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 faces. 


by John Hopman, Sarnia Ontario 



 The 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


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