This week I remembered one of the things Thom and
I did together. It was probably 1969. Does anyone remember an engineer at KSAN named Howie
Watchpress? I think that was his name. Thom told me one of his stories about how
Watchpress was involved in some electronic orgy with a group of horny therapists, and I
sort of put it back with the rest of his tall stories. Then later that day, he asked
if I was free after lunch, would I like to see something interesting..
We went across town to a theatre somewhere, and a lecturer was introducing Howie, who was fooling around in front of the stage with a pile of electronic stuff, some wires and a humongous plastic dildo with wires coming out the back. There was a couple hundred men and women in the audience, and it seemed they had been sharing a weekend-long encounter session together.
There was a wild-haired shirtless drummer with electronic drum pads of some primitive kind, also wired to the dildo, and Howie also had a microphone wired to the setup. The drums and microphone caused vibrations within the dildo, of adjustable intensity and frequency, and Howie adjusted the knobs.
The MC was going on with lots of words about the cosmic importance and exceptional spiritual relevance of this experiment, but they would need a female volunteer from the audience who would like to experience music as they never had. For the common good. A large blond, not unattractive, and a favorite of the group then completely disrobed and lay down on a table, and inserted the dildo deep into its intended destination. As she settled down, the drummer made a few light taps. She went, "ooh!"
Howie spoke, then made some mumbo jumbo noises into the microphone, and she went oH! OH!. O'hair, who was standing beside me at the rear of the assembled crowd, asked me if I thought we should get the station hooked up this way for anyone in our listening audience who wanted it, and I responded that I might approach my show a little differently.., and he made the
predictable wisecrack about my show.
By now the drummer, who was seated about 12 feet away from the reclining receptor lady was really showing his chops, and the subject was ooh ooh oohing with some rythmic regularity. Thom gave me the 'let's get outa here' nod, and we left. On the way back we smoked, and had a wide ranging discussion of radio's untapped potential. I never again doubted one of his stories.
Not only is your memory real, the guy has a
patent on his invention. Reading your post, I somehow remembered his correct name, which
is How Wachspress, from reading about this somewhere long ago. I searched on the web &
found his web site. He's apparently still in SF and still a loon... His other patents are
for magnetic levitation devices that will supposedly revolutionize space travel.
As for the "tactile stimulator" as the patent calls it... his invention was hyped in the 70s as the beginning of the coming (excuse the expression) age of cybersex -- and he was named the father of "teledildonics." (That word was coined by Ted Nelson, who also invented hypertext and is widely called the inventor of the world wide web.)
The influence of KSAN reaches far and wide. And deep.
Howe Franklin Wachspress was around
The City for several years after he left KSAN, but I don't know where he is now.
Last time I ran into him he was working on some sort of grandiose vision involving
magnetism and flying craft.
The dildo experiment was part of Howe's plan to wire the world so we could all diddle each other by telephone. That's when Thom and I began calling the morning show "The Radio Dildo Show."