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What do you think of when you hear the word "ventriloquism"? A showman with a wisecracking wooden boy on his lap? There's more to ventriloquism than verbal jousting between a man and his dummy. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we'll explore the cultural history of ventriloquism. Also, Nancy Cartwright's life as a 10-year-old boy ? she's the voice of that cartoon underachiever, Bart Simpson.
Many people don't know that the voice of Bart Simpson is really ? Nancy Cartwright. The author of "My Life As A Ten-Year-Old Boy" tells Jim Fleming that she started doing voices in her early teens, and credits Daws Butler with teaching her to be an actor with her voice. Also, Steven Connor says there's much more to ventriloquism than exchanging quips with a wooden dummy. His book is "Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism." He tells Anne Strainchamps that a lot of this history has to do with the disembodied voice.
Sandra Luckow is a ventriloquist herself, who tells him Fleming about her relationship with her "carved figure" Juanito. A few years ago she and Juanito went on a road trip to a ventriloquist's convention in Kentucky, and documented her travels in a film called "Belly Talkers," which has played at the Sundance Film Festival.
Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-03-18-B.
Ned Kelly was a thief and a murderer ? he shot and killed policemen - but he's also considered on of Australia's great heroes. Ned Kelly is also the subject of Peter Carey's new novel "True History of The Kelly Gang," which has been described as "a spectacular feat of literary ventriloquism." Carey tells Steve Paulson that's bedause he wrote the book in Kelly's voice - as a series of letters from Kelly to a fictional daughter.
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