"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.
Vent Haven Museum