The missing generation

By Dave Boiano

Concerning your post about the full time vents in their 20s in 1990, and the fact that there doesn't seem to be as many now, and its projection fpr the future of our art:

I think one thing to be considered is, those in their 20s in 1990 grew up when there was still some decent TV (you can define that statement a number of ways and they would all apply), and even some variety shows. Video games hadn't yet become the number one past time of kids. It was still a time when they were doing something to pass the time besides moving their fingers on a controller. Not everything had to be special effects to be considered any good. They weren't spending all their time on computers and "social networks" (like Facebbok) or on cell phones texting everyone they know every five minutes.

Of course, as we all know, times have changed a lot. For kids growing up today everything is the opposite of what I just wrote about, as well as other factors. So while we know there are still plenty of younger people interested in vent, but as far as seeing people taking a serious interest and pursuing it as a career, or pursuing it in any way, it may now have to be something that has to wait until they can get past all that other stuff. I think now we're going to see vent becoming something that more people don't start thinking about taking up until they are older, past the need to be entertained by the other stuff. In other words, I think we're going to see ventriloquism becoming a "mature art", and that's not a bad thing either.

Concerning projection for the future of the art, the 2011 Vent Haven Convention had the highest attendance it's ever had. With Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator we now have two ventriloquists in the national spotlight regularly. How long has it been since we had that? The last time I can think of was in the '60s with Jimmy Nelson and Paul Winchell. So while the demographics of ventriloquistm may have changed, I think its projection for the future is currently at a high point.


  1. Anonymous9/05/2011

    More recent than Winchell & Nelson, was Ronn Lucas & Jay Johnson. Actually, while i LOVE Jimmy, he sadly never really attained the public fame of Bergen or Winchell. A true shame if ever there was one! Actually, for a while, there was sort of a TRIO with Ronn Lucas, Jay Johnson, & Shari Lewis. & in the 60's, I guess you could say there was a foursome, with Jimmy Nelson, Paul Winchell, Edgar Bergen, & Senor Wences. I don't know how the numbers are for younger vents, but i saw a LOT of them at the 2008 conVENTion by todays standards. Bill Smith

  2. Anonymous9/07/2011

    Let's not forget to add Willie Tyler to that list!