I will be the first to agree that defining any time frame as a "Golden Era" is a highly subjective practice, but I think it's safe to say that the art form truly saw its heyday with the ascent of such performers as Edgar Bergen, Paul Winchell, Senor Wences, Shari Lewis and Shirley Dinsdale. The latter even won the first-ever Emmy Award back in 1949 as that year's Outstanding Television Personality.
That's not to take a thing away from the brilliant Willie Tyler, or any other great practitioners such as Jay Johnson, Jeff Dunham or Ronn Lucas. It's just that ventriloquism as a popular entertainment is much less mainstream than it once was, and those newer names (Tyler rose to prominence in 1972; the "golden agers" were at least a generation earlier) are simply victims of that fact.
Just my two cents' worth. Your mileage may vary, of course.
-- Doug Peterson --