A Photo of Ventriloquist Fred Russell’s “Coster Joe” with John Styles

Fred Russell's Coster Joe0001
“Coster Joe” and John Styles

Back in the late 19th century and into the 20th century a ventriloquist named Fred Russell decided to make the art of ventriloquism a bit easier and eliminated the stage covered a family of ventriloquist figures by entering the stage and sitting center stage with just one figure which he placed on his knee, therefore becoming the first knee sitting ventriloquist figure.

This figure’s name was “Coster Joe” and was a cheeky boy figure. Fred Russell was a huge success and from this he became known at the father of modern ventriloquism.

We received this email and photo from “across the pond” from John Styles:

I thought that you might be interested to see this picture of ‘Coster Joe’, (and myself). Who is safely in the possession of ‘The Grand Order of Water Rats’ (http://www.gowr.net/) here in England.
Best wishes,
John Styles MBE (
www.johnstylesentertainer.co.uk )

John, thanks so much for sharing this bit of ventriloquial history with us.

Here are a couple of blogs we’ve done in the past about Fred Russell and “Coster Joe”:

W.S. Berger – Fred Russell and Coster Joe

Ventriloquist Fred Russell Given Blue Plaque


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Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan 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. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com

Copyright 2013 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst

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