Friday, September 05, 2008

Putting Words in the Mouth of a Ventriloquist

As a ventriloquist, David Pendleton makes audiences believe that a puppet really is alive. And when the veteran comedian takes the stage at Little River High School this Saturday night, September 6, at 7:30pm, he’ll entertain you with the notion that anything can talk. It’s Branson quality entertainment right in small town America! Tickets are free and available at the Garden of Eden grocery store on Little River's Main Street.

Given that David makes his living putting words in the mouths of others, it’s only fitting that the following interview isn’t really a true interview. Instead, we’re going to put words in David’s mouth. What follows then is an interview of what we think he might say, that is, if we actually did speak to him.

Living the Biblios: David, how did you get your start as a ventriloquist?

David: I was fascinated by puppets of all kinds as a youngster and loved television shows that featured them. One of my favorites was “Mr. Moose” on Captain Kangaroo, as well as all the creatures on Sesame Street. On my sixth birthday, my grandparents bought me a toy “Charley McCarthy” dummy. My grandmother was clever enough to include with the gift a record made by ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson. I listened to that record over and over and then sat in front of a mirror and practiced speaking without moving my lips. When I was eight years old, I performed for the first time on a real stage for a real audience.

Living the Biblios: We’re told that one of your puppets—Mack Elroy—is pretty special.

David: He was created in the 1930’s by George and Glenn McElroy. Their “vent dummies” are wonderfully crafted, very rare, and highly sought after. In fact, I once saw one on sale at a convention for $13,000. After doing a show in a church in 2002, a woman asked me if I was interested in seeing a dummy she inherited from her grandfather. It turned out to be a McElroy! After telling her about the doll’s history and value, the lady said, “I think God has been saving him for you.” We negotiated an agreeable price and ever since then I’ve been using the smart aleck in my act.

Living the Biblios: Your show is presented by the churches of Little River. Are you a Christian?

David: Yes. I trusted Jesus as my Savior during my high school years, but I didn’t know much about my faith. When I got to college, Campus Crusade for Christ gave me knowledge and training that helped my faith grow. Today, I get share with audiences my love for God by sharing my love for ventriloquism. You could say I get to proclaim the gospel without moving my lips.

Living the Biblios: We hear that you and Pastor Ted Weis knew each other during your college years.

David: Yeah, talk about a dummy! No, no, Ted is a great guy. Yes, we both attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and were both involved in Campus Crusade. I haven’t seen Ted since our college days, so it’ll be fun catching up with each other.

Living the Biblios: You know, your show is being promoted as, “Spend the night with a dummy.”

David: That’s clever. It certainly can’t refer to me! Maybe it has to do with my puppets or the audience members I bring up on stage. Watch out Little River! I may not be an police interrogator, but I do know how to make people talk!

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