The ConVENTion’s Tribute to Jimmy Nelson

Danny O’Day, Jimmy Nelson and Dan Willinger with Marshall Figure (taken at the 2009 ConVENTion)

I just can’t believe that this years ConVENTion celebrating the life and career of Jimmy Nelson has now come and gone. As far as I am concerned it was one of the best times I have ever had with a convention.

I have been involved with clocks, cars, and magic to name a few and have been to conventions with them all and none compare to the family that we share as lovers of the art of ventriloquism. Those other venues always have multi jealousies and would never offer to help anyone else. Not so with our family.

I want to personally take my hat off to Tom Ladshaw who went way above and beyond to put together a tribute to Jimmy Nelson. He had to work tirelessly for the full year to put this tribute together. Just incredible and all of you who were at ConVENTion know what I am talking about. Those that missed this tribute would never understand. Make sure you attend next year because the movie which was created is supposed to be screened. I can’t wait.

All of the acts were fantastic even if they weren’t professional. I enjoyed every one but there are two that I have to comment on and the first is Pete Michaels Jr. As they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This youngster has really got the talent to be a super star if he continues as he is right now. He learned a complete Jimmy Nelson routine and used a Danny O’Day Juro doll and a toy dog as Farfel and performed with fantastic lip control, perfect voice differentiation and manipulation. A perfect tribute for Jimmy Nelson and he blew me and everyone else away.

Bob Baker, who I have chatted with on line for quite some time, performed on senior night and he was simple terrific. His manipulation of the English Fellow, figure created by Bill Nelson, was hilarious. He too had a great original routine,lip control, separate voices and figure manipulation. Great job Bob.

The dealers rooms were filled with our kinds of toys for the performer. Sadly for me there really wasn’t much in the way of antiques Ventriloquist figures but that is OK because I was still able to purchase a couple figures which I will show to all at a later date.

We tried to show as much as we could from the ConVENTion but it really was difficult but I think you did get a good idea as to what takes place.

To sum up for me it was the best convention I have ever attended and I can’t wait for the next one……..

Oh Yes the next gathering of vents will be the Ventriloquist Central Birthday Bash and it is going to be a great time. If you can come it would be my pleasure to sign you up so here is the link!!

If you went to the ConVENTion, please share your thoughts and experiences with the readers of Ventriloquist Central.




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 2011 by Dan Willinger

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