Jimmy Nelson

Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism for the Beginner

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For every child who ever dreamed of being Wayland Flowers to his very own Madame, there's Jimmy Nelson's redundantly titled Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism for the Beginner, a simple how-to in the fine art of jamming your hand up a wooden doll's ass and fostering the illusion that it's speaking. Nelson -- a top ventriloquist of the 1960s, famous for his puppet sidekick Danny O'Day -- is a genial enough instructor, and his lessons, including tips for mastering more difficult letters like "B," "F," "P," and "W," seem to make practical sense. But given that the success or failure of ventriloquism rests on the puppeteer's ability to talk without moving his lips, shouldn't this be a video presentation? On LP, how is the listener supposed to know that Nelson isn't moving his own lips when he talks? Talk about your conceptual flaws.