we shared the Bebes’ official account of the birth of ‘four-twenty’ as told by Rob Griffin from 420 Magazine. What follows is the conclusion to this tale, now part of Cannabis history.
Birth of 420
To verify credibility, I began contacting all of the Bebes, gathering information on the story. I confirmed all of their full names and identities, some of which they asked to keep secret for personal and/or professional reasons. After interviewing ten Bebes and hearing all of their stories, it was easy to conclude that there was definitely a hidden truth that needed to be revealed. Everyone told the exact same story!
Meet Dave Dixon (a.k.a. ‘Wild Du’), one of the Dixon brothers who was there when Bebe coined the term ‘420’. Bebe describes Wild Du as “a ‘core Bebe’, with whom I sold knife sets to businesses up and down the California Coast, just out of high school. He and I started ‘The 420 Band’ in 1972, and still play to this day.”
Wild Du says, “I first met Bebe at the neighborhood gathering when we were fifteen. We went to the brick yard to play and Bebe started throwing bricks and poking holes in the mortar with his fingers, causing a ruckus, which ended up in getting us both arrested.” He went on to say that the Waldos have admitted – to him, just not to the public – that the Bebes coined the term 420. Dave is now fifty-eight years old and still lives in San Rafael, California, grinding knives and playing guitar with Bebe.
Then there is Wild Du’s brother, Dan Dixon (a.k.a. ‘Puff’), the other Dixon brother who was there when Bebe coined the term 420. Bebe describes Puff as another core Bebe, saying, “Puff was popular with the Bebes and the Waldos; this is how all the words the Bebes made up became language that the Waldos ended up using, like 420. Puff and I were in the army together in Germany and were always seen together during high school.” Dan is now fifty-seven and lives in Oklahoma, where he is a retired caregiver for his mother-in-law. He spent his career as a basketball coach, later becoming a pharmacy tech, providing health care to those in need. He loves football, basketball, golf and 420.
Puff says, “The Waldos admit that the Bebes coined the term 420, there is no question. They even tried to recruit me, to make their story more credible.” When brothers Wild Du and Puff were asked to recall that specific Saturday in October, 1970, they both remembered puffing in the house with Bebe on those particular weekends and confirmed being there when Bebe coined the term; however, they were unable to pin down the exact day. Wild Du thinks it happened on the first (10/03/’70) or second (10/10/’70) Saturday of October, because it was the beginning of school.
Tom Thorgersen (a.k.a. ‘Thorgy’) was the neighborhood Norwegian weed dealer, who handled all of the Bebes’ 420 needs. Bebe recalls, “Thorgy was the big 420 weed dealer in the ’70s and ’80s and the Bebes spent a lot of time at Thorgy’s.” Thorgy started smoking at twelve years of age, to calm his hyperactivity; his mom even offered to help him grow it. He shared stories about calling in to radio shows with the Bebe and doing 420 pranks on the air, and listening to the reel-to-reel audio recordings of Bebe’s version of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, ‘Four Score and Twenty Years’. Thorgy says, “Steve Capper is an opportunist who wasn’t even close to making up 420. We made fun of the Waldos, a.k.a. ‘Wallies’; they were the weaker link, the ones who didn’t fit in. It will be nice to finally have the truth be told.” Tom is now fifty-five years old and still lives in San Rafael, California. He is a carpenter with a passion for rebuilding old cars.
Dave Anderson (a.k.a. ‘Hello Andy’) was “the main spokesman for the Bebes, who tried desperately to organize and explain Bebe behavior,” says Bebe. Hello Andy recalls, “Everything Bone Boy said is true. Bebe was always making up nicknames for everyone and spent a lot of time in his bedroom making prank recordings. He was always making weird sounds and was great with voices. One time we made this recording of police calls where Bebe would say stuff like, ‘One-Adam-twelve. We have a four-twenty on Fourth Street. Send two units. Over.’ He would do things like aiming rocks at a target, looking long and hard at it, then saying something like, ‘Estimating angle four-twenty,’ then throw it.
“I lived between Bebe and Du and Puff, and took part in plenty of bong-outs at their house. It’s highly likely that I could have been there at the time he first said it; however, there is no question that Bebe certainly coined the term 420, which later became our special code. To be honest with you, I never even considered Steve Capper a Waldo.” Dave is now fifty-seven, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an engineer. He likes golf, sports, music, movies and a little 420 from time to time, at a concert or special occasion, such as the Bebes’ 420 reunion.
Bone Boy was the designated driver, chauffeuring the Bebes around in his blue ’66 Barracuda, blasting eight-tracks of Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Who, Santana, Doobie Brothers and more. Bone Boy says, “I never allowed toking out in my car, so we would drive around Marin County looking for scenic places to take the car and get high. Some of our favorite spots were ‘the wall’, ‘windless’, ‘Sequoia’ and ‘360’.”
Bebe says, “Bone Boy always had transportation and planned events. He was very good in sports, loved music and always had new albums. All the Bebes were good in sports and had very good communication skills. We all used ‘sonics’ – a loud, piercing noise that Bebes could identify and locate each other… saved our asses more than once.” Bone Boy recalls, “We would go to Baskin Robbins and Bebe would make this high pitched ‘sonic’ noise. People would just look around and wonder where it came from. He was always screwing with people, in an odd, fun way.
“We lived on a golf course surrounded by houses and Bebe was always doing something crazy. One day he showed up with a golf cart. When we asked where he got it, he said, ‘Don’t worry; nobody pays attention.’ I asked a teacher from San Rafael High School if they remembered the Bebe and he said they used to have staff meetings about Bebe and his pranks, all of the time.” Bone Boy is now fifty-seven years old, lives in Huntington Beach, California, and is a music industry veteran. He loves film, music, writing, teaching and the great outdoors.
‘Turkey’ was from Georgia and spoke differently, with a southern twang. Bebe recalls, “He always had to go home early and would say, ‘My ass is grass,’ then run home. He had a minibike that would go 42.0 miles-per-hour, some of our first transportation.”
Then there was ‘the Worm’, whom Bebe says had a prosthetic arm and used to play tackle football with them: “I love that guy, so full of life. He was a real game person… [there are so] many stories about and with him. He would love to be part of this.”
‘Blue’ and ‘the Mead’ were two anti-social brothers called Blue Boys, who were a few years younger. Bebe says, “’Blue Boy’ was a term we gave to the younger guys who hung out with us.” Hello Andy recalls, “One time I watched (Blue Boys) Blue and ‘Scraun’ play a prank on the coach. They watched their watches and when the time came, they asked, ‘Hey coach, what time is it?’ He replied, ‘Four-twenty,’ and they all started giggling.”
And finally we come to Brad Bann, a.k.a. ‘the Bebe’. He was known as a prankster back in high school. He loves music, sports and scientific facts. He still lives in San Rafael, California, where he plays guitar and is the lead singer in a band, doing Frank Sinatra covers. When Bebe isn’t playing live gigs, you can still find him in his studio, making funny songs and recordings. At the time of this interview, he celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday. Hempy birthday, Brother Bebe!
I asked if anyone possibly still had any of the reel-to-reel prank calls and/or random audio recordings of the Bebe with 420: Bebe lost all of his, Wild Du’s were stolen and Bone Boy’s mysteriously disappeared. Unfortunately, nobody else had any recollection of having any of these recordings. However, with the release of this new truth, hopefully some of them will manifest in the future.
The Bebes were a group of athletes from San Rafael, California, who went to San Rafael High School in 1970. They lived in the same neighborhood, called Peacock Gap, which was a golf course surrounded by houses. They were well known for their prank phone calls and recordings. Brad Bann, a.k.a. the Bebe, was the leader of the group and was joined by all of his friends, whom he ordained and named as well. There was Dave Dixon (Wild Du), his brother Dan Dixon (Puff), Dave Anderson (Hello Andy), Tom Thorgersen (Thorgy), Bone Boy, Blue, the Mead, Turkey and the Worm.
The Waldos were a group of non-athletic guys from San Rafael who went to San Rafael High School in 1970. They were known for being uncoordinated and goofy, which is why the Bebe nicknamed them all Waldos. There was Steve Capper and David Reddix, who have gone public with their names, Patrick, Larry, Jeff, John and Mark, who have not gone public as of yet. While these guys may have been responsible for promoting 420 across the country, there is no question that they did not coin the term and have been dishonest with the world from day one. True credit goes to the Bebe and his brotherhood of Bebes.
One thing is certain to me: Brad Bann, the Bebe, coined the term 420 and the Waldos carried the term across the United States on tour with the Grateful Dead. I took the torch in 1993 and promoted 420 to the world via my website(s), reaching over twenty million people a year, totaling over 420 million people worldwide. Now there are billions of us.
People have asked me the same question, 420 million times: “What is 420?” The most common reply was usually an hour-long explanation of four-hundred-twenty different things that it is, and can be. After twenty years of promoting this magical number, I have come to summarize it as: “It’s anything you want it to be.”
At the time of this revelation, it had been 42.0 years since Bebe first coined the term 420, and I am very honored and truly grateful for being chosen to send his message to the world, setting the record straight, once and for all. It all makes sense now.
Rob Griffin, Editor-in-Chief