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Ivan Dryer (1939 - ) is generally considered to be the father of the commercial laser light show industry. He is the founder of the world's first continuously running laser entertainment, known as Laserium.
Dryer was a filmmaker in the early 1970s. On one project, he worked with Dr. Elsa Garmire, a California Institute of Technology physicist interested in laser light art. (She had previously worked with other artists on special event laser shows.) Dryer was disappointed because the resulting film, Laser Image, did not have the pure colors and shimmer of laser light. Dryer realized that it was possible only to capture the special beauty of laser light by using the light itself, not in film or video form.
Dryer had the idea of bringing the Caltech laser to Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory. He, Garmire and Dale Pelton formed Laser Images, Inc. to create planetarium laser shows.
The first Laserium show opened to the public on November 19, 1973. It is thought to be the first on-going laser show that was not part of a special or one-time event. The Laserium shows inspired other companies and individuals to create laser shows and displays. Laser imagery spread from planetariums to become more common at other venues such as concerts and corporate shows.
Laserium shows went on to be played in 46 cities worldwide, including Denver Colorado, USA, Los Angeles, California, USA, and San Francisco, California, USA. The shows were viewed by over 20 million people. According to the company, Laserium was the longest running theatrical attraction in the history of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles show continued until 2002, a run of 28 years. Laserium continues today in special events and on tour.
In 1989, Dryer received the first ILDA Career Achievement Award from the International Laser Display Association. Dryer's company Laser Images won 43 ILDA Awards for artistic and technical excellence, in the years between 1988 and 2000.
Dryer also served as ILDA's president from November 1990 to November 1992.