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THE WHO 1973-1974 Tour Original Fallout Shelter Stage Sign

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THE WHO 1973-1974 Tour Original Fallout Shelter Stage Sign. One of a kind! The only one made. This sign has survived the last 50 years! The Who used their new three-triangle radioactive symbol as the logo for their 1973-74 tour promoting the new Quadrophenia album. The symbol was used on merchandise such as T-shirts, and on concert posters, etc. For the North American Tour of 1973-1974 the symbol was used with the tour name “Fallout Shelter” on posters and promotional material.

Onstage the symbol was brought to life along with “The Who” in a large neon tube display sign, made with various different colour gases in a multi-tubed pattern. The neon sign was built and mounted on a large metal base that hung from chains from the lighting gantry above Keith Moon’s drum set. It was self-contained with integral transformers and had a special flight case made for it, in order to travel safely from the UK to the USA, and back to Europe.

After the November UK shows, the sign appears on the tour at least up to the USA December 1973 Boston Garden show (where there are lots of photos available), and presumably onward and including Canada, so survived the major part of the world tour. According to long-term road manager Bobby Pridden, the sign was unfortunately damaged at some point when on the road, and subsequently retired from the tour, as it was the only one of its kind and could not be quickly repaired, so it was dumped.

The sign was bought by us in the 2000s, in its original state, and carefully inspected. It is 110 Volt.

Its road case/flight case was intact and had protected the sign from further damage. The original UK-built transformers (110v) were present and functioning. There simply had been some damage to a few of the glass sections and luckily most of the original sign was present and undisturbed.  All that was required was an absolute expert in the field of neon signs to affect a sympathetic and 100% accurate restoration to the damaged sections. The correct grade and section of glass needed to be tracked down and worked into shape where needed for the replacement parts, and the whole sign needed to be re-gassed with the correct types of gas, as different gases produce different colours.

This expert that handled this incredible repair is Ramiro Martinez of L & R Neon Inc, in La Mesa California which is San Diego County. Ramiro, who you can see pictured here with the sign, and his brothers did a remarkable job of repairing the yellow rectangle around the radioactive symbol, a small piece of the W & H, and the center of the O. Ramiro went the extra mile and tracked down the exact same glass in England that was originally used on this sign. And he thoroughly checked out all electronics. The original transformers are still intact and working. The pink neon can change in colour depending on indoor/outdoor lighting, angle of photos, and if flash or no flash is used.

There are numerous photos and videos of The Who on their 1973-1974 Tour using this sign.

The sign is now working exactly as it did in 1973/4 and is the only one of its kind!

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USA – Greg Dorsett: 619-229-8709
UK – David Brewis: 0191 421 1831

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