The International Ventriloquist Society is the world’s only international organization dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. With membership spanning around the globe, our official publication and website have linked ventriloquists and enthusiasts throughout the world.
Perhaps the most important benefit of being an I.V.S. member is your opportunity to grow in the art and have fun with others who share your passion. Whether you’re a professional performer, a hobbyist, a beginner, a puppet or figure maker, a collector, or a fan — if you love ventriloquism, you’re among friends.
I invite you to join us, connect with others, and explore the future of ventriloquism by becoming a member of the International Ventriloquist Society today.
Executive Director of the I.V.S.
I feel before we can discuss the history of ventriloquist organizations, we must first discuss the art itself.
A ventriloquist must do many things while appearing to do nothing. That is what creates a believable illusion. Some feel that once they learn the basics of lip control and manipulation, they have mastered the skill. That isn’t really the case. Ventriloquism isn’t an instant gratification skill. Many give up before they learn, or feel they are good enough for their own purpose. That is why there are so few ventriloquists in the world. Our numbers are very low compare to other performing arts.
With magic, something new is always being created. That is why magicians have long established organizations. The Society of American Magicians was founded 1902, and the International Brotherhood of Magicians was founded in 1922. Magicians support their organizations because they always want to learn new tricks.
Juggling is not an instant gratification skill either. It takes time to become proficient. The International Jugglers Association was formed in 1947. It too is well supported by it’s community.
As you are about to learn, ventriloquist organizations have not fared nearly as well. Smaller numbers have created many problems that earlier organizations could not overcome.
Perhaps the longest running ventriloquism organization was the North American Association of Ventriloquists or the NAAV. The NAAV was originally founded around 1936 by Fred Maher of Maher Studios, Fred searched for a way to build the ventriloquism community. He taught ventriloquists through his mail order course, and brought them into the organization. It also allowed him to stay in touch with his clients, while promoting his figures and products.
Clinton & Adelia Detweiler purchased Maher Studios from Fred’s widow in 1969. During his years as the head of Maher, Clinton made the NAAV more visible. His Newsy Vents periodical was pure excitement for many vents when it arrived in their mailbox. Still, the organization suffered financially when ventriloquists forgot to renew their registrations. Clinton finally closed the NAAV in 2004.
The second longest running ventriloquist organization was William Shakespeare Berger’s International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists or the I.B.V. Founded by a gathering of ventriloquists at Abbott’s Magic Get-Together in Colon, Michigan, the I.B.V. published the Oracle magazine for it’s members. The I.B.V. closed it’s doors in December of 1960.
In 1968, Walton Greg Berlin founded the International Ventriloquist Association. Their periodical was the Vent-O-Gram. The organization folded approximately 1970.
From 1976 to 1986, ventriloquist Mark Wade ran the S.A.V. – Society of American Ventriloquists. Mark published the New Oracle but eventually publishing costs forced him to close the doors.
In 1997, Valentine Vox (Jack Riley) revived the International Ventriloquist Association again. The periodicals did not publish on a consistent schedule and the organization was closed in 2003.
In 2013, Maher Studios was revived by Mark Wade, Ken Groves and Tom Crowl. In November of that year, the three announced the start of the International Ventriloquist Society. To offset the problems and costs of shipping magazines internationally, the I.V.S. Spotlight was created as an online magazine only available to I.V.S. members. Originally published six times a year, the publications were one web page and included both video and articles. By the end of the second year, it was determined to drop the Spotlight back to a quarterly publication.
When Mark & Ken left Maher Studios and the I.V.S., Tom reached out to the community to help improve the Spotlight. As a result, the Spotlight now features three jam packed web pages of video and article content. It is also available as a PDF download for I.V.S. Members. This way they can read the Spotlight without being on a computer, tablet or smart phone. The Spotlight, minus the video content is also now offered for print on demand publication as a premium, full color magazine.
As you can see, ventriloquism has had many organizations, all of which shuttered their doors when costs outweighed the support of the community. As an online publication and community, the I.V.S. stands a chance of succeeding where others have failed.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to join your fellow ventriloquists. Learn, grow, make new friends and have fun as a member of the International Ventriloquist Society.
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