About the Barrons

In 1946, Louis Barron, age 26, returned to Minneapolis from the tropical paradise of Chiapas, Mexico, where he’d lived in a small village, subsisting on rice and beans, self-reflecting, and trying to write a play . . . he met Charlotte Wind, age 21, of Fargo, and found a kindred spirit. . . the two shared creative interests, musical backgrounds, and desires to make names for themselves . . .

Louis & Bebe Barron, ca. 1947

. . . at their wedding, the couple received a large, early tape recorder . . . moving to Monterey, California, reading her work at a San Francisco book store, and asked to record her . . . they recorded Anaïs in a ten-day-long taping marathon and meticulously edited, hand-splicing the many segments of tape together, creating two audiobook records . . . the three became close friends . . . Anaïs nicknamed Charlotte “Bébé”, which became Bebe . . .

. . . in 1949, Anaïs returned to husband Hugh Guiler (banker, filmmaker, engraver) aka Ian Hugo, in Greenwich Village, a creative center of Manhattan . . . the Barrons quickly followed her there . . . there they became immersed among a bohemian society called the “Artist’s Club,” a group sharing creative ideas over lunch and parties . . . the Barrons grew intellectually and socially, during this exciting time . . .

Louis & Bebe Barron ca. 1950

. . . in 1950, the Barrons ended their audiobooks venture, and began work in electronic or cybernetic music, manipulating vacuum tube circuits to create an extensive catalog of sounds . . . they collaborated with experimental musicians John Cage and David Tudor to create Williams Mix . . . they provided sound effects for Hugh Guiler and Anaïs Nin’s avant garde films Bells of Atlantis and Jazz of Lights, and for several plays and commercials.

The Barrons in Greenwich Village Studio, ca. 1955

. . . in 1955, the Barrons got their big break, creating both sound effects and music for the high-budget MGM Science Fiction movie, Forbidden Planet . . . their all-electronic soundtrack became legendary. . . though the musicians’ union required it to be credited it as “electronic tonalities” in the movie’s credits . . . on the coattails of this success, the Barrons scored the popular 1957 Broadway play by Gore Vidal, Visit to a Small Planet.

. . . in 1961 the Barrons moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Hollywood . . . however, they did not have a major film project after Forbidden Planet, and they divorced in 1969 . . . in 1976, they cooperated on the production and release of the movie’s original soundtrack, first on vinyl then on CD . . . Louis died in 1989 and Bebe in 2008, but their pioneering electronic music and recording work live on . . .

     Back to top

© 2012, Barron Sound Portraits