Several years ago, I received a surprise package in the mail from
Denemark, a ventriloquist friend from Cocoa Beach, Florida
(firstname.lastname@example.org) that I met on the VENTmail list. The package
contained some Great Ventriloquist Collector Cards (which he publishes) and
a set of Peepers. I stuck the Peepers in my purse for those unplanned
impromptu ventriloquist performances. After that, I found many
opportunities to use them. I discovered that it was a great way to
practice walkarounds and to meet new people.
In April, 1999, Paul Greene (my husband), Sam Johnston (my 82-year-old
uncle), and I went with a tour group to The Copper Canyon in Mexico.
Starting in Los Mochis, we rode the train through the spectacular canyon,
and got off the train enroute a couple of times to take some bus trips into
the back country. Even though I had previously imagined that the scenery
from the train would be the highlight of the trip, I found that our
experiences in the back country were the most memorable.
Several times daily, I would find opportunities to take out my Peepers
talk with the local people. I remembered very little of the Spanish that I
had learned in high school many years ago, but our guides came to the
rescue when I needed help with my Spanish.
At the beginning of the tour, everyone was asked to introduce him/herself
to the group. I used my Peepers for this. Everyone remembered my name
after that! One evening, I taught the two Mestizo tour guides the basics
of ventriloquism. After that, they would always greet me with their
talking hands and still lips. We had lots of laughs.
Several of the people in the tour group who were taking photos thanked
for using my Peepers to talk to the very shy, serious Tarahumara Indians.
When my Peepers chatted in English and sang simple folksongs, the people
would smile and laugh. Often the children would follow me around waiting
for a time the Peepers would talk or sing. Even though I didn't speak the
Tarahumara language, it didn't seem to make a difference. Music is the
While we were waiting for the train at one train station, there were
local boys trying to sell rocks to the tourists. They were fascinated with
my peepers, so I taught them how to do ventriloquism using songs. (I
explained how to do this in a former Laugh*Makers article.) Since they
understood no English, and I was very limited with my Spanish; we went
through the alphabet then sang Spanish songs they knew, such as "Rancho
Grande" and "De Colores." The other tour members gave the boys a rousing
round of applause after they sang their final songs with very little lip
movement. Someone said, "Those boys won't be selling rocks to tourists
much longer; they'll be selling performances!" I was sorry that I had not
brought some of my ring puppets to give to the children. (Directions are
in a previous Laugh*Makers article.)
Our group was riding in the last car of the train. I sometimes
the back of the train where it was open, and my Peepers would sing to the
people in the small train stations. The locals would wave and some would
run alongside the train to see the singing Peepers.
When walking along the streets, my Peepers would talk with women who
selling their beautiful handmade baskets, men drinking beverages at small
stands, and children playing in the picturesque towns. I found the most
enjoyment singing songs. The next time I go to a foreign country, I'm
going to try to learn a song or two in that language. Even though I would
not be fluent in the language, the attempt to use their language is always
Traveling with Peepers is very invigorating and it will help you improve
with your walkaround techniques. (This was also covered in a previous
Laugh*Makers article.) Have fun and smile.......so will others!
Peepers are sold by Axtell Expressions http://www.axtell.com
Studios http://www.maherstudios.com I have also seen ads for them in