by Richard Harris (from TABS, February 1985)
Two facts – Alan joined Strand straight from School – and he was the last man recruited by Strand.
No – this doesn’t mean that we have not taken anyone on since 1968 – it just means that a few weeks after the old Strand Electric and Engineering Company recruited our young hopeful Strand became part of The Rank Organisation.
Alan originally inhabited the King Street showroom, the starting point for so many Strand personalities who trod this road, all upward, although to various destinations.
After an apprenticeship of answering queries on Cinemoid and demonstrating Patt. 45s and 10/20 Dimmer Packs, our hero transferred to the Lantern Laboratory, where he spent some years under the tutelage of the immortal “Mac” Mackenzie, the father of so many Strand lanterns, including the 700 series that some fourteen years ago brought the tungsten halogen revolution to theatre lighting.
I suppose the 765 CSI followspot was the product to which Alan made the greatest personal contribution. I originally met him in 1969 during my first week with Strand. I was taken to the Mackenzie realm, to be greeted at the door by young Luxford peering at me through a 15″ diameter 765 “Edinburgh Tattoo” front lens. The effect was unforgettable.
Alan’s next move was to become a member of the UK sales team where his most prestigious job was a “no holds barred” plus colour monitor MMS for Glyndbourne. The nicest MMS installation we were ever allowed to do. Some six years ago he was again promoted to running an overseas territory.
The photo below shows him at a triumphant moment – more theatres on Vienna’s “What’s On” poster he is so proudly holding are equipped with Strand memory systems, all supplied through our Austrian agents, Messrs Pani, than would be the case with an equivalent London theatre poster.
Young – as I still think of him – Luxford now looks after Australia, so that he can escape the English winter, and Russia so that he can escape the English summer. Of course, he covers a few other spots on the world’s surface in the interests of Strand theatre and television lighting.
His home base? That excellent gleam in the Prince Regent’s eye, Brighton, which in my youth was always promoted as the Queen of Watering Places. One of its more interesting buildings is the Dome, the site of quite a few Gang Shows lit by our hero in pursuit of his hobby – stage lighting, what else?