"The Great Lester" was arguably the greatest ventriloquist of the vaudeville era. If Edgar Bergen is the father of modern ventriloquism, then Lester would be the grandfather. Lester was a world renowned ventriloquist at the turn of the 20th Century, and along with his figure, Frank Byron, Jr., entertained thousands.

 

In later years Lester was a noted teacher of ventriloquism, and his students include, among many others, Edgar Bergen himself. In fact, a written testimonial by Bergen stating that the Great Lester is the greatest of all ventriloquists and the greatest of all teachers of ventriloquism hangs on the wall of the Josephine Berger Memorial Building at Vent Haven.

 

And it was a performance by the Great Lester, which W.S. Berger viewed as a young man early in the 20th century, which inspired Berger to begin collecting the ventriloquist memorabilia that eventually became Vent Haven. 

 

Text: Vent Haven Museum

 


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