Rutland's "Mr. Halloween" dies

10/23/08 4:15PM By Nina Keck
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(Host) The man behind Rutland's popular Halloween Parade has died. Tom Fagan, who was known as Mr. Halloween to many, was 76.

VPR's Nina Keck has more.


(Parade music)

(Keck) Halloween in Rutland is a big deal. The city hosts Vermont's largest parade, with about 10,000 spectators annually. Sadly, the man who inspired that parade will be absent this year.

Tom Fagan was a reporter for the Rutland Herald when he encouraged the city's recreation department to create the goulish celebration back in 1959.

Fagan was crazy about comic books and he worked them into the parade, often dressing up as Batman. He was friends with many comic book writers and he encouraged them to come to Rutland, dress up in costume and appear with him in the parade.

In the 1970s, Rutland's Halloween parade achieved a degree of fame when it was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, published by both DC and Marvel.

Tom Fagan was himself featured as a character in a number of these stories, usually depicted as an acquaintance of the lead character.

Kendall Wild, retired editor of the Rutland Herald, says Fagan's interest in Batman and the occult went way back.

(Wild) "When he was in high school - the Paramount theater showed movies in those days - and they were showing a Dracula film and Tom went up on the balcony with a basket full of live bats and released them over the audience down below.'' (laughs)

(Keck) Wild says Tom Fagan was an unusual person who contributed a lot to Rutland's individuality. Fagan's funeral is set for next Wednesday - two days shy of Halloween.

For VPR News, I'm Nina Keck

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