"Mum's" the word

Who finds it odd that they made a ventriloquist dummy of Emmett Kelly... a famous clown... that was known for NOT talking?

From Doug Preis


  1. Although can't prove it I believe that ventriloquism has its roots in pantomine. I believe the word "dummy" comes from dumbshow of mine, back when mime artist would come out on stage with inanimate object, say a stick, and give it life.

    Punch and Judy used an interpreter, like Shakespeare’s plays with prologues to explain pantomime sequences. In one of his plays, I forget which one, Shakespeare says: "O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet! Now will he interpret to her."

    So if at first find it odd that they made a ventriloquist dummy of Emmett Kelly, a famous clown, that was known for not talking, I remind myself that vent is essentially mime. The dummy can't talk and the vent give it the all-important movement for mine and then voice in sync with that movement for standard vent or without it to do vent differently.

    Phil D'Rey's silent vent act, a golf routine, was splendid.

  2. When you paint the nose, he would look like Pavarotti... then talking and singing is very natural ;-)

  3. Anonymous5/01/2010

    Bastiaan, you have it right on. LeeDean

  4. Anonymous5/01/2010

    There is something even more strange: in the late '30s they made a ventriloquist doll of... Dopey, the mute dwarf from Disney's "Snow White"! Marcelo Melison.

  5. James Tucker5/01/2010

    As strange as it may seem, when we think about it, How many facial expressions did both of these characters do? And most were done with the moving of the mouth. silent laughter, surprise, sadness or just simply smiling. All of which we can duplicate with the vent figure. We can still use these vent figures without using a voice and using proper manipulation the effect would be quite humorouse. Don't you think?

  6. Anonymous5/01/2010

    Talk or not....he was a beautiful figure. I used to have one. -Doodles

  7. Anonymous5/01/2010

    In 2007, my husband and I attended the ConVENTion attended a performance by a wonderful ventriloquist who was older. He had a frog who never uttered a sound, but the vent was able to manipulate him so skillfully that the audience roared with laughter. I don't remember the name of the vent or the frog, but I certainly remember the laughter produced by this "silent" figure.