Tag Archives: ventriloquist

Vaudeville – Documenting John A. Kelly Ventriloquist — Like Father Like Son

Vaudeville – Documenting John A. Kelly Ventriloquist — Like Father Like Son
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
17 Feb 1909, Wed  •  Page 1
The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
01 Sep 1926, Wed  •  Page 5
The Times
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
21 Apr 1911, Fri  •  Page 1

The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
13 Apr 1912, Sat  •  Page 5
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
03 Mar 1909, Wed  •  Page 1
The Brantford Daily Expositor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
19 May 1910, Thu  •  Page 2

Although extremely popular the night J.H. Anderson died, his name was everywhere as he had performed that night at J. H. Anderson’s the public hallhe had just performed in.

CLIPPED FROMThe Weekly British WhigKingston, Ontario, Canada31 Dec 1908, Thu  •  Page 1

CLIPPED FROMThe Weekly British WhigKingston, Ontario, Canada31 Dec 1908, Thu  •  Page 1

Born in York, Ontario, Canada on 23 Apr 1896 to John Alexander Kelly and Matilda Ostrom. Nelson Alfred Arthur Kelly had 4 children. He passed away on 11 Apr 1958 in Toronto, York, Ontario.


Most families have historic photographs of their ancestors either in albums, frames or stored in boxes. Some photographs are more striking than others. Take for example our latest digital donation – images of Nelson A Kelly and his collection of puppets! From- CLICK HERE

Nelson was born in 1896 in Toronto and grew up there attending Dewson St. School. He serve in WW1 as a member of the 48th Highlanders. Mr Kelly learned the art of ventriloquism from his father John A. Kelly.  He had a large collections of puppets of all types and sizes and enjoyed rebuilding damaged puppets in his workshop. He was generous in entertaining friends and organizations. Kelly often entertained at Post 59, Canadian Legion where he was a member and president.  He also was a member of the Hat and Rabbit Club in Toronto. These photographs are dated by the family around 1955. Mr. Kelly died in 1958 at the age of 62.

CHPF thanks the Reusch family for this colourful addition to the Foundation. Our archivists encourage that historic photographs such as these be kept in a cool, dry space, away from direct sunlight. Ideally it is best to remove them from albums with glue or smelly plastic as these can damage delicate photographs over time. As always if you are ever unsure of how to preserve your historic images bring them in or contact us. We are happy to help! from- CLICK HERE

also read-

Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works -Creepy Entertainment

Hocus Pocus —Untangling The Sutherland Sisters

So Who Was Miss Livingstone? Burlesque

I Just Followed Baker Bob – PuppetsUp! Parade August 7th

I’m Your Puppet! — Hi Diddle Day and Uncle Chichimus

Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Isn’t Life Really Just One Big Puppet Show? A Photo Essay about Puppets and more

Did you Know Nick is not a Millionaire?

Jane Austen and Linda Comment on the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

I Will See You at PuppetsUp! Today

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

Latest issue of Screamin’ Mamas Magazine from Florida. Cover is of Linda Seccaspina with her Elvis puppet on Bridge Street in Carleton Place shot by our local Lanark County gal Sherry Crummy. 

Everyone knows I love puppets and worship the ground iconic Noreen Young walks on. My house used to be featured in the opening of the old CBC show Hi- Diddle-Day and I even have a room devoted to puppets. They are not expensive ones, but just the ones that have been given away to thrift shops. Everyone and everything needs a loving home.


I found this ad in one of the old Carleton Place Canadian newspapers at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum last week and I knew I had to search for an update about Laird Keller. I don’t know this man from squat-but what was he doing decades later? What I found was not what I expected to find. I sadly found a crowd-funding page.


Looking for a Home for my Ventriloquist Dummy– 2015

  • Old Man And His Dummy-Smiths Falls
  • You can help Laird afford to give his 53 year old partner (dummy) away, so the dummy can go on long after Laird is gone. 60 years as a Ventriloquist, and at one time Canada’s youngest ventriloquist.
  • Making it in show biz has always been Laird’s love, but it doesn’t always pay the bills.  He had planned on traveling around to Fairs to perform when he retired.  (From the age of nine years old Laird has entertained at children’s parties, store openings, hospitals and when old enough, weekend in night clubs.)  Alas this is not to be.  Like most in his family he smoked.  Not anymore, but to late to stop from getting COPD.  Now if he walks 9 feet from the bathroom, he has to sit down for 2 minutes to catch his breath.  An entertainer at Country Fairs is not going to be.
  • Woody, his partner is his concern, after all he has been by his side for 53 years.  Costing a lot of money at the time of creation, with a present value to Laird of priceless.  Laird has a very short time left, but like most people didn’t save up for this ailment.  He can sell his partner Woody to a collector to keep on a shelf and just rot, or give him away to some young performer that can’t afford to buy his own dummy.
  • This makes 2 people who can’t afford to do what is right, Laird to sell and the young performer to buy.
  • Here is what he would like to do.  Collect a small offering from many people so as Woody can be passed on to a young starving ventriloquist.  At the time of his passing all contributors will be offered a ticket to his last performance (my funeral).  Woody will be sitting on top of his closed coffin, thanking everyone one for coming.  I dare you to see his lips move.
  • After this his wooden pal, (dummy) will be given to someone who needs him, all with the support of all you people.

This was the last item I posted about Laird… Today is his birthday and I found out he passed away in 2019. I am heartbroken…

Thank you everyone for the kind condolences, thoughts and memories.

We will be holding a Celebration of Life for Laird Keller.
All friends and family are welcome to join us for a drink and share some stories at Ye Olde Orchard Pub … and if we are truly honouring my Dad, even naps are permitted.

Sunday, November 3, 2019, from 2:00 – 4:00pm

Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill (the Bridge Room)
66 Boulevard Salaberry S,
Châteauguay, QC J6J 4J5
(450) 692-5454

Casual setting. Children welcome