Question: I am a reporter for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, New York, and I am doing a feature story on a talented 14-year-old ventriloquist in our area. Could you tell me a little something about the business right now? Did it seem to fall off in the 1990s, and is it coming back, or is it something that works better in a live show than on TV. I know we no longer have the typical "variety" show, so perhaps there isn't much of an opportunity for ventriloquists to get on TV. Anything you could offer as an expert in the field would be appreciated. Thanks. Bill Buell
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From Mr. D: Briefly, I've been in this business for nearly 50 years, and ventriloquists have always complained there are too few ventriloquists seen on TV. And yet, the huge popularity today of Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator are a result, at least in part, of their numerous TV appearances.
As an entertainment form, I believe ventriloquism is more popular today than at any time I've been associated with the art - over 50 years. Yet the number of youth being inspired to take up the art is probably as low currently as I've seen it. The involvement of youth in the art began to taper off in the late 80's- early 90s, a disturbing trend that can be directly attributed (my opinion) to the entry of electronic technology. And this trend is not unique to ventriloquism. I believe you will find this trend to be true with all the visual arts.
So, if you have found a talented 14 year old with enough confidence and foresight to lay his Smart Phone, I-Touch, and I-Pad aside, and take up a puppet through which to express his creativity, you have found a rarity...he deserves to be recognized! Thank you for doing so!