Mike Shirley- Ventriloquist

Interesting post in the swvatoday.com site (their post here).

(Haven’t received permission, so have not posted photo of Mike Shirley- you can view on their site or ventriloquist.org)

Gives an well written, comprehensive background on Mike Shirley, a ventriloquist.

Lives in Marion, West Virginia.

Summarised bio of Mike Shirley

  • Travelled as a ventriloquist across 45 states, between 1981 and 1996. Doing shows at schools in inner cities, rural areas and even tribal lands. (that is a lot of years travelling- he must have a wealth of stories from the road). Averaging 3 shows a day every week.
  • He was taught through the use of Jimmy Nelsons record (instruction in ventriloquism). According to the article Jeff Dunham also learnt from the Jimmy Nelson Record. Mike Shirley and Jeff Dunham have been friends since 1979.
  • Aside: Jimmy Nelson was dubbed in 2011 as “The Dean of American Ventriloquists.”
  • Shirley’s puppet “Eddie” was carved by Frank Marshal of Chicago (this is quite an honour, as Frank Marshal would only carve a puppet once he had actually seen your performance… and the puppet would be carved with a resemblance/ likeness to the performer).
  • Mike Shirley has worked up to a 5 way conversation with “Eddie” and his other puppets (including some termites and a flowerpot). ( I would love to have seen this).
  • Mike Shirley has also worked on cruise ships and some television work.
  • He also performed in theatre for about six years in Branson, Missouri.
  • He has been on a hiatus for the last seven years.
  • Main puppets: Eddie, Choker (biker puppet character¬†-which he has taken to the Sturgis rally twice), Woody and Catfish.

Unfortunately I can’t find a video of Mike Shirley in action. This is really sad, perhaps he should consider uploading a performance (comment “yes” below if you agree… perhaps we can convince him?)

However, I did find two videos of Jimmy Nelson performances. Really worth a watch.

Video 1: Jimmy Nelson, doing a Havoline oil commercial (includes appearance with Ronald Reagan)- with puppet “Danny o’ Day”- posted on you tube by videoholic50s60s70s.

Second video: Jimmy Nelson stage performance- posted in you tube by Ron Spears.


Last updated on 2016-09-26

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