S'ok? S'awright. So long...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 100 19:44:40 -0700
Subject: S'ok? S'awright. So long...
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: Mark Boolootian <email@example.com>
Senor Wences: Loved as ventriloquist on TV
April 21, 1999
FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES
NEW YORK -- Senor Wences, the master ventriloquist who delighted
"Ed Sullivan Show" audiences with his puppet-head-in-a-box, Pedro,
and his falsetto-voiced hand-puppet, Johnny, died Tuesday at 103.
The Spanish-born ventriloquist, whose real name was Wenceslao Moreno, died
at home in New York City.
During the 1950s, Mr. Moreno bickered and bantered with his puppets while
he drank, smoked and juggled.
He conversed with Pedro, a head in a box ("S'OK?" "S'AWRIGHT"). And he
was defeated by Johnny, who boasted, "Deefeecult for you; easy for me."
Mr. Moreno created Johnny by scrunching up his fist, drawing a mouth where
thumb and index finger met, and draping a blond wig over the top.
His character Pedro was a gravelly voiced head in a box, born of necessity
when Mr. Moreno's ventriloquist's dummy was accidentally damaged and only
the head was spared.
Mr. Moreno would talk to his puppets with his face right in theirs, as if
daring the audience to watch his lips -- which, of course, never moved.
He would stuff a hankie in Johnny's mouth and have the puppet speak with
a muffled voice while he himself smoked a cigarette. Then he would give
Johnny a drag, and the puppet -- that is, Mr. Moreno's hand -- would
somehow emit perfect smoke rings.
Mr. Moreno also entertained four presidents, toured with Dean Martin and
Jerry Lewis, did a Broadway show with Danny Kaye, and played casinos in
Las Vegas. He was born in Penarada, Spain.
A memorial service and burial will be in Spain this weekend.
© 2000 Peter Langston