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Ventriloquists & Their Dummies
Lester & Willie Tyler - Smart-alecky black ventriloquist dummy owned and operated by comedian Willie Tyler and seen on the comedy variety program ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN/NBC/1968-73.

Lester the Dummy and Ventriloquist Willie Tyler

Lester was a hip, 42-inch dummy with a big afro-hair style (since trimmed) who always dressed in super-cool fashions to attract the ladies.

When Willie Tyler was ten-years-old in the early 1940s he saw a magazine advertisement for a correspondence course teaching ventriloquism. He sent away for the information and began to practice throwing his voice with a doll discarded by his sister. His first real dummy was a Jerry Mahoney doll that he painted brown.

Lester got his name one day when Willie Tyler's brother came home and commented "there's a guy in study hall named Lester and he looks just like your dummy."

Willie used his talents to entertain his Air Force buddies while in the service and later toured with such Motown singers as the Supremes, and the Temptations in the 1960s.

Willie Tyler & Lester - 1965 'Hello Dummy!' Comedy Album
1965 Comedy Album

Born September 8, 1940, in Red Level, Alabama, Willie Tyler debuted on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW in 1970 and then was picked as a regular on LAUGH-IN for 1972-73 seasons.

Willie: Hey, you've traveled all over the world, right?
Lester: Right.
Willie: You've been where.
Lester: I've been to Alaska.
Willie: When's the last time you've been to Alaska
Lester: Not too long ago. I went up there one time, man and I saw some tourist, They were so ugly, the bears were taking pictures of them
Lester: When I was in school the teacher told me I was going to be an astronaut.
Willie: When you were in school the teacher told you you were gonna be an astronaut?
Lester: Well, actually she told me I was taking up space.
Willie: Hey, I got to ask you something. Do you believe in reincarnation?
Lester: What kind of carnation?
Willie: Reincarnation.
Lester: What is that, recycled evaporated milk?
Willie: No, it's when you pass away and you come back again
Lester: Come back from where?
Willie: Wherever it is you go when you pass away.
Lester :In other words, you don't know
Willie: No
Lester: So let's say for the sake of this conversation you pass away, you go somewhere. You don't where you've been. How you gonna know you were there. If you don't know you were there, How you gonna know you were back from where it is you don't even know you were?

In the fall of 1981 Lester and Willie Tyler hosted a Saturday morning ABC WEEKEND SPECIAL anthology of popular short children's stories.

Willie Tyler and Lester the Dummy have since performed across the county in a number of venues, including comedy clubs, colleges, Las Vegas hotels and corporate shows.

TRIVIA NOTE: When buying clothes for Lester, Willie goes to the boy's clothing section at local department stores. (Ebony 10/81).  

Lester the Dummy & Willie Tyler on an episode of THE JEFFERSONS
George Jefferson with Lester and Willie Tyler

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