Peter Rich Rites

(From May/June 1966 Vent O Gram)

This column was prompted by a letter of inquiry from an excellent teen-age ventriloquist from Dallas, Texas, named Jay Johnson.

Jay wanted to know the length of the act required when working as a sole entertainer at a banquet, and the time required when the act works with other entertainers. 

The time varies but generally the act should range between ten and twenty minutes, or a tight fifteen minutes.  A song lasts three minutes.  An opening and closing song will take care of six minutes. A middle song would add another three minutes for a longer act.

For pacing, two dummies can be a big help.  The vent can do ten minutes with the first dummy and then do ten minutes with the second.

The program chairman for the banquet usually specifies the time required.  The booking agent will do the same for the clubs.  When the act arrives for rehearsal at the club, the first question asked by the act is "How much time do they want?"  The better clubs will require between twenty and thirty minutes.  The cheaper clubs want more time, in which case the aspiring ventriloquist should bone up on monologues, magic, and songs to pad the time.

The performer should know how long each segment of his act takes, because if he's ask to cut, he'll have no difficulty editing on his feet.

Good luck.  Don't get arrested --- or you'll do time.
*  *  *  *  *
Vent-O-Gram Ventriloquist Newsletter, Volume 4, May-June 1966, No. 2.  24 pages. 8.5" x 11".  With articles and reports by: W. S. Berger, Gregory Berlin, Fred Ketch (on how he built a paper mache dummy), Peter Rich, Walter Berlin, Bob Brethen, Charles Hook, Col. Bill Boley, Dan Gardner, and others.  Plus a tribute to ventriloquist A. C. Astor who died 4/7/66.  Some excellent trade material plus a great deal of historical reports from that time period.  Very good condition.  Click here for eBay auction:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290660695834


  1. Anonymous1/23/2012

    Too bad teenagers never listen to adult advice. Just imagine what that young man could have become....

  2. P. Grecian1/23/2012

    Could've played Broadway.

  3. Just posted this entry on Jay's Facebook page. Hope he sees it

  4. It's still good advice, and best wishes to Peter Rich who lives in San Antonion at the age of 90. Another fantastic mentor along the way.