The Bebes & The Waldos
5 min

The Origin of 420: The Bebes & The Waldos

5 min

I say 420. You say cannabis, marijuana, smoking weed, getting high, hippies, national cannabis day, “pot code,” …tell me when to stop.

Two cannabis smokers looking at some potent herb might remark, “This is some great 420.” Want to ask someone if they feel like taking a toke? They’d understand, “Let’s go 420 at the lunch break.” If I wanted to go out right now and buy some weed from a friend, “Can you sell me some 420?” is all I have to ask. Virtually every cannabis user knows the meaning of 420.

The numbers first started spreading its reach through the underground cannabis culture, and today, are recognized by virtually everyone, in every continent of the Earth, by people who speak English, who speak Dutch, Russian, Chinese, by people in television and in theater, by politicians, by college students with day jobs and by their bosses, by CEO’s…by, really, everyone.

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Cannabis smokers across the world watch the clock in their time zones, lighting up as the hand strikes 4:20. April 20th is celebrated yearly by millions as International Marijuana Appreciation Day. At 4:20 pm, on April 20th, tens to hundreds to over fifty thousand people have gathered together to put the brakes on life, sit back, chill, and smoke a joint or hit a bong.

The Bebes and the Waldos were a two separate groups of friends who hung out, played sports, and smoked weed together. They all lived in San Rafael, California, and they all went to the same high school during the 70s. Both groups have stated that they were responsible for coining the term 420, but we suppose we will never find out the true story, and discover who was first to utter the now famous phrase. Let's get to know these old-school stoners, who are all celebrities in cannabis culture.

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• Wild Du

Wild Du, A.K.A. Dave Dixon, was one of the first Bebes, according to The Bebe, and he was there the moment The Bebe checked the clock and created 420. He first met The Bebe as a freshy: the pair went messing around at a brick yard near their neighborhood. Du remembers The Bebe poking holes in the brick mortar, annoying workers, and throwing bricks and rocks around; all the mayhem prompted an employee to call 911 and get the duo arrested. The two spawned countless reels of their ridiculous recordings and songs at Du’s house, and in the early 70’s, they formed the “420 Band.” Out of San Rafael High School, Wild Du sold knife sets to different customers and businesses along the California Coast.

As of today, he’s 58 and loyal to San Rafael, still seeing some of the Bebes from time to time, for a blaze and a chat about the good ol’ days. Du claims the Waldos have even admitted their 420 story to him in person, but they just won’t come out to the public with the truth.

• Puff

Dan Dixon, A.K.A. Puff, Du’s brother, was also right there when 420 happened. The Bebe remembered him as popular amongst everyone at San Rafael High School, including both the Waldos and the Bebes. Some time after The Bebe and Puff graduated, they joined the army, touring Germany together. Later, Puff spent a long career coaching Basketball, then took up a career as a caregiver and pharmacy tech.

He still loves cannabis and smokes often, at 57. Puff lives in Oklahoma takes care of his mother-in-law, and he still practices his golf swing. The Waldos, according to him, “even tried to recruit me, to make their story more credible.”

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• Thorgy

Thorgy, A.K.A. Tom Thorgensen, was a few years younger than most of the Bebes. He smoked his first joint not long after his 12th birthday and started toking daily shortly thereafter. At one point, his mother told him, if he ever needed any help with cannabis growing, she was there for it. He ended up selling weed to the Bebes, hanging out with them all the time. Out of San Rafael High School and into the 70’s and 80’s, Thorgy got big, crafting himself as a top dealer in San Rafael.

Today, he doesn’t sell. He works as a carpenter, still living comfortably in San Rafael. He’s 55, and likes to rebuild old cars after a bowl or two in his spare time.

• Hello Andy

Dave Anderson, A.K.A. Hello Andy, lived between the houses of Du and Puff when they all went to San Rafael High School. He’d come over to their place to hang out with them and The Bebe, smoking all the time. Hello Andy remembers The Bebe laughing into the mic, making up weird police code like “One adam twelve. We have a 420 on 4th Street. Send 2 units. Over,” or doing things like picking up a rock, selecting something that happened to be around as a target, and saying, “Estimate angle 420,” before chucking it.

Later, Hello Andy delved into engineering, which he still works in today. He’s 57 with a place in Sacramento, and tokes every now and then if he feels the need to celebrate (like at the Bebes’ 420 reunion).

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• Bone Boy

Whenever the Bebes were rolling after school hours, they were in Bone Boy’s glistening blue 1966 Plymouth Barracuda. Bone boy would crank his system to The Doors, Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers…whatever classic rock was on at the time, and take the guys out to the various designated smoke spots they had around San Rafael. He remembers driving up to the Baskin Robins after one of these sessions, and The Bebe making these really loud, high-pitched squeaks that he called “sonics,” and no one in the shop would have any clue what it was (or have any idea it was just The Bebe messing with them).

The teachers and working staff at San Rafael High School would even hold entire discussions just on how to deal with the Bebes and their various high school shenanigans, Bone Boy recalls. One day, when Bone Boy met up with The Bebe to hang out and smoke, The Bebe just showed up driving a golf cart. Seeing the look on Bone Boy’s face, he assured him, “Don’t worry, nobody pays attention.” Bone Boy had a long, successful career in music, and he’s now living in Huntington Beach, CA, at 57.

• The Worm

He hung out with The Bebes and goofed around with them during tackle football practice. The Worm had a prosthetic arm. The Bebe remembers him as “a real game person,” saying, “I love that guy.”

• Blue

One half of the Blue Boys. The Bebe started calling the two younger Bebes “blue boy,” and eventually they took up the name.

• The Mead

The other half of the pair. One time, Hello Andy saw the Blue Boys getting together and whispering during football practice. They quickly walked up to the coach, looking innocent enough, and asked him for the time. When he replied “4:20,” they burst out in laughter and ran off, leaving coach without a clue as to what had just happened.

• Turkey

You could recognize Turkey among a crowd of people by his twangy, Southern-bred accent, The Bebe said. The guy would hang out with the Bebes for too long, yell “mah ass is grass,” and then take off running in whichever direction his house happened to be. He also “had a mini bike that would go 42.0 mph, some of our first transportation,” said The Bebe.

• The Bebe

The guy who started it all, Brad Bann. The Bebe has a home in San Rafael, and still gets out the mic now and then to record some of his prank songs; well, that is, when he’s not singing live in places like Vegas or England. He heads a Frank Sinatra cover band, leading guitar and vocals, all the while still toking on the rare special occasion. And by the way, he sounds great (check out his website & song in the links below).

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• Waldo Steve

Waldo Steve, or Steve Capper, is now the owner of a specialty lending institution, and still keeps in touch with all the other Waldos. At one point in his career he lost assets to Bernie Madoff, head of the largest Ponzi scheme on record in U.S. history. Unlike a lot of his friends and some of the Waldos, though, Waldo Steve doesn’t smoke or have much to do with cannabis anymore, saying, “I’ve got to run a business. I’ve got to stay sharp…It’s a lot of fun, but it seems like if someone does it too much, there’s some karmic cost to it.”

• Waldo Dave

Waldo Dave, or Dave Reddix, makes a good living working for Waldo Steve’s lending firm as a credit analyst. He talks to all the other Waldos regularly but doesn’t really smoke anymore either, saying, “I never endorsed the use of marijuana. But hey, it worked for me…I’m sure on my headstone it’ll say, ‘One of the 420 guys.’”

• Waldo Mark and the other two Waldos

Waldo Steve says Waldo Mark and the other two Waldos are doing well and living successful lives, still puffing joints or hitting a bong from day to day. All five keep in touch with each other to this day. One of them, Waldo Steve says, makes a good living doing prints and designing graphics. One of them is the head of the marketing division of a winery in Napa Valley. And the last works as the head of the gutter division of a roofing company, living well and hitting a bong or joint when he can afford the time.

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Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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