Paul Stadelman

Ventriloquist

I would like to preface this page with my reason for wanting to create a page dedicated to and about Paul Stadelman.
I am sorry to say, that I never had the the pleasure of seeing him perform, or the honor of meeting him, in fact, I never even started in ventriloquism until after he passed away. Still, I am an incredible fan of Paul Stadelman
.
Why?

When I was finally able to do something about my desire to learn ventriloquism, I went shopping for a book to learn the art. The book I found was called, "Ventriloquism Of Today" by Paul Stadelman.
How well did I learn the art from this book?
I auditioned for a full-time vent job once, and the interviewer, someone who deals with professional vents every day, complimented me on my ventriloquial ability and asked if I had been trained by another vent, and I had been, Paul Stadelman, through his book.
I attribute any ability I have in the art of ventriloquism to Paul Stadelman, and whenever someone compliments me on that ability, it never goes by without a "mental thanks" to him for what he taught me.

I have more than a personal reason for wanting to create this page though, as I believe that to the vent community, he was an invaluable asset, an asset that lives on through his books.
As I read "Ventriloquism Of Today" and "Ventriloquism Plus TV Ticklers" (another of Paul's books), it was very clear to me what type of ventriloquist Paul Stadelman was.
I saw a ventriloquist who truly loved the art of ventriloquism.
A vent that didn't believe in shortcuts or excuses when it came to practicing the art. I don't believe he would have accepted statements I have heard and read at times that basically said, "lip control is not important".
I saw a vent who was very imaginative in his use of the art and in promoting it, and who had an interest in seeing ventriloquism grow.

There is more I could write on this, but hopefully, anything I could say will be made clear through these pages.

One last and very important note;
I would like to thank Paul's son, Ron Stadelman, for his help on this project.
Right from first contact, Ron was more than willing to help in any way with info and materials, etc.
So, again, Thank You Ron, all of your help is greatly appreciated!

Dave Boiano
Below is a picture of Ron and Paul from "Ventriloquism Of Today",
(hope you don't mind Ron, it's a good picture).

Please Note:
All article's and pictures on these pages (unless otherwise noted) are from Paul Stadelman's books, (and used by permission from Ron Stadelman).
The pictures and articles are thumbnails, just click on them for full-size.
The articles are scannned .jpg files, and can be read by downloading the file, and viewing with any graphics program that will allow you to enlarge the image (although most are readable as they are).
I chose to do the articles in this way because it would make the page incredibly long otherwise, (not to mention the typing involved).

The next picture is that of an award Paul recieved at the 1969 VENT-O-RAMA from his fellow vents;

The words of the plaque are difficult to read in the picture, so I will quote them for you;

TO
PAUL STADELMAN
PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL VENTRILOQUISTS
ASSOCIATION
For excellence as a performer, teacher,
and author, his dedication to the art,
his creation of VENT-O-RAMA, and his
assistance to others, his fellow
ventriloquists confer upon him
the title of
MISTER VENTRILOQUISM
1969

Paul Stadelman was not only a ventriloquist.
Before vent became his primary focus, Paul had a few other accomplishments behind him.

The following is a newspaper article concerning a run-in Paul had with thieves as a merchant patrolman. (1927)


"Then after attaining experience as a wrestler in the army in World War I, he so forgot himself as to decide to turn professional, and also opened a gymnasium......"

"Then, from 1932 to 1937, Mr. Stadelman realized a boyhood ambition and became a magician, touring, during the depression, small time theaters and second-rate clubs."

(Quotes from "Ventriloquism Of Today" by Paul Stadelman).


As a magician, Paul became nationally, (and internationally) known with his "Polka Dot Paint" and by producing "color" on black & white TV.
The following two articles will tell you more;


Personally, I rather like this description of how Paul got into ventriloquism;

"Like most professionals, the author is self-taught, but it is a little known fact that I learned in two weeks. This is the way it happened.
I was playing a return date as a magician. The booker asked me if I could do a "vent" act, so I said; "Sure!" He booked me for two spots on the show. I wired a dealer for a "vent" figure and while waiting for it, started to write material and practice lip and voice control."

Even in those days, ventriloquists were scarce, and altho I had worked on the same bill with several, I had never handled a figure. I had a fair idea of how to use the voice, but wasn't sure. To make a long story short, the manager was so enthused that he said I should junk the magic and stick to vent. I never did tell him that he was paying for my debut, as a ventriloquist."
("I learned a lot of things in those two weeks. It has taken me several years to "unlearn" some of the mistakes,.....")

(Quote from "Ventriloquism Plus TV Ticklers" by Paul Stadelman).


Paul was also known to have set an endurance record in "Ventriloquial Talk". I don't know if it has been surpassed since, but at the time, Paul held the world's record for endurance in the use of the ventriloquial voice....seven hours a day for seventeen consecutive days.
See the article below for more info.

Paul was also very well known around the Chicago area, not only for his work as a ventriloquist, but also due to the course in ventriloquism he offered through the local Y.M.C.A.. The companion tapes for "Ventriloquism Of Today" are based on the classes he conducted there.
Here is just one of many articles pertaining to Paul's ventriloquism course;


And there's this on Paul and Windy's television career;

"Two scenes from the Holsum Bread Company's Magic Show on which Paul had a long run.
The top picture shows Windy in his costume as the "Holsum Kid".
Below we see Paul with guests of the show and the television crew."

(Quote from "Ventriloquism Plus TV Ticklers" by Paul Stadelman).



For those of you who have to "convince" your spouses to let you get yet another figure, I don't think that was a problem for Paul, since his wife, Trudy Stadelman, was also a ventriloquist.


"Trudy Stadelman poses with Danny Hogan (upper left), shy newcomer to the group Mrs. McGutch, spinster schoolteacher (upper right), Cindy Twiggins, sophisticated vocalist, and the veteran, Windy Higgins."

And here's another picture of Trudy, Paul and Ron;


"Chicago-"This was supposed to be Dutch Treat" says startled Windy Higgins as waitress Rachel Lewis presents him with the check. Occasion was dinner at Mayor's Row Restaurant, where members of Paul Stadelman's ventriloquism class from Central YMCA held graduation exercises.
From left: Ronald Stadelman with "Danny Hogan", Paul with "Windy Higgins", and Trudy Stadelman with Cindy Twiggins"."

(Caption quotes from "Ventriloquism of Today" by Paul Stadelman)


Here are a few assorted pictures;

The following article I scanned because it shows just how well Paul brought Windy to life.

These are a couple of newspaper items Gary Koepke sent me for this project;


And Gary also sent me scans of the front and back of one of Paul's flyers for the figures he sold which were made by Jack Coats;



Gary also found this item which was a review of Paul's ventriloquism course on audio tape, which at the time was on reel-to-reel, (for you younger vents, that was before cassettes). There were two tapes, one called, "The Alpha & Omega of Ventriloquism" and the other was called "Ventriloquial Polyphony".


Ron let me borrow those tapes, in the original reel-to-reel format, and a third tape of a couple of Paul's practice sessions, also on reel-to-reel.
I point this out because the sound files available here are taken directly from those reel-to-reel tapes, and so you know you are getting as close to actually hearing Paul and Windy as is possible.

The sound files have been reloaded, they are mp3 files - zipped, and available on the download page.
The "Ventriloquism of Today" Help File is also available for downloading on the download page in either zipped or unzipped form.


I recieved a packet of items from Ron, most of which are included here, with the following exceptions;
This packet also included recent pictures of Windy which are located on Windy's page.
And there was a picture of the award Paul recieved at the 1969 VENT-O-RAMA which is located at the beginning of this page.
It also included the 8 x 10 glossy of the picture of Paul & Windy that appears at the beginning of "Ventriloquism Plus TV Ticklers" which I also have at the beginning of the book pages. I've replaced those pictures with the better quality scan of the glossy photo and the picture of Paul at the top of this page and of Windy at the top of his page are also taken from that glossy and much better quality than what you saw there before.

Okay, so, here are the first two items, scans of a pair of 8 x 10 glossys;

The next two scans are the front and back of a publicity flyer of Paul's.

The next sections on this page are from mail sent to me by vents who did have the opportunity to know or meet Paul Stadelman.
I sincerely hope, that as this page is discovered, others will relate personal experiences to add to this area.

I recieved the following info and pictures from Gary Koepke;

Paul Stadelman used to use the plastic Danny O'Day with the headstick at many of his kidshows back in the 60's to get them involved. He'd invite them up, teach them to do the "buzz", and give them a skit to perform. The whole thing probably took 10 minutes or less, but he said that it went over great.

I'm a big fan of Paul Stadelman, too. I only got to meet him once. It was at the 4 day 1970 Vent-O-Rama (which he started) in Colon, MI. It was really a thrill, but, like so many things that happen when you're a teenager, I didn't really understand the significance at the time. I've got a few pictures of him, but thought he'd always be around. I entered the junior vent contest that year and he told me that he thought if I practiced regularly, I would probably win the junior contest the next year. He passed away the following spring, but he was right. At the 1971 Vent-O-Rama (which was the Paul Stadelman Memorial Vent-O-Rama) I won the junior contest and the originality award. I think that will always be special. I purchased the Ventriloquism of Today book from him, but failed to get him to autograph it.

Well Dave, the Vent-O-Rama's were 3 days long and Colon, MI is only about 1 square mile and it only had about 2 or 3 restaurants in it. I did get to talk to him quite a bit and since it was a convention we all had lunch and dinner breaks at the same time, so chances were good you'd see each other at dinner, etc. I was already familiar with who Stadelman was before I went there and had written him and gotten his price list of his books and the figures that he was selling. I made a point of asking a lot of questions about things that he'd written in his articles and he was willing to demonstrate some of them for me. The Vent-O-Rama's were a lot smaller than the conVENTion's in KY, so you really got to know people and talk to them regularly while you were there. I went to those conventions for five years and really learned a lot from talking to the older "pro" vents while I was still in my early teens. It was great!

Another Stadelman story: We were eating lunch at the local "Taste Freeze" and Paul ordered a couple of hot dogs. As the girl placed the hot dogs on the counter, Paul made the hot dogs yelp like a dog that had just been kicked. I thought that the girl was going to die!

I don't know if they're useable or not, but I knew Dave would want to at least see these. Here are 2 pictures that are 27 years and 2 weeks old... pretty good memory, huh? They're kinda old and faded.
Stad1 is a photo of the late Paul Stadelman with 'Windy' Higgins' taken in August of 1970 at the Saturday session of the Colon Vent-O-Rama which Paul founded. Great photo of a great vent and person. Notice how informally Paul is dressed. Paul died the following spring so this is about 6-8 months before he passed away from cancer. This was the last time I saw him.
Stad2 is a photo of Paul and 'Freddy L. Ferguson' taken on the Friday before stad1.
He performed with the bear for the beer company. A few years after the gig ended, Paul got a call from the company and wanted to know if he wanted the bear... they had been cleaning out the storage area and figured they'd never use it again. Paul bought the bear for $50. A year after he passed away, I saw it offered for sale by his widow for $500. I don't know who bought it or where it is today, but it was a cute figure. I believe it had rolling eyes and winkers. The only trouble with it was the weight. Jack Coats told me it was fiberglass covered with fur and the movements were stainless steel. It went over great with kid shows and such.

And here are the pictures Gary sent to go with the info he sent;


Note: Ron told me that Freddy Fergusen was made by the "Sylvestry Novelty Company" in Chicago.
They were known for making animals with mechanical movements for window displays, and were comissioned by the Fehr's Beer Company to make the bear. Since they had no knowledge of vent figures, Paul had to instruct them as to what was needed to make one work.
This was the one and only vent figure the company ever made.
Dave

Here's one I recieved from Les Lamborn;

I went to college in Chicago and I think the way I came across Paul was looking for vents in the Yellow pages. I called him, found out where he lived and took the elevated train and bus out to his home. I bought a figure from him which someone else had made (he was the retailer for who ever it was). I didn't like it so much but it fit my budget, at the time. I saved from the shows I did and went back to Paul and bought an Essancee figure. That was a combination of Stadelman and Coats (Jack Coats). Paul was a very kind man. He encouraged me and gave me some tips about vent. He told me many stories of Chicago vents. He owned 3 or 4 figures that I saw. I don't know that Paul ever made any figures, he modified many or improved the way a certain movement worked. He was a good vent and a promoter of vent and of his abilities. He had lots of news clipings of classes he taught, of some new angle for performance & etc. I met his figure Windy Higgins. I must say I enjoyed every visit I had with Paul.





A Final Note:
Please keep in mind, that there is only so much that can be conveyed through a web page such as this.
I strongly suggest that anyone with a sincere love and interest in the art of ventriloquism and a desire to never stop learning about it, get the books. I believe there is something in there for everyone to learn, whether they be new to the art, or accomplished professionals. If you really believe there is nothing you can learn, then they are still worth obtaining for their value in vent history.

Also, thanks to all who have contributed to this page.

New Stuff

Here is a picture that appeared recently for sale on ebay;

Here are scans of a four page Essancee "catalog" I bought recently;


Copyright 1997 All rights reserved.