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Daily Inspiration: Meet Rusty Pliers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rusty Pliers.

Hi Rusty, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
It all started thirteen years ago on one bright sunny day when I got a phone call from a man named Smooth. Now Smooth is an interesting guy who knows everything about camels and pigs. Smooth invited us to come and do magic and ventriloquism shows at the Eckerts Millstadt Fun Farm in Millstadt Illinois. We performed four shows a day on Saturday and Sunday September thru October for the apple and pumpkin season. It was very soon after that we were performing all over the St. Louis metro area, and throughout the United States doing puppet and magic shows.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
A smooth road does not exist. Fulfilling your dreams comes with highs and lows. No one promised me a rose garden and it’s always been an uphill battle. But that’s what makes the adventure so much fun and satisfying. Covid has created a very difficult struggle for performers. But I was very fortunate to have plenty of work during the summer and into the fall for 2020 and 2021.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a ventriloquist and magician for children and families. I choose to specialize in children based on my previous experience and education. What sets me apart from my peers is that I am a character ventriloquist and magician. It’s the character that people like to come and see. They also are entertained by the character of a hillbilly, and the dialog and relationship between the hillbilly character and puppets.

One of the things that I am most proud of is the development of the character Rusty Pliers. The character really is a lot of different parts of my personality and things that I enjoy. All of my past jobs, life experiences, and education comes into playing the character. I have no formal education in acting or comedy. So I have to do a lot of research on how to develop my character. Actually, my high school acting teacher told me I had not acting talent. I guess after 13 years of performing as a hillbilly ventriloquist, and performing during 2020 when even Broadway shows were closed, he actually was wrong.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I have many childhood memories and it’s hard to say which one is my favorite. During 2020, I wrote a story and coloring book “The Story of Rusty Pliers” and that book is actually filled with childhood memories. The character Rusty Pliers really is based on memories of childhood and the influence people and family members have had on my life. When Rusty Pliers tells the kids he lives with no electric and indoor plumbing. Actually, I am talking about the stories my grandparents told us of being a child in the early 1900s. Rusty lives in a camper and as a kid we did a lot of camping. Many family members are portrayed in the back story of Rusty Pliers, and in our story and coloring book.

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