Cutout Bin: Oscar Zamora y Don Chema
As mentioned a few weeks ago in this blog, Cutout Bin has a special affinity for ventriloquist records. The whole idea of ventriloquism is a visual one... an illusion that the puppet is speaking. When you have an audio-only medium like a record, the odd result seems to be just a person speaking in a funny voice. Nevertheless, there are dozens of ventriloquists over the years who have put their acts on wax. One of the lesser-known of these artists is Texas' own Oscar Zamora, along with his sidekick Don Chema. Zamora y Chema released a dozen or so comedy LPs in the '70s and early '80s on San Antonio Tejano label DLB records. Unlike most ventriloquist records which are aimed at children (and usually religious), Zamora's albums are "party records" - "Rated XXX, Solo Para Adultos," one cover claims.
One cover shows Don Chema, in priest garb, chasing a shapely senorita down the street! Of course, Zamora's records are all en Espanol, and Cutout Bin no es fluido. Therefore, we can only guess at the hilarity surely contained on Zamora y Chema's discos. Is he really el major ventrilocuo de America, as the back of one LP boasts? Zamora obviously was, and still is, a very popular Tejano performer in central Texas, though Cutout Bin has had a hard time finding out much about him on gringo-centric Google. He hosted The Oscar Zamora y Don Chema Show on San Antonio TV in the early '80s, and in recent years has entertained at children's events and beauty pageants in Laredo. Just a few weeks ago appeared - damn, missed it! - at El Colonial Mexican Restaurant on Highway 6 here in Houston.
But none of this is what prompted Cutout Bin to write up Zamora today. We've had these records for years. No, what prompted this blog was something we saw during a commercial break in last weeks Mythbusters marathon that had us spewing Ramen noodles across our living room: So there you have it. Everything this gringo could find out about our favorite ventriloquist en Espanol, Oscar Zamora y Don Chema. Surely our more cultured readers can chime in with some stories about this guy. In the meantime, you can buy all 17 volumes of his recordings (on cassette!) from DLB records.
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