Thomas Edison,

Castle Lighting


I have recently found your site and it has been with a great sense of discovery. I noticed that you had minimal information regarding Thomas Edison/Castle Lighting.

Please note that we were an LA-based group (maybe even considered East LA).

We, Mike Bateman, Tim Moore, Karl Mortel (your correspondent), and John Platis, started out as Thomas Edison and later became affiliated with Castle Lighting for access to more equipment, certainly not for any of their artistic sensibilities. Mike, Tim, and I were students at Cal State, LA, whereas, John was in the real world. Obviously, more members were added as we became more successful.

We pretty much did shows with the major bands that rolled through LA at the time (Hendrix, Doors, Big Brother, Jefferson Airplane, Zappa, etc). One of my fondest memories is of a show that we did at the Shrine Auditorium, wherein we showed a film of an eye surgery that was projected directly in back of Hendrix.

That definitely presented an interesting dilemma for the audience.

My sense is that we were a dominant force in LA [approximately 1968-70 (my recollection is hazy for the exact years)], with our major competition coming from Single Wing Turquoise Bird. I remember hearing of their show with the Velvet Underground, which was done primarily in black and white; that was a brilliant concept.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these brief memories,

Most cordially,


Karl Mortel, PhD - November 2004

Thomas Edison, 
Castle Lighting

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