Piano/organ accompanists for silent films

posted by mgross on December 11, 2006 at 10:48 am

Are there archival records of piano/organ accompanists for silent films shown at theaters? Of particular interest is information of such records for Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.

Theaters in this post

Comments (7)

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 11, 2006 at 5:50 pm

Aside from local newspaper ads and articles back in the day, your best bet would be to contact the Theatre Historical Society of America via their Ex. Director’s E-mail given on their web site: www.historictheatres.org

The trade publications of the day, such as “Exhibitors' Hearld”, sometimes had profiles of such performers, and back issues of such as this defunct title may be on microfilm which can be sent to your local library for you to view; speak with the periodicals librarian there to order such.

The people who publish “Theatre Organ” magazine ( www.atos.org ) may have done retrospectives that would be helpful. They can also connect you with one of their members in the vicinity.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on December 12, 2006 at 9:38 am

Your best bet would be local newspapers. Don’t just check the ads for the theater, because the music may be mentioned in reviews of films that are showing. Most musicians were anonymous though, except in big theaters in big cities.

Jim is correct that trade magazines like Moving Picture World have a lot of business and exhibitor information in them. And it is also arranged by region of the country. You would have to look at microfilm copies of this magazine, or find a collector who has some copies.

hstorybuff
hstorybuff on December 12, 2006 at 10:30 am

You might also try to contact the American Theatre Organ Society to see what records they have for organists.

www.atos.org

mgross
mgross on December 12, 2006 at 9:43 pm

All responses are a first step in this investigation and are greatly appreciated.

dapperdave
dapperdave on January 20, 2007 at 12:23 pm

theatreorganenhancements.com sells several theatre organ DVD’s made in theatres. One produced at the Providence Performaing Arts Center is played by Dr. Mark Andersen on one of only three, 5 manual Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs ever made by the Wurlitzer company.

dapperdave
dapperdave on January 20, 2007 at 12:24 pm

theatreorganenhancements.com sells several theatre organ DVD’s made in theatres. One produced at the Providence Performaing Arts Center is played by Dr. Mark Andersen on one of only three, 5 manual Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs ever made by the Wurlitzer company.

mgross
mgross on January 21, 2007 at 4:45 pm

I continue to be most apreciative of all responses – they help me in my search. Thank you very much.

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