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1975 Photo Essay – How to Make an Optigan Disc

Posted by peahix on April 14th, 2017

I had some Optigan odds & ends sitting around and decided to mash them all up into one video. The slide show is from a photo album that Mike LeDoux (the guy in charge of making all the original Optigan discs) put together in 1975 in order to, basically, show his corporate overlords at Miner Industries / Opsonar (this was in the post-Mattel era) why they still needed to keep him, since he was their only employee on the west coast. The idea was to show them how complicated his job was, and that they couldn’t simply “hire some other guy” to do the work at their plant on the east coast. Needless to say, it was a hell of alot more difficult to make an Optigan disc back then as it is now! Though it’s still pretty tricky…

The audio is a variety of things from cassettes found in Mike’s archives:

First off is the only Optigan radio spot that I’m aware of.

Next is a series of demos made during the sessions that Art DePew arranged and conducted for Optigan. These are all big band recordings, and resulted in discs such as Champagne Music, Big Band Beat, Swing It, and Dixieland Strut. During the sessions, they had a bit of fun jamming on the basic arrangements, and that’s what you’re hearing here. Some of these arrangements never got used on any Optigan discs, so we may issue them at some point if there’s sufficient demand.

Lastly is the audio only from a Dec. 21, 1972 broadcast of the Dinah Shore TV show. Her guest was Barry Goldwater, who gets roped into attempting to play an Optigan. I’d love to see the actual clip, but I’ve yet to find it anywhere. If anyone finds it, let me know!

One Response to “1975 Photo Essay – How to Make an Optigan Disc”

  1. Jason Says:


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