Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen – He Was A Brilliant Marketer

Many people have differing views about Edgar Bergen and his ventriloquism techniques. But none can argue with his marketing abilities.

Back in 1949 this picture and article appeared in publication to promote the Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy radio series. I thought you might enjoy seeing it.



Charlie McCarthy organized his wooden-headed friends into the “United Dummies of America” at a recent dinner meeting in Hollywood, for the purpose of demanding “a decent amount of security throughout our lives, from the forest to the fireplace.”

Fed up with his skimpy 75-cent-a-week allowance from Edgar Bergen, McCarthy rallied his brothers-under-the-bark with the battle cry, “Dummies of the world, unite-you have nothing to lose but your voice.”

“Ventriloquists,” he added, “are a dime a dozen-but only God can make a tree! “

Bergen was finally permitted to reply to Charlie’s ringing speech, although a number of the dummies including Charlie-yelled, “throw him out.”

“Friends,” Bergen began, “money isn’t everything.” His words were lost in a chorus of boos from the assembled dummies.

Finally, Bergen broke down and offered–on behalf of the ventriloquists a revision of their basic wage scale. Instead of the prevalent six-bits a week, Bergen offered $3 a month.

Tumultuous cheers went up from the dummies. Swiftly they voted a resolution approving the offer.

It was only after Bergen had left that Charlie got his multiplication table to working sufficiently to discover that they had been gypped and the meeting broke up in an uproar.

The unique conclave of dummies was, of course, designed as a publicity springboard for the opening of the new Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy radio series for The Coca-Cola Company. The press turned out in strong fashion, outnumbering the ventriloquists and dummies.

Newspaper radio editors, columnists, fan magazine writers and photographers, wire photo men, radio commentators, and Hearst newsreel cameramen were among those attending assuring wide national coverage of the event.


Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here


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:

Copyright 2014 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst

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3 Responses to Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen – He Was A Brilliant Marketer

  1. leedean says:

    I see a few Marshall figures but mostly Turner figures.

  2. P. Grecian says:

    Dan, can you give histories on some of those figures? I think you’ve posted this photo before…and I’ve always wondered about the provenance of the individuals in the crowd.

  3. P. Grecian says:

    I THINK the Donald Duck was appearing on television as late as The Mickey Mouse Club in the 50’s. I remember a bit about losing his eye, but I can’t remember who the ventriloquist was.

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