Master ventriloquist will make you believe anything can talk

David Pendleton

GOWANDA — Family Life will present master ventriloquist, David Pendleton, and his band of quirky characters on Tuesday, March 21, at Gowanda Free Methodist Church.

Ever since he was 6 years old, Pendleton has had a passion for ventriloquism and performing. Today, a master of his trade, Pendleton amazes with his ability to make audiences believe that anything can talk. Pendleton brings to his show a cast of colorful and comedic characters, including the lovable but blunt Aunt Tilly, a 94-year-old spinster.

“People usually make an immediate connection with Aunt Tilly,” said Pendleton. “I try to make her just like someone everyone knows with her mannerisms and way of speaking. Even when I was making Aunt Tilly, I walked around a nursing home and hung around the women. I just observed them and listened to their conversations.”

Another popular personality of Pendleton’s is the classic quick-witted trouble maker, Mack Elroy. Pendleton acquired Mack Elroy, named for the doll’s original creators, George and Glenn McElroy, more than a decade ago when a woman told him about the doll her grandfather used in his act for about 60 years.

As far as Pendleton knows, he is the only ventriloquist who actively uses a McElroy doll in his act since the dolls are rare and usually kept in private collections.

“Audiences say they really enjoy Mack,” he says. “It takes them back to the day when you would see ventriloquists on TV.”

Other characters easy to fall in love with are the dopey yet sweet hound dog, Buford, and the slightly misguided albino vulture, Vern. Interestingly, the four dolls are based on the four personality types: melancholy (Tilly), sanguine (Mack), phlegmatic (Buford) and choleric (Vern).

David Pendleton might be the only name on your ticket stub, but these four characters will certainly steal the show.

Sponsored by Family Life Ministries of Bath, New York, the performance starts at 7 p.m., Tuesday at Gowanda FMC, located at 149 W. Main St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Order tickets online at, or at 1-800-927-9083.