Orion Lighting

Orion were responsible for manufacturing some pretty fantastic projection effects wheels, some are still in use today. Orion was created by Larry Wooden from a basic need to give his Band some lighting with a different vista than the obiquious liquid wheel. Larry used his photo experience in making a new flavour of wheel, the graphic wheel was born. The first ones were simple dots and stripes, and later the idea of using a mask and real slides, of Crystal Palace dinosaurs actually gave Larry a winner, and it led the way to the concept of a continuous panoramic design. All others by other lighting designers seem to follow from the original concept by Larry. Look at the wheels and thank Larry for giving us some really great effects. UPDATE!! Orion has returned. Larry is currently (OCT 2022) producing artworks again and has the ability to reproduce some of his original wheels, as well as secondary product. www.orioneffects.co.uk and there you will find current contact info/email.

Orion Lighting Shopfront

Click to Goto ORION Website

Shop Front, see wheels on display   Larry Wooden
Cat Front
Orion Wheel Catalog
Cat Back
The wheels on this page were manufactured by Orion Lighting.
All designs copyright of Larry Wooden 1967-2009.
Club Crystal Daffy Disco Dinosaur Doctor Who Fantasy
Gangster Glamour Glamour Slide Happy Birthday Hellfire Looney Group
Medieval Punk Rock Rainbow Roman Orgy Sarex Shark
Torture Super Heroes Streak Star Wars Space Panorama Smurf
War of the Worlds Wedding Wild West Zombie    

Orion did not produce any 3" effects cassette. Some of the designs never made it into production, but those shown here all did. Larry did have his own website, but sadly this is no longer, so my thanks to Larry for his kind permission to reproduce the information presented on this page.

Dr Who Lightshow The Dr Who Lightshow commenced in 1968 when some lighting was made up to accompany the band D’Arcy Spice. After a short while requests came from the new DJs asking to either supply them with lights or do a lightshow for them. In practice both supply of lighting and lightshows was done. The lightshow ended when the Orion shop was opened, the equipment was then used for demonstrations. Shown left is one of the setups with the Tutor II projector among others.
Catalog 1972 page1 Catalog 1972 page 2 Catalog 1972 page 3 Catalog 1972 page 4 Catalog 1972 page5 Catalog 1972 page 6
Shown above is the catalog from 1972 listing items available at that time.
Click to see Hi Res image
Shown left an image scan (well digital photo actually) of an Orion wheel, click the image to see the wheel image in clear high resolution. This is an indication of the quality of these wheels, the wheel was used extensively and bought in the 70's.

Demonstration wall in Shop


One of the new wheels (2022)


View of shop rear showing effects display


Some time ago, Larry wrote an intro on the Orion story, Reproduced here a copy of the text.

A Brief History of Light and Orion Lighting

In the beginning, around 1968, there was darkness and bands performed in dark smoky cellars, then came the light, in the form of the liquid wheel. Developed in America from shows using clock glasses on overhead projectors, the liquid wheel has proved to be the most enduring projected effect. Unfortunately this proved a little boring for my band (D’Arcy Spice), and I then came across the Sarex Wheel, made by Colin Cadle of Andromeda Spiral Lighting in Blackheath, London. The Sarex was a mixture of glass paint and glue, and gave a very psychedelic effect. In time this also become boring, so I used my photographic experience to create some graphic design wheels consisting of dots, stripes and patterns. Now, with the film between my teeth so to speak, I made up a 35mm slide mask wheel featuring Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace. Whilst not a big success it led the way to the concept of a continuous panoramic design. A visit to the famous space artist, Dave Hardy (responsible for many of the paintings and illustrations in Sir Patrick Moore’s books), produced the original panoramic wheel, the Space Panorama. This wheel was a huge success, and soon copied by others. At the same time I had another artist draw a cartoon design, his name was Steve Maher, and the design was the Streak Wheel. It was first made in black and white, and hand coloured, but the colour printing techniques used on the Space Panorama, rapidly led to colouring the Streak master and saving hours of time! Many other designs followed, another by Dave Hardy (War of the Worlds), and most of the remainder by Steve Maher. For a change I had a few done by other artists. The Medieval, Roman Orgy and Dinosaur were painted by Maggie Gould, and the Wild West by a well known artist who used to draw a western comic strip for the newspapers. Unfortunately I can not remember his name, and I suspect he is no longer with us, as he was already retired in 1976.
Whilst I was busy making new designs, other companies were also busy such as Optikinetics, Pluto, Solar Prism, Compar, Project and Light Fantastic. Optikinetics are still going strong with a range of 50 wheels, the Pluto designs are also still available on line. The remainder are no longer around unfortunately. I also used to make the wheels for Solar Prism Lighting from his (Dave Hone) designs. They were all graphic wheels designed in intricate shapes in Letraset, along with a vast range of 2” slides. I suspect Dave kept Letraset in business all by himself! There was at least one other wheel manufacturer, but I never managed to find them, I seem to remember an Alice in Wonderland design by them that I never got hold of. All my designs were test run by my mobile lightshow, The Doctor Who Lightshow which performed at a number of venues in Essex lighting up all the main acts of the day. The show had 6 Tutor 2 projectors, a couple of slide projectors, numerous UV, strobes, spots etc, all rigged on an 8ft by 8ft lighting rig. My wheel box had just about every known wheel, along with a selection of test wheels. We used custom made control equipment which eventually led to the Orion 10 Way Chaser, and the Spirochaser, both good sellers.
It all came to an end in 1981 when Orion finally succumbed to the recession. The equipment was sold off, and all that remains are my artworks, proof wheels and 1 Tutor 2 projector. **I have a web site for my current work as a stereographer making 3D photographs, and I have created some extra pages featuring all the wheel designs, catalogue scans and photos that I can get hold of.
Larry Wooden
19th April 2009

** The original website is no more. However in 2022 Larry resurfaced with a great new website:-


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