Another organ has gone

posted by Simon Overton on August 16, 2007 at 10:44 am

While in need of some goofy “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” British humor, I paid a visit to the Bay Theatre, Seal Beach, Ca., last Sunday. I was sorry to see the Wurlitzer organ had been recently removed and gone to a church. I am glad the final concert was to a turn-away, sell-out crowd.

However, the program presentation was far from being professional; There was no walk-in music, a bare screen with white floods on it, the leader “count-down” was screened plus projection revealed both sides and upper screen with fuzzy edges and a foot of picture bled onto the lower masking.

And they wonder why the attendance is down?

Theaters in this post

Comments (4)

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on August 16, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Did the kid selling the popcorn run up to the booth to start the film? That would account for a lot. The Bay Theater website still has a history of the organ which was built in 1928 and installed in New York’s Paramount Theater. Now it’s in a church? That’s a crying shame.

GaryParks
GaryParks on August 17, 2007 at 1:25 am

sigh So sad to hear what has become of what was my hometown theatre ‘til I was 10. I went to the Bay from the mid-60s until 1973. Attended it once in the mid-90s when passing through. Never got to hear the organ. As someone who still believes screens visible without anything being projected on them is an absolute SIN, I’m quite saddened by the above posting(s). When I was a kid, the Bay had two curtains—one which would part, the image would project onto the second one, which was a waterfall, and it would seductively lift its scalloped skirts. As I mentioned on the CT Bay page, there were beautiful leafy murals on either side of the screen, which I hope might be hidden behind the (now former) organ chambers. Dare I hope that someday, the Bay facade might once again be white with an aqua fluted section in the middle, and the marquee and facade sign once again red, and those little neon scrolls in the center of the marquee once again flash green, yellow, and pink?

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on August 17, 2007 at 10:52 am

Given the situation with the Bay and todays thinking, I’m not surprised. The couple of times I went, specifically because of the organ, I was surprised. First because the organ was completed outsized for the tiny theatre. With it’s huge wooden “pipes” consuming about a third of the right wall in the auditorium, the platform mounted console, sliding into the auditorium and out between hiding curtains, it seemed obvious, the organ was installed just to have a place for it. It just should not have been in that tiny theatre. So maybe, it being in a church is not a bad thing, provided of course, it’s a large church.

If memory serves, there’s a Presbyterian Church on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena with a phenonomial organ installation that not only is used for Sunday services, but frequently gives recitals and performances in the different styles, including theatre.

As for presentation, it appears the owner/s don’t care. And that is a shame as there’s no excuse for blatant, on-going problems like those described.

JohnMLauter
JohnMLauter on August 18, 2007 at 8:03 pm

The organ is not going into a church, it is going into a college auditorium in Arizona. The organ was not in the New York Paramount theatre (auditorium) but was designed and built for the broadcast studio in the NY Paramount building. It was broadcast and recorded by legendary organists Jessie Crawford, Ann Leaf, Don Baker and George Wright in that building. It was sold to Long island glue maven Dick Loderhose in the 1950’s, he built a studio on to his LI home for the organ. It was recorded there by Ed Gress, Tom Sheen, Johnny Seng and Loderhose, under the non-de-console of “Don DeWitt"
Loderhose moved west in the 70’s and took the organ with him, buying the Bay theatre as it’s new west coast home. He has been in frail health of late.

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