Peter Rich 'Rites

During the 1970s and into the '80s, Peter Rich was a columnist contributor to the Newsy Vents newsletter of which I was editor. Peter was an interesting writer. I never knew what to expect when I opened his envelopes (no email in those days!), although I could be certain his piece would be original and creative. Here's one of Peter's columns from 1980 written while he was working aboard a cruise ship:

Ventriloquism With Porpoise

by Peter Rich

This extended engagement on a Caribbean cruise ship has been fun, but the tropical sun overworks the imagination. Suppose the ship sinks and the only survivor is the ventriloquist figure. It floats ashore on a lonely island where it is found by a talking porpoise.

The sea creature quickly learns ventriloquism. During his practice sessions he attracts whales and porpoises for an audience.

Marlin Perkins finds this duo and puts them on his TV show, Wild Kingdom. Disney Studios signs them for a feature film in living water color, The Prince and the Porpoise.

The ventriloquist porpoise finds himself on talk shows, usually doing his act in a water tank. With so much exposure underwater, the dummy starts warping. The egotistical porpoise doesn't notice his act falling apart. He's too busy blowing bubbles without moving his lips.

Booking agents refuse to book the act because the dummy resembles withered driftwood. To keep the porpoise from visiting the office and dripping on their rugs, the agent books him on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. During the night the cruise director throws him overboard in the Bermuda Triangle.

Ah, but wait - Jacques Cousteau happens to be filming another underwater saga and ... of no, not again!

Now, if all you readers will send a dollar, we'll hire a hit man. Perhaps Charlie the Tuna.

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