From the editor

From the editor

David Johnson

Dear Reader:

“You’ll come back, they always do!”

This line has been a running gag in our office for years, delivered in a loopy falsetto to any fellow employee who has announced that he or she is leaving the company. The story goes that our former publisher, Pat MacKay, actually said it to an employee when that person submitted their resignation; our version sounds nothing like her, and it’s highly doubtful she ever actually uttered these words, but you know how these urban legends go. The damn thing’s at least a decade old now, but we still trot it out when someone has decided to move on, partly because it’s true–people do seem to return to our fold at a high rate for some reason–and partly because, I don’t know, we like going around talking in loopy falsettos or something.

I bring this up because there seems to be an awful lot of people lately who’ve come back to the entertainment technology fold. Earlier this summer, Scott Miller, the former president and CEO of AMX, returned to the company he helped found. As you may know, the folks who bought Miller out changed the name of the company to Panja; Miller bought the company back, changed the name back to AMX, and is in the process of restructuring the company’s management structure.

Also this summer came the news that Bob Schacherl, longtime president of High End Systems, has been named head of marketing at Vari-Lite International, the company’s main rival in the moving light industry. Couple of years ago, when the two companies were embroiled in a patent infringement fight, this would have been a major bombshell, roughly the equivalent of Yasir Arafat becoming the prime minister of

Israel. It’s still major news, and it should make for some exciting times in the lighting industry.

A few days later, we hear that Tom Littrell, one of our favorite folks in the lighting industry, had returned to the Vari-Lite fold after working at Ignition!, a subsidiary of the company, producing corporate events. He’ll be handling technical marketing for the company’s new products. And while all this was going on, Anne Valentino, former marketing manager at Production Resource Group (and, yes, also formerly with Vari-Lite as Well–these things come in threes, after all), came onboard to work with us here at Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions as technical director for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes/Broadway Sound Master Classes and EDDY Awards in December. (Welcome aboard, Anne.)

But the biggest “you’ll come back, they always do” shout-out goes to the woman who allegedly coined the phrase. After five years away, Pat has returned to the industry, sort of-she’s the guest editor for the September issue of Behind the Themes, the official magazine of the Themed Entertainment Association.

Now, I hope no one asks me to speak in a loopy falsetto at PLASA or AES this month. You’ll regret it. They always do.

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