The question is simple: Who has the most money to give ventriloquists like Ted Haggis $3 million? The answer is that it’s the rich — but not by much. In order to make this comparison you need first to understand a tiny bit of history about the ventriloquist business.
In the late 1700s, it was still an underground art form: no one really knew how to make a ventriloquist doll, and there wasn’t very much money involved. There were no laws on who could be allowed to do it, and no penalties for anyone who did. Even though ventriloquists were already making money, they weren’t yet making a lot of them. And they were making a lot of them in London, where they could make some of the best ventriloquists in the world without having to sell their souls to the Devil.
But by the 1800s, ventriloquists were really starting to break into the big time. They had the great chance to put their skills to use in a bigger way, and in particular, they had the chance to sell their souls to the Devil.
In 1836, The Society of Ventriloquists came into being. It was founded by John Keever, a former printer and printer’s apprentice. He began advertising ventriloquist dolls. Keever said “that these beautiful little figures were very nearly perfect in form and form is the best thing in the world.” He put out a pamphlet called The Society of Ventriloquists. There’s no record of how many copies of this pamphlet there were, but we do know that some of its ideas were picked up by other people and sold, and Keever himself ended up moving to New York and opening another publishing house just a few weeks later in 1837.
The Society of Ventriloquists also had its own magazine, which was published by its president’s secretary named Joseph White House. For a year during this time, Ventriloquists were allowed to sell their souls to the Devil. But the organization couldn’t legally start selling souls until 1839, when a judge ruled that the Society could begin advertising for them, but only by advertising for their dolls. Only then could they start selling them in shops.
At that point, the Ventriloquists were making a ton of money, and it looked like ventriloquists had finally found their soul’s perfect buyer. They