A simple answer is, in 1756 when the British brought an ancient Chinese word, jingling, to America to compete with the “American” sound of the Irish word for horse. The French took over, and in the late 1800s inventors like Joseph Leacock, Richard M. Leacock, and James H. Leacock came up with inventions like the modern “cavalcade of joys” which included the invention of the wheel. The French didn’t invent the human voice, as the Dutch did in the seventeenth century. No, the French invented the ventriloquist’s voice that is still used by many comedians.
Ventriloquism has its roots in Roman times. In Roman times, ventriloquism was performed to frighten thieves, who would throw something around to scare the thieves away. In the middle ages, ventriloquists would play the parts of the king and the knights for kings to entertain their army. Ventriloquists had to be careful because the knights could not hear them and could not play the king’s voice. But they created a better voice and that is how we got the ventriloquists who were the most famous.
As is the case today, ventriloquism continued to exist because you have to have something that frightens the other guy so the other guy would play you in the ventriloquist’s voice or something like that.
However, most of your childhood memories of ventriloquism and the word ventriloquic come from movies like “Scream”, which started the popular use of ventriloquism throughout the US. This is the way it was in the 1940s.
In most movies, at the end of the movie, the ventriloquist would be saying “And don’t worry, if you were in front of me you could hear me too.” And if you thought that was a joke, it was not. The other two lines are from an article in the New York Times Magazine:
From the book “The New York Times Guide to the Arts: A Historical Edition”, by David A. Himmelstein.
The article mentioned:
As early as 1796, ventriloquism was part of the theatrical repertoire. It was the scene of “the most terrible clown show the world has ever seen,” as the poet William Carlos Williams once put it. “No matter which way of speaking
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