UNSOLVED VENTRILOQUIST MYSTERIES*
1. Sid Caesar and Ruth Buzzi. Surely the only “Love Boat” episode to feature two dummy duos, “Double Wedding/Ventriloquists” featured Sid Caesar and Ruth Buzzi playing a married ventriloquist couple on the verge of divorce due to a lack of communication (here’s a tip: Open your mouths wider!). The mystery surrounded who would score first with the naturally slim Cruise Director Julie. It was close but in the end the delusionally debonair Dr. Bricker lost out to Sid’s perpetually-hard wooden puppet. Julie and Sid’s dummy were last seen on the Lido Deck, slow dancing to “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries.
2. Waylon & Madame: This dynamic pair (we believe the only puppeteer duo where the dummy was significantly older than the mimic) sometimes substituted on Hollywood Squares for Paul Lynde, thereby occupying the precious “center square.” Madame was a salty-mouthed, old woman who bathed in double entendres way beyond Waylon’s control. Paul Lynde’s sudden absence from the Center Square has remained a mystery all these years. He was last seen backstage in the company of “Fats,” the ventriloquist dummy from the 1970’s movie “Magic,” and, reportedly, a close acquaintance of Madame’s.
3. Fats and Hannibal Lecter. “Fats” (signature lines include: “Magic is fun, when you’re dead” and “Then take the knife up the hill, lover”) was the star of the film “Magic,” appropriately promoted as a “terrifying love story.” It co-starred Anthony Hopkins, Ann Margaret and Burgess Meredith. There were many mysteries raised by this film. For instance, was it (A) Fats’ creepy, large face and distorted Brooklyn accent or (B) his and Anthony Hopkins’ matching Charlie Brown shirt and sweater combos that sent millions of 8 year-olds running for the door? Who among us can explain why the future Hannibal Lecter was no match for the Cabeza Grande Puppet? Fats says crawl around and think about it, Shmucko.