Early Jeff Dunham Photos

With all the news lately about ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, a regular contributor to Ventriloquist Central, Bill Smith, sent in this email and pictures of Jeff:

“These are 4 of MANY photos I took at the testimonial luncheon given in honor of Senor Wences, at the Ramada Inn, Rochelle Park, N.J., Sunday, April 4th, 1989. This was while Jeff was still doing colleges & comedy clubs. He had not done his first Tonight Show appearance yet! I had him autograph these 8×10’s at the 1990 conVENTion. Mr. Wences was battling health problems, so unfortunatley could not perform at his testimonial, but the others to “trod the boards” that GLORIOUS day, were: Alan Semok,Tom Basso, Judy Buch, Dan Ritchard, Robert Ladd, Stanley Burns, Jeff Dunham, & Juggler Jay Green. Also on hand were strolling clowns “Sparky” & “Cuddles”. The eVENT was organized by Al Getler. {THANKS AL!!}. Feel free to post these as well as any or all of this letter about it.”

Best, Bill

01Jeff Dunham at Senor Wences testimonial luncheon. 4-2-1989

02Jeff Dunham at Senor Wences testimonial luncheon. 4-2-1989. Photo by Bill Smith

03Jeff Dunham at Senor Wences testimonial luncheon. 4-2-1989. Photo by Bill Smith

04Jeff Dunham at Senor Wences testimonial luncheon. 4-2-1989. Photo by Bill Smith


Thanks, Bill for sharing.




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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3 Responses to Early Jeff Dunham Photos

  1. jenny says:

    These photos are great. thanks for sharing them. my seven year old is a fan of jeff dunham and hejust got a simon sez dummy. unfortunately the rubber band just broke and he is so upset. do you know who i can talk to to figure out how to fix him? I fixed his danny oday dummy but that was just on a string. the stick ones are a little more confusing. any help would be great. thanks, jenny

  2. Bill Smith says:


    Glad you enjoyed my photos! MY first dummy that I performed with was ALSO a simon sez! My mom cut a wig to fit to make it more realistic, & made 2 outfits. Still have him! When the rubber band broke on mine, I actually took the headstick apart & replaced the band with a spring. NOT EASY unless you are blessed with a knack for figuring things like that out. LOTS of people could fix it. I recomend Clinton Detwieler. He kind of specializes in the small plastic figures. http://maherstudios.blogspot.com/ is his website called “Maher Studios-encore”. A true gentelman! Hope this helps. Best to you & your son in vent! Bill

  3. sterling Grinnell says:

    its funny that you mentioned that it was 1990 when he did this for you. I saw Jeff Dunham and had him sign a one dollar bill at the Minnesota State fair in 1990 when he was preforming in one of the free theaters. I was 10 at the time and had seen him do on show on TV and I was hooked. he has been one of my most favorite stand up preformer of all time. I’m just really sorry to say that with the economics being so hard right now I’m forced to sell the bill on ebay but I know that Jeff will be a part of me for my life and some one will have a peace of a child hood memory of great times at the fair.

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