Showing 15 comments
A friend of mine from SLTOS , Wes Kamischkie, had told me before he died that adjacent to the right of the Baden was a place called the “Sugar Bowl” There was a window higher than normal into the theatre that patrons could buy their snacks for the movies. According to Wes, the theatre had no concession stand itself during the 1940’s when the ladies got free dishware for attending. In 1992, I was called to tune a piano in the place for a function of the Baden Town Hall. I gained access to the building from what would have been the front left exit door. When you go in that way to the immediate left which would have been the stage area behind the screen there is about 2 to 3 steps and that is where the owners office was. A Mr. Carpenter owned the building then and had owned it for about 25 years he said. Before WWII he sold popcorn at the theatre. He said when he bought the Baden he also had opportunity to buy the Kingsland also for $5,000. At that time, he and one of the Kaimann brothers had planned to build the North Drive In on land they had purchased. Before that happened the one brother died and the rest of the Kaimann family decided to build the drive in themselves. When Carpenter bought the Baden about 25 years ago he remodeled it. He simply gutted the interior and what would have been the entrance and vestibule is now a kitchen and bathrooms on either side. There is no evidence of a projection booth since there is now a dropped ceiling over the whole interior. Carpenter seemed to be a very crass person and he said the main reason most small theatre owners are un co operative is because most of them lost their shirts trying to operate in the green. Back then the only way operators could make money was to rent the films for one price for an extended period of time and for the owner to have close co operation with other small theatres and trade them amongst themselves. Carpenter said he traded with the O'Fallon and the Janet and would transport the films themselves. So competitors found a way to co operate together in spit of their rivalry to survive. There is no record of what would have provided music for the silents before sound movies.
As the Granada was being tore down I spent several weeks taking snapshots of the progress. I rescued the Aisle 3 Plexiglas sign from inside the theatre. During the 1980’s the STLTOS had plans of installing a theatre pipe organ in the chambers that had never been occupied. On the stage there was still a Shulz grand piano on its side.
The Columbia is now a private residence , the roof over the auditorium removed, swimming pool installed.
The piano that was contained in the Ambassador organ was “worked ” on by some college students in the 1950’s leaving it in the organ maintenance room with it unstrung and with the plate out. So when the organ was bought by Pillsbury it was left and went down with the theatre. I used to tune the pianos there for concerts and got access to the whole theatre.
The Ambassador is one of two St. Louis Theatres that had their Wurlitzer Pipe Organ blowers never retrieved from their basements and lie under the ground still. The other is the Missouri Theatre. The Ambassador Wurlitzer is undergoing rebuilding and will find its new home in Indiana. Ken Crome’s shop owned the organ
The organ that was installed , a Robert Morton 3m/13r has been installed in a suburb of St. Louis, MO and has grown to a 3m/36r
since the late 1960’s
I still have the picture of the Pererless given to my by Charlie O'Neal
The Aubert is/was in north St. Louis proper
I am pretty sure the Princess has the only remaining projection booth for its airdome left in St. Louis.
The Cherokee was not a single story building. It had 2 stories. The Link theatre organ was actually a piano console with 2 side cabinets, one housing 4 ranks of organ pipes and the other a 4 roll player cabinet.
There will be a Memorial service for Stan on Sunday at 2PM at the Fox
Legendary St. Louis Fox Theatre organist Stan Kann has died this morning at St. Louis U Hospital undergoing heart surgury
An era ends.
Like Mary does not have any money?
I was told that sale of the building was for $1.00 back in the late 40’s.
The first console of the Missouri died in a fire due to a careless smoker. The 2nd console along with a new expanded unification relay took it’s place and made the organ noteworthy. In 1954 the console was purchased by Harvey Heck and made it part of the Graumann’s Egyptian Theatre Wurlitzer that he owned. In 1972 it became part of Bill Brown’s Wurlitzer in the first “Organ Stop Pizza”. In 1987 the restaraunt closed , organ removed and was sold to Jim and Sherrie Krughoff in Downers Grove, IL and Dave Junchen restored it and it is now part of the Krughoff Residence Wurlitzer since Aug. 5, 1989 when it was formally dedicated.