a kid growing up in Argentina, we had very rough times at home after my father died, when I was five. Some days the food wasn't as nutritious as it should, most of my clothes were hand me downs from cousins or neighbours, but I always had toys. Somehow, my mother was always able to buy me a toy for my birthday, Child's Day, Christmas, Wise Men Day (on January 5th at night, the Three Wise Men who went to adore Jesus, are supposed to leave children a present as they did with Him; it's a latin american tradition). For a child, a toy is way more beautiful than good food or proper clothes. That is why I'm always so sad every Christmas, because I think of how many children will not have a toy on that day. I do as much as I can, I help as much as I can, and maybe I can help here. I'm not working myself either, I lost my job almost one year ago, so I understand her situation very well. Things in Canada are very rough too. Please allow me to be Santa. Perhaps this will motivate others to play Santa as well. Thanks again, may God bless you and yours." (Name withheld at the request of the sender)

It was my pleasure to be able to connect the two parties and it was a merry Christmas for all. As I write this, I wonder if there are other readers who have an unused puppet or vent figure that they'd be willing to donate to a worthy recipient? If so, I have a suggestion. See the post that follows.

Needed: vent figures/dolls/puppets

After witnessing the blessings experienced by both giver and recipient in the incident described in the post above, I contacted our friends Darrell and Sandy Blatchly to see if they still have a need for puppets and vent figures. (Sandy is the Family Circus lead ventriloquist.) Several readers have, in the past, responded to this need. Thank you! The Blatchley's have an amazing ministry to extremely needy families in the Philippines. They have a trained staff of puppeteers and many nationals ready to be trained in the art. But the need is greater than the resources available. I highly recommend this cause, and it's easy to lend the Blatchley's a hand if you have a puppet donation - What a great way to start this New Year! Read on:

From Darrell Blatchly

Hi Clinton, Thank God for all His blessings. The Family Circus ministry to the children and their families continue to grow. Those calling Family Circus their church home are approaching 7,000. We continue to obey His instructions to feed the poor, feeding thousands of severely malnourished kids each week, bringing in the lame, deaf, widows, orphans. God remains faithful to supply the needs. We do a lot of praying, and though we grieve when we see some young people abandon Him, make wrong choices, and even have their lives snuffed out early, there still remain so many who have their names written in the Lambs book of life.

Donated dummies/puppets both Human & Animal would be would be wonderful gift to the children’s ministry here in Davao City, Philippines. We have a trained team of children workers and the puppets would be given a great home and tender loving care.
Anyone interested or having questions could contact us direct via email
familycircus@agmd.org or check out our website at http://www.familycircus.org/

Our mailing address is:
Darrell & Sandy Blatchley
1011 1st Avenue South
Payette, Idaho 83661

We have people travelling out in 2010 that can hand deliver them.

For the King & His kids,
Darrell & Sandy Blatchley
Family Circus Children’s ministry

More from Darrell Blatchley ...

Sandy and the team ladies made up Christmas packages for our poorest of the poor families from out of the thousands that attend the Family Circus services. This past week we found Michael after several months disappearance. He still needs the medicine for TB and food (looks like he’s lost weight (age 12, only 56 lbs) we will do what we can for his dying grandmother, his only caregiver for he and two other siblings.

This week Sandy and our team traveled around town and even into surrounding cow pastures to deliver the gifts. The description of where some of these people live is heart wrenching, but when our team drive up and greet the families, and after distributing hugs and gifts, the parents and their children’s level of joy would be no less than that of the richest kids on this planet who'll receive a bag of Santa’s latest and greatest toys.

I’d dare say many of these children would be far happier and the joy of this Christmas may even last in their memory for the rest of their lives… In comparison, how many rich kids will remember this Christmas as it gets lost in the piles of stuff they receive both this year and in the future?

This Christmas, other than priceless love, what gifts did the poor kids receive? Some clothing, salt, rice, food, soap, toiletries, some small toys, perhaps a stuffed animal, specially gathered and or purchased just for them.

For the next two weeks our plans are to spend time relaxing and being refreshed before getting into a new year with all the business that accompanies serving the King in the heart of one of His harvest fields.


99 Cent Book Auctions

Again, I now have a selection of books listed on eBay auctions beginning at just 99 cents (with free shipping!). CLICK HERE to see the full list.

Among the books listed is Dale Brown's very popular Banquet Performing. The following is a brief excerpt from the opening chapter:

Why Banquets?
By Dale Brown

Many vents choose not to pursue banquet engagements because banquets appear to represent a relatively small and seasonal market. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's true that at certain times, at Christmas, for instance, it's easier to book banquets than at other times. But "easier" doesn't mean that opportunities don't exist during non-holiday periods as well....the vent just has to know how to uncover these opportunities.

First of all, you have to realize that banquets are not limited to formal, annual dinners. Weekly or monthly luncheon meetings, retirement parties, class reunions, and special award dinners can be classified as banquets. In fact, whenever a meal is served to an organized group, it could represent a potential opportunity for the vent who offers banquet programs.

That means the vent who is willing to put some effort into selling his or her services has a never-ending list of possible engagements right in their own back yard.

To ensure success on the banquet circuit, a vent should know:
* How to identify upcoming banquets.
* How to market himself.
* How banquet programs are different from other types of shows.
* What types of programs are best suited to banquets.
* How to work with banquet organizers.
* How to avoid typical pitfalls often encountered in banquet settings.

The chapters of Banquet Performing will discuss each of these subjects in detail.

* * * * *
Reprinted by permission from Banquet Performing, published and copyrighted 1985 by Maher Studios.


* * *
Donna Kaufman (IL)
James Mast (OH)
Melissa Nichols (TX)
Phil Nichols (TX)
* * *
Warren L. Lawson, Jr. (MA)
For more information, or to purchase the
Maher Home Course of Ventriloquism:

From Maher Graduate

Hello, Mr Detweiler! It's hard to believe that we now are in 2010. In December, we had 20 shows booked. We were really excited. We already have a number of shows booked for January. We also have a number of shows booked throughout the year. I got to perform with a puppet troupe recently at our local theatre where we did a Halloween show. I think I did pretty good. I should tell you that in doing all those shows in December, I've noticed that the problem of "flipping my lid" seems to have just about disappeared. I've also had a number of people tell me that I am a very good ventriloquist. One lady told me that she swore that the puppet was doing all the talking. That's what we want. We give God all the credit for this. We are working on new ideas and different things we can do. We love doing what we do. As I've said before, taking the Maher Course was a very smart move. Have a blessed 2010! Ron Butcher "R & T Puppets"



Happy New Year!
Clinton & Adelia

We have a winner!

This Dave Miller Ventoon was first published 01/01/1978 as part of the NAAV ventriloquist calendar. "Just missed the big event" likely happened to more than one person just last night!

I thought I'd start the year off by giving a framed copy of this original Ventoon to the tenth (10th) person who, after reading this post, sent me an email with the word Ventoon in the subject line. We now have a winner: Walter Ratzell (NJ). Congratulations!

Visitor's New Year's Wish

I wish "Happy New Year" with all of my might

to every vent visitor to Mr. D's site!

May peace, health and happiness remain a close friend

throughout every minute of 2010.
Winkle and Wags