Showing 1 - 25 of 54 comments
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.
In the book “Nickelodeon Theatres and Their Music” by Q. David Bowers, a Wurlitzer ad from 1914 is reproduced on page 143.
The New Theatre
K and K Amusement Corporation
Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue
Charles Kramer – president
Woody? [could be “Teddy”,“Tedore”(Theodore?) or “Moore] Klein [manager?]
Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
“It is impossible for a whole orchestra of fifteen or more pieces to render such music or follow the pictures as well as your Wurlitzer orchestra [photoplayer?] under the control of one musician”.
According to “Nickelodeon Theatres and Their Music”, page 143, the Lyric in Brooklyn had a large Wurlitzer photoplayer circa 1914. From the tiny photo it looks like a model H or K.
RE: vokoban and everybody, you might be interested to know the full story of the “1 and ½ ton music box organ” that was in the Banner Theatre.
It is actually a Wurlitzer model 29-C Mandolin PianOrchestra orchestrion, which, in the interim, spent time at Knott’s Berry Farm (among other places), but now has just been fully restored and is in a private collection in Florida. More pictures and information here (especially click on the last two photos at the bottom of the page: they take you to pages with lots of detail shots of the gorgeous interior!):
Is it still standing? What’s up?
Are there any pictures of the Granada, either with that name or with the Owl name?
Is this the same Owl that had a Geneva theatre organ at one time? Where is the organ now?
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, the Princess Theatre was equipped with a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co.
Also, the “American” and “Cameo” theatres in Memphis apparently had Reproduco organs as well. I could not find dedicated pages for them, so I am putting this info here for the time being.
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, there was a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co. installed at the Princess at one time.
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, Tony Sudekum bought a Reproduco organ, made by the Operators Piano Co. for one of his theatres in Nashville.
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, the Rialto had a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co.
The Rialto in Nashville is listed twice; either a misprint or there were TWO of them at the same time?
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, the Strand had a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co.
According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, “Albert Sottile” bought a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co.
Also, the “Palace” and “Lincoln” theatres in Charleston also had Reproducos. I could not find a page for those theatres, so I am including this info here for the time being.