New Wolfman ready to start in May

Sugar Hill resident takes over at Clark's Trading Post

John Smith, of Sugar Hill, trying out for the job of Wolfman during auditions April 18 in Lincoln. (click for larger version)
April 29, 2009
LINCOLN—For the first time in 15 years there is a new Wolfman at Clark's Trading Post.

John Smith, of Sugar Hill, was recently chosen, along with Tim Ryan, of Pittsfield, to replace Bill Farrand, who held the position of Wolfman for 15 years. The two former men auditioned along with about 12 others on a recent Saturday at Clark's.

The moment Smith walked in the door for the audition at Clark's Anne Englert, Clark's human resources manager, knew he was a contender for the job.

"He rose right to the top of our group of contenders right away, he was in character the moment he walked in and never got out of character," Englert said. "When he got on stage I knew I wanted him. He was very creative and obviously put a lot of time into preparing his costume."

Smith showed he has a funny and playful side that will be important to connect with the thousands of children who visit Clark's every year, she said.

Smith, who had been unemployed for two years, is quite excited about the opportunity to play the Wolfman. There has been a Wolfman at Clark's since 1983, and about 12 fulltime Wolfmen and many part-timers Englert said. Farrand, who had to quit this year because of illness, was the longest serving holder of the position, she said.

Smith and Ryan will split the shifts since the Wolfman must be on duty seven days a week, Englert said.

"We saw two Wolfmen we just had to have. We were quite lucky," Englert said.

The main requirements are that the Wolfman must grow a beard for the summer, be unkempt on the job and be scary—but not too scary because of the children.

"It's a fine line between scary and likeability," Englert said.

The Wolfman drives a beat up car to parallel the train on the site and jumps out on occasion to yell things at the passengers who he accuses of trying to steal his "unobtanium" mining rights. Occasionally he fires off a shotgun with blanks to scare train passengers.

Smith is definitely putting the emphasis on the likeability part of the job. "I may be six-foot-four but it's hard for me to be scary," Smith said.

The moment Smith heard about the audition he began growing out his beard. He expects to have a full beard in time for the opening the weekend of May 23.

The week prior to that, Smith and Ryan will be at Clark's getting acquainted with the park, their route and the equipment they'll use.

"I saw the Wolfman about 20 years ago but not since," Smith said.

He said the job is perfect for him: he likes to make people laugh, likes to have fun everyday and will be outdoors for most of the summer. He likes to dress up in costumes so that makes the job a perfect fit for him as well.

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