A bit of Vent Psychology

By Betty Pelcher

I remember speaking in a school in South Carolina. The program was held in an auditorium, but the puppet's suitcase was left in a classroom. The children returned to the classroom before I could pack my doll away. As I put her in the case one little girl was highly indignant. She said,

"I carry my doll through the streets. I don't know why you can't."

Since that time I try never to put a doll in a case in front of children. It gives them the feeling it will smother.

It's fun to see how real the puppets seem to the audience. When such things happen, I know the listener has identified with the puppet and it's message. He forgets me completely. If you have a message to get across, if you want people to think your thoughts after you, try ventriloquism. A newspaper headline telling about my program, might be true of your work, too. It said, "Teacher is a dummy."


  1. I've had this happen to me once when I was done the show and was putting the character away in the suitcase when a young boy and his mother came up to me. The boy asked me if I was going to put him in the suitcase also. I told the boy, "No, this is the way Fred likes to travel" The boy then hit me with a line that threw me, "But he'll suffocate." At that point, I took Fred out of the suitcase, walked him over to my van and strapped him into the front passengar seat of my van. This made the child happy. I drove home with Fred as my copilot until a PA. State Trooper pulled me over because I didn't have my child in a child safety seat. Oh well, you can't win them all.

  2. Anonymous3/20/2011

    LOL at the last part of Wilma Swartz's comment. That was funny. I wonder if she has ever used a puppet to drive in the HOV lane?

    When I bring full sized head stick type puppets to almost any location, I always strap them into the rear seats of my van as my wife, Anne rides in the right front passenger seat. Then, I have some small size plastic seats that are just smaller versions of the familiar plastic lawn and patio chairs folks see in the stores in the Spring of every year that my puppets sit in, at my show place, that face the audience until I need them. BTW, I have cut seat size, non-skid, rubber mesh material so that the puppets won't slide down in the seats. This material can usually be found in the house ware area of department stores near the shelf lining material. You can get plenty of it for around five dollars or less. It comes in a variety of colors. I have used it as a non skid on table top and stand tops as well.

    I would recommend that one keep the puppets near the performance area and behind the Vent, as some children will try to grab them and pick them up. I even had one little lad attempt to beat up my Tyrone, male child puppet. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of little kids? The Shadow knows!

    Joe "Capt. Joe" Radle </:o)

  3. Good Advice " Capt. Joe" Ya, when I travel, if I have no one with me, in my van, I too fill up my seats with vents, Soft Puppets, as that is all I have at this time, I hope to buy or make a profeshional head stick figure some day.
    I love to watch peoples face as I drive by, as I will pose my figures in funny ways, it makes for an interesting second look.
    Once, I too got stopped for not having my kids in a child seat, Lucky, for me the Cop was a Ventriloquist. He quickly showed me a couple pointers, the last One was , to make sure your kids are securly in a Child seat or seatbelt, or somehow secured, something, in case you have to put on the breaks quick, as what I did when I got Pulled over. Of coursde a couple of my soft Figures went flying into the floorboard.
    I still think Nothing replaces one of those profeshional carrying cases, that Mr. Detweiler sells, Just don't let the little ones see you sufficate your vent or at least give him a resporator, inside the case. Thanks for the article and advice.
    The Duff Family 12.

  4. To answer Capt. Joe; No I haven't driven in an HOV lane with my dummies in the passengar seats however I have seen an awful lot of dummies behind the wheel driving in that lane and others.

  5. Anonymous3/23/2011

    To Answer and agree with Wilma Swartz. Wilma I have seen them, too, those dummy drivers all over the place and the road. It's dummies like those that give our dummies a bad name.

    As for my own driving, I say, if people don't like the way I drive then they should stay off the sidewalk!

    Did I mention that I often talk with my figures for practice whether they are with me physically or not, when I am driving. There's just so much to say about what we see when driving. Besides, on nice days with the windows down and one is talking to empty air at a stop light and some little kid sees a grown man doing that and the empty air answers him, that can really damage little kids and some adults for a long time.

    To, William C. Duff I offer a hearty, you're welcome for the tips. BTW I always have a soft puppet or two in my vehicle when ever I am out and about. I will bring one into some of my favorite restaurants where little kids may be accompanying parents and grand parents, and into the YMCA I go to for swimming. There are always some little kids in a child care room there, that I can spend a moment or two having fun with. Am I having too much fun? You Betcha! Joe "Capt. Joe" Radle </:o)

  6. Thanks "Capt. Joe" for the advice, I will make sure I do that, I agree, I have one of those smiley Open Mouth Plastic Yello Coin purs thing, that Mr. D. sells, he gave me one as a gift. Amyway, I carry it, you would be surprised how many times I have been able to pull it out in a booring waiting room or whatever, And things get much more interesting. Thanks, Cart. Joe. and Mr. D. as well as all contributors to the Further development and creativity of Ventriloquism to keep it alive and prosperous, Post a photo of you and one of your favorite Figures, Capt.. Joe, Thanks, William C. Duff Family 12