Here's the pitch…
“We are going to put a ventriloquist on the radio!”
“Wait, the audience cannot see if his lips move.”
“Doesn't matter. It will still be funny.”
That is basically what happened to Edgar Bergen.
This vaudeville performer turned his stage act into a successful career on the radio. His bouts with WC Fields and Mae West were legendary in their tone and timber. Who would have thought that a dummy could get away with telling dirty jokes?
His character of Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd enchanted both children and adults for ages. Although Edgar never made the big transition from radio to television, he still was able to do guest spots on just about every variety show in the 1960s and 1970s. One of his last appearances was in The Muppet Movie, and the film is dedicated to his memory.
His ventriloquist doll is in the Smithsonian Institution. Our ventriloquist doll is still under the bed at home and not messed with since we were 8 years-old.
Edgar once said:
“Show me where Stalin is buried, and I'll show you a Communist Plot.”
“You find out your mistakes from an audience that pays admission.”
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