ELWOOD TAKES A WALK TO THE DREAM OF W.S. BERGER. IT IS A RETIREMENT HOME
FOR SOME OF THE GREATEST STARS IN HISTORY AND A STORY OF DEDICATED LOVE.
I TAKE A TRIP TO A HALLOWED HALL “VENTHAVEN”, TO MEET THE FRIENDS OF MR. HAND THAT INSPIRED PART OF MY EXISTENCE. IF IT WERE NOT FOR THEM IN MR. HAND’S CHILDHOOD, I MAY NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN. I AM STILL WORKING ON SPEAKING, UNFORTUNATELY, MY MOUTH IS STILL A LITTLE STIFF.
In the early 1900's, while on a business trip to New York, Northern Kentucky businessman W.S. Berger saw his first ventriloquist in a vaudeville show. It was Harry "The Great" Lester, and so taken was Mr. Berger with Lester's performance, that the two struck up a friendship; thus W.S. Berger began a lifelong interest in the art of ventriloquism. Eventually, W.S. befriended most of the professional vents working around the world, and for more than 60 years he corresponded with great enthusiasm.

By the 1930's, he was actively collecting figures and memorabilia relating to the art, with his growing collection gaining a reputation in ventriloquist circles...so much so, that by the 1930's many retiring vaudeville era vents began to give or will thier figures to the place that came to be called The Vent Haven. By the time he passed away in 1972 at the age of 93, Mr. Berger had ammassed the largest and finest collection of ventriloquism-related ephemera anywhere. Ten years before he died, Mr. Berger set up a trust fund to ensure that future generations would be able to see his unique collection. An advisory board made up of prominent ventriloquist performers, figuremakers and researchers offers suggestions and input to the administrators of the trust.

I MEET MY GUIDE, JACKO THE MONKEY

ELWOOD’S GUIDE IS JACKO THE MONKEY, THE UNOFFICIAL MASCOT OF VENTHAVEN. JACKO IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE FINEST FIGURES EVER MADE. JACKO CAME INTO BEING IN 1939, WHEN GEORGE AND GLENN McELROY, OF HARRISON, OHIO, BROUGHT A DREAM TO LIFE. ELWOOD IS JEALOUS, BECAUSE JACKO’S EYES ROTATE, HIS EYEBROWS MOVE, EARS WIGGLE AND HE CAN EVEN STICK OUT HIS TONGUE.

I BUMP INTO MORTIMER SNERD, VETERAN OF TV, MOVIES AND RADIO FAME.

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