Legendary ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was no dummy. Not only did the comedian know how to win over an audience just by throwing his voice, but he rose to fame by doing it where no one could catch his lips move: on the radio. No, there are no strings attached to that statement. Bergen, best known for his wooden creations Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, was one of America's most popular entertainers for much of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Bergen's talents were such that he got called upon by movie and TV producers as well. Among their credits, Bergen and Charlie got top billing in the 1938 film The Goldwyn Follies, and they could be seen on a fairly regular basis as guest stars on a variety of TV shows. And to show that they were in on all of the fun, the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Bergen an honorary achievement Oscar in 1937. Unlike its metallic counterparts, the statuette given to Bergen was made of wood and had a movable mouth.
Smile when you say that:
- The Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, is the world's only ventriloquism museum; it houses approximately 800 dummies.
- Johnny Carson, Ted Knight, and Don Knotts got started in their comedic careers as ventriloquists.
- Famous ventriloquist Paul Winchell was also an inventor and the first person to get a patent for an artificial heart.