Ventriloquism in the 19th century

Yes, I'm waking you up early, Amy. I've been worried about you. You haven't communicated with me for days. You went to the city with Charlotte? You had to steal money to give to Charlotte so she could buy fabric to make herself a gown for the masquerade ball you're going to sneak her into? You saw a ventriloquist?


Okay, let me get this straight. The lady of the house gave you money so you could go to the city with Charlotte to purchase fabric for yourself. Yes, I realize you had to buy fabric so Charlotte can sew you a gown for the masquerade ball. But you also took money out of a locked tin box in the cabinet in the parlour to give to Charlotte? The lady of the house entrusted you with a key for it a while ago? And then the plan is for Charlotte to replace some of it each week when she gets paid (the very little she does get paid)? You convinced her of your kooky plan?
Oh, boy. This can't end well.


You already know that Charlotte, as a maid, is totally not invited to this ball. 

You've been keeping the truth from the lady of the house. She'd never agree to have her maid attend the ball. I know you feel that Charlotte should be able to go, but it's not the 21st century, is it? You live in the 19th century where social etiquette reigns supreme. Where things are much different. It's not for you to disregard the social norms of the time.


And what's this about seeing a ventriloquist?

You saw a ventriloquist show at the theater when you were in the city? His name is Charles Andress?

Wow. I didn't know that kind of entertainment existed back then. Let me look into it.

In the mid 1800s, when you currently exist, this Canadian ventriloquist is perfecting his skill as an entertainer on stage, as you have seen.
Charles Andress was born in 1852 and is a magician with his "Carnival of Novelties" show. He began performing at the age of 10. and will tour for more than 50 years.
In 1882, his new show will be called "Andress Big Circus and Two Hemisphere Menagerie".

Ventriloquism began in the 18th century when a nobleman, the Baron de Mengen of Austria, used a puppet with a hinged jaw as a dummy. And in 1818 England, Charles Mathews had a one man show where he used a doll in his performance.
Around 1840 in America, Jonathan Harrington held the title of the being the best ventriloquist in the United States.
As the art of ventriloquism became more popular, a woman by the name of Madeline Rosa became the first lady ventriloquist in 1881.

It will be in 1886 when ventriloquism will be considered a modern profession. Fred Russell will be offered a permanent engagement in London, England, at the Palace Theatre. His dummy, named "Coster Joe" will sit on his lap and have a full conversation with him. 

In the earlier part of the 20th century, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his well-known sidekick, Charlie McCarthy, will become extremely successful, popularizing the comedic form of ventriloquism. Together, they will host a radio program that will be broadcast from 1937 until 1956, becoming the most popular program on the evenings it aired.
Bergen will continue to perform until his death in 1978.

In 1952, ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her puppets, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, will win first prize in a television series called "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts". By 1960, Lewis will have her own network program, "The Shari Lewis Show." 


In the 21st century, Jeffrey "Jeff" Dunham will become a very well-known ventriloquist, appearing in many television shows as well as "The Jeff Dunham Show".

Credited with reviving ventriloquism, he will be lauded for promoting the art form more than any other performer and will become a very high paid comedian.