Computer Geek Lights Up Christmas

A self-described computer geek wanted to make a big impact. He certainly did — but that was just the beginning.

CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports on a holiday light show — a neighborhood event in a town north of Cincinnati that turned into a national sensation after it was posted on the Internet.

There's always one in every neighborhood — one guy who doesn't know when to say when with the Christmas lights.

In Mason, Ohio, Carson Williams is the guy.

Every light is synchronized by computer and timed to the musical beat right down to a tenth of a second.

Carson admits to being a real computer geek. He even pipes the music out of is car radio.

"I have a small PCI FM transmitter, which is in the computer," he says.

But when Carson Williams says none of this would've been possible before the computer, he's not just talking about the coordination of sound and light. He's talking about his newfound status — this small-town Christmas light display has hit the big time.

Video of the lights hit the Internet and suddenly there was an endless line of cars snaking through the neighborhood. The next thing you know, Miller Beer was negotiating for a commercial.

"To be in a beer commercial… it's as good as it gets," Carson says.

The group who provides the soundtrack, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, flew Carson to a concert, giving him the rock star treatment.

"Oh, it's amazing," he says. "Yesterday, I think I was 11 pages deep on Google."

But this week, Carson Williams became a victim of his own success. After a fender bender in front of the lights, the cops told Carson that the display was becoming a public safety threat. So he pulled the plug until next year.

"To see everyone's joy in their faces, and having everyone talk to me about it, it's all fun," Carson says. "I'm gonna miss all that part."

His 15 minutes of fame may be up in the neighborhood but thanks to the Internet, he'll be up in lights a little longer.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com