Delayed Dream ...

Reader Letter:

Mr. Detweiler: I have been interested in ventriloquism for most of my life, but mostly in a passive/audience manner. I can remember as a young kid wanting to have a “Charlie McCarthy doll” so I could learn to “throw my voice”. Several years ago (maybe 12 or more) I finally decided to get serious enough about the art to purchase the Maher Home Study Course. However, as life is often prone to do, things happened, time passed and I never got beyond the first few lessons. However, I continued to keep all of the course material in the box I received it in and occasionally think about getting it out and starting over.

I was disappointed when several years ago I saw that Maher Studios was closing and I realized that I had not followed and attained my dream of studying the course and at least becoming good enough to entertain local children (and some adults!). Again I let time go by and before I knew it many years have passed. When I retired a few weeks ago, I mentioned to my wife that I was still interested in “learning ventriloquism”. Imagine my delight when I ran across your blog site(s) and saw that you still are involved in the refurbishing, selling, etc.

My questions for you today are:
1. Do you think I am I too old at 63 to be able to learn the art of ventriloquism? I do not have any intentions or dreams of doing it professionally, but would like to entertain for local birthday parties or an occasional “entertainment” spot for some small group. I would also like to use it in church work with children.
2. If I will finally buckle down and start studying the materials I received those many years ago, are you still helping out with the home study course? I seem to remember that part of the course included the offering of sending questions and exams to be graded. Are you still doing that and if so, will my old version of the course still be viable?
3. If you suggest that I do go ahead with the course, what would be involved in “upgrading” it with the new 50 minute instruction and demonstration DVD. From what I can tell by reading about your course offering online, it appears to be same basic course I ordered all those years ago, but now has a DVD rather than a cassette tape. I am happy to see that you are “still working” and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks. George M.
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Response: George:You would be surprised how many people take up the study of ventriloquism upon retirement! Earlier is better, yes, - but it is NEVER too late. You certainly can realistically expect to perform successfully for the local audiences you suggest and in a relatively short period of time. Yes, we continue to provide support to the older version of the Maher Course. Send your exams to the PO Box 420 address on the exams. The current New Millennium Maher Course you see offered is totally rewritten, but, yes, the DVD (Successful Ventriloquism $15.95 PP) would be helpful to you. You can pay with PayPal, or send a check to: Clinton Detweiler, PO Box 420, Littleton CO 80160.


  1. Good luck to you, George M.

  2. You can do it.I am 64 and just took up vent and am having a ball. If you not dead you can do most any thing you could when you were in your teens. I have lot of physical problems with old age that most have but it does not stop you from continueing to develop your ability at new things. That is what keeps us young. Don't let age stand in the way, you can do it. Good luck. Don Jones

  3. I just turned 40 and, like you, have been interested in vent my whole life. (And I never did get that Charlie McCarthy figure I asked for every Christmas!) I got "Ventriloquism in a Nutshell" by Mr. Detweiler -- though, if it goes well, I may buy one of the full Maher courses -- and signed up to attend the ConVENTion this summer. I also have Jimmy Nelson's LPs. I'm so new I'm still working on my alphabet, but I hope to get to being able to entertain my friends and family (or just myself!). So I know from where you're coming and how much this means to you. Just wanted to say that you're not alone and I wish you the best of luck! :)

  4. To George M, Go back in the blog postings to 4/4/10. You are 20 years younger than me, and the photo shows me with a new figure Clinton made for me just a few months ago to help me "keep fresh". Study the Maher Course and practise. If you are just beginning the phase of life we call "retirement", you are a prime candidate to take up ventriloquism for your own enjoyment, and for the joy and happiness you will give to others. I know that Clinton stands ready to encourage, help, and if needed, occasionally nudge you as you allow your talent to grow. From your letter, I gather that you are a man of faith, and so may I respectfully suggest that you heed the meessage of 2 Timothy, 1:6, and "stir up" the gift that is within you.
    Blessings, and good luck! John.

  5. Hello George.
    Perhaps you first figure out why you always have hesitated to start!
    I think you first need a clear goal.
    Not 'local children and some adults'.
    But 'the children I know from the footballteam or the people I know in the home of aged persons'. Give it concrete form.
    That will motivate and give pleasure in doing the course.
    Good luck.

  6. David Nickell5/08/2010

    When I first saw this post, no one had responded. And now I'm No. 6. Just goes to show you how many readers are either in the same boat as you or want to encourage you to keep at it. From what you wrote, I am almost EXACTLY in the same boat as you. Same age. Same self-doubts. Same starting out with the Maher Course (I'm on Lesson 4). If you're interested, you can contact me through Clinton (he has my permission to share my e-mail address with you and was gracious enough to agree to do so). We may be able to help and inspire each other. I've invested, for example, in some books and DVDs to enhance the learning experience, and I can offer some suggestions to you. I'm convinced that dreams pop into our heads and stick with us for a reason. I am living one now -- working on a first novel that has garnered nearly universal praise from top editors at the Miami Herald. My mantra, shared mostly with writers but it applies to anyone, is: Find your passion, feed it, follow it. Good luck to you, George.