Friday, 19 August 2011

Master of Puppets

The other night I had a nightmare in which ventriloquist dummies Cuddles the Monkey and Orville the Duck were in a room illuminated dimly by a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

Orville lay motionless on a table beneath the bulb while Cuddles lay on the floor, slumped against the wall.

Without a ventriloquist to operate and give them a character and a voice they looked like the corpses of murder victims. Then, without moving, they began to speak.

At this point I woke up sweating, glad that I had done so before hearing what they had to say.

So spare a thought for the ventriloquist, in this instance Keith Harris who operates them. He sees them in this state all the time.

What must this do to his brain? Look at his face next time he does his act, I know that he is operating all sorts of facial muscles to get the voice out without moving his lips but the fixed grin and staring eyes make him look as though he might one day secrete a gun inside Orville and halfway through his act begin firing wildly into the crowd through the doll's squeaky little beak.

Sooty and his gang were even worse. Although hand puppets rather than ventriloquist dolls they still had a human handler, poor old Matthew Corbett who had to try and keep this mob of anti-social, fabric bastards in check.

He would try and organise something nice, like a birthday party only to see it all smashed up by Sweep who would flail around squeaking like a rusty door hinge in a hurricane.

The silent Sooty was invariably the manipulative ringleader but would only communicate by whispering into Corbett's ear, who would deliver Sooty's message to the audience and turn back to Sooty just in time to receive a faceful of water pistol from the ungrateful, silent little sneak.

Puppets and dolls are not funny, they freak people out and their operators have the look of people who have realised that they have gone down a showbiz deadend and will be forever associated with the inanimate object they give life to.

If puppets are such good entertainment for kids then why are there so many films about dolls coming to life and stabbing people or ventriloquist dolls taking over their operators?

People used to use dolls to cast spells on each other and they are grotesque caricatures of ourselves.

So think about that the next time you plonk your kids in front of Sesame Street.

And don't get me started on clowns.


Padded Cell Princess said...

I have horrible nightmares about Davie Bowie...I can't even watch Labyrinth anymore!

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Umm, that sounds legitimately terrifying. If i have puppet nightmares tonight, I'll know who to blame!

dbs said...

Dude. Back off Sesame Street. But as for clowns and ventriloquists...this was spot on.

Craziness abounds said...

I'm giggling right now because it's so true.
As for your comment today
Phil says if there are no women then there's no reason to watch weight ect nor is there any reason to be civilized anymore. Since society already sucks they might as well reorganize a better one. Since there's no women to reproduce with it won't last long anyway. lol He's a goof.

Electric Addict said...

i had a nightmare the other night :(

D4 said...

Ooo, Ooo! Get started with clowns! Do it!

Vapid Vixen said...

I'm so glad you added that last sentence. I was seriously just shrieking at my monitor "Clowns! What about the motherfucking clowns?!!"

And puppet clowns? *shudder* Double whammy of terror induced insomnia.

Jessica Thompson said...

Haha, wow that's cool!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Princes: Bowie is just plain weird.

Mike: My terror is legitimate.

dbs: Maybe I'm too hard on Sesame Street, Big Bird seems harmless.

Craziness: Yes, but drilling?

Electric: What happened?

D4: I'm not starting with clowns, they'll get me.

Vixen: Puppet clowns? Jesus Christ!

Jessica: Cool as f**k.

Violet said...

Q: What's weirder than ventriloquist dummies?
A: Ventriloquists.

Al Penwasser said...

The guy looks like Gene Wilder.

altadenahiker said...

You mean that's not Gene Wilder? Now I really am freaked out.

Bart said...

some niki minaj chick

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Violet: The world they inhabit disturbs me.

Al: Gene Wilder isn't green.

Alta: Or a duck.

Bart: I don't now what you just said.

Come at Me: It's not great, it's frightening.

mark fellows said...

The following line in your post was HILARIOUS! I had a good chuckle, thanks!

"......lips but the fixed grin and staring eyes make him look as though he might one day secrete a gun inside Orville and halfway through his act begin firing wildly into the crowd through the doll's squeaky little beak."

mark fellows said...

Just fyi, when I went to post the above comment, Blogspot made me put in the following Capcha "spermul"

Kingmush said...

Sounds like a terrible nightmare!

Joann Mannix said...

Yes, my daughter had this ventriloquist puppet when she was a child and I had to bury it in the back of her closet, because it freaked all of us out so bad. Even the dog.

And you think that's a bad dream? I had a dream the other night that Keith Richards and I were, you know, having at it. That is the stuff of nightmares.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Mark: Spermul? How rude.

Kingmush: Freaked me out.

Joann: Two scary images for the price of one there. Keith Richards looks like he is made of old Chamois leathers and is that dummy still buried in the back of the wadrobe, biding it's time?

my day in a sentence said...

Ventriloquists freak me out!

Jordan said...

Ventriloquists are creepy. Puppets don't weird me out if I don't have to see the person operating them (Sesame St.) but there is definitely something wrong with ventriloquists. I mean, what kind of person grows up wanting to be a ventriloquist? Also, you made me very glad I don't dream because I don't need a puppet episode of Criminal Minds happening in my head while I'm asleep.

Margaret said...

Hmmmm. Have you talked about this with your therapist, Tony?

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Your nightmare gave me the heeby geebies just reading it!

Do you also fear wax museums? I won't even walk by them...if I do, I won't sleep that night. YUCK!

Chris Hashemi said...

I'm gonna have trouble sleeping just after reading that! lol

Anita said...

Hilarious! My cat can totally throw his voice. He's probably worth a lot of $.

Sarah said...

I find ventriloquist's extremely creepy. I'm sure the dream you had would bring me to tears!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Ah, that dream is horrific. I also find porcelain dolls to be very scary. I mean, get-up-and-walk-around-when-your-sleeping scary. There's a place we eat at every year on vacation called The Bubble Room in Captiva Isl. that has a huge and very sinister collection of dolls, puppets etc. and they are all arranged. This year one of the waiters made one of them move by our table and my 7 year old son stood up and announced that "we had to get out of there" LOL. So yup, dolls and puppets = creepy.

Katsidhe said...

I'm not sure that I would ever sleep again if I had that dream, Tony. O_O

The fact that dolls and clown exist is proof that we are a twisted species.

Kev D. said...

I can't wait for the nightmares that I will have tonight... THANKS.

Tony Van Helsing said...

My day: A perfectly natural reaction.

Jordan: You do dream, you just don't remember them.

Margaret: Writing this blog is my therapy.

Hannah: I imagine that when the Wax Museum is closed and the lights are out that the dummies whisper to each other in the dark.

Chris: Sorry about that.

Anita: He's throwing it all over the place on that video you made.

Sarah: I have these dreams so you people don't have to.

Lindsay: I'm with your son on this, why do people always collect loads of these things. Tell your son not to be afraid of them though. If a doll ever started walking towards him he always has the option of kicking it's head off.

Katsidhe: They are distorted mirror versions of ourselves. There's no need to fear them but plenty of reasons to dislike them.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Kev D: You are welcome.

Bob said...

Maybe puppeteers still use their dolls to cast spells at the audience and then when the time comes they will rule the world with their hypnotised army.

DWei said...

That's really creepy. No wonder why I hate puppets so much.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Bob: You should be a super villain.

DWei: You are right to do so.

Kelly said...

Too funny!
But I love Sesame Street.
But there are some puppets or dolls that are way creeeepy!

Ting Kubby said...

Just be glad Rod hull didn't enter your nightmare as well.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Kelly: sesame Street was probably the wrong example.

Ting: Small mercies.

dirtycowgirl said...



Teddy in a Gimpsuit.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I love the witty way you describe things. I had a nightmare about Pinocchio once--terrifying, but after I fully woke up it was ALMOST funny ;)