Larry's Column

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Larry Spongberg

When I was young, I used to enjoy cartoons and comic books about Casper the Friendly Ghost. Several years ago, I was granted the privilege of becoming Larry the Punny Ghost Librarian.

In 2007, the library received a $5,000 grant to produce a library instruction series called d’Alzon Chronicles. The grant was awarded through the Library Services and Technology Act and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The project became an independent study overseen by adjunct professor John Hoover in the Theater and Television Arts Department. The article appears in the library newsletter Emmauel d’Alzon library link vol. 13 issue 1, winter 2009, page 5. This article is available from the library home page by clicking on the “news/events” link and then scrolling down to “newsletters.”

D’Alzon Chronicles is loosely based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I was asked to appear as a ghost in the opening episode as a student, Mike Lepore, was trying to produce an assignment at the last minute. I convinced Mike to accompany me to the library so that I can show him how to locate books on his topic.

The students in the independent study handled the entire technical production and wrote the script, although they relied heavily on guidance from the library staff, especially Carole Myles. For several of my lines, however, the script indicated “Larry inserts pun here,” and my puns were adlibbed as the scenes were filmed.

That led to an interesting dilemma at one point. When the outdoor section of the first episode was shot, some of the words did not come out clearly. To correct that problem, Mike and I had to say our lines again in front of a green background so that the technical staff could splice in the words for the final production. Although most of our lines could be taken from the script, we had to do our best to reconstruct the puns that I had adlibbed during the scene walking from “Mike’s residence hall” to the library. (Often, I forget which pun I say when.)

Of course, the final version does not include the many puns that I came out with off camera while production was going on. I have forgotten most of those, but I do remember at least two.

As we were getting ready to produce the scene at “Mike’s residence hall,” shot at Worcester Hall, the technical student staff brought a large roll of Duck tape to stick up the lighting that would be needed to shoot that scene. When I saw the roll, I exclaimed, “Oh look! This episode is going to be taped!”

Since the production was made during the fall of 2007, a lot of acorns kept falling as we were shooting the outdoor scene. At one point, I declared, “If one of those acorns hits me in the head, I am going to go nuts!”

Before I close, I am thrilled to mention that d’Alzon Chronicles received a publicity award from the Massachusetts Library Association in 2009. Carole sent an email announcing that award on May 8, 2009. (I still have that email in my online files.)

If you are interested in viewing d’Alzon Chronicles, go to YouTube and enter that title as a search bar. The entire series contains three episodes, including the appearance of Carole as a Princess Librarian in the second segment. At one point, her instruction session with Mike takes place in a computer monitor. (Kudos to the technical student staff for producing that scene.) I should alert you that the link from the Winter 2009 library newsletter no longer allows you to access Chronicles, but searching is very easy from YouTube itself.

This event in my life still “haunts” my memories. Until next time, I will be still enjoying my shelf.

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