Loking to expand your ventriloquial library beyond Rick MItchell’s Ventriloquism book (for which we wrote the introduction) and the great how-to classics by the likes of the Great Lester, Edgar Bergen, Paul Winchell, and the like? Here are two brand new ones which came my way recently that are sure to expand your horizons!
My review of Bryan W. Simon’s documentary I’m No Dummy back in 2010 was one of my first ventriloquism posts. I re-shared it a couple of years ago to honor Jimmy Nelson’s passing, for Nelson’s place in history is woven all through that film. Nelson’s legacy is also iterated in Simon’s terrific new book I’m No Dummy Every Day, as is….everything else you wanna know and love about the windiest art form!
If anything, I enjoyed this tome even more than the movie, for it includes among its 365 amazing facts much more of the old time pioneer history I value, stuff on vent founders dating from the pre-20th century years, in addition to facts and developments in the art form down to the present day. Basically, it’s lots of short, well-written essays based around dates: biographies of key ventriloquists, important events like the premieres of television shows, films and plays; pub dates of landmark ventriloquism books; debuts of beloved characters; and even stuff about carvers and manufacturers of ventriloquial figures (is it politically incorrect to call them dummies any more? I’m not going to test it. If there is one thing film and television has taught me, it’s unwise to make a ventriloquist mad). Not surprisingly, there are a preponderance of dates related to Vent Haven and the I’m No Dummy doc which might not be occupy as much space if it came from another pen, but I’m not gonna fault the folks behind this book for that. There is a rich old tradition of merging plugs and genuinely valuable information in variety arts books. And I’ll forgive anything in a book that includes an entry on my friend Carla Rhodes and Eddie Deezen’s appearance in Steven Spielberg’s 1979 comedy 1941!
There must be something in the air! Or perhaps there’s something in the water. Glamour puss female vent April Brucker has also just released her latest literary effort, Don’t Read My Lips! America’s Foremost Female Ventriloquist Reveals the Secrets of How to be a Successful Vent. But who am I to put words in the mouth of a ventriloquist? This tireless entrepeneur has made her own trailer for the book that says more than black squiggles on a page ever could. I’ll let her (and her foam friends) speak for themselves: