3 days later at the agreed time, I came to inspect the first proofs of the hologram. Yeah, said Peter, I had to work through the night to get this done. I saw the image for the first time, there was Beatrix and Claus floating behind the film, slowly turning towards each other, there’s the smile when they see each other, I was beginning to get enthusiastic and then….
I spotted a line on the right side of Beatrix’s face from her hair down to her chin, it actually looked like a huge scar! My God, this would never do.
In a panic, I screamed “Peter, what is this? Where’s this come from?”. Not even the spectre of my going ballistic could stimulate Peter to be any less laid back than what he normally was. He came over the hologram and stared for what appeared to be an eternity at the glaringly obvious scar across the Queen’s face. Finally, a reaction. “Shiiiit, I got a hair in my liquid lens!.”
In those days, large glass lenses were very expensive and in true Whole Earth Catalog style, the 35 had decided to find a cheaper alternative and eventually started making liquid lenses containing a liquid with the correct refractive index of glass lenses. Filling the lenses in an environment that was less than completely dust-free, always increased the liklihood of the possibility of foreign matter contaminating the process.
The Royal Portrait had become the victim of such a contaminated process. There was a renegade hair inside the liquid lens running amok!
Peter assured me that all was not lost and said he would re-make the hologram that evening. I returned to the hotel completely numb.
The following afternoon I returned. Peter had, as he had promised, re-made the hologram overnight but the results were not good. The offending hair had moved but still appeared on the face even though it was less prominent than the first proof.
Peter now was beginning to get a little agitated. He knew what I was going to ask and he did not relish the idea of another long night re-making the hologram again. A last throw of the dice was being contemplated. He reluctantly agreed. I hoped he had a cunning plan but deep down, I knew he didn’t. If he was unable to remove the hair this time, the show was over.