A newly minted series of golden bronze collector coins has been released to the public featuring Branson, Missouri based entertainer Jim Barber, along with other professional ventriloquists who have made significant contributions to the art of ventriloquism.
“I am truly humbled to have been selected as one of a handful of ventriloquists to appear on this limited-edition set of collector coins. Edgar Bergen, Jimmy Nelson and Señor Wences were my idols as a young boy learning to throw my voice.
To share this honor with them and other contemporary stars of the business whom I also admire and respect such as Jay Johnson, Mark Wade and Terry Fator, just leaves me speechless!
These beautiful coins are a treasured addition to my personal collection of showbiz memorabilia, and I know that anyone who purchases a set will be amazed at the professional quality, weight, and craftsmanship that went into their creation.
Thank you so much for imprinting the heads of Jim Barber and Seville, and an even bigger thank you for not imprinting our tails!” - Jim Barber
The Ventriloquist Hall of Fame Coin Collection features award winning ventriloquists, past and present, who have been recognized as International leaders in their industry. The coins are produced by Clinton and Adelia Detweiler of the world-famous Maher Ventriloquist Studios who are responsible for teaching the art of “throwing your voice” to thousands of creative students around the planet.
Described as big, bright and beautiful, these bronze coins were designed by the classic artistry of David J. Miller, and exquisitely engraved by master artisans to create a rare and uniquely collectible heirloom quality coin.
The original recipients of this honor to be selected for the first set of coins released earlier this year were Edgar Bergen, Jimmy Nelson, Senor Wences and Fred Maher. This second set of coins features Terry Fator, Jay Johnson, Mark Wade and Jim Barber.
Ventriloquist Hall of Fame Coin Recipients
A total of 48 Ventriloquist Hall of Fame Coins are planned for production, these being limited to 200 sets per series. As of June 2012, the eight recipients to be honored in the first two series are (alphabetical order):
Jim Barber & Seville - Jim combines unique characters with a wide vocal singing range and sound effects to create a one-of-a-kind performance that can be seen throughout the year at the Hamner Barber Theater in Branson, Missouri where he entertains nightly with his on-stage partners, illusionists The Hamners. Jim has performed has act for nearly 2,000 Colleges and Universities nationwide and even earned the title of “Comedy Entertainer of the Year” from the National Association of Campus Activities. Jim’s act has been featured on several national television shows including Late Show with David Letterman. (Jim Barber – Wikipedia)
Edgar Bergan – Without a doubt, Edgar Bergan is the most famous and successful ventriloquist of all time. Along with his signature characters Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, Edgar became an International star of stage, screen, radio and television. His radio appearances on The Chase and Sandborn Hour and The Charlie McCarthy Show made him a house-hold name and opened the door for major appearances on TV and motion pictures. He died after a farewell performance in Las Vegas in 1978 at the age of 75. In 1991, the US Postal Service honored him with a 29-cent commemorative stamp. (Edgar Bergen – Wikipedia)
Terry Fator – Terry Fator began learning ventriloquism as a young boy and eventually combined his comedy with music as lead singer in a variety of traveling bands. Terry began to find success through his combination of vocal singing and ventriloquism as opening act for Reba McEntire, Neal McCoy, Garth Brooks, and Styx. In 2007, a gamble to compete on the first season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent paid off huge, when Terry won the entire competition. The win resulted in Terry receiving one of the biggest entertainment deals in Las Vegas history, a ten-year, 100 millon dollar contract to perform nightly at The Mirage. (Terry Fator – Wikipedia)
Jay Johnson – Jay first achieved national fame as a ventriloquist when he was cast in the role of Chuck Campbell in the TV series SOAP. Chuck, portrayed a ventriloquist who believed his puppet character named Bob was real and demanded everyone treat Bob as a human. Jay went on to star in the CBS TV series Broken Badges as well as guest appearances on dozens of other network series shows. In 2007, Jay won a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for his original Broadway production The Two And Only becoming the only ventriloquist in history to win a Tony Award. (Jay Johnson – Wikipedia)
Fred Maher – If a single sourse had to be credited for launching the professional careers of ventriloquists around the globe, it would be the Fred Maher School of Ventriloquism in Detroit, Michigan. The business was later purchased by Clinton and Adelia Detweiler of Littleton, Colorado who renamed it Maher Ventriloquist Studios. Founded by Fred Maher, the Maher Course teaches various types of character voices, the secret of “throwing your voice”, how to talk without moving your lips, and more. Subscribers to the course also receive instructions on script writing, obtaining publicity, and booking shows. (Maher Ventriloquist Course)
Jimmy Nelson – Born in Chicago in 1928, Jimmy Nelson began performing at the young age of ten as a way of overcoming his fears of speaking in public. As his confidence grew, so did his talent and in 1945 famed woodcarver Frank Marshall (who also carved Charlie McCarthy) agreed to create Danny’ODay, Humphrey Higsbye and Farfel The Dog. Jimmy appeared regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Texaco Star Theatre hosted by Milton Berle. In 1955, the Nestlé company hired Jimmy to do commercials selling their chocolate candy and Nestlé’s Quik chocolate milk flavoring. (Jimmy Nelson – Wikipedia)
Mark Wade – America’s Foremost Kidshow Ventriloquist is the title most often used to describe Mark Wade. Trained as an elementary school teacher, Mark blends educational teaching techniques with skilled ventriloquism to perform school programs across the country. Mark dedicates himself to teaching good character traits, with an anti-bully segment in each show. As a motivational speaker, Mark incorporates his creative talents to make the messages stick. Mark continues to create new shows that teach important concepts such as responsibility, honesty, self-reliance, respect, and other good character words. (KidShowVent.com)
Señor Wences – Born in Spain in 1896, Señor Wences was one of the highest paid vaudeville acts in the entire world. He came to America in 1936 and was an instant hit on such television shows as The Milton Berle Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and TV specials with Perry Como and Jack Benny. His famous vent characters included ‘Johnny’, ingeniously formed by one of Wences hands and ‘Pedro’, a torso-less head in a box. In the middle of a routine Wences would lift the lid of the box and say “Are you alright?” to which Pedro would reply “S’alright”. Wences died at his home in New York City in 1999 at the age of 103.