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Louis Bradfield, left, was introduced and presented his Fellows plaque by John Uthoff. He was one of four new Fellows inducted at the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

Photo/Casey Kearns

Louis Bradfield, New Fellow

John Uthoff
USITT Past President

I met our next inductee while I was still in high school. I called the local university and asked for some help fixing the master dimmers for my high schools autotransformer board. Since the school was built in the 1930s and it was then the 1960s, these masters were saturable core dimmers. David Thayer showed up and brought along one of his students. That student was Louis Bradfield. Louie, will you please come to the stage?

Louie left Iowa in 1964, and after brief stops in other entertainment centers, he settled in Las Vegas, working at various showrooms up and down the strip. He is a longtime member of IA Local 720, and has been head electrician at Bally’s (previously the MGM Grand) in the Ziegfeld Theatre since the building opened in 1972. During this time, he became friends with George Thomas Howard, the building’s consultant. Louis was responsible for the electro-mechanical systems for the long running production of Hallelujah Hollywood, and for the current show, now running 26 years, Jubilee. Many of these systems are still in use today as he continues to maintain and update equipment.

A survivor of the Casino fire at the MGM, he was involved in the rebuilding of all these systems and the theatre automation controls after the fire. In 2004, he worked on the major update and redesign of the lighting system to meet specifications of Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz. Louis serves as faculty at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas and is a founding member of the advisory board for the Entertainment Engineering and Design program in the colleges of Fine Arts and Engineering at UNLV. He has been involved in the ESTA Standards program since it began.

Louis has been a member of the Institute since the 1960s, and has been a long time member of the Engineering Commission and the Standards Committee. He did many presentations in the 1970s and 1980s about production in Las Vegas and the systems at Bally’s. During the Las Vegas Conference, he was responsible for the Super Sessions and arranged for many of the production teams of the Las Vegas shows to come and speak at the conference. The success of those sessions was a direct response to his dedication and attention to detail.

Anyone who has been on one of Louis’s personal theatre tours knows of his great knowledge and generous nature. He has served on Standards, as a Director at Large, and is currently the Alternate Liaison to the ESTA Technical Standards Committee.

Louie, with great pleasure, I welcome you to the Fellows.

Louis Bradfield was one of four new Fellows to be inducted in a ceremony at the 2009 Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The honorary designation is given to those selected by vote of the current Fellows and is bestowed for life upon those members who have made a truly outstanding contribution to the theatre and the work of the Institute.

Click their names to read the introductory remarks about the other new Fellows, Laura Crow, Carl Lefko, and Bill Sapsis.

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