The Most Famous Radio Dummy.
There’s probably never been a more well-known ventriloquist figure than, Charlie McCarthy. He was created by Edgar Bergen and was his most famous side-kick for many years.
Charlie and Bergen started out in vaudeville but as their popularity grew, eventually switched to radio. They worked on radio programs from 1937 to 1956. When you watch reruns of the “The Waltons” television show, you can sometimes hear the Bergen and McCarthy radio show playing in the background. This was a typical sight in the 1940s, a family gathered around the radio listening to Bergen and McCarthy.
Charlie is well known for always wearing his top hat and monocle. He was a sophisticated “Man about town” but yet kept his boy-like attitude. He was sometimes a smart-alec and always had a quick comeback. There was a teenage singer on the radio show named Anita Gordon who Charlie had a crush on. But this was not unusual. Charlie was a little girl-crazy and had many crushes.
Bergen and McCarthy had many well-known guests on their radio show including: Judy Garland, Dale Evans, and Mae West. Charlie flirted with them all. W.C. Fields also guest starred and he and Charlie had an on-going feud that audiences loved.
Bergen and McCarthy also starred in several movies such as, “The Goldwyn Follies” in 1938, “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” with W.C. Fields, and “Fun and Fancy Free.”
Charlie McCarthy Ventriloquist Dummy
In 1938, Bergen was presented with an Oscar to honor his creation of Charlie McCarthy. The Oscar was made of wood. Their final movie performance was in, “The Muppet Movie”, in 1979. Bergen passed away shortly after filming and the movie was dedicated to him.
For anyone learning ventriloquism, it’s well worth your time to listen to the old radio shows and films of Bergen and McCarthy. Bergen was a master at giving his figures unique personalities and attitudes. The repartee between the two was always lively and witty. Bergen’s comedic timing was perfect. This is one of the most important things to note when writing your own vent acts.
The Charlie McCarthy figure can now be seen in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
- Charlie McCarthy measures 30” (76 cm) in length and his mouth is operated via a string affixed to the back of the doll’s head.
- All dolls come assembled and are ready for immediate use.
- FREE “How To Be A Ventriloquist” Booklet enclosed