Monday, July 29, 2013

Always Something New

 The Grove was wonderful, inspiring, informative, and entertaining.  I wish I was not forbidden to write about it. If we find ourselves alone with a cocktail or two and the place is not too crowded remind me to tell you the stories of my week in the Redwoods. I had time on the retreat to contemplate my trip to Vent Haven and that I can write about. 
Andy Williams, Charlie McCarthy, Candice Bergen,
Edgar Bergen at Cesar's Palace Dressing room. 
In addition to discovering a picture of Johnny Carson, his kids and ventriloquist puppet, on the walls of the Vent Haven Museum, I found this one. Like most of the items at Vent Haven there is more to the story than meets the eye.  Most people may not know the full significance of this picture. It was also taken with my cell phone, and is a little blurry because you can't use flash inside the buildings.
Most of the time I have to get Tom Ladshaw, Lisa, Annie or Jen to give me the real significance of the things on exhibit at Vent Haven. Not this time.  When I asked about this picture they said, "Oh the one with Candice. " While that fact is is certainly true, there is more to the image than just a family photo.
As I looked more closely at the 70's clothes and the couch the group is sitting on, it became clear. I am fairly sure that is a couch in the green room back stage of Cesar's Palace in Las Vegas.  I have had the honor of being in that room many times. As I studied the photo more carefully with all the people involved, it hit me. 
Mr. Bergen had already announced his retirement in the summer of 1978, but Andy Williams asked if he would be the "Entré Act" of his Las Vegas show.  I wrote about this event in a blog when Andy passed way. (Andy Williams)
With common sense detective work given this particular group, the age of everyone and the location, this picture would have been taken no more than four days before Edgar Bergen's death.  It is probably the last picture of him ever taken. He died in his hotel room after the show at Cesar's Palace with Andy Williams on September 30, 1978.
I am hoping at next year's ConVENTion Lisa and Annie will give a talk about some of the other hidden stories at the Museum. A picture may be worth a thousand words but with the information those two have, the Vent Haven pictures can be worth many more. The value of history is in the current recollection. As practitioners in the Art of Ventriloquism we must learn that history and pass it along to the next seekers.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

Now THAT was some wonderful history detective work. Thanks so much, Jay.
And if we ever do find ourselves alone with a cocktail or two...I'm buyin'.

Dennis McNeil said...

Missed passing you along R Road if we were both there this past week. Loved reading this. Quite amazing to discover. xo

Duane Echols said...

Great information on that photo Jay. Proudly, my Wife and I were in the Circus Maximus audience that friday night when Bergen appeared for what was to be his last show. I sat no further than 30 feet away from him. My first and last opportunity to see the "King of Vents" alive, and in action. Tragically, by the next morning he was gone.