Hank Williams, Jr is called Bocephus after Rod Brasfield’s ventriloquist dummy: http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/get-rhythm/item/30377-hank-jr-bocephus-the-brasfield-connection
The Jimmy Dean Show featured Rowlf the Dog from 1963-1966, which was Jim Henson’s first huge breakthough with his Muppets: https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/The_Jimmy_Dean_Show
“During the run of The Jimmy Dean Show, Dean was offered ownership of nearly forty percent of Muppets Inc., but turned it down, feeling he had no real right to what Henson was doing or had created. Dean stated in a 2004 interview that “I didn’t do anything to earn that. If I had done something to earn it I would have said, ‘Alright, fine.’ But I didn’t. A lot of people have said, ‘Well, I bet you’re sorry now.’ No, I am not. Because I couldn’t have lived with me. I’ve got to do things that let me live with me and shave my face in the morning.” Dean continued to assert right up to his death that “they were an asset to The Jimmy Dean Show and they did good things for us, but I wouldn’t want to take them.”
RFD-TV regularly shows the Jimmy Dean Show episodes from that era. As I’ve mentioned previously, RFD also started showing the Gannaway Opry tapes from the 1950s. I read that there are two dozen episodes. The Opry still had much of the “barn dance,” almost Hee Haw vibe at that time, and I most highly recommend these shows to anyone interested in country music and/or American music history.
RFD very recently added a new production called the Merlin Gene Show, and we watched the first two episodes. The first featured Rhonda Vincent and Aaron Tippin, and the second featured Leroy Van Dyke (90 and still performing and touring). Merlin Gene is a country singer and ventriloquist. Anita Stapleton is a member of the band on the show. Roni Stoneman does comedy bits on the show similar to what she did on Hee Haw. The Stoneman family has a storied place in country music history, of course. Ernest Stoneman’s recordings from 1924 are on my Country Roots playlist. The Stonemans used such instruments as the harmonica and the autoharp early on.
Shotgun Red was one of the most recognizable characters on The Nashville Network, and here’s a link to more of the country puppet’s history: https://www.shotgunred.com/about/
Jeff Dunham has played a huge role in bringing ventriloquism back to the spotlight. Everyone has seen the hilarious skits with Achmed and the rest. In 1991-1992, Dunham was on a short-lived country music show called “Hot Country Nights,” and there are several funny clips on YouTube, including this one with Buck Owens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhF2-rUj2H8
Here’s a clip with Reba: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mXNyYfhe6o
The first recording of a singing ventriloquist, as far as I know, is “Voice Throwin’ Blues” by Walter Buddy Boy Hawkins in 1929: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt5kAfwxDuE
Terry Fator brought singing ventriloquism into the modern era by winning America’s Got Talent, and going on to tremendous success as a Las Vegas performer. My brother and I saw his show therea few years ago, and it is outstanding. Years before America’s Got Talent, Fator had a group called Texas The Band, and several clips from that era are on YouTube, including covers of Hank Williams, Roger Miller, Garth Brooks, etc.
Here’s a very funny clip of Terry Fator as Michael Jackson in country-themed routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSLikOqvRdA
Years after Fator won AGT, young singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne also won the show. She has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and she’s playing the San Antonio Rodeo in a couple weeks. She also yodels, and here’s her cover of Patsy Montana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g6-rr3P6Rs
Alvino Rey’s “talking steel guitar,” Stringy, led the way to the later “talk box” effects in popular music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hzDbJHLUK8&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_9hKxf4jatiU6XFX0xY18r&index=17