I hope you enjoy this wonderful interview with the youngest brother of ventriloquist Bob Neller, “Doc” Neller.
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: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2009 by Dan Willinger
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So excellent. Thank you Doc. Very good, Dan and Steve. What a life.
GREAT interview! I HAVE Mr. Neller’s course on cassette. Got it from Maher studios years ago. need to dig it out & listen again! Think it’s out on cd now. Thanks so much for sharing this!
I just went online and found the interview about brother Bob. Bob Neller. And enjoyed it immensly. There is so much to talk about that wasn’t even said in that interview. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to furnish my memories. I thank you for making it possible.
J.L. Neller, M.D.
Dad and I were pleased to find his interview on your site.. just marvelous.. My little branch of the family is so glad that Dads’ amazing oral history of Bob Neller and of the Neller brothers and their early years together was recorded .. such fun for my sons and grandchildren to listen to their grandfather talk about his youth .. with his usual gusto and vivid memory for detail…. Thanks again for your interest in Bob.. I’m glad to see that people are listening and enjoying the stories we’ve all heard for so many years.
I can’t find Leigh’s DVD images on your site, but my son, Scott says he found it…Can you lead me there?
Best to you as always, Dan.. so glad your Peekie is secure in Dizzy’s pocket. right where it belongs.
James Locke Neller, my grand father, passed on on Dec 31st, 2010. He will be missed by all of his extended family and his beloved 3 daughters. God bless you Doc!! Jamie
Hi Jamie. I actually grew up with the Nellers when they moved to Glendale Ave in Appleton. I lived caddy corner from him. Don, his son, was one of my best friends. We had a whole neighborhood full of kids that all hung around together. I used to watch Bob do magic tricks and performed a couple of times with Reggie. That was so cool. I didn’t realize at the time just what an incredible vent he was. Edgar Bergen said he was the most natually gifted vent he had ever seen.
I just found out a couple of months ago that his son, Don, passed away in December of 2007. I had lost touch with him. Unfortunately, kids growing up do that. I wish I hadn’t lost touch with Don. He was sooo funny. Always laughing. We all had so much fun hanging around with Don. I was so devastated when I found out he had died. I don’t know what he died from. Do you know?
Anyway, I always have fun reading about all the Nellers (and Nellars). There is quite a bit about them on the internet. Listened to Doc’s interview for the second time. I just loved it. God bless, Jamie. :)
To Kirk Anderson,
just read your note to my son Jamie… So glad to hear about your experiences with Bob’s family. Yes, Donald passed some time ago. If you’d like to see a bio of Bob that includes Donald’s gravesite I’ll send the HTML for the Neller genealogy page. ( or just do a search for Robert Neller.. You’re right, there’s a wealth of information online.) I’d love to hear more stories about Bob so if you have any to share please contact me! He was a legend in his own time and his reputation lingers on… Still a profound influence on the ventriloquism community. Best to you, Patricia Neller Deardorff
Kirk, I’m actually Don’s granddaughter! Such a small world. And my grandpa passes away due to prostate cancer.And then my grandmother Penny, passed from a heart attack in 2012.
I never knew about Bob. I never met him, but my mom has. He used to scare her with Reggie haha. But now I finally know about Bob. Makes me happy to think I’m realated to a famous ventriliquist!
Hi Alli! So you’re Don’s daughter’s daughter! I had no idea what ever happened to her. It so nice to correspond with you. We all miss Don. Three of us; Me, Don and Steve were the 3 stooges. Don, of course, was Curly! He was so crazy fun. Always laughing. We had so much fun being entertained by Don’s dad, Bob. Don’s dad wanted Don to be a vent, but he didn’t want to. I wish I would have taken him up on that offer. Did you know that Edger Bergen said of Bob, that from a technical standpoint, Bob was the best he had ever seen. Bob was also, to my knowledge who could pronounced the letters B. P. and M. without moving his lips. Until he did it, that was thought to be impossible. Goin over the railroad tracks one day, Bob made the sound of a train that scared the living hell out of me and my friend Steve. I looked at Don and he was laughing. Bob would throw his voice inside the door to the basement, which was just inside the side door to the house. It sounded like someone was asking for help to get out. I opened the door and of course, no one was there! LOL. Or the time Don’s dad paid us 10 cents apiece to put together these whistles he was making. To half moon pieces of tin that you would put together and there was a slit where you would put to your mouth and would blow into it. Kind of like a kazoo, but round. We had to use a simple machine to press the two halves together. Well, me and Don, being the neighborhood trouble makers and screwups, really messed up. We didn’t put them together properly. Then we crushed some more with a hammer. We had only put together about 20 or so, and probably destroyed at least 50 others. Needless to say, Don’t dad was a little pissed! And he didn’t pay us a dime. LOL. And the stories just go on and on. We had so much fun hanging around Don and when his dad would do magic tricks on the living room coffee table. I really wish you could have known Don. You would have loved him! It has been so wonderful typing back at you, Alli. I moved to Los Angeles in 1974. I retired at the end of 2019 and moved back to Appleton. I’ve driven by Don’s old house a few times, thinking of the memories, smiling and shaking my head.
Take care of yourself and have a great life! :) Email: email@example.com
I left a couple of posts just a couple of days ago. Why haven’t they appeared?
Hi Alli. By the way, I almost forgot to mention this, but Bob Neller was the only vent in the world who could whistle in 3 different tones at the same time. I know, because myself and the guys around the neighborhood heard him do it! I still find that hard to believe – whistling in 3 different tones at the same time! In my opinion, he was the best to ever live. Just had to add that! You’re related to real royalty. Bye for now.