Former Optigan® employee Mike McKittrick writes:
I have a fully functional Optigan® organ in good condition for sale with extras. All for $750 (cash or cashiers check only).
Here’s the list-
Optigan® Console- Model 35001 with owners manual and cleaning wand.
Optigan® bench- hinged seat opens for easy storage of music discs and music books.
Music discs – 34 discs in 3 storage organizers (with index tabs for each disc).
Music books- 18 Optigan® music books.
Here’s a pdf with a detailed rundown of what’s included.
I want to sell everything as one complete package with local pickup from the Los Angeles area.
Interested parties please email me and I’d be happy to email you a detailed PDF and photos.
Again, all for $750. Interested serious parties only. Price is firm.
THIS OPTIGAN® IS NOW SOLD. I’m leaving up the details for informational purposes only.
Mike also writes:
By the way, I’m a retired longtime Mattel employee. In my early 20’s, I had the pleasure of working at Optigan® (early 70’s) for a brief time. I was there just as they were about to start production, rocky start and all.
Here’s my recollection of working at Optigan® in the pre-production/production-start days:
I worked there in a temporary position (only a few months) while I waited for another position to open at Mattel HQ. My primary job was in the Model Shop making molded parts of the heart of the Optigan® for pre-production and testing purposes. That part is the black unit that holds the 57 optical sensors for reading audio data from the disc. I used a manual, hand operated molding press affectionately called a ‘dental press’ to mold the parts. Quite tedious and monotonous. Many of my molded parts were used in early production Optigans because the final manufacturing mold wasn’t finished yet. Other jobs included sonic welding the little white speed indicator to the tempo slider, milling slots in one of the PCB boards, and general floor sweeping. Good times.
One day prior to actual production, there was a factory floor ‘walk through’ for the big-wigs from Mattel including Ruth Handler, CEO Mattel. The chief engineer demonstrated a solid working prototype and indicated he needed more time to finalize details in preparation for production- meaning it still have a few bugs. He was pressured from those above his pay grade to get into production ASAP, hence the buggy Optigans we all know and love today.
I recall the first time I heard and played with the Optigan. It was so cool….for it’s time. I remember quickly moving the tempo wheel while playing a few notes and it reminded me of a track from Pink Floyd’s LP ‘Atom Heart Mother’. (Yes an LP, and funny the things one remembers.)
One of the engineers you list is John Northrop, who is the son of Jack Northrop of ‘Northrop’ aviation fame. For a few weeks, John’s son Mark worked alongside me in the model shop making parts.
There are probably a few other tidbits to share but hey, it’s been over 40 years!
I worked at Mattel in D&D for over 30 years engineering and managing toy development. One of my favorite toys that I engineered was ‘Spydor’ for the Masters of the Universe line in the 80’s. Good times indeed.