The voice and dialect most appropriate for the Colored figure should be studied from nature or from close imitations of the real thing as given by burnt-cork comedians. The characteristic ” e-yah ” laugh is often the principal use of this figure, being given occasionally as an interrup­tion at amusing points in the dialogue.

 

As to others, of course there is no limit to those which an ambitious ventriloquist may adopt at different times and only a few suggestive hints can be given here concerning the principal ones.

 

The Yankee farmer often proves amusing if brightly done. The accepted Yankee, as he is ordinarily depicted, has the twang he inherits from his early ancestors; he ” guesses ” and ” cal­culates,” and indulges in exaggerated humor in which allusions to death and physical injury are relied upon to provoke mirth. In case of a farmer, pure and simple, his tribulations in the city, usually New York, are the theme of his con­versation, and a good song for him is ” Reuben Haskins of Skowhegan, Maine.”

It perhaps may as well be mentioned here that appropriate songs play no small part in a ven-triloquial entertainment, although in some ex­hibitions of the kind too many are used. One for the Irish boy or Colored and one for the Old Man or Old Woman are none too many, however, but where three or four are used in a twenty or twenty-live-minute performance, the audience may think it is getting too much of a good thing. Two old standbys for the Old Man figure are ” The Old Turnkey ” and ” If I Were as Young as I Used to Be.” Something more modern, however, al­ways bearing in mind that the song chosen should be written for a bass voice and in slow time, would be better. A familiar one for the Old Lady is “Darling I am Growing Old.” A very good effect may be obtained by having this song rendered as a trio by the Old Lady and the Irish and Colored figures, each taking an alternate line or two. Such a feat requires considerable prac­tice to make perfect, because of the constant change of voice. One ventriloquist makes a specialty of ” Roll On, Silver Moon ” for his Irish boy, the chorus of which he sings with a yodel effect. Usually, however, this figure sings a popular humorous ditty.

 

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