'Chronicle' Chronicles The Canal

MICHAEL J. RAUSCH/ENTERPRISE - "Chronicle" producer Stella Gould (left) interviews Mezza Luna owner E.J. Cubellis. Editor and videographer Bob Oliver is behind the camera.

For four days last week, Bourne became the center of attention for a crew from WCVB Channel 5’s popular newsmagazine program, “Chronicle.”

Longtime show producer Stella Gould and videographer/editor Robert S. Oliver filmed material for a segment that will air next month as part of the show’s “Main Streets and Back Roads of New England.” The segment will highlight the Cape Cod Canal, which runs the length of Main Street in Buzzards Bay.

“I was told ‘Go shoot a Main Streets,’ and I said, ‘How about the canal?’ So it was really that simple,” Ms. Gould said.

Ms. Gould and Mr. Oliver visited a number of Main Street fixtures this week, including the National Marine Life Center, the Army Corps of Engineers offices, the railroad bridge and the Mezza Luna Restaurant, as they compiled material for their segment. At the Army Corps yesterday, they spent time in its control center. She said that the Corps also raised and lowered the railroad bridge for them, while they were on it.

“So we’re a little ragged,” she said.

Ms. Gould said that WCVB’s Anthony Everett will be the featured reporter for the segment. Mr. Everett was in Bourne yesterday to speak with Massachusetts Maritime Academy president Rear Admiral Richard G. Gurnon about the canal centennial celebration and to try his hand at the academy’s 360-degree ship’s bridge simulator.


He also interviewed Boston College professor and architectural historian Timothy T. Orwig, author of the book, “Images of America: Cape Cod Canal.”

The two spoke on board the Cape Cod Dinner Train, which P. Christopher Podgurski, president and CEO of Mass Coastal Railroad, agreed to roll out for the show, she said.

Ms. Gould explained that the canal came to her attention because of a recent Historic New England magazine she read that featured the canal and a collection of memorabilia compiled by Bourne resident Nina H. Webber.

Ms. Webber has had a fascination with the canal for years and has put together a historical collection of material related to the canal, dating to when it was first excavated. The collection will be on display at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Saturday, April 26, during the Blending of the Waters Gala that kicks off the canal centennial celebration.

“It’s not just postcards and photos, it’s ephemera, souvenir-type things as well. It’s a pretty complete collection,” she said.

Ms. Gould said that she was unable to interview Ms. Webber on camera because she is currently in Florida, and will not be back in Bourne until some time next week.

She also spoke with Admiral Gurnon.

The admiral said that he took Ms. Gould and Mr. Oliver on a trip up and down the canal, during which he shared his thoughts and knowledge on Bourne’s major waterway. He said that he talked about its history and the dynamics of digging the canal. He also shared what the canal means as a source of recreation for boaters and fishermen, relaxation to Cape Codders and visitors alike, and for commerce.

“Your gas, your home heating oil, even the shoes on your feet, came to you by way of the Cape Cod Canal,” he said.

The segment will also feature comments from Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Marie J. Oliva.

Ms. Oliva said that one of the things she talked about was how Bourne is trying to bring commuter rail to Buzzards Bay. She said that she talked about the positive impact it would have on Main Street businesses when matched with the CapeFLYER and Cape Cod Central Railroad, and that it “will change the face of Main Street.”

“Tying the rail in, with all three, will create dynamic commerce on Main Street, and it will attract investors,” she said.

It was Ms. Oliva who advised the “Chronicle” crew to head over to the Mezza Luna Restaurant, Ms. Gould said. There, they interviewed the owner, Emilio J. (EJ) Cubellis. Mr. Cubellis said that they wanted to talk to him about the restaurant’s 78-year history in Buzzards Bay.

“Anytime I’ve seen the show, they always do a restaurant,” he said.

After a 10-minute on camera interview, Ms. Gould and Mr. Oliver went into the kitchen to film the chefs plating some of the restaurant’s best dishes. They also took video of the pictures that line the restaurant’s walls, highlighting its history. Mr. Cubellis said that in addition to many local dignitaries, such as town officials, Mezza Luna was a favorite Cape haunt for former Boston City councilor Albert L. (Dapper) O’Neill.

Ms. Gould said that, for her, the whole experience of hearing and learning about the canal was fascinating. She admitted to not being a “Cape person,” but spending a week being exposed to the canal’s history was an eye-opener. Most people, she said, consider the canal to be simply a dividing line between being on or off the Cape, and little else. A week later, she knows it is more than that.

“There’s a lot that goes on here between the natural resources and just as a mode of transportation. I just think a lot of people don’t understand, and I think the centennial will draw some attention to it in a nice, positive way,” she said.


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