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According to Peter Beames' Wurlitzer Opus List
on the TheatreOrgans dot com website,
The Renaissance/Ohio Theatre in Mansfield has a Wurlitzer “Special” model theatre pipe organ of 3 manuals, Opus 997, which was originally installed in the Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles, CA (ship date January 30, 1929). It apparently passed through the hands of many owners before arriving here, and is reportedly “OK”. Anyone with more current info on the organ is invited to post here (although I do like that “theatre organ concerts” are mentioned amongst the activities at the theatre at the top of this page, suggesting that it’s still in use).
According to the same website’s list of Original Organ Installations, the Ohio Theatre originally had a Kimball theatre pipe organ of 3 manuals and 9 ranks, opus KPO7029, installed in 1928.
Does this latter organ still exist, and where is it (or its parts) today? Thanks!
The Madison Theatre in Mansfield had a
Wurlitzer style B X theatre pipe organ, opus 1822
(2 manuals, 4 ranks, two chambers)
installed circa 1928 or 1929
(shipped from the Wurlitzer factory
on December 23, 1927).
Given what kencmcintyre has written
about the “Old Opera House” or “Madison Theatre” going up in smoke in February of 1929,
could this organ have been destroyed in the fire?
Did the later Madison Theatre have an organ, or not? (I wouldn’t think so, given that opened in 1930, by which time sound movies were underway).
Does anybody know for sure
what happened to this organ?
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database of original theatre organ installations, the Linden Theatre had a Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ, model 109CC, opus 1876, installed on May 10, 1928. The regular model 109 was a piano-console instrument having two manuals, three ranks, four tuned percussions (including the piano built into the console) and 17 traps and sound effects.
However, the “CC” suffix might indicate “curved console”. If true, that would mean this organ was equipped with a horseshoe console rather than a piano console (the piano, if present, would then be played electro-pneumatically at some distance from the horseshoe console).
It’s too bad to hear this theatre burned down (or, perhaps, was gutted by fire?). If the organ was still there, this would have surely destroyed it. However, perhaps the organ was removed earlier, when talking pictures came in.
Does anybody know the whereabouts today of Wurlitzer Opus 1876, or its parts?
What a wonderful building! I do wish it and the proprietors (and performers etc) all the best success in future endeavors with this magnificent theatre.
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database of original organ installations, the Ogden (Lincoln) theatre had a Robert-Morton three manual, nine rank theatre pipe organ installed in 1928. I have no idea where it is now.
I do hope someone knows what happened to the organ and where it (or at least its parts) are today.
This would be a wonderful theatre to have an organ re-installed (especially the original one).
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database of original organ installations,
the Hill Top [sic] theatre had a 3 manual, 16 rank Moller organ, opus 3161, installed in 1921 at a cost of $9625.00. It appears to have been a sister organ to opus 3160, which was installed at the same time in the State Theatre in Columbus.
Does anyone know what became of this organ (Moller opus 3161) or its parts?
This is wonderful what is happening with this theatre. I wish it and the owners, performers and patrons all the best and continued success in this endeavor!
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database of original installations, the Garden Theatre had a Wurlitzer model D theatre pipe organ, opus 1508, installed on November 15, 1926.
The D had two manuals and six ranks (with a horseshoe console), also featuring four tuned percussions and 20 traps and sound effects.
This model is considered by some aficionados to be one of the most versatile of the small Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs, not requiring any “hot-rodding” or expansion to suit their tastes.
Anyway, this organ was, at some point, repossessed by Wurlitzer, and the last I know of it, it was installed in the residence of a Mr. Howard Hundley in Charleston, West Virginia (as of January 13, 1933). I do not know if it is still there, or where it is now, although I would love to hear from anyone else with knowledge of the present-day whereabouts of this organ, or at least of its parts.
Dear Lost Memory, thanks for the awesome photo of the Colonial Theatre! It looked like it was really cool! Here’s the updated link in case someone wants to see it:
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Online Database of original installations, the Colonial Theatre had a Wurlitzer style V theatre pipe organ, Opus 101, installed on September 23, 1916.
The style V was a piano-console instrument with two manuals and eight ranks, plus two tuned percussions (cathedral chimes, and then the piano).
It did not feature any other tuned or untuned percussions, so possibly the pianist/organist who played the instrument worked as a duo with a live drummer/sound effects man (who was quite common in theatres during this period anyway) to provide appropriate noises for the pictures.
This is my theory, anyway!
Does anyone know what became of Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ Opus 101? Its fate or current status is listed as “unknown” in the database.
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database,
the Columbia Theatre had a Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ, style B Special, Opus 1260, installed on January 30, 1926. The “Special” could mean a number of things including an additional pipe rank, percussion, or other options special-ordered by the customer.
However, the standard model B featured two manuals and four ranks (having a horseshoe console), plus three tuned percussions and 17 traps and sound effects.
I am not sure what music the theatre had before getting the Wurlitzer, but it is likely they had some kind of photoplayer, which Wurlitzer may have taken in as a partial trade-in towards the new organ.
The database says that it is unknown what became of the Wurlitzer organ, opus 1260. Does anyone know where this organ, or its parts, is today?
the Alhambra Theatre had a Wurlitzer model 135A theatre pipe organ installed on June 15, 1920, which was Wurlitzer opus 323.
I am not sure what the “A” suffix means, but the 135 was a piano-console instrument which had two manuals and four ranks, as well as four tuned percussions (bells, xylophone, and chimes in addition to the piano) and 17 traps and sound effects.
I wonder how the organ was installed in this open-air house, and also what music they had in the three or four years before it was installed.
Perhaps they did a similar thing as to an Airdome theatre elsewhere, and had some kind of orchestrion like a Wurlitzer PianOrchestra providing music from a barn- or shed-like enclosure with doors on the front to protect from the weather.
The database says that it is unknown what became of the Wurlitzer opus 323. Does anyone know where it, or its parts, are today?
According to the TheatreOrgans.com Searchable Opus List Database, the Dixie Theatre had a Wurlitzer model 105 theatre pipe organ (yes theatre organ, although there was a also a popular band organ model called the 105 which was completely different) installed on January 22, 1927. It was Wurlitzer Opus 1562, and its current whereabouts are unknown.
The 105 had a piano console with two manuals and three ranks of pipes, and also a set of chimes, but no other percussions besides the piano, and no traps. Not very theatrical!
Does anyone know what happened to this organ and where it (or its parts) are today?
Also, does anyone know what kind of music the Dixie had before it got the Wurlitzer theatre organ in 1927? Did it have some kind of photoplayer (quite likely), or maybe an orchestrion which played continuously (unsynchronized with the picture)??? If so, does anybody know what happened to that instrument?
Further per the database, in-between the Wurlitzer 135F and the Robert-Morton 23N, the Empress had a Wurlitzer D Special theatre pipe organ (the standard model D had two manuals and six ranks, and a horseshoe console; this D special may have had an extra rank, or percussion, or something), opus 837, installed on May 29, 1924.
This is likely the instrument the theatre owners purchased as a trade-up from the old 135F organ, which is why the former was repossessed by Wurlitzer (taken in on trade).
This makes for a natural progression of instruments:
1921: Wurlitzer 135F
(two manual, four rank, piano console);
1924: Wurlitzer D Special
(two manual, at least six rank, horseshoe console);
1928: Robert-Morton 23N
(three manual, 12 rank, horseshoe console).
I don’t know what happened to the Wurlitzer D Special opus 837, perhaps someone else does?
According to the TheatreOrgans.com
Searchable Opus List Database,
the Eastern Theatre had a two manual, 12 rank Moller organ, opus 2942, installed in 1920 at the cost of $6100.00. Actually, this was a rebuild of an existing “Winder” (sic as per website) organ. I don’t know what happened to this instrument.
Maybe someone else on here does?
the Empress Theatre had a Wurlitzer model 135F theatre pipe organ (I don’t know what the “F” suffix means, but a 135 was a two manual, four rank piano console instrument), Opus 381, installed on January 7, 1921.
This organ was later repossessed by Wurlitzer, and a three manual, 12 rank Robert Morton theatre pipe organ (style 23N, opus 2401) was installed in the theatre in 1928.
I don’t know what happened to Wurlitzer Opus 381 after it was repossessed by the company, but the Robert-Morton organ opus 2401 was moved to a private residence in Cincinnati and expanded to 15 ranks, where it was playing as of October 25, 1998. I don’t know it’s current status.
Thanks for creating this page!
According to Mr. Q. David Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, the “Broadway” theatre in Reidsville was at one time equipped with a Reproduco organ (or piano/organ) made by the Operators Piano Co. of Chicago.
Most pertinently to my own interests, did anybody make any attempt to remove what remained of the original Hilgreen-Lane pipe organ before the theatre was demolished? I’m sorry I first learned about the existence of this theatre and organ only one month ago… had I known of it two years ago (or even one year ago), I just might have tried to get a plane to Youngstown, get permission to remove the organ, taken it out and put it in a big 15' or 20' truck to take home. (If the organ still exists and is still available, let me know!)
Although definitely in bad shape judging from the photos (with many pipes missing, probably liberated by the “midnight organ supply” whom I hope are traceable local organbuilders/enthusiasts, since only a complete moron would try to loot old metal organ pipes which are a mixture of lead and tin and thus worth far more for musical and intrinsic purposes than recycling value), the organ does/did NOT appear to be unrestorable to me based upon the photos… my friend Robert Loeffler in Florida (Robert’s Musical Restorations) as well as other fine American restorers, have restored pianos and automatic musical instruments (including some pipe organs) in FAR WORSE shape than this, with many more parts missing.
The question is how much do you want to pay, and how much work are you willing to do in the restoration. (And somebody who really cares about the instruments, won’t give a damn about the additional cost of a good, proper restoration by a legitimate restorer, beyond the value added to the instrument, since they are in it for the music, not the money).
Also, a dedicated and determined amateur, with not a lot of money, can still restore almost anything provided that they CARE about the original instrument, research it thoroughly, obtain the correct restoration materials and use good techniques to avoid ruining the originality of the instrument.
This is really sad, a (previously-unknown?) remaining original-installation organ in a theatre, with the theatre demolished this year, in 2013!
I do hope some attempt was made to save this organ.
I have read most of the comments and it sounds like what has happened with this theatre and the town of Youngstown in general has been very sad. I would hope that, with what money and skills they have, the people of Youngstown would come together and get the town back on track to a great place instead of being doom and gloom and all depressed (I’m ignorant and generalizing here based upon stuff on the internet; I’ve never actually been to Youngstown).
But I do understand how hard it is to raise a huge amount of money to restore an old theatre, and also, once the theatre is restored, to open it and run it, whether as a performing arts venue, or art-house movie theatre, or what have you.
Were the folks who really cared about this place allowed to go in (with safety officials present for protection, of course) and pull out the remaining fixtures in the theatre (seats, lighting, props, etc. etc.) before the shell was demolished? Or did all remaining items go down with the theatre building?
The Link theatre organ from the Colonial Theatre is for sale! Who wants to buy it?
AMAZING! These theatres should be restored!
It would be nice if, as part of the theatre renovation, they could buy back the original organ! It is currently listed for sale by a gentleman up in Washington state:
Perhaps the GSTOS chapter of ATOS can get involved?
I’m sorry, my bad, wrong theatre. The theatre I mean is also called the “George W. Newman Theatre” and is in Rutherford.
A Wurlitzer theatre organ, style 210 Special, which MIGHT be the one from this theatre is for sale, check it out:
The Granada’s original Kilgen theatre organ is for sale! It was originally a 2/3 and though apparently mostly original, has some additional ranks added. It would be nice if the theatre could buy back their original organ to re-install!
The original theatre organ from the Missouri Theatre is up for sale! It is a 3/7 Robert-Morton built in 1928 and is apparently mostly complete.
They only want about $4,750.00 which is really cheap!
It would be REALLY nice if someone in MO could buy the organ, restore it, and re-install it back in the theatre!
I know I’m gonna get blackballed for this, especially being friends with “Save the Raymond Theatre” and all, but here goes:
I just took a look at the website… they have apparently turned the thing into condos but kept the exterior look and, they say, the interior walls/ceiling of the main auditorium. I haven’t visited to see it in person, so I’m not sure how much of this is true.
One thing I WILL say… after seeing so many pages of theatres all over the place that have been torn down in the last 10 years for whatever stupid reason, I think this is one of the least stupid things they could have done, though it is still a measley 2nd or 3rd place to turning it back into a performing arts center or theatre or whatever.
See, public or no public, California, especially Southern CA, is a driving culture, whether we like it or not (I don’t, but I have to put up with it every day). People are used to driving long distances to go see things they want to. People routinely drive from LA County to Orange County and back, for example. What I am trying to say is that with other historic, restored live performance venues in the area like the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the average theatre-going and/or old or art-house-movie-going public doesn’t see the need for what they perceive as merely “another one” to fill what is admittedly somewhat of a niche market (not so much the live performances, but the movies in general; look at what has happened with regular theatres… many people now watch DVDs on their HDTV and rarely go to the movies except on dates.)
Now let me be the first one to say that I know the Raymond is not just “another one” [theatre], and that it is unique and has a lot of history behind it. However, of course, you, me, and the rest of us would only be preaching to the choir if it wasn’t for internet search engines. And, this still isn’t really going to change the opinion of the average theatre-goer who might decide to see a silent movie or whatever, since they figure, rather correctly, that they can just drive the 45+ minutes on the freeway (in good traffic) to the Orpheum or whatever to go see it. [or for rock bands, the El Rey]
So let me be the first one to say, hey, it’s too bad they did this to this great theatre, but look at how much WORSE it could have been! They could have knocked down the whole thing and reduced it to rubble right away, while instead they are keeping the building and at least part of the auditorium, and instead of letting it lapse into some leaky dump at least the shell will be restored and made weather-worthy to hold their pet project on the inside.
I don’t know what has happened to the interior goodies, but I hope that enough of you rallied together to save them and keep them in one place (or at least accounted for) for possible future re-installation.
Look, see, it’s not like I can’t totally relate; after constanty seeing and hearing about antique upright pianos (player and otherwise) going to the dump these days, and then seeing certain unnamed northern CA companies turn them into new “orchestrions” with plastic parts, yet cutting out the original solid panels of the piano to put in art glass, etc. it’s like saying, “well, which is the lesser of the two evils?” Do we want the piano chopped up and hauled to the dump, where it was headed anyway?
Or do we want it fixed up a little bit, and even if the originality is messed with, it at least preserves it for a few more years until the right person comes along who says “say, I would really like one of those antique upright pianos. They seem mighty scarce nowadays” so they buy a XXXXXXX brand “orchestrion” piano, which collectors malign as being non-original and musically inferior to an original antique orchestrion (true); but yet this conversion has saved the piano itself from the dump, and the happy pianist can now strip out all of that plastic crap and restore the piano back to what it was, a fine musical instrument which “they don’t make ‘em like they used to!”
I’m not saying we all go lax and relax our grip; sure, if you really want to see this theatre as a theatre again, then go battle it out with the owners and whoever else is doing the commercial work. And may you win.
However, even if you don’t, keep on with the condo people. Don’t just give up, at least try to work together with them so this conversion thing is really as historically painless to the building and decorations as possible, so at whatever future date when the apartments are no longer financially viable, they can be yanked out of there and the theatre restored back to its original grandeur and purpose.
There can be a silver lining in this thing if you look at it in the right way.
Here’s another thing: just how many theatres get local support rallied around them, restored, and then after a gala opening struggle to make a profit after just a few months, because interest in the theatre has waned and the people who supported it think “mission accomplished” and don’t really go see shows at the restored theatre? I think that if you help out on a theatre project, and you REALLY CARE about it, and are not just BSing, then you should SUPPORT that theatre by going to see shows and things at it REGULARLY and telling your friends! Even if it’s far away from where you live. Remember, supporting a theatre isn’t just restoration; it’s a continuous, ongoing, day-to-day thing.
For example, Old Town Music Hall is fairly far away from me, and yet I have made the drive there several times, not just because it is a great place and shows movies and hosts live musical acts etc. some of which you can’t see anywhere else, but mainly because I like to SUPPORT the theatre by GOING there so they can at least scrape along and make ends meet. They haven’t been doing too well lately, financially (or so I heard a couple months ago), but let me tell you: “IT AIN’T BECAUSE OF ME!!!” In fact, I’m planning on going back to see a movie or something in at least a week or two… and I know it will be worth it!
This photoplayer is mentioned on the history page of their website, though talked about in past tense as though it is no longer there.
I would imagine it was bought by a collector in the pacific northwest, since a simple glance through, for example, the AMICA directory seems to reveal a larger percentage of photoplayers in Oregon than in the other states in general. [however, the Ruby theatre is in Washington so perhaps this is a bad example].
I guess one of us should simply email the people at the Ruby Theatre and just ask what became of it.