06 Apr 2002
Let's see if I can do this without moving my
Wences is one of those people who is responsible for a little bit
of deep-brain culture that most of us have. It goes like this:
-- (Straight voice) S'All right?
-- (Gravelly voice) S'All right.
That's Wences in his ventriloquist act, talking to Pedro, a head
in a box.
Or how about a hand, with a wig over it, speaking in falsetto,
"Deeficult for you. Eeeasy for me." And then blowing
smoke rings. From a hand. Neat trick.
That's Wences again. I have only dim memories of seeing him on
television, and to be honest, it left little impression on me,
then no older than about 13. Ever since then, when I see
ventriloquists (usually in person), I'm eventually overcome with
an uneasy feeling that whoever I'm watching isn't really fooling
anyone, and if we applaud politely and not too enthusiastically,
he or she will go away
and we can get back to regularly scheduled programming. I suspect
it's because the ventriloquists I've seen don't themselves
believe it, so why should I? Who would believe a talking
mannequin? But a talking hand, one that can blow smoke rings,
that's something to believe in.
Wences died today at the age of 103 at his home in New York City.