Turtle King Interview
Once we went online last year, everything had to change: online schedules were made, club activities were adapted and assemblies went virtual. But how could we have kept track of all these changes? With everyone online, information seemed to get around a lot slower. And then, suddenly, a solution presented itself in the form of a man with a crown and purple robe (courtesy of the theater department). He sat on an ornate red couch and to his side sat a tank with two turtles eagerly waiting to be fed. I think we can all guess who is being described: The Turtle King! One of Hamden Hall's most iconic figures.
Beginning his reign in the midst of a pandemic, he kept us up to date about the changes that were happening and lifted spirits with his videos of feeding the turtles. But what happened after we all came back? Where has the Turtle King been? Is he still feeding the turtles? Find out everything in the interview below!
What’s your favorite part about being the Turtle King?
My favorite part about being the Turtle King, is probably after I made all the videos there were certain things that happened on campus. Like the car parades and Fun-days at Augur Field for the lower school kids, I was asked to participate. The little kids loved the Turtle King, I would stand in the back of the golf cart and Jackie, my coworker, would be driving. And we’d make laps around the field. As soon as we pulled in, we’d start tooting the horn and the kids would go crazy. It was great because the little kids really seemed to enjoy it.
Do you still feed the turtles now that Mr. Jewett is back?
Yes, they were in the lower school science room and when school started again more teachers started using the area. The turtles needed more space so we ended up taking their tank to my facilities office where we’ve got a whole set up to change the water. Those turtles have never had it so good, they’re living the dream!
Did you come up with names for the turtles?
Well, I know that there’s at least one male and one female cause you can tell by the length of their tail (the Turtle King researched this). So I named them Ozzie and Harriet, it's an old school television show about this old married couple. I think the little kids might have different names, but that's just what I call them.
Which one is your favorite and why?
Probably Ozzie, the male one only because he’s a little feisty. I had to go to Petco because his eye was swollen shut, so I bought him some turtle eye drops. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had to drop eye drops onto a turtle before (we had not), but it’s not the easiest thing in the world. I had to fight him, so I’ve got to respect him for that.
When did you decide to dress up as the Turtle King? Where did you get your attire from?
It was the brainchild of my boss, Jim Hunter, we saw the turtle tank and no one was around, we were the only people here working on the classrooms and he said “Oh, it would be great if we made a video of you feeding the turtles and sent it out to all the kids.” and I thought
“Yeah, let's do it.” It was well received so then he thought we should make it a weekly thing and then ideas started rolling around. When the Turtle King video just started going, I was wearing what I’m wearing now (regular clothes). But the Tiger King was brand new and everyone was loving it, so I became more of a PG rated one: the Turtle King. I went up to the theater department’s wardrobe closet and found the robe and the crown. That was episode three or something, the ones before that were like the pilot episodes. I wasn’t in full character, so those didn’t have much air time.
Will there be more Turtle King episodes?
Well the good thing about turtles is that they have a tendency to resurface. I’ll pop up, don’t worry about that. Be on the lookout for a triumphant return!