How long has the term been in use? How common is the condition?
The term “ventriloquist” first came to being in the 19th century. The earliest known ventriloquist was Henry Clay who had his stage show “The Man with No Name,” where the ventriloquist had to talk. Clay made a huge impact on the ventriloquist community, both in the UK and the U.S. His act gained enough popularity that he had his own theatre company. During this period ventriloquism became a popular part of ventriloquists’ show including the popular “Pump and Puff,” a show where the performer was the person who had to talk or make up the words at the right time.
There were many different types of ventriloquists. Some performed the act mostly with their mouths, while others performed mostly with limbs and hands. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that a ventriloquist in front of a audience would be found, and the first person was a man named Samuel Cooper who was a circus actor in the 1820’s.
The act itself was not the big deal as most people did it because the people they were ventriloquating wanted to. The ventriloquist could ventriloquize anyone including an elephant, a giant fish, a person who was supposed to be the king of the world, or any thing else that was funny.
How old is the term “ventriloquism?”
“Ventriloquism” first came into regular usage in the early 1880s when the British medical journal The Lancet published a “Treatment Report” for ventriloquism by a doctor named John Tuckett. Tuckett used the term in the context of explaining that “vapor” was the best term to describe the condition he treated, though many people at the time assumed that “vapor” was simply a term of admiration.
As the 19th century proceeded ventriloquists became more popular. There were two notable figures in the field: Charles Dana Walker who was the first person to successfully ventriloquize Charles Dickens, and William Morris.
How popular is the term “ventriloquism” today?
One of the reasons for the name was its similarity to the expression: “to smoke.” So when people heard the term, and it was associated with the sound the
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