There’ll Be Some Changes Made

This week’s photo comes from our wonderful Ted Strutz whose pics are always top notch.  Thanks, Ted. The shot of the chair makes it look like it’s on a stage.

So, a show-biz story is in order, I think.

When the success of a comedy duo hits critical mass, it’s been known to happen that they break-up and go their separate ways.  Sometimes it’s amicable, other times it’s disastrous.

Well, this is the disastrous example.


Ten minutes before showtime, the agent found Archie Moore, Beth’s longtime comedy sidekick, hacked to pieces in their dressing room —-  and Beth holding the fire axe.

The agent shook his head in disbelief.  “I never thought you would do it, Beth.”

Beth puffed out hysterical words. “I was responsible for ‘our’ success. I’ll make some success for me now.  No more second-fiddle comedy stooge.  Tell the emcee it’ll be just me tonight … singing!

“I’ll tell them Archie’s not appearing tonight.”  The agent picked up Archie’s wooden head, now sawdust, pieces and chipped paint. “The orchestra’ll have your musical arrangements.”


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84 Responses to There’ll Be Some Changes Made

  1. Dale says:

    Poor Archie! Never stood a chance, did he! Now… to see if she can handle it all on her own!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Well, Johnny Carson, Don Knotts, Ted Knight, lots of funny men were ventriloquists at one time. If you look at my About section, I, too, was a ventriloquist . I’m seriously considering picking it up again.

  2. Sandra says:

    I didn’t see that coming. I just hope she can sing. Nicely done, Kent.

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    Hee hee, was Archie a possessed dummy per chance? Excellent work 🙂

  4. Lynn Love says:

    Ha! Nicely done Kent. I have an urge to grab an axe when I’m near a vent act too! Lovely twist of humour at the end

  5. michael1148humphris says:

    Poor Archie- I wonder what his last word was🙂

  6. elmowrites says:

    Oh, I’m so glad Archie didn’t feel a thing. Although I wonder what his last words were?

  7. jellico84 says:

    Oh, I love the twist on this one. Achie’s going down, indeed. Might make a good hood ornament for her new limo. LOL!

  8. granonine says:

    Awesome! I love a surprise 🙂

  9. James says:

    Whew! Murder averted.

  10. wmqcolby says:

    Yeah, I think we’ve murdered too many people in our stories every week. So, I thought I’d do something to remedy that.

  11. You really had me going! Blood, severed limbs – no sawdust or splinters, though. A fun “split” of partners.

  12. wmqcolby says:

    Yes, a good departure from the normal dark story telling we get at FF.

  13. I’m thinking the stage hands won’t cross this diva.
    5 out of 5 backstage passes,

  14. wmqcolby says:

    Thanks, Tracey. This gal wouldn’t be so harmful, really. Archie was only a puppet with amazing popularity due to her creating him as a memorable character. She probably couldn’t go anywhere without people asking, “Where’s Archie?” So, she took matters in her own hands.

    Thanks for the passes! 😀

  15. subroto says:

    Did Archie see what she saw? Now he is just a chip of the old block. Nice twist in the end.

  16. wmqcolby says:

    Beth was no dummy herself, I’ll grant you that.

  17. rgayer55 says:

    Connie probably feels the same way, having me as her wooden-headed dummy. Better hide the axes and chainsaws.

  18. wmqcolby says:

    That string in the back of your neck really does move your mouth? Amazing! 😉

    This was a fun story to write. I had written this before as an early entry on the blog, but the Queen didn’t like it and rightfully so. It was badly written and I took it down after awhile. In fact, it’s the only story I ever took down, which is good because it gave people the opportunity to forget it. Then I brought it back after my writing skills got better.

    So, I dug it out of memory, re-wrote it and voila!

  19. Dear Cuzzin Notnek,

    I can think of a few other dummies I’d like to get rid of this way. Unfortunately, they’re of the flesh and blood variety. Sigh. It’s not often the remake is better than the original…of course that’s movies. 😉 Glad you took the time with this one. Sing on, Sophie! Five out of five Mortimer Snerds.


    Cuzzin Shelley

  20. trentpmcd says:

    Nice twist. I was thinking shades of “Chicago” here…

  21. wmqcolby says:

    Ah, OK. I never saw Chicago but I heard it was great. I need to check it out.

    Thanks, Trent.

  22. draliman says:

    Haha, great twist at the end! I see where Beth’s coming from – I can remember the names of most of the TV ventriloquist puppets from my childhood, but not their human operators 🙂

    • wmqcolby says:

      Having had success as a kid doing ventriloquism, everyone wanted to know about my dummy Willie. In a way, it is a terrific marketing strategy because everybody remembers him in addition to yourself, but the tail can wag the dog. I never had a problem with Willie’s popularity anyway since he was just a puppet and I was the real star behind it. But, in Beth’s case, she got resentful. Maybe he WAS real after all … 😉

  23. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    Well done. I did not see the twist coming.

  24. The ending certainly caught me unawares! Nice one.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Clare. It was a fun story to do. As I explained to Russell, it already was written but lost over time. It wasn’t very good, either, that previous draft, so I dug it out of memory mothballs and re-wrote.

  25. yarnspinnerr says:

    Clever take on this one. Unexpected twist.

  26. ceayr says:

    Funny as ever, Kent.
    Re comments above, I believe Archie’s last word was ‘Ouch’.
    Five out of five ‘Fats’!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hahaha! “Ouch” would be good. Fats huh? I have seen that movie. It’s a pretty good movie, although, it made ventriloquists trying to eke out a living look like a bunch of psychos. I’m glad Edgar Bergen didn’t live to see it. I worked with puppets many years ago, I might take it up again now that the dust on that issue settled years ago.

      I think AnElephant would be a great ventriloquial figure, very visual and always talking in rhyme. What say you?

      • AnElephantCant decide
        If he wants to be a ventriloquacionerist’s dummy
        He’s kinda big for a lap
        He’s not a lip-sync kinda chap
        He thinks he best go back home and ask his dear Mummy

      • wmqcolby says:

        Hahahaha! Perfect, Elephant. When you get Mum’s permission, we’ll call you when the first show leaves. Happy trunking! 🙂

  27. Haha loved the twist! And strangely made me feel even sadder for poor Archie when the truth was revealed!

  28. wmqcolby says:

    The dummy always gets the praise anyway, that’s probably why it makes you feel sad. I have been looking at old Edgar Bergen clips and he is MISSED. Charlie McCarthy was so real to a lot of people. I wanted to get rid of my old wooden dummy 20 years ago, but Mom said, “No! He’s like a member of the family.” Even she was fooled. I’m thinking of taking it up again.

  29. When I was a child, I wasn’t easily frightened, but there was some about dolls generally that spooked me, but especially those belonging to ventriloquists, and porcelain dolls, and mannequin ones. In other words, please keep your doll away from me, Kent, if you decide to take up the art of ventriloquism again, or use a silly stuffed toy dog instead! The only episode of Dr Who that has had me hiding behind a cushion was the one with evil mannequin dolls.

    All that aside, like everybody else, I loved the twist to your story and was heartily relieved that the victim had a wooden head, otherwise that would make the agent a psychopath as well as Beth, for not turning a hair at her chopping up her partner.

  30. wmqcolby says:

    No WAY! Would you believe I had an aversion to dolls, too? When I was a little boy of about three or four, baby dolls were repulsive to me. Creepy. Made me gag. Mannequins not so much, although, they stayed in the department store. I didn’t so much as even want to touch them. But, I never had a problem with marionettes or puppets. They seemed friendly and inviting. I used to see ventriloquist dummies almost the same way. It’s those lines around the mouth, I think, that make them look strange. Once you get accustomed to them, they really are fun. But, yes. I can use a stuffed toy dog around you. Not everyone warms up to a dummy. He’s probably for more far-away stage presence than being close up.

    Glad you liked the twist. Gets those questioning juices going. 🙂

  31. Your story brought to mind Charley McCarthy & Edger Bergen. I understand he treated his wooden friend well. But, who knows? Perhaps, he may have wanted to send Charley to that special wooden place in the sky. Ha Ha Humor is good medicine. Have a super weekend.
    Isadora 😎

    • wmqcolby says:

      Edgar Bergen … my HERO! Yes! You know, early in his career, when he went into movies (1934 in the beginning) he had hoped to work up to being a leading man and ditch Charlie somewhere along the way. But, he realized he couldn’t succeed without him, he made Charlie’s personality too real. Ventriloquists didn’t do that for their puppets which made it perfect for radio which launched him into stardom. Even after all these years he is missed. Charlie was the kind of the Bart Simpson of his time, but with parental supervision.

      Glad you liked the story. Muchisimas gracias.

      • I think Bergen had a very stiff professor look. It would have been difficult for him to lose that or maybe not since make-up can make people look like different characters. I don’t think it would have been the same without them having each other. Now that you mention it, he was a bit like Bart with his smarty attitude. Still … what wholesome characters these puppets were. WOW … thanks for the walk down memory lane. Although it was before my time I still enjoyed them on TV: somewhere – sometime. De nada … siempre a su serviscio. 😎

      • wmqcolby says:

        Yes, Bergen had that “professor look.” He said on the Johnny Carson Show that he felt he was dull because Charlie and Mortimer were the ones people really wanted to see.
        Yes, I remember them on the Hollywood Palace (which is on Youtube). My first memory of them. Youtube is GREAT for finding the old stuff. Enjoy! 🙂

      • Thank you for the hint. I never would have thought that You Tube would have old shows. 👍 Isadora 😎

      • wmqcolby says:

        I was surprised myself. The Hollywood Palace was a show we watched a lot. Someone who has a Youtube account called “The Hollywood Palace” has the shows uploaded, kinescopes and video tape with the time codes burned into them. Pretty cool!

  32. Michael Wynn says:

    Nice twist. Those dummies can certainly steal the limelight but she’s burnt her bridges well and truly. I hope her singing’s up to it

  33. Ouch! Puppets beware of the human ego. Nice twist, didn’t see the end coming 🙂

  34. Love it. There’s something scary about the Archies of the world. To the woodpile, I say.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Now you sound like W.C. Fields who always went up against Charlie McCarthy on old radio —
      W.C.: Well, well, if it isn’t Charles McCarthy, a termite’s flophouse.
      Charlie: Well, well, W.C. Fields, the man who keeps Seagram’s in business.
      W.C.: You better come out of the sun, boy, before you come “unglued.”
      Charlie: Can I stand in the shade of your nose?

  35. tedstrutz says:

    Well, you faked me out. Nice one… and thank you for the kind words.

  36. What a great twist! You had me imagining grizzly murder.. .which in a way it was! Will Beth be a good enough solo turn to keep working in that tough business? There’s no turning back now

  37. wmqcolby says:

    You are correct, TRG, there is no turning back. My feeling is that she used the vent to launch her career and she’s excellent. She’s no Sophie Tucker, but …

  38. Amy Reese says:

    Haha. I didn’t see that one coming! I hope the puppet doesn’t come back to haunt her and magically piece together again. *5 out of 5 wooden heads!!

  39. wmqcolby says:

    It was a fun one to write and, hey, why go “dark” when you can go “zany,” yes?
    Five out of five Steve Zodiacs for you (the puppet you thought was the coolest in the Fireball X-L5) on his flying cycle for seeing you again. 🙂

  40. She certainly made sure he wasn’t going to come back to try and steal the limelight again! I hope the audience is more forgiving that she is.
    A wacky take on the prompt but also an interesting and slightly creepy look at how real a persona or character can become to its creator

  41. Ha! Great twist at the end!

    It made me think of the old possessed doll stories, like the Twilight Zone episode or Devil Doll. I guess this time it’s the human we have to worry about!

    Good writing, very entertaining ☺

  42. I’m so glad you described his head as wooden.

  43. wmqcolby says:

    Yeah, I figured we had enough “real” violence at FF, we needed some comedy. Thanks, Dawn.

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