Ventriloquism and Marketing

Before I get started with today’s blog, I wanted to let you know that my webmaster and partner, Steve Hurst will be on TalkShoe (an Internet Talk Show format) on Sunday, May 16th at 8pm Eastern time. The program is called, “Ventriloquism…Hobby or Profession”. Be sure to tune in. Click here for more information


When it came to marketing ventriloquism Fred Maher was a true genius. He created an empire, so to speak, for his ventriloquism course back in the 1930’s through the 1960’s.

Fred Maher & Skinny Dugan

He advertised his ventriloquism course in just about every publication you would pick up and read. I myself remember seeing his ads in the Johnson Smith catalogue, Popular Mechanics and Boy’s Life. If you ever wanted to be a ventriloquist, he certainly made it available to everyone and everyone at the time knew the ad.

In the same vein of thought Edgar Bergen, or his handlers, also saw the genius of marketing his popularity in the 1930’s and beyond by having Charlie and Edgar endorse products such as Coca Cola, GE Light Bulbs, etc.

Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, &
Mortimer Snerd

And then they marketed so many items with Charlie on them it is almost to hard to do a complete listing but I can give some great examples.

Effanbee Charlie Dolls of course come first, Charlie jewelry clips done in both metal and plastic also either moving or non moving mouths, Whitman Big Little books, Comic books, pencil boxes, Majestic radios, plastic walking Charlie, carnival plaster Charlie statues, Charlie McCarthy tin wind up toys, Charlie McCarthy silver ware …..well you get the idea. The list of items is endless.

Just the products that were available with Charlie McCarthy’s name made Edgar Bergen a very wealthy man and just think all this took place because of the Chase and Sandborn Radio show in which the duo appeared in voice only. I have to say they sure knew how to market.

Today Jeff Dunham is following suit with his array of toys depicting his characters.





Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger

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This entry was posted in Edgar Bergen, Fred Maher, Maher Studios, Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ventriloquism and Marketing

  1. Bob Conrad says:


    I don’t think there is anyone active in ventriloquism today that didn’t answer the Maher vent studios add. As a boy I would send away for their catalog and drool over the figures in it. Clinton has done a great job keeping the Maher name and memory alive today.

  2. Larry Harris says:


    Great picture of Edgar, Charlie & my favorite, Mort.

    Cheers, Larry

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