Ventriloquist Lester Marshall Sr. & Lester Marshall Jr., as told by Bob Isaacson

 Lester Marshall Jr’s father was Lester Rizek, who went by the name when he performed years ago as Les Lester. The senior Lester took his name from “the Great Lester”. Later, Rizek went by Lester Marshall  & his son went by Lester Marshall Jr. The senior Marshall was a head usher in one of the Movie Houses in downtown Chicago back around 1915 -16 and that is  where he met the Great Lester  who was performing there.

Rizek became interested in Ventriloquism & asked the Great Lester to help him learn. He then started to perform in various vaudeville houses in Chicago. At the same time, in the early 20’s he started to film with his home movie camera the various ventriloquists  who were performing at that time. Rizek captured many of the most famous ventriloquists of the time…Great Lester, Edgar Bergen, Max Terhune, Frank Gaby, Ray Conlin, Walters & Walters, Marshall Montgomery  & Frank Marshall in his shop. Frank was introduced to Rizek by the Great Lester when Rizek & Lester went to the Macks shop.  Frank was working there & Rizek & Frank became lifelong friends. They were both the same age.
Later, Rizek gave up performing & went into the construction business However he kept up his interest in ventriloquism and gathered up quite a collection of figures & memorabelia. His Marshall figure “Geoge Nash” which is a copy of the Great Lester figure Frank Byron Jr. resides at the Vent Haven. Rizek Jr. aka Lester Marshall was also exposed to vent due to his father. When he was young, Junior  was incorporated into the fathers act. As he matured, Junior developed his own act. He entered many talent contests that were held in the theatres and parks in Chicago. His sister Dolores also performed as a singer. In the early 40’s he played theatres & hotels around the country.
In 1942 Lester Marshall Jr. entered the service and was put into a Navy show entitled “The Blue Jacket Show”. which was broadcast on radio from coast to coast. After the war he played the clubs some but decided to follow in his father’s footsteps & go into the building trade
………”Junior” went to IIT and received degrees in architecture & building construction and went into business with his dad.  Lester “Jr”. still kept his sideline of performing with his Punch & Judy Show, ventriloquism & clowning. He was active with the “Marshall Montgomery Ring of the IVB ” which used to meet at the building where Frank Marshall had his shop in downtown Chicago in the early 50’s. Lester was still performing part time up  into the 1980’s. He had his father’s home movies  of the old time vents & would show them when a Chicago Vent club would meet at Jay & Frances Mrshalls shop in Chicago….this was in the early 1980’s.  He also attended the Vent Haven conventions & usually would attend with his long time friend Nick Tomei.

Bob Isaacson

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2 Responses to Ventriloquist Lester Marshall Sr. & Lester Marshall Jr., as told by Bob Isaacson

  1. Cindy Bounds says:


    As usual I was looking for any information I can find concerning Frank Gaby the Ventriloquist, Vaudeville performer, Broadway actor, and film actor. It is known that Frank comitted suicide in 1945 leaving behind a wife and son who was born 3 months after his suicide. I am writing on behalf of Franks son Michael who never knew his father. I read in this article that Lester Rizek filmed all the great ventriloquists including Frank Gaby.
    My question is: Do the mopvies he took of these performers still exist, and if so is there any way to obtain a copy for Franks son Michael? Any help you could offer would be invaluable.
    Thank you,
    Cindy Bounds

  2. David Boysel says:

    Frank Gaby was in Fanchon and Marco’s traveling stage show “10th Anniversary Idea”, which was performed at the Oakland Paramount from January 15 thru 21, 1932. Other acts in the same show were “The Eno Troupe (acrobats), Jue Fong the Chinese tenor, and Dorothy Crocker and her monopede endurance dance.

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