Wizzard Light Show


Based in Arcadia/Pasadena/Sierra Madre/Monrovia/California/USA between 1966 and 1974.

Owner/operator Richard L. Young (The Wizzard)

Some of the cast and crew:

Kip gates
Steve Gates
Doug Tharlson
Jerry Day
Jude (from the Hog Farm Commune)
Bob "Focus" (from the Hog Farm Commune)
Jim Reynolds (from the Hog farm Commune)
Dave "Carrot" Christiansen
Connie Marashek
Sue Marashek
Tony Drew (Little Janis)
Kate Hughes

Started in 1966 by Richard L. Young, dubbed The Wizzard, by high school classmate Doug Tharlson.

The nick name Wizzard, came from the time when Doug, was then in a new band called The 8th Day. Doug asked Richard to build a strobe light for his band. Not knowing what a strobe light was, he asked Doug to explain. Dougs' explanation: similar to a repeating photo-flash unit and if you adjust the speed of the flash to the proper setting and aim it at a dance floor, it makes the dancers appear in slow motion or like in the old time flicker movies.

Richard cobbled up the first show strobe from junk TV parts and a salvaged photo flash head, on the kitchen table of the house where Doug, Richard, and soon to become light show member; Steve Gates lived.

Once the strobe was finished and working, Doug was summoned to the kitchen, where the lights were turned off, and the strobe flickered in the dark kitchen. Doug danced around appearing in slow motion and said: "You're a real wizzard with electronics". The name stuck!

A few weeks later a friend of Doug's, and other local musicians, informed The Wizzard of a new small venue dance concert that was about to open on Friday nights. The venue was The Masonic Lodge, still in existance today at the corner of Foothill Blvd. and Primrose in Monrovia California.

The dance was run by former West coast Jordan Amplifier sales representative Bill Wiltrout and the dance, called lovingly by locals; The Friday Night Freak Outs! Admission was a measly 99 Cents.

The first dance featured two local bands, one of which was Prussian Blue, who's Hammond B3 player is still around playing gigs today.

The first Wizzard Light Show had four eight foot black light fixtures, left over from Richard's early Haunted House in Arcadia California, that were tied to a flicker circuit and two of the hand built Wizzard strobes. Two banks of Dichroic flood lights rimmed the stage to light the bands by keyboard operation.

Doug took a can of fluorescent orange spray paint and an old piece of plywood and painted "Lights By Wizzard" on the plywood. Richard said: The sign has an extra Z. Doug exclaimed "that's because your an extra special Wizzard". The double Z stuck as did the nickname.

Doug and Steve did flourescent body painting on the faces, hands and arms, of the dancers, and the patterns flickered under the glow of the Black Lights.

A few weeks later an old slide projector was added and modified to do the first "liquid projection". Then an 8mm movie projector was added showing old cartoons such as Laurel and Hardy, The Little Rascals, and Charlie Champlin.

About a month later, Doug suggested Wizz go to San Francisco, where major light shows were taking off. Wizz landed at the Filmore Ballroom and for the first time, witnessed real "oils" done by Little Princess 109 light show. Getting rather bold, Wizz climbed the projection ladder and looked over the shoulders of two ladies running the overhead projectors with the "crystals" full of colored liquids.

One asked: Who are you? Wizz answered: "I'm the Wizzard Light Show from LA". He was then offered the chance to run his first REAL liquids by one of the ladies, and the rest, as they say, is history!!!

Tune in later for more updates as they followed the Wizzard Light Show to additional equipment, more effects and bigger and more popular venues such as The KRLA Saturday Night Thing at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, The Shrine, The Rose Palace, and many others.