Sunday, March 18, 2007

Where are they now… Paul L’Ecuyer – Master Puppeteer

Whalom Park Staff (1980 - 1989)

Drawbridge Puppet Productions; We catch up with the former Artist/Entertainment Director of Whalom Park in this interview:

1. Happy anniversary to Drawbridge Puppet Theater. How has business been in the first year?

Thank You! I am celebrating 25 years as a puppeteer this year, fifteen years of operating "Drawbridge Puppet Productions", and this is our first year operating the permanent Drawbridge Puppet Theater here in Lunenburg, and it is going quite well. More and more people are hearing about it and through word of mouth new folks are arriving all the time. We also have a constant stream of regular patrons, parents and children, that have become 'hooked' on the puppet shows.

The older folks (who bring their grandchildren) seem to enjoy the humor that my puppet partner Jeff Koslik writes into the scripts and original music especially for the grown-ups to enjoy. They really enjoy the quality time they get to spend with each other, and in our environment - it's a perfect place. We also do perform at the Lunenburg Primary school (right next door) as well as in surrounding cities and town schools, libraries etc. both with our travelling shows as well as field trips coming here to us.

2. How did the new Whalom Park DVD come about, Paul?

I had planned a video in the past, and put together lots of clips from the years that I worked at the park (1980-1989) as artist/entertainment director and puppeteer. But once computers came out, I soon learned that video was becoming obsolete and decided to learn what I could about the movie making software - which I did.

It is fantastic that anyone now can create their own media from computers! I certainly wish computers were around back in those Whalom Park years! Anyway, I took lots of the video clips and photos both that I had, and had acquired from others to create this one hour DVD - entitled "Whalom Park - For a Whale of a Time" A Personal View by Paul L'Ecuyer.

3. You have an extensive collection of WP memorabilia displayed on Do you have any items on display on site for visitors at Drawbridge Puppet Theater?

I have lots of 2D artwork which will eventually be matted and hung in our future museum. Things like b/w graphic art of the rides and signage, advertisements and even the fold out map of the park that was used in the park brochures for many years.

4. What media coverage have you and Drawbridge Puppet Theater received?

Several were done during my employment at the park, including a front page article by the Fitchburg Sentinel the year I left Whalom. I also appeared as 'Barnaby, the Puppet' on a Boston Television daily talk show called "Talk of the Town" which was hosted by Matt Lauer. Clips of this footage along with folks from Lunenburg are included on the DVD. Just recently an article was written by the Montachusett T&G in which I mentioned my past employment at Whalom and the soon to be released DVD.

Please visit the web site: and through the "ABOUT US" button, click on News to see and read some articles. There have been numerous articles written about the theater, as it is such a unique business and as it contains history from both Whalom Park and 'The Toy Cupboard Theater, in S.Lancaster, MA .

5. Tell us an anecdote about Whalom Park that nobody knows about.

Well… In the mid 1980's I hired a very talented young man, David Vendetti who was a graduate of the Ringling Brothers Clown College and truly a very professional clown. He entertained as a street type performer and allowed patrons waiting in long lines an avenue to be entertained while they waited for the ride.

Many times, "Chuby The Clown" as he was known would work in silence and his humor was seen as visual antics. Often he would walk normally and then suddenly his big clown pants would fall to the ground, leaving him standing with an embarrassed stupor on his very elastic face.

Of course it was used as part of his clown schtick to get a laugh from those who watched, and it always did. He had big colorful shorts on underneath of course, so there was never any indecency. However, one day I was told by the park managment to put a stop to his dropping of pants. They felt it inappropriate for the Park's family environment to be having such immoral behavior occur by a park employee.

I was seeing red and stood up for "Chuby" saying that if they felt it necessary to censor him, then they should tell him themself - as I would not, as I felt it was not indecent - and simply a clown thing to do! Nothing more was said, and David continued to drop his drawers every now and then - to lots of laughter too! Sadly, David Vendetti passed away in 1995.

6. Future Plans?

Our plans are to remain in Lunenburg. I am originally from this town (Lunenburg High School Class of 1977) and have always loved living here. What better place to operate a puppet theater? We're just one mile away from the center of town on Mass. Ave (Rte. 2A) and people find that our country setting with safe off-street parking is perfect for their visit here. The gardens that exist on the property are also wonderful in the spring and summer months and have had many comments on the beauty they possess.

Our theater also provides a meeting place for the town's "Garden Club" which hosts its monthly meeting from our space. It is our hope to continue in this same location for many years to come, including the eventual enlarging of theater space, and starting a school that will encompass the many elements of puppetry arts.

We are also planning to open our theater to anyone who has also made a film and wishes to share it in a public place. We feel that the ability to create film and produce DVD's through one's computer is a fantastic way of personal and artistic expression and hope to allow another avenue for those creative talents who may still lay undiscovered or unheard.

"Whalom Park - For a Whale of a Time" A Personal View by Paul L'Ecuyer.

It is available for immediate order at Drawbridge Puppet Productions.


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Article by: The New Whalom Park Ownership Program, Leominster, MA.

Photos by: Paul L'Ecuyer,, Lunenburg, MA.


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