Today is Jimmy Nelson's 90th birthday!
I've had the honor of knowing Jimmy for 18 years, and I've never known a more wonderful person. Jimmy is kind, funny, smart, and generous. He's talented, humble, and loving. His contributions to ventriloquism in general and to Vent Haven Museum specifically are endless. To a person, everyone who has been fortunate enough to have met Jimmy feels the same way as I do. Jimmy is a one-of-a-kind treasure of a friend. Happy, happy birthday to the Dean of American Ventriloquists, Jimmy Nelson!
I won't attempt a biography here. That daunting task has already been successfully tackled by ventriloquism historian and Vent Haven Director Tom Ladshaw in his book, A Jimmy Nelson Celebration...70 Years of Laughter. If you are a Jimmy Nelson fan, this book is a must have! (Click on the title for a link to Amazon to purchase this wonderful bio!)
Instead of a biography, then, I thought I would share some wonderful trivia and photos with you about Jimmy's decades long friendship with and commitment to Vent Haven Museum.
Jimmy first joined the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists when he was just 14 years old. He was vouched for by one of his favorite vents, Herman Stoike.
Jimmy's IBV number was 207.
The first direct letter from Mr. Berger to Jimmy was on December 12, 1944. Mr. Berger had read an article in "TOPS" magazine about Jimmy and wanted to get to know him. They would remain friends and correspondents until Mr. Berger's death in 1972.