Ventriloquism and the Distant Voice

I’ve stated many times that I am not a ventriloquist, however I do admire and enjoy the art of ventriloquism.

So, when I ran across this article in an old Oracle, I was fascinated and thought all you “voice throwers” out there would enjoy this too.

This article is from the 1952, May-June issue written by Dick Weston about the distant voice.

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Are You Afraid Of Distant Voice?
By DICK WESTON

Perhaps some of you vents are like me – afraid to do much with the distant voice. There was a time when a ventriloquist just wasn’t a ventriloquist if he couldn’t “throw” his voice into the suitcase or up in the attic.

Times have changed. Small woodenheads have taken over and most vents stick to “near” ventriloquism nowadays. However, due to Television and the spurt of new rising voice-throwers, I think more vents will be taking up where they left off and learn not only NEAR ventriloquism but FAR or DISTANT ventriloquism as well.

It’s too bad there aren’t a few more GREAT LESTERS around the country to aid the beginner and also the professional ventriloquist in learning this great art. You vents who live around California are pretty lucky.

I’ve never met Mr. Lester, but have heard so much about him that, well, I wish he lived here in Minneapolis instead of a couple thousand miles away and then I wouldn’t have to resort to this substitute method of learning the distant voice which I’m going to explain in the next paragraph.

There’s a magic little box called a Tape Recorder that has been helping me. Gosh, the first time a person hears his voice he feels like crawling under the nearest bed and staying there. I know I did. But the tape recorder is helping me improve my speech and create new voices. Most people can’t see their mistakes but with a tape recorder one can at least “hear” them.

If you have a problem such as mine, why not investigate the possibilities of tape recording your routines? Don’t monkey with those cheap disc or wire recorders. Only an expensive disc recorder costing several hundreds of dollars can do almost as good a job as an inexpensive Tape Recorder.

Did you know that the major symphony orchestras record with tape now and use tape as the “master” record? The electric impulses from the tape are transferred to a disc record which is the “mother” record. But the tape recording is an absolute “flawless” reproduction of sound. This information was gained by watching a recording session of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.

As a real aid in learning the distant voice, a vent can experiment via tape recording. By placing the mike in his bedroom, turning the volume at the normal level and talking in his natural voice, first in the bedroom, then in the living room, in fact, by wandering all over the house talking in his normal voice. That little sensitive microphone will pick up everything and the playback will be a faithful reproduction of his voice and what it actually sounds like at various distances.

After listening to the playback he should make another recording – only this time using his “distant” voice and imitate his natural voice as it sounded in different rooms of the house. By comparing the two recordings he’ll have a better understanding of the principals involved in the production of the distant voice. Naturally, this is only a suggestion in helping and aiding one to understand what a distant voice should sound like. There are many books on ventriloquism that explain the distant voice and a vent can make progress if he studies and practices according to the instructions. A tape recorder will point out mistakes and by experimenting he may even fool himself!

Good luck to all potential “voice throwers.”

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Dan
www.ventriloquistcentral.com

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Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. His collection of ventriloquist figures now numbers over 100 figures of which there are over 50 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: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com

Copyright 2009 by Dan Willinger

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One Response to Ventriloquism and the Distant Voice

  1. Bill Smith says:

    Dan,

    Thanks SO much for that article on distant voice!! Personally, I’m glad you are NOT a vent. The reason being is that you are not caught up in the “show biz” end of it, & can concentrate on this WONDERFUL contribution to the art, which you obviously love with all your heart. I performed for many years, but am now more like you. A lover of this fascinating art form, ESPECIALLY it’s history, which is sadly overlooked by the majority of the newer vents. As Sir Laurence Oliver said in the movie “the jazz singer”, “If you don’t know where you’ve been, then how can you know where you are going?” Keep up the fantastic work! Best to you, Bill

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