Ventriloquism is an old stage act wherein the performer manipulates a dummy. Let’s learn more about this craft and see some vintage photos of performers and their dummies after the break.
Initially, ventriloquism was seen as a religious exercise. People believed that ventriloquists could converse with the dead. Others also thought that ventriloquists could foresee the future. For these reasons, it’s quite easy to see why the act was not received well by the Christians. It wasn’t after several years that ventriloquism was regarded as a form of entertainment.
Fred Russell, known as the Father of Modern Ventriloquism, was the first ventriloquist to use a sitting dummy for his act. He started performing in front of the public in 1882 as a hobby. After a few stints, he was offered to perform regularly at the Palace Theatre in London and from then on, his career as a ventriloquist blossomed. Some of the most notable ventriloquists today regard Fred Russell as one of their inspirations.
The art of ventriloquism is not easy. These performers must practice in order to hone their skill in ‘throwing their voice’. Controlling the dummy is hard enough and to add to that, they also have to voice the dummy without moving their mouths. Today, ventriloquism is still practiced and professionals perform comedic shows to showcase their talent. Some even use multiple dummies, each having a unique voice.
Here are some vintage photos of ventriloquists with their dummies: