July 24, 1966: KPFK-FM in Los Angeles features the debut of Radio Free Oz with Peter Bergman (and his occasional guests Messrs. Austin, Ossman and Proctor). These broadcasts were the genesis of The Firesign Theatre. For over forty years we've had the pleasure to experience comedic history in such recordings as Waiting For the Electrician, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Boom Dot Bust, Box of Danger and many more. Call it parody, improvisation, satire or "stream of consciousness." It fits all these and more; the language of surreal imagination and intellect. The Firesign Theatre -- can't imagine a world without them!

Who Am Us, Anyway?

The original Chromium Switch newsletter (founded by Tom Gedwillo) for fans of The Firesign Theatre existed from 1972 to 1975. Also known as FIREMAIL, the list readership increased after being mentioned on the liner notes of The Giant Rat of Sumatra

Tom Gedwillo
Phil Fountain

You can't get there from here.

"The pyramid is opening!"
"Which one?"
"The one with the ever-widening hole in it!"

This is a line of Indians leaving beautiful Rancho Malario--to make room for YOU! Here's the beautiful Trail of Tears golf course...

So do your part today, Joe. Join with millions of your neighbors and turn in your shoes!

If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.

Newsletter Archives

One of my earliest goals when creating the 'chromiumswitch' domain was to include scans of the original Chromium Switch newsletter from the 1970's. Those issues are available here.

Thanks to Fred Wiebel for sharing his full-color scans of Firezine . Follow the link to download copies of all seven issues.

The complete collection of Four-Alarm FIRESIGNal is now online. In the 1980's and 1990's, Elayne Riggs published this informative and insightful periodical.

Philbert's Phunnies

Now available, exclusively at Chromium Switch, the continuing series of Firesign Theatre cartoons by Phil Fountain.

"...Shout Factory has done a superb job in offering this material with very clean sound and an excellent presentation with intro essays by the various characters associated with Danger in one form or another, including Danger himself, Rocky Rococo, and others. If you are heretofore unacquainted with Nick Danger and interested in humor, in particular classy subversive humor that spoofs everything associated with American culture, you have no idea how much this is for you. Those well versed in both the Firesigns and Danger are already smiling at the thought of such a document."
                        ~Thom Jurek, AMG


"Nick Danger has left the office. Our dear friend and Firesign Theatre partner for over 50 years succumbed to various forms of cancer early this morning at his home on Fox Island, Washington, with his wife Oona and their six beloved dogs at his side. It is a tremendous and unexpected loss, and we will miss him greatly; but in keeping with his wishes, there will be no public memorial. Rest in Peace, Regnad Kcin."

--Phil Proctor, 6/19/2015

Visit the Phil Austin Memorial Guestbook.


12/2014...Hot off the digital press, it's Chromium Switch #3, featuring interviews with Phil Austin, "Zippy the Pinhead" creator Bill Griffith, and Firesign Theatre archivist and curator Taylor "Duke of Madness Motors" Jessen. Featuring an exclusive link to a video interview with Firesign producer Bill McIntyre; news on upcoming Firesign audio/video projects; and Peter Bergman's audio (as MP3 attachment) for his abecedary "A to Z" illustrated by Hal O'Dali. This is a news-packed 60 page issue, ready for download on any device. Enjoy and please share!

04/2013...Announcing Three New Firesign Books! Marching To Shibboleth reproduces both of Firesign's "Big Books," originally published in 1972 and 1974. | Direct from their performances in 1967 at The Magic Mushroom, Exorcism In Your Daily Life presents ten surreal classics | Profiles In Barbeque Sauce brings together Firesign's stage, recording and broadcast performance scripts from 1967 to 1972.

03/2012...Remembering Peter Bergman: We are very sad to report that Peter Bergman, a founding member of the Firesign Theatre and the driving force behind Radio Free Oz in all its incarnations, passed away in the early morning hours of Friday, March 9, 2012 due to complications from leukemia. Here's a collection of tributes to Peter.

11/2011...The Firesign Theatre joined Peter Bergman on a special Radio Free Oz series Talking Over Each Other. Listen to "Faster Than The Speed Of Light" and "Debit! Debit! Debit! Said The Chinese Machine Gun". There's no time for a learning curve when Phil Proctor has a sound effects box, Phil Austin leans back and yells Al Sharpton at will and Dave is ever ready to throw surrealist gas on the flames. It's non-linear, deconstructive, full-on loony and disturbingly unpredictable humor. Take a breath and put it in your ears.

7/2011...A special screening of Everything You Know Is Wrong and Martian Space Party was held July 3rd at The Cinefamily, Los Angeles. The 2nd Annual "Everything Is Festival" featured Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman.

The Firesign Theatre and Seeland Records is proud to present Duke Of Madness Motors, the long-awaited ultra-comprehensive "Dear Friends" radio reissue that fans have been dreaming of for decades. This is the ultimate box-less boxed set of Firesign's complete broadcast output for the years 1970-1972, when they were blowing minds on Los Angeles radio with The Firesign Theatre Radio Hour Hour, Dear Friends, and Let's Eat. Our reissue package is nothing less than the complete history of the period in one 108-page book and one DVD-ROM of MP3 data. The book contains an 8000-word historical essay, new interviews with Firesign and their producer and engineer, complete show rundowns, original scripts, vintage Phil Proctor photocollages, found objects and much more. Meanwhile the DVD-ROM is a data disk containing every show of the era, fully restored and remastered, encoded to MP3 - over 80 hours in all. Dump to your hard drive and let the fun begin. Duke Of Madness Motors is now available directly from the Firesign Theatre website, and it's a limited print run, so act soon! There's gotta be more than a thousand of you Fireheads still alive and salivating for one of these babies. One book-plus-DVD costs just $45 postage paid to the U.S. and Canada, or $50 post paid worldwide (we accept PayPal, credit cards, checks, or well-concealed cash). Peter Bergman and official Firesign archivist Taylor Jessen (the creative genius behind DOMM) talk about this project on Dangerous Minds with Richard Metzger.

The Firesign Theatre had a successful run of live performances over the last few years, with stops in these venues: April 2009 in Monterey, CA; October 2009 in Hollywood; January 2010 in Seattle, Kirkland and Tacoma, WA; June 2010 in Portland, Eugene and Ashland, OR and Redding, CA; October 2010 in San Rafael and Hollywood, CA; November 2011 in Kirkland, WA and finally December 2011 in Portland.

 On August 24, 2001, the Firesign Theatre filmed a stage show at CBS studios in Los Angeles for a PBS special titled "Weirdly Cool". The special was shown on many PBS stations that December. Our own Phil Fountain recently obtained Phil Proctor's original script from this show. It includes Phil's handwritten annotations and is autographed on page 1 by all four members of Firesign. [The entire script is not publicly available at this time.] Thank you Philbert for sharing this bit o' Bozo history.

"Travels with Porgie - Stalking The Firesign Theatre," by Chromium Switch Co-Editor Phil Fountain covers his April 2009 experience in Monterey. Here you can read Part One and Part Two, complete with illustrations and photos.

News Archive --- Link to Firesign Articles from Previous Months