On the lighter side, Nasti’s factory is very busy working on Christmas displays, and one of their more recent projects was the creation of the elements for a large children’s birthday party center in Edmonton, Canada. Named “A Star Is Born,” this elaborate attraction will feature talking trees and a number of interactive animated displays, all created by Nasti’s firm. During Laff In The Dark’s June 2007 visit, Nasti had 10 projects in progress.

Still, you’ll find a prime example of Nasti’s work in Astroland’s Dante’s Inferno, where the daily demand of repetitive motion and the seasonal change in air temperature inside the building would have retired lesser quality stunts.

“Lou’s stuff has definitely stood up over the years,” remarked Astroland General Manager Mark Blumenthal.

“I build everything very strong – I overbuild it,” said Nasti. “If there’s something that will run on a 1/2 –inch piece of steel, we’ll use a one-inch piece of steel, because it will be there 20 years from now. And everything we build, we run it over and over. Test it, test it, test it!”

Reflecting on his long, distinguished career, Nasti shared a number of fascinating stories including one about a conversation he had with an animated Teddy Bear,

“Pasquale,” at a recent trade show. “Pasquale was a chef in a teddy bear kitchen we created,” said Nasti, “During my presentation, I asked Pasquale if he was comfortable the previous night, being alone in the building. He replies, ‘Well, I’m not staying here tonight!’ And I tell him, ‘You gotta stay here tonight; this is a trade show. Otherwise I’m taking you apart.” Afterwards, I tell people, “If this has you scratching your head, imagine what it will do for your customers!”

Despite his many accomplishments and accolades, Nasti doesn’t take himself seriously.

"The world doesn't really need me or what I do. One of my daughters, Victoria, is a child psychologist and the other, Margo, is an English literature professor. They help people and improve their lives. Me? I play with teddy bears and make people smile”.

Partial view of the machine shop, one of the many departments at Mechanical Displays, including studios for costuming, woodworking, painting, sculpting, latex casting, electronics, pneumatics and more.

Above: Animated display figures - commissioned for special concepts and promotions or leased for holiday events.
Below: Lou Nasti adjusts the mechanical and pneumatic apparatus of a talking tree slated for a childrens’ playhouse.