On The Road With Dave

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Now Appearing in an Extended Engagement! Join Dave Robison as he takes you into his world and his daily life of reviving a stand-up comedy career. Prepare for side trips exploring Public Relations, marketing and business ethics. Enjoy some frequent detours describing his observations on life. Read the exploits of this self-proclaimed Renaissance-man and blooming blogger as you go On The Road With Dave.

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Name: Dave Robison
Location: Mobile, Alabama, United States

From Mobile, Alabama comes Dave Robison, a confessed Internet-aholic, middle-aged-married-man, who's generally a nice guy--he just has one or two issues. Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Robison is available for corporate events, college campuses, and nightclubs.

 

 

On The Road with Dave


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jimmy Nelson, Manic Mark, and Memories

I was checking my email Saturday night and I checked on one of my Google Alert emails on the topic of ventriloquism. In case you didn't know you can set up Alerts with Google and they will email you a list of links for the day of websites mentioning your topic.

In the email, I discovered Mark Betcher's blog, "Art Work by Manic Mark". Manic Mark collects old vinyl LP Albums in the niche market of private labels, vanity press, and self-produced albums. Not only does he find the recordings and the production of the albums of value, but also the accompanying album covers and artwork.

Mark explains,

"About vinyl collecting and my reviews. Producing a record for most artists was a costly undertaking. Without label support, artists had to pay for studio time and many extras to help engineer a recording. Artists then had to pay for pressing the record and the cost of creating the album jacket. And the cost of printing, even a low-end, one color jacket was very expensive! Certainly there was no budget for marketing. There were no fashion consultants, make-up artists or professional designers working on these projects. These private press, off or no label, vanity LPs were "expensive" undertakings in the most low budget way. I treasure them because I get the artist's vision... not the marketing department vision! It's the unvarnished truth!"


I'm not harshing on Mark's hobby--I think it's kinda cool. But Mark reviewed an album that is near and dear to my heart and although he said some good things about it, he sort of dissed the subject matter and the effectiveness of the album.

The album was Jimmy Nelson's "Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism For The Beginner". Jimmy Nelson was a famous ventriloquist in the 50s and the 60s and brought to life his partners, Danny O'Day and Farfel, for millions on TV. Nelson's commercials for NESTLES chocolate ingrained in every child's mind of that era with the clever jingle, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle makes the very best...chocolate."

Nelson also licensed the likeness of his dummy, Danny O'Day to be sold as a beginner ventriloquist doll to boys and girls all over the USA through JCPenney's and Sears' Christmas catalogs. My first ventriloquist doll was a Danny O'Day doll received on my 9th Christmas along with an LP vinyl album called "Jimmy Nelson's Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism For The Beginner"

Manic Mark says,
"I wonder how many people actually got anywhere learning the art of ventriloquism using this instructional LP? Not many, I suspect. The same deal applies to the instructional books you might buy as a comic book reading youngster to help you muscle up so that bullies would stop kicking sand in your face at the beach."


But Mark we must disagree. Not only did I learn ventriloquism from that album, but I performed all over my little city with that doll with nothing more than Nelson's instructions. Of course, my interest in the art sparked more reading, more training, and even more practicing; but that little doll and that recording was more than effective. Over the years, I've had conversations with other ventriloquists that had similar experiences.

Mark, you have found a piece of history for a lot of ventriloquists and I'm glad you found it worth collecting. (I still have my copy) Thanks for mentioning it, for saving it and for preserving it.

Thanks to Manic Mark you can listen to a small sample of the recording, and enjoy your first lesson in Ventriloquism from a Master--Jimmy Nelson.





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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Edgar!

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was born on February 16, 1903. 107 years later he is still remembered fondly, studied intently, discussed loudly, and remains the benchmark to which all ventriloquists are compared. Happy Birthday, Edgar!




































Artwork, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy--1938--by Dick Weston


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Codename:Cecil--Preparing To Begin

I woke up today with the intention of starting to build my newest ventriloquist partner, "Cecil". As I explained before, Cecil will be a reincarnation of a previous puppet I once crafted. The project's beginning required a paper-mache' paste. The original used a wallpaper wheat paste powder mixed with warm water. It seems over the last 30 years or so that wallpaper wheat paste has been replaced by chemical glues and adhesive-backed vinyl wallpaper. I visited local craft stores, Hobby Lobby and Michael's Crafts with no luck in turning up the mix.

After searching the vastness of Google, I did find many recipes for wallpaper wheat paste that required wheat flour, sugar, salt, boiling water, and cooking with a double boiler and stirring; not exactly a length I want to travel. I did find the elusive mix online, but in bulk amounts too much for my small project. Finally, I found Golden Harvest that sells a small 3-pound amount that will be suitable for my needs. First I will shop at my local Ace Hardware and Lowes', since they were mentioned as distributors of the product and if that fails, I'll place an order online. In any case, this weekend will not see any progress on the project.

On a related puppet improvement project; I have rescued another old ventriloquist partner from the depths of my storage building. "Oliver" was a small red bird purchased from Maher Studios back when I was 15 or so. He helped perform at local library shows and birthday parties. Oliver had flapping wings, moving feet, winking and blinking eyes, and a spitter that could shoot a stream of water about 8 feet.

Oliver later became a "toy" for my kids and suffered quite a bit of damaged before being locked away under a mountain of boxes in a storage unit. A few days ago I contacted Clinton Detweiler of Mr D's Daily Ventriloquist Journal and "retired" proprietor of Maher Studios to see if "Oliver" could be rescued from the ravages of time and neglect. I'm awaiting the prognosis.

If anybody can put this bird "back in the air" or at least back on stage, I know Clinton is the fellow to do it. Looking at the figure at its worst now, should only make the final refurbish and repair all the more satisfying when it happens. It's hard to believe that the remarkable figure started out with a can as it's head and a bleach bottle as a body. I've read recent comments from other ventriloquists that are searching for this rare bird at auction sites. The Crazy Bird is no longer commercially available. I should have realized what I had a long time ago. Such is youth.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another "Quit Date": Smoking

For my loyal readers, you know that I generally keep my word or have a good excuse why I couldn't. I have a pretty good record of living up to any public commitments I make through this blog. When I made the decision to quit multilevel marketing, I agonized over my decision and was reluctant to quit when I did not reach my goals, but it set in motion an eventual departure from that business.

One commitment I have not been able to keep over the years is a commitment to quit smoking. I've looked at it from a financial perspective; I've tried the nicotine patches and tapering off, and cutting back, and twice I tried "cold turkey" for about six hours. Truth is, I like smoking. I know the health risks, the damage to my lungs, teeth, throat, etc. I also know that it affects my breathing and stamina while performing. Professional ventriloquists rarely interrupt their acts to cough and hack up a piece of lung. Also as a comedian, I can't cancel a gig because I'm suffering from my almost yearly bout of winter bronchitis.(Knock wood, didn't happen this year)

But I truly like lighting up. I smoke when I write, I smoke, when I drive, I smoke while watching TV, I smoke when I wake up, I smoke after I eat, and I smoke after...nevermind; I like to smoke.

Of course in light of a recent event that led to an ambulance ride, my health and longevity has been on my mind and I'm considering more and more the possibility of quitting smoking. I'm not looking forward to it and I'm a bit scared to attempt it.

So, in true "On The Road With Dave" fashion, I'm putting it "out there" for all the world to see. I'm setting another "Quit Date".

ON OR BEFORE MAY 6, 2010(My Birthday)I WILL BE AN EX-SMOKER.

That's in a little less than 3 months. In that time, I hope to find a method that works for me to quit smoking without the added stress of quitting smoking. Recently, a friend at work has started using one of those new "e-cigarettes", and maybe I'll give that a try. The thought of actually still holding something that feels like a cigarette and simulates smoking might work for me. I do realize that electronic cigarettes and patches and gum, take away the smoking addiction, but not the nicotine addiction. But maybe, that can be a first step. I haven't decided yet what path I'll take.

Medications have been offered by my doctor, but their list of side effects are as long as the ills of smoking. I joke that smoking prevents me from killing myself, and some of the stop-smoking pills say that killing yourself could be a side effect of taking the stop-smoking pills. Sounds like a no-win situation to me.

I'm going to re-visit all the alternatives to smoking and all the smoke cessation programs, except maybe hypnotism. I kinda like the "sex instead of a cigarette" method, but I'm pretty sure the wife won't go for that one for any length of time--but it's still an option.

I have 86 days to figure it all out. Can I do it? Will I need to make an excuse? I've set My "Quit Date".

ON OR BEFORE MAY 6, 2010(My Birthday)I WILL BE AN EX-SMOKER.

We'll see what happens.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Code Name: CECIL


Materials Needed:

One Large Balloon(Punch ball)
Kraft Paper
Wheat Wallpaper Paste
Scrap 1/8 plywood or paneling
Approximately 1 yard of fake fur(long shag)
Package of shredded(or powdered) papier-mache'
Miscellaneous scraps of felt, velvet, feathers, etc.

String, screws, glue, wire, springs, wooden beads and some secret ingredients.

A long time ago, I had two other ventriloquist dummies before my current partner, Skyler. Both were constructed by myself. Both were lost or damaged beyond repair over the years and their absence has been weighing on me. I've had the desire in the last six months to resurrect one of the characters from scratch and add some improvements to his original design. That desire has recently manifested into an actual commitment to begin the process.

I'm constructing a new puppet to add to the new ventriloquism portion of my act. Though not Top Secret, I've christened the new project, CODENAME:CECIL, in honor of the previous character. The saga of the construction will play out over the next few months with photos of the progress. You can also bet that Skyler's Gravel Road will weigh in on the construction and the eventual character that evolves.

I don't have the mastery of some of the finer craftsmen of ventriloquist figures, but if history is any judge, I think I can pull this off. I'm also betting that a few of my ventriloquist readers will be able to guess by the photo, exactly what plans I'll be using circa 1974.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Trouble With Skyler

I don't think I like my ventriloquist sidekick.

That's not entirely true. How do you spend 28 years with "somebody" without liking them? Okay, and I know he's not really "somebody"; he's a puppet, a dummy--he's not really alive. But, I'm having trouble with Skyler.

Skyler started out as an idea from a rough sketch I drew. His inspiration drawn from the poster boy of Mad Magazine, Alfred E Neuman. Legendary ventriloquist figure maker, Finis Robinson took on the task of carving out my idea into wood and creating my sidekick.

Finis wrote to me upon Skyler's completion, "He's a fine boy, but more
mature material will be needed for him." I'm sure that Finis didn't mean "dirty" or "blue" material, but rather Skyler would not be suitable for cutesy kid's parties. I was okay with that at the time, I was 18 and had visions of comedy clubs and TV appearances dancing in my head.

Things between Skyler and I started out okay. We were doing gigs, making people laugh, flirting with girls. Skyler went to college with me, joined me at some parties and generally was a good ventriloquist sidekick.

After I got married and put performing on the back burner for a while, Skyler spent a few years tucked away in his trunk; only to be brought out occasionally to entertain house guests or to undergo some routine maintenance. I would bring him out at times to do some ventriloquism practice, just to be able to say I was still a ventriloquist and to display some semblance of expertise.

That was when the trouble began. Working with Skyler became more difficult. Not with his mechanics or operation; he was and has always been a thrill to operate. His expressions were great, he was fantastic to manipulate, and his personality seem to flow out even before I put words into his mouth through ventriloquism. But, he seemed to be...how do I put this...mean.

As a ventriloquist, you have to practice daily on lip control, manipulation of the ventriloquist figure, and timing as well as the comedy act between the ventriloquist and the dummy. The dialogue between the ventriloquist and the dummy is a one-act play. A script is followed that allows the ventriloquist, in most cases, to be the "straight man" to the dummy. The ventriloquist sets up the jokes and the dummy delivers the punchline. Not so with Skyler. For some reason, Skyler doesn't stick to the script. I tend to argue with him during practice. Practice ain't fun with him. His "put-downs" seem spontaneous and evil. He berates me. His verbal jabs hurt. In short, I don't think HE likes ME anymore.

Now, before you start psychoanalyzing me and calling the good folks at my local mental asylum, I know that all his words are coming from my mouth. I know I'm arguing with myself. His cynicism and sarcasm and meanness is all coming from my mind. I have heard of ventriloquists outgrowing a dummy and moving to another character, but I don't think this is the case. It's more like, there's a frustration within myself that I have ignored Skyler that personifies itself as Skyler being annoyed with me. I've let his personality that I originally created for him atrophy to the point that all that exists is evil meanness.

I'm sure other ventriloquists out there may have gone through something similar, maybe not to this degree, but we all tend to project an inner personality through our dummies. Our dummies display that part of us that we tend to shy away from. And as a comedian, I'm often told that comics are a sad lot, deriving humor from their inner turmoil. If you ask me, all this introspective, reflective crap gets in the way of just telling funny stories and making people laugh.

So, if I want to add ventriloquism to my comedy gigs, and make it unique and funny, I need to come up with a solution that will satisfy my "inner Skyler" and use my longtime sidekick to make people laugh once again and not just piss me off when we practice.

It's either that or hire a local voodoo priestess to get rid of Skyler's evilness.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Update On "A Voice Worth Finding"



Clinton Detweiler, over at Newsy Vents, has let everyone know that his newest creation for the ventriloquist world is completed.

I wrote about this new creation's inspiration last week in "A Voice Worth Finding".

The new ventriloquist figure will go to young Thomas Hoare in Australia. Thomas is autistic and only speaks through a puppet.

From Thomas' Voice:

"Finished! Now that this picture has been taken, I'll sign both photo and puppet and get him carefully packed for his flight to Australia where Thomas eagerly waits, according to a note from his "mum". And this fellow has already been named "Dillan Detweiler" by his future owner. How cool is that!

...(I would be remiss if I did not mention that it was Mike Brose who referred Mrs. Hoare and her son to me, which allowed me to be of service. Thank you, Mike.)"


Hey Clinton, you're still too cool for the room in my opinion.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Silence I Kill You" Night


If you watch Comedy Central, are interested in ventriloquism, or you are one of the 50 million people who have viewed "Achmed The Dead Terrorist" on YouTube; then you know who Ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham is.

Dunham and his cast of characters appears tomorrow night, November 16th, 2008 on ComedyCentral with his "Very Special Christmas Special".

The show airs at 9PM Eastern/8PM Central

For a great interview with Jeff; Country Weekly magazine just did a feature on Jeff entitled A Comedian's Crossroads.

Until tomorrow night, view some of Jeff's video at Comedy Central or on YouTube or stay right here at "On The Road With Dave" and watch this video of Jeff on "Live At Gotham." Consider this your Saturday Diversion.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Voice Worth Finding

Comedians talk about finding their "voice" all the time. Authors learn to write in a unique "voice". Singers fear losing their "voice".

Ventriloquists share all these attributes. We develop a comedic "voice" for ourselves and devise a entirely different "voice" for our sidekicks. And the fear of losing our voice, either literally or figuratively weighs on our mind.

But all this pales in comparison, to a recent story I read at Clinton Detweiler's NEWSY VENTS blog.

If you don't know by now; Clinton was my instructor on becoming a ventriloquist via his course on ventriloquism. He is "retired" now, but still makes and repairs ventriloquist dummies.

Thomas Hoare is a 14 year old from Australia who is autistic. He will only speak through a puppet, also named Thomas. Two months ago, Thomas' puppet was stolen and for the last two months, Thomas has been silent.

Thomas' mother wrote Clinton for a possible replacement. Clinton jumped at the chance to provide Thomas with "his voice".


Thomas' story and Clinton's aid is why I know that other blogger's views about "demonic ventriloquism" is little more than hooey.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Place For Dummies

From the Louisville Kentucky Courier Journal






Vent Haven


Vent Haven Convention

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nina Conti And Monk

British Comedian, Actress, and Ventriloquist, Nina Conti is Today's Saturday Diversion.


Nina Conti's MySpace





Visit Nina's Website

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

New "Links I Like"

I have added two new links to my "Links That I Like" section.

Both are sorta related. One, I have read for a long time and have blogged about in the past. The other is one that was referred to me by the first.

Clinton Detweiler taught me and thousands others the art of ventriloquism through his company, Maher Studios and the Maher Home Study Course in Ventriloquism. Clinton also wrote a newsletter called "Newsy Vents". I told my readers about Clinton when he retired in 2006, with "Happy Retirement, Mr. Detweiler".

Clinton hasn't exactly slowed down since he sold the studio and is still creating and repairing ventriloquist dummies for his many clients. He also is still writing "Newsy Vents" except, it's now his webblog updating readers almost
daily on new projects and stories about budding and professional ventriloquists.

Clinton's blog, Newsy Vents is one of my newest links in the sidebar.

Next up,

Some of my readers know that I didn't graduate college until I was 31. I took a Journalism and Public Relations degree and opened a video production company. My company worked with corporate clients in producing public relations and safety videos. It was my thinking, that if I could not be famous in front of the camera, then I would become famous behind the camera.

Ventriloquist Dale Brown had another idea. He brought his art of ventriloquism into his Public Relations company. Dale and his partner "Chip Martin" worked together using ventriloquism and "regular" public relations techniques and skills to service their many clients. Chip is the editor of the firms' newsletter to clients.

Thanks to Clinton Detweiler; I learned of the "Chip Martin" Blog when Clinton advised his readers to "Seriously, Check This Out".


"The 'Chip Martin Blog' contains brief marketing, PR and IT tips along with fun bits of humor from Chip. The posts are brief, pertinent and useful. As a ventriloquist businessperson, I'd encourage you to check out Chip's blog. Not only are the posts seriously helpful, they are designed to bring a smile to your face occasionally as well.

Chip is the business partner of ventriloquist Dale Brown. Many of you know Dale through his lectures at the Vent Haven conventions. Or through his books written for vents: Audience Participation, Banquet Performing, Trade Show Ventriloquism, Making It Up As You Go (Ad-libbing), and Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is (Marketing)."


Remember, Brown and Martin, Inc offers tips from the Public Relations field to all businesspeople, not just ventriloquists...an MLM person could benefit, too.

"Chip Martin's Blog" is now featured in the sidebar of "On The Road With Dave"

Two new links--covering two different topics--they are "Links That I Like"

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Skyler's Own Damn Space

That's Right, my ventriloquism partner and all-around pain-in-the-ass; Skyler Leglantier has gone and started work on his own MySpace page.

According to Skyler at his blog,

"I'm joining Dave and the rest of the Internet Robots and joining that site that sucks your brain from your skull, called MySpace."


Skyler's page isn't finished yet, but he has a few friends already; AND he wants more.

Check out Skyler's Page.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Greatest Closing Line

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen passed away in September of 1978.

The night before he passed, he gave what was to be his last performance at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas before retirement. Sadly, he never lived to enjoy the retirement, passing peacefully in his sleep.

At performance's end, he closed with these lines.



"Every vaudeville act must have an opening and a closing, so I'll pack my jokes and my little friends...and say...goodbye"

Every performer should go out with such class.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Congratulations, Jay

For a Multi-level Marketer, nothing could be more exciting than to be in that elite group of performers that achieve the highest echelon of rank in their respective companies.

For a comedian, nothing thrills like being asked to appear on The Tonight Show.

But, for a ventriloquist, an honor of such magnitude, can not be matched than to be in a small number of ventriloquists who are asked to "retire" their partners to be viewed by the American public at The Smithsonian Institute.

Jay Johnson, actor, ventriloquist, comedian was just granted this honor.

Jay will be sending his original "Bob"(you may remember Jay and Bob from the TV series SOAP) to The Smithsonian in Washington, DC to stand with fellow dummies, Charlie McCarthy, Howdy Doody, and some of the Jim Henson gang.

Jay Johnson is currently performing on Broadway in "The Two and Only" at The Helen Hayes Theatre.

Jay blogs about his performances at The Hell And Hayes:

"The acquisition committee of the Smithsonian Institution has voted unanimously to collect (the original) Bob for its permanent collection - per Jay Johnson’s specifications."

I just heard this news tonight. The original Bob will now sit along side Charlie McCarthy, Howdy Doody and Kermit the Frog as a permanent member of American History in the Smithsonian Institute of Washington, DC.

This is a process that has been going on for several months. A committee evaluates a donation for its value and significance to American History. Not every donation is accepted; in fact they decline more donations than they accept. I am thrilled they consider the work Bob and I did and the contribution we made to the arts worthy to be so honored. There will be a ceremony that will likely take place here in New York during the run of my show and those details have to be worked out. But wow!


Congratulations Jay!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NPR Visits Vent Haven

On July 12-15, 2006, hundreds of ventriloquists will visit Vent Haven in Ft.Mitchell, Kentucky. Vent Haven is the home of the Annual Ventriloquists' Convention.

This week, National Public Radio's All Things Considered visited the Vent Haven before the conventioneers arrive.

For much of the 20th century, ventriloquism was a huge part of popular culture. Edgar Bergen -- manipulator of Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, and father of Candice -- was the world's most famous "vent." That's the term ventriloquists use to refer to themselves. Johnny Carson was a vent. So were Steve Allen, Don Knotts and Ted Knight, among many others.















Listen to The Broadcast.

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Thursday, July 6, 2006

Blogger Envy


My favorite blogger of "existential angst" or "existential joy", Wil Wheaton has written a fine story today at his blog.

The Internal Critic peeked over my shoulder.

"That pretty much sucks," he said.

"You've been saying that about everything I write for months!" I said.

"Why don't you take a break?" He said.

I sighed. "Fine."

I envy Wil for not only his massive readership and rankings on "the internets", but his style writing and topics ring so true for me on many levels.

Okay, I may not be an ex-Star Trek actor or an "uber-geek" with a cult following, but other than that I identify with Wil, like so many of his readers. Plus, he played with ventriloquist dolls as a kid. He totally rocks.

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Monday, May 8, 2006

Tastes Like Chicken

A few days ago, over at Comedy Soapbox, an aspiring comedian joined the group by the name of Josh Alves. (Josh is quick to tell you, it's pronounced like the little guys called "elves"; but with a short "A" sound)

Besides wanting to do stand-up; Josh draws a weekly cartoon called "Tastes Like Chicken" in his homestate of Maine; for a weekly newspaper called, (what else?) The Weekly.

Anyway, after finding out I was a ventriloquist, Josh dug up one of his older cartoons and posted it at his Comedy Soapbox blog.

Thought I'd share a few more of my cartoons (I'll post the new ones when they're published on Thursdays), was going through my archives and saw this one... this one's for you Dave Robison:







Thanks Josh!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Retirement, Mr. Detweiler!



Howdy Mr Detweiler,

It's over 30 years old and suffers from some watermarks, but I still have the very first lesson you sent me from the Maher School of Ventriloquism. I have the other 29 lessons as well; although some have lost their cover or a staple or two that was holding the pages together.

Your writings further taught me the fine art of ventriloquism, you also listened to cassette tapes I sent you, you gave me advice, you tempered me when I needed it; and you were my first editor and my first publisher.

You taught me how to build my first ventriloquist figure AND my second.

Thanks to Maher Studios, I was recognized all over my small boyhood city and I worked and performed ventriloquism for many organizations and events. I made money and had fun doing it; when most teenagers were working at a fast food restaurant or mowing yards on the weekend.

Yesterday Mr. Detweiler, I know you officially retired and gave up the reigns of Maher Studios, but...you can't retire from be a lasting influence in this ventriloquist's life.

Thanks,

Dave

NOTE: Clinton Detweiler will still be influencing ventriloquists through other ventures, including his blog, Newsy Vents

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jay Johnson



If I lived in the Los Angeles area, or was in driving distance, I'd be seeing this show. Jay has been a favorite of mine for years.

From Variety:

"Fate, being fickle, anointed Jay Johnson a ventriloquist, a calling he discovered as a young boy and embraced. "I was born to do this," says Johnson, pulling the first of several puppets -- a scaredy-cat snake -- from the myriad suitcases that populate the set of his pleasing one-man show "Jay Johnson: The Two & Only." He then goes to work giving the creature a voice, the first in a series of highly entertaining, vaudevillian routines he mixes in with his own life story and ruminations on the history and significance of ventriloquism itself."

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Thursday, February 3, 2005

I'm "Up For Bids"


I'm "up for bids"

Back when I was a wee lad of 15, I published my own book.

It was entitled "It's For The Birds" and was a collection of ventriloquist routines.

The book was published by Maher Studios and garnered me quite a bit of publicity in my local market.

Yesterday thanks to a referral link I got from a "OTR" visitor, I found out a copy of that book is located at a Magic Auction site. If you want to own a piece of history(note: sarcasm), you can go to the site and bid on it. Opening bid is $3.95.

If you win the book, send it to me, and I'll send it back autographed.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Meet Skyler




In case anyone needs to ask who's the dummy; that would be this guy. His name is Skyler

Skyler has been my comedy partner for 21 years. He was carved by the late Finis Robinson(no relation to me). Finis was well into his 70s when he created Skyler.

Skyler is a one-of-a-kind creation from a crude sketch of mine. His original inspiration was Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine fame. But a quick letter from then editor William Gaines told me I had to make significant changes.

Skyler was the result of those changes.

He ain't your ordinary ventriloquist dummy, he's equipped with winkers, raising eyebrows and moving eyes, and an upper lip movement that reveals a nice smile.

Skyler has a caustic personality and is most comfortable in an adult audience.

He's definitely not for "kids shows"

Hopefully by this summer, you'll be hearing more from him (and me) on a stage near you.

Have a good weekend.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Serious About Comedy

About this time last year, I opened my mouth(typed on a keyboard, whatever) and announced that I was going "back into comedy".

My plan was to attend the American Comedy Institute in New York City, and perform at Caroline's on Broadway as is scheduled for the Institute's "graduation."

This was to kick off my self-scheduled tour of comedy clubs in the US to hone my craft and become a "star", which has been a dream of mine since I was at least 10 years old and picked up my first ventriloquist dummy and began performing at the local library.

I even had a named picked out for the tour, The 2004 "get me outta the house!" Tour.

Sadly, that tour never came to fruition.

I got a job; actually a career opportunity to help someone with their business, to get out of some burdensome debt, to learn a new craft, and to begin achieving a level of financial peace that I had not had in quite some time. The partnership with my friends from Maryland proved to be the better course of action for the time.

As a matter of fact, that job was to be part of the inspiration for "On The Road with Dave." So things have worked out pretty well for me over the last year.

But once again, the feeling that I NEED to perform is very strong.

So, rather than "open my mouth" and proclaim a goal in haste, I have decided to tackle this comedy business with a little more thought.

My post on the death of Rodney Dangerfeld and a recent viewing of Dummy starring Adrien Brody has my mind filled with ideas and ways to implement them. But, I intend not to go off half-cocked, nor ill-prepared....this time.

I have opened up my case that houses my dummy, Skyler and have dusted off the daily exercises that I learned so many years ago, and I have created a file on my computer entitled "The Act". The plan so far is to get back in shape. To get serious about Comedy once again.

2005 is not so far off and there may be a chance that a "get me outta the house" tour is more imaginable in the coming year. "On the Road with Dave" still has a chance to be more than just a Blog name.

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