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Servante
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Mark, you have reminded me that I should have mentioned Jimmy Nelson in my piece earlier.
He was on the Berle show, and I'd see him a few times there (I'm going to guess my bedtime interfered with watching Berle all the way through),but like most of us, I remember him best from the Nestle's Quick commercials. Farfel was intriguing to me because I'd not seen an animal vent figure up to that point. I'd watched Winchell and a whole gang of vents on the Sullivan show (Senor Wences and Jerry Layne and Velvel and many others.
By the time I was old enough to do something about it, I made a dog figure a project in my junior high school shop class.
There was absolutely no information back in those days regarding HOW to build such a figure, so I guessed, and not very well. The darn thing's head was way too heavy and the eybrows were controlled individually on dowels and...well, it was a mess.
I abandoned it and stuck with my "Louie" figure and a small leprechaun figure hand-carved by a neighbor, and a gang of soft puppets and marionettes I built myself.
Just a few years ago I had the opportunity and honor to correspond briefly with Jimmy Nelson...and found him an incredibly giving person.
(You also make me wonder if Vent Haven would accept my original "Louie," as I have retired him and brought in the Hartz figure.)

There I go...rambling again. Smile

-Philip
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I started when I was 5 years old. I received a Danny O'Day figure and the Jimmy Nelson record "Instant Ventriloquism". I was very sick as a child and spent many days and months at home instead of school. After finishing up makeup school work, I would play the record over and over and practice with a mirror. That was 39 years ago. I continued practicing over the years and then when I was 12 I completed the Maher School of Vent correspondence course. At the age of 13, I had saved up enough for my first Pro figure ...Maher's "Homer" composition figure by Lovick (side to side eye movement, winkers, raising eyebrows, spitter, handshaker). I was so excited, I sent out birth announcements.
jlevey
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...I hoe Jimmy (Nelson)is reading these posts Mark! Smile

Jonathan
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kidshowvent
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Thanks, Jonathan ("Max")...I hope Jimmy is too. I can't say enough good things about him. Talk about a real mentor..wow!

Mark

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At the risk of getting a bit (temporarily) off topic, I will suggest something that, IMHO, would serve both the Vent and non-vent communities well...

...I just went onto Wikipedia to look up "Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist", and there (sadly) seems to be a void --no posting on this name to show that it (he) has been a very important and influential figure in the history and evolution of Ventriloquism --nor about his simple being an innovative and wonderfully talented entertainer.

This seems a shame. And, frankly, Jimmy should not be asked to write his own Bio for Wiki, since living personalities writing their own bios make the article highly subjective by the Wiki editors and as such,frowned upon. Therefore, such an article needs to be written by an objective 3rd party (hint, hint, Mark Smile and is actually more credible when written by more than one person (nudge, nudge, Philip Smile

But also be forewarned --for those that have never (yet) tried to write and post an article on Wikipedia, that Wiki editors expect the writers to post articles that are rich with verified information and citation of sources. It is a complicated and challenging universe --this Wiki world.. but an article on Jimmy Nelson can (and should) be done over time. Of course Mark, you also deserve your own space, IMHO, on Wiki --but as mentioned, be sure to get a knowledgeable friend(s) to write and post it. Just some food for thought.

My most helpful suggestion, if anyone is willing to take this idea on --to at least start the ball rolling (ass good Wiki articles can take months to write and evolve to their full potential), is to contact one of the Wiki editors through their site and ask them to help you create a rough draft of your article, prior to uploading --otherwise, you simply risk all of your hard work being removed by the many diligent and meticulous Wiki editors --those vested with the task and the power to ensure that as much information that is posted on Wiki remains credible and verifiable (to as large an extent as is possible). Once "they" give you the green light on your draft, they can also help you to upload it --for all the world (and Jimmy) to see and enjoy! Smile

If I seem a little Wiki-fied, (petrified of the Wiki Editors), I am not. I actually see the majority of them as serving as responsible and loyal editors --intent to keep Wiki as credible as possible, in world were the truth about a person (especially a very impactful/well-known person) can be inflated well-beyond the scope of reality.

...now back to the topic at hand --thanks to Carl, who started this wonderful thread to begin with: "How old were you when you started to learn ventriloquism?"

More stories are waiting to be put forth, and we (your fellow Café/Vent members) are all ears Smile

Jonathan
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Servante
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You know, that's a pretty good idea.
I make my living writing, and I'd be happy to write something, or write something with Mark, or stay out of Mark's way while he writes something, or whatever needs to happen.
Jimmy Nelson continues to act as an inspiration and a cheerleader for young (and lots of not-so-young) vents.
-Philip
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Could be a cool thing to unveil at the ConVention! Great idea Jonathan!
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

ComedyVentriloquist.com

Learn-Ventriloquism.com

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Servante
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And, you know, I've been thinking about this since that last post, and I think the reason I didn't mention Jimmy Nelson earlier is that he's still a vital part of the vent world and our art. Especially since I managed to correspond with him a bit last year.
I still use a lot of the moves I saw him use back in the fifties and sixties. That sort of lazy back and forth head wag that Danny used to do when he'd say, "Like a million," comes to mind (though Louie, Huck and Cooter don't have eyelids, so they can't do that wink Danny would do. The baby figure I recently purchased DOES have eyelids...but doesn't lend himself to the attitude!)
And, analyzing it now...I think the relationship I have with my figures is lifted from Jimmy. Winch and Jerry always seemed in a subtle sort of battle...Jimmy and Danny always seemed like friends. Danny might suddenly surprise or flummox Jimmy...but there wasn't (in my memory, at least) a battle going on between them.

Interesting to think about, once a person starts analyzing his own techniques and philosophies. There's a lot of Jimmy Nelson in all of us, I think. We owe him more than we know. His gentleness, soft spoken attitude and willingness to communicate with us as equals (which we, of course, are not!) prevents us, often, from realizing just how much we DO owe him.

-Philip
jlevey
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Nice to see your enthusiasm and willingess to add your writing talents to the Jimmy Nelson Wiki project (JNWP), Servante. Smile

Glad this suggestion has steam, and will (hopefully) move forward. What a great idea, Tom, to plan an unveiling of the finished Wiki Bio at the next VentHaven convention --in fitting tribute to Jimmy Nelson and his life's work and enormous accomplishments and the inspiration he serves.

Planning an official summer 2011 launch date for such an article would give Philip (and Mark Smile time to write up a very strong article in homage to Jimmy.

Perhaps, Mark, you should "not" encourage Jimmy to jump onto the Café's site, least he read this thread and see the surprise that's in store for him. Simply let him know how highly he is regarded by a multitude of Café Vent members that have found inspiration and knowledge towards their own vent work, through his work, strides and successes in the field.

As for the proposed Wiki article, this is a project that more than two writers can contribute to. If you type Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist into Wiki's search engine, you should see a prompt that states that an article on this person does not (yet) exist, and a link to click on that will allow you to start the article off. But, as previously suggested, I believe it would be best to contact a Wiki editor to ask for help in order to start the article out in Draft form, before posting it for all to see and perhaps inviting other Wiki editors the opportunity to criticize or (worse) remove the article for not meeting the stringent Wiki guidelines.

Personally, I spent about two months (evenings and weekends) writing a Wiki article on my late dad, "Harris Levey" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris_Levey who worked for DC Comics during the golden age of comics and created the super hero "Air Wave" (among others), and I found that one of the Wiki Editors that was most knowledgeable was Senior Wikii Editor (level II) "Tenabrae". He can be found on Wiki and sent a message requesting his assistance for the Jimmy Nelson article, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tenebrae

Another Wiki Editor, with even more knowledge and seniority at Wiki is "OlEnglish"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:OlEnglish

Now, back to the main topic at hand, that Carl so wisely put forth at the very start of this thread... "How old were you when you started to learn ventriloquism?"
Jonathan
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Servante
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I've sent a note to Mark.

-Philip
jlevey
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Anyone else out there willing to share how old they were and how their interest in ventriloquism was first sparked?

Hope so. These stories are fascinating.

Jonathan
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Carl Mustaine
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Quote:
On 2010-11-04 13:59, jlevey wrote:
Anyone else out there willing to share how old they were and how their interest in ventriloquism was first sparked?

Hope so. These stories are fascinating.

Jonathan


I agree! I am finding it quite inspiring that there are people who have started across ages of all ranges. I had thought that about 9 out of 10 would say that they were performing on TV at the age of 10! (or something similar).

Gives me some hope then!

I have hundreds of questions brewing!

I am surprised that the forum is so quiet sometimes!

Regards

Carl
kidshowvent
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Sorry I didn't get back to all of you about Jimmy Nelson...I've been out of town for several days doing shows. I think trying to update Wiki is great and I will answer Phillip today! Jimmy Nelson truly does deserve a good listing with Wiki!

Mark

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jlevey
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Soounds good, Mark. Thanks!

I just re-visited Wiki.

If you put the key words "Jimmy Nelson" into the search engine, you are taken to the page about a Singer/songwriter named Jimmy Nelson.

Then, you become more specific and put the keywords "Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist" into Wiki's search engine, you are shown that there is an article about "Farfel"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farfel_the_Dog

This article certainly talks about Jimmy's contributions, but not in depth --it focuses more on Farfel's importance in television history. There is also a page that seems to state hat there is not an article on Jimmy Nelson Ventriloquist", and it invites writers to create such an article and for others contribute to its expansion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Nelso......quist%29

The timing, to create this article, seems right. Smile

Jonathan
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Servante
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I got Mark's note.
Okay...we're on our way!

-Philip
silking
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Question- Turned 65 and retired, is that to old to learn vent or must you start at a younger age?

Thanks
Silkig
kidshowvent
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Silking...no, it's never too late to learn vent. The only problem older folks may (and I say MAY,,) have is that they don't have the control of the skin under the chin..in the throat area. It becomes loose with age and can wiggle just a bit more than a younger person...but even at that it shouldn't be a major obstacle. Go for it!

Mark

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silking
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Thanks Mark, I will give all I got.

Silking
Carl Mustaine
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Silkig,

What materials/method are you using to learn ventriloquism?

Just curious from one newbie to another!

Regards

Carl
DaveRobison
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The story goes that when I was 5 or so, I saw a young girl on the Ted Mack Amateur hour doing ventriloquism, and announced that I could do what she was doing. If a girl can do that, I could, too.

But it took me to about age 9, to ask Santa Claus for a Danny O'Day doll from the JCPenney's catalog for Christmas. After Danny and the Instant Ventriloquism LP arrived I practiced religiously everyday using the Zenith phonograph with the snake's head record arm in my room. By the summer of my 10th birthday I was doing shows at my local library for Story Time. The librarian accommodated my interest by ordering every ventriloquist book available so I could learn different techniques.

I did shows for all the civic luncheons and my school even let me skipped some classes to perform in the local city during those lunches. Local news crews and newspapers visited the house and some of my performances. I remember doing the voice for the local reporter as he signed off from the story. He, moving his lips, and me talking off camera providing the voice.

Through reading and research, I stumbled upon Maher Studios at about 14, and wrote for info on the Maher Course. By the time I was 16, Clinton Detweiler gave me the go-ahead on writing a book of dialogues for bird figures, and I became a "published author" at 16 with "It's For The Birds" based on Clinton's "Crazy Bird" figure.

Of course, I'm still waiting for that something to happen, so I can say, "the rest as you kow, is history."

Dave
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