In the yellow shirt at the bottom right of the photo above is Pete Michaels, a talented New York area vent who has appeared many times at the Apollo Theatre and throughout the east coast. He’s very talented and very funny. Go to his website to learn more.
The big photo from the ConVENTion with Mark and Jodi Wade holding the sign. Above at the far right, in the red shirt, is our friend Jay Johnson and his original Mannequin American, Squeaky. When Jay appeared on the TV sit com, Soap, the network replaced Squeaky with Bob (pictured below.) That story is detailed in Jay’s Tony Award Winning Broadway show, The Two and Only.
On the left is Bill DeMar, who is regarded by other vents as the “master” of puppet manipulation. In fact, in his ventriloquist act, Bill uses a frog that never speaks … but is very funny none-the-less and it’s entirely due to Bill’s phenomenal manipulation skills. In the middle of the photo is Bill’s Mannequin American double, made by Mary Ann Taylor. On the far right is Roy White, who owns the Bill DeMar character and who provides the puppet with a remarkably accurate Bill DeMar voice and many DeMarism anecdotes.
Close friend Bob Rumba and his two look-a-like Mannequin Americans. Bob is more than a vent. He is a talented juggler, magician and balloon sculptor extraordinaire. He’s perhaps best known for his walk-around impressions of Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marks and Barney Fife … all hilarious.
Kevin Johnson. Kevin is mostly recognized from his 2006 appearance on NBC’s primetime show America’s Got Talent. More than 18 million viewers were amazed by his “Godzilla Theater” and Simon Cowell told Kevin, “America loves you.” You can click here to see Kevin’s 2007 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman which includes “Godzilla Theater.” You’ll see that Kevin is very original and has a lot of talent.
Here’s a photo of Dale with a replica of Fats, the puppet that starred in the movie, Magic, with Anthony Hopkins, Ann Margaret and Burgess Meredith. Magic single handedly set ventriloquism back 20 years by making “dummies” scarier than clowns.
Dale met Nina Conti at the Vent ConVENTion in July. You may not be familiar with Nina, but she’s incredibly famous in the United Kingdom. She’s also incredibly funny and very original. Nina has toured the world with her monkey. (I’ll let you drop in your own joke there … I have too much class to do it.) Her 30 minute routine at the convention provided non-stop laughter and proved that you don’t need a $5,000 puppet to be successful (something Dale learned too late). Nina demonstrated that all you need is an inexpensive monkey and a lot of talent. (Insert your own “Dale” joke, here.)
One of the highlights of the International Ventriloquists Convention is getting the opportunity to talk with Jimmy Nelson who is pictured in the center above with his wife Betty along with Danny O’Day and Farfel the dog. Jimmy, who is 80, gave Dale a boost early in our career and we have been forever indebted to him.