Mr. Detweiler.

Just a line to commend you not only for your many talents but for keeping alive the interest in ventriloquism that inspired a generation and many more.

In my case, I was initially inspired by ventriloquists that I had managed to see on TV, primarily Ed Sullivan. This was at a time when TV was small, square shaped, black and white and often fuzzy. You may recall Ricky Layne and 'Velva'. I had heard of Paul Winchell --of course --but, in my case had never seen a Paul Winchell 'telecast' as I lived in a area which did not have a TV outlet that was affiliated with the network that Winchell was on. Though I had read Winchell's book [Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit], I had, at that time, never seen Winchell perform. Like many another young ventriloquist, my first 'figure' was a store-bought Jerry Mahoney replica.

A bit later, I saw an advertisement for the Maher studios. I was determined to take the course. With various odd-jobs, managed to save up enough money to take the complete Fred Maher course which --at the time --cost me $59.95. It was money that I had managed to earn and save by selling fresh tomatoes door to door in my own neighborhood and all over town. These were tomatoes that I had picked myself thus allowing me a small 'profit'.

To make a long story short, if it had not been for Winchell and the Maher course that I was able to save up enough money to 'take', I might never have embarked upon a radio/TV career as a DJ/newscaster/commentator that would eventually take me out of my small hometown in West Texas to major markets to include Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas. In almost every case, I was complimented for my enunciation, pronunciation and my voice. In every case, I must credit my mentors --Winchell and Maher. Without those influences, I might never have visited --eventually -- every major city in the U.S. and some in Europe as a result of a career that --in retrospect --seems like a dream come true. In fact --it was!

Sincerely and with many, many thanks,
Len Hart

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