FIRST EDITION OF PAUL WINCHELL’S VENTRILOQUISM FOR FUN AND PROFIT, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY HIM (AND “SIGNED” BY HIS TWO DUMMIES) TO EARLY TELEVISION WRITER HANNAH GOODMAN
WINCHELL, Paul. Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit. Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1954. Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $700.
First edition of the popular television ventriloquist’s “how-to” guide, warmly inscribed by him to a member of his writing staff and one of the founders of the Writers’ Guild, Hannah Goodman: “To Hannah, my admiration for you as a writer is surpassed by my regard for you as a fine human being! With Love, Paul Winchell.” Additionally “signed” by Winchell’s two dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff.
“As a young man, Winchell was shy and stuttered, and he used ventriloquism as a form of therapy. Emulating his routine on the smart-alecky radio banter between Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy, the teenage Winchell soon found a welcoming Depression-era audience. He rose from the vaudeville circuit to radio and television, becoming a fixture of children’s television. Most famously, he and his sassy dummy, Jerry Mahoney, had ‘The Paul Winchell-Jerry Mahoney Show’ on NBC from 1950-54… Winchell, whose other dummy was dimwitted sidekick Knucklehead Smiff, appeared on other variety and quiz programs and was part of the weekend morning shows for children” (The Washington Post). Both of Winchell’s dummies have “signed” this copy, as well as Winchell himself. Illustrated with four black-and-white photographic plates and several in-text sketches. Almost certainly inscribed to Hannah Goodman (née Hannah Grad Sverdlin), one of the writers for “The Paul Winchell-Jerry Mahoney Show.” A founder of the Writers’ Guild, “she also wrote for ‘Your Show of Shows,’ where she replaced a departing Selma Diamond because Imogene Coco wanted at least one woman on the writing staff” (New York Times).
Bright dust jacket lightly soiled, with shallow chipping to edges. Book fine. A desirable inscribed presentation/association copy.