Orrington Old Home Week


Hometown Boy Makes the World Smile!

The Orrington Historical Society is welcoming Ed Thomas home with an Old Fashioned Stage Show on Tuesday, July 19 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the OHS Grange Hall on 446 Dow Road. This family fun event, sponsored by Ware-Butler  Building Supply, will headline Ed Thomas and his comedic wit and ventriloquist skills. Clayton Rogers will kick off the evening playing the vintage upright piano for a sing-along of old favorites. After the performances, Ed Thomas will be donating two of his original "Jerry" dummies to the Orrington Historical Society as part of their permanent collections. Hugo has recently been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

Ed Thomas was a naturally talented kid, growing up in Orrington, who was always looking for an opportunity to entertain. With the help of his father, he would find his entertainment voice, albeit by throwing it into an inanimate object. As a 10-year-old, Thomas was given a ventriloquist's dummy by his father. When he was a sophomore at Brewer High School, he received Hugo. The duo took off from there!

Without any formal training or mentoring, Thomas mastered the art of ventriloquism, and he and Hugo were sought after throughout much of the northeastern U.S. before he even graduated high school. The duo appeared numerous times on the stage of the Enterprise Grange Hall in Orrington. His success continued through his college days, when he got an audition for a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show. Since 1947, Ed Thomas and Hugo have been entertaining theater and TV audiences throughout the United States. They were the first ventriloquist act to perform on TV in the State of Maine.

After graduating from Nasson College, he put his degree to work in the business world and became Vice-President of three very large companies: Jordan Marsh, A.E. Troutman Company and International Medical Centers. He was also an adjunct professor at Florida International University and taught ventriloquism, with a little help from Hugo, at the Boston Center for Adult Education. But his love of entertaining before a live audience tugged at him constantly. "I love to make people laugh," Thomas explained.

In 2000, Thomas decided to go back on the road, but had problems trying to convince Hugo to join him.  He is as cranky as ever. "You just wouldn't believe some of the things he says -and gets away with," exclaimed Thomas. "You wouldn't catch me saying anything like that." The pair has appeared on many talk shows and were regular guests on the Sunnydale Farm Show. They have also appeared in many TV commercials.

In addition to his ventriloquist act, Thomas developed a stage character for himself called Dr. Horace P. Goodfellow, who would spout the wit and wisdom that reflected his Downeast roots. Not only did Dr. Goodfellow become a one-man show, performing for conventions, fairs and business gatherings all around New England, but he became a regularly featured columnist in a small-town daily.

Welcome Ed Thomas and his friends home on Tuesday, July 19 at the OHS Grange Hall. The Historical Society is accepting donations for this event. Light refreshments will be served. To top off the evening, Orrington's Citizen of the Year will be announced. Don't miss this fun-filled event!

See you all at the Show!

TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2022

6:30 -8:00 p.m.

OHS Grange Hall