Pretty much everybody is aware of the passing of ventriloquist icon Clinton Detweiler. I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts about this kind man. To me, beyond the icon status that he so greatly deserved, Clinton was a fine friend, a trusted colleague, and a mentor. Looking back………
I became aware of Clinton (and his wife Adelia) as a young adult. My father kind of got me hooked on the magazine, Popular Mechanics, and I would always check the classified ads in the back, as I knew I would find the ad that Clinton put in there for Maher Studios. Warm and fuzzy memories now.
Of course, I did like so many others interested in ventriloquism at the time. I sent off for a Maher catalog! How exciting that was when it came in the mail. I would pour over the catalog for hours. And of course I would drool over the ventriloquist figures, being so interested both in ventriloquism and figure making.
And like so many others in the vent community, I would write and ask questions, and Clinton ALWAYS wrote back and was most helpful. And when you ordered something, you could count on him to always deliver and provide great products and service.
I can’t remember the number of times I had ordered a catalog from Clinton, or how many times I looked to see if the ad was still in PM. I knew that if his ad was still there, that ventriloquism was alive and well. I had always desired to be doing what he was doing. Serving the vent community in some way. He surely set some high standards for that over the years. Yet he was very humble about all that he did for ventriloquists.
Clinton was always a joy to talk shop with and freely shared what he had learned over the years. And he was a man of his word. I always knew he would do exactly what he said he would do. I came to trust him (and his son Kevin) so much, that when I stopped taking on figure repair work, it was such a comfort to know that I could refer him (or his son) without ANY reservations, and knew that those customers I sent to him would be treated very well!
Clinton was, and will continue to be an inspiration to me in my figure making business. I have a bit of correspondence from Clinton that I have kept, including some truly sage advice on my figure making and kit businesses. I have to heave a huge sigh when I realize I can no longer talk shop with this very, very, kind and generous man. He will be sorely missed by me, and the entire vent community.