Many years ago, about forty or so I
attended the CNE. This is the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.
This is the biggest fair in the Province of Ontario Canada. Yes there
was a sideshow with the freaks, Magician, etc.
I did not expect to see a ventriloquist
on the bill. After the sword swallower and other acts this guy comes out
with the crudest carved figure I have ever seen. He does a little bit of
vent and proceeds to tell you its all done with this ventrillo that he
had in his mouth. This really was just the Swiss bird warbler. A small
piece of leather with cellophane or plastic that vibrates when blown
properly but has absolutely nothing to do with ventriloquism.
He said you put this in your mouth and
you can throw your voice. He throws the figure down on a metal chair and
does a few small magic tricks. Vanishing cigarette and a card trick and
then proceeds to sell this package for I believe 50 cents. He actually
sold quite a few and the suckers were biting really good as they say.
After the show was over in the tent, I
went back stage and struck up a conversation and told him I did vent..
He said show me kid. I did a bit with the strange figure that weighed
about thirty five pounds and he liked it. I said. for a few bucks I will
be in the crowd for the next show and you call me out and I will come on
stage like a complete stranger. Then I will put the ventrillo in my
mouth and make the figure talk.
Sold he said.
We proceeded and it went over very well.
He sold lots , I got my money and we both parted with a big smile on our
by John Hopman,
Ventrillo - Swiss Bird Warbler
Thanks to David Pitts for
all his support and encouraging
Johnny Hopman to share his experience.
To the right -
Henry Little and David Pitts