If I read one more article that was recently written calling ventriloquism a dying art I'm going to SCREAM!! Without moving my lips of course!!
I cringe every time I hear it. If you were to describe ventriloquism in one word, DYING wouldn't be the word to use. LIVING would be a more accurate word.
When you have the art of ventriloquism as one of the top categories on America's Got Talent. Watch when you are carrying on a conversation with someone you just met when you tell them that you are a ventriloquist. The response is usually, "REALLY? WOW!" Do people say that about a dying art? I should say not!!
I was lucky to have grown up in the 60s and 70s when ventriloquism was highly visible on TV. I watched reruns of the Jerry Mahoney Show and got to see Jimmy Nelson, Danny O' Day and Farfel plug Nestles Quick. Every Christmas I got to circle which ventriloquist dummy I wanted from the Sears catalog. I learned ventriloquism from an album call Instant Ventriloquism and performed my first shows with a Juro Charlie McCarthy.
It was in the late 70s up to the early 2000s where ventriloquism took a nose dive. The few ventriloquists you would see on TV were making fun of ventriloquists such as the TV series SOAP where Chuck and Bob (Jay Johnson) had a mental condition where he thought his ventriloquist dummy was alive. Another example was when Ronn Lucas along with a few other vents were in court on the TV show Night Court.
Through the 90s and into the 2000s you could catch Jeff Dunham at your local comedy club where he would bring tons of laughter with Walter, Peanut and Jose Jalapeno. Ronn Lucas had his own show in Vegas and kids could catch one of many ventriloquists at their school or local library.
Then in 2006 a program by the name of America's Got Talent hit TV and ventriloquism got a massive boost starting with Kevin Johnson and Godzilla TV! Kevin definitely showed that ventriloquism was cool and sent a message out to all other ventriloquists that AGT was the platform to showcase your talent. Season 1 came and went and the next year an unknown ventriloquist by the name of Terry Fator auditioned with a basic puppet he called Emma Taylor who shocked the audience with her rendition of AT LAST!
We all know what happened at the end of season 2. Terry was crowned AGT Champion and ventriloquists all over the world cheered.
In the mean time back on the Internet a YouTube sensation had started. Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Jeff Dunham had become one of the most watched videos. Comedy Central offered Jeff his own special (or 2 or 3 or 4) and Jeff Dunham became a household name. Ventriloquism was back and, dare I say (DARE...DARE) bigger than ever!
Paul Zerdin was the next ventriloquist to win AGT in season 10 but it was a young girl from Oklahoma in season 12 that shocked the nation once more with her highly skilled ventriloquism, puppetry and singing. Now every parent wanted their child to be the next Darci Lynne Farmer and puppet sales skyrocketed. The Vent Haven International Ventriloquist ConVENTion started to see young kids attending once again and ventriloquism was totally off of life support and living on its own once again.
So at this time and hopefully for many years to come ventriloquism is a LIVING art full of life and back to where it should be and attendance at the ConVENTion show it.
If you are interested in ventriloquism and would like to learn more than you ever have I highly suggest attending the Vent Have International Ventriloquist ConVENTion. To find out more visit vhconvention.com