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R e :   C a t a l i n a   C h a n n e l   -   J u l y   9 ,   1 9 6 8   
 Received : 02/04/10  Martin SHOUGH   

Wim [VAN UTRECHT] references WWII and early post-war searchlights, and programmed lightshows that first became popular in the 1980s and 90s, continuing today. But what was available for parties and promotions in 1968? The spots had to have been visible not just from Long Beach but from locations up to twice as far away in Compton and Hawthorne to the NNW. Powerful military searchlights might be a better bet. The Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station is in about the right area.

Could there have been some Naval air defence exercise underway connected with Seal Beach NWS?

Strathconon, Scotland

Our reply :

Martin is right, and although it is known that the old but very powerful searchlights of WWII were used for all sorts of civilian purposes after the war, outdoor lightshows were very rare in the 1960s. We have indicated the location of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station on the map that accompanied our article. We add here that, according to various Internet sources, the classic 60 inch diameter carbon arc anti-aircraft searchlights from the 1940s era, produced beams with up to 800 million candle power that could be seen over distances of up to 20 miles.


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