Gargoyle Manor's puppetry and ventriloquism exhibit.
Welcome and thank you for visting our site, I am Gravely, the butler of Gargoyle Manor. My master and your host, Dr.Dradorius, wishes me to express his apologies for not greeting you personally, however he will be with you later in the tour. For now I will be your guide into the strange world of puppets at Gargoyle Manor.
The history of puppetry is a long and ancient art.It's been traced to ancient Egyptian and Hebrew civilizations, not to mention Greek and Roman times.
The first ventriloquists were probably pagan priests, who claimed to have the power to talk to the tree, water, and rock gods. So the art of ventriloquism helped when the gods decided not to feel like talking to mortals.
Still, life wasn't easy for the working ventriloquists.In the best of times, they were regarded as strange, and by the middle ages, practitioners were routinely stoned or burned at the stake.
Ventriloquism was first used to entertain in sixteenth-century France(or possibly seventeenth-century Vienna). In 1700, Louis Brabant and his mechanical doll with the moveable mouth played the palace, performing for King Francis of the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon and Josephine were entertained by ventriloquist Le Sieur Thiemet, who used to create all the sounds of a fox hunt.
In 1722 the first book about ventriloquism was published. Written by Abbe de la Chapelle, it dispelled many myths about ventriloquism and described, among others, Baron von Mengen, a ventriloquist who used seven or eight figures, each with a different voice.
By the 1800's, America had finally caught on. The first American ventriloquist on record is Richard Potter, who also imitated bird sounds.Some thirty or forty years later Horace Goldin created a talking hand and Englands Fred Russel invented the first knee figure.
The twentieth century has had countless ventriloquial landmarks.In the early 1900's, Arthur Prince and his sidekick, Sailor Jim were a top-rated vaudeville act. In the 1930's Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and the rest is history.