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According to the website http://barton.theatreorgans.com/ the Capitol opened with a 3 manual, 38 rank Hillgreen – Lane pipe organ. It seems very odd that a theatre of this quality should have had an organ from a distinctly second (if not third) tier organ builder. If the website is correct and the original cost was only $8000, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the chandeliers in the theatre didn’t cost more than the organ.
According to David Junchen’s book The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, an Illustrated History p. 675, Wurlitzer shipped their organ opus 1684 – 2 manuals 4 ranks – to the Parmele Theatre in Plattsmouth, Nebraska in July 1927. Junchen notes that the theatre subsequently was renamed the Cass Theatre. Wurlitzer removed the organ in 1932 and sold it to a hospital in Cincinnati Ohio. It is easy to imagine that the Parmele became the Cass at about that time.
The description of the organ in the header appears to be a compression of two different instruments.
When the Capitol opened, the organ was Kilgen opus 3037, a 4 manual, 31 rank organ which would indeed have been an unusually large theatre organ. Kilgen, better known as a church organ builder, did not have the cache or power of Wurlitzer’s instruments.
When Paramount took over the hall in 1926, they bought
a new Wurlitzer organ, opus 1404, a customized 3 manual, 16 ranks organ (possibly 15, there is an ambiguity in the data). As of 2013 the Wurlitzer survives in the Phipps Center for the Performing Arts, Hudson, Wisconsin, slightly altered. Fate of the Kilgen is unknown.
I’ve run across a reference that may not be accurate. It says that Wurlitzer organ opus 1117 (10 ranks) was moved to the Rivoli (Rutherford NJ) but there’s no date when that might have happened. Opus 1117 had originally been installed at the Regent in Kearny NJ in 1925. Seems odd that the Rivoli would sell opus 482 (9 ranks) and buy the used 1117 which was only 1 rank bigger. That’s a lot of money and hassle for 1 rank. Wonder if the Rivoli and the Regent were owned by the same company?
Lost Memory, I also find that a Wurlitzer theatre organ opus 600 style “D” was installed in the Regent Theatre, in November 1922. That organ was moved to the Capitol Theatre in Elizabeth NJ in July 1925. It appears that opus 1117 (10 ranks) was purchased as an upgrade since opus 600 only had 6 ranks (in one chamber).
According to IMDB.com King of the Khyber Rifles with Tyron Power and Terry Moore was a 20th Century Fox production which premiered in December 1953. It would have gotten to Memphis soon afterwards.
The Princess Theatre got a tiny Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 900, 2 manuals, 4 ranks, in 1924. The organ was moved to a church in 1931.
The Wurlitzer company records show a small pipe organ, opus 800, a stock, 5-rank residential model, was installed at the Savoy in May 1925, but moved to a Philadelphia residence just a month later. Maybe this was a demonstration for the theatre – in hopes that it would lead to a sale.(It didn’t.) One source says the organ was repossessed from the Savoy, but that seems unlikely in only a month’s time.
The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company installed a tiny pipe organ, style 108 (3 ranks) opus 700 in the Orient Theatre, in September 1923.
Great photo of the Roxy! I looked up the film Damaged Lives on www.imdb.com and find this:
“Although the film’s credits say it was produced and released by Weldon Pictures, it was actually filmed and distributed by Columbia. Weldon Pictures was a dummy company set up by Columbia, which didn’t want to be associated with the film’s topic, syphilis.”
Though produced in 1933, the film wasn’t released until June 1937.
An odd distinction for this theatre: in 1925 this theatre purchased a Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 1118, a style F-special, 3 manuals and 10 ranks. A customized organ, but nothing too usual.
The sad twist on this is that in 1943 this organ went back to the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda NY where it was rebuilt for radio station WGR/WKBW Buffalo NY and in its rebuilt state, was the last pipe organ to leave Wurlitzer. Shortly afterwards all the remaining pipe organ stock, parts and tools were burned or melted down for scrap metal.
The Wurlitzer company, in a little over 22 years had turned out +/– 2,200 organs. Justly or not, Wurlitzer remains, in the mind of the general public, the most famous pipe organ builder.
The Sea Wolf, starring Hobart Bosworth, premiered in December 1913. This photo must not be too much later than that date.
The Clemmer Theatre had a III/28 Estey organ installed in 1912. Ten years later, when the hall became The Columbia Theatre, the Estey was removed and a II/9 style 210 Wurlitzer organ, opus 533, was installed.
Wurlitzer theatre organ opus 1815 replaced an earlier, smaller Wurlitzer, their opus 1139 which had been installed in the East Side on 08/19/1925. Wurlitzer took Opus 1139 in trade and later sold it to the Sylvia Theatre in Bellevue, Kentucky.
There is a photo of the Princess showing Sally of the Sawdust, a 1925 W.C. Fields feature. Looks like the Princess may have had 2 incarnations.
Another date discrepancy with the Theatre Organ Database which lists a II/4 Robert Morton pipe organ installed at Macon’s Ritz Theatre in 1927. Maybe the theatre changed hands in 1930? Maybe the database is just wrong?
The Theatre Organ Database says that Macon’s Rialto had a tiny Robert Morton pipe organ (II/3) installed in 1921. CT lists an opening date of 1925. Any supporting documents for either date?
The Robert Morton Organ Company records selling a 2 manual organ to the Grand Theatre in Macon Georgia in 1925. That is possibly this theatre. Is an organ still in this hall? Are there even empty chambers where an organ once stood?
The Wurlitzer organ was moved here from the defunct Majestic Theatre in Boise Idaho.
In 1917 the Majestic got a Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 119, Style 3 “Special” (meaning customized) 2 manuals, 7 ranks, in a free standing case which implies the organ was either installed on the stage or in an orchestra pit. It was moved to the Ideal Theatre in Burns Oregon in 1928.
Speculating: The Arcade’s address is on 7th Street. Wurlitzer built a small organ for the (or “a”) 7th Street Theatre in 1924, but the current 7th Street Theatre didn’t open until 1928/1929. Wonder if Wurlitzer built their organ for this hall in 1924? When the new 7th Street Theatre opened in 1928, this got converted to the “Arcade” and the organ got moved to the new hall. Later, this building got converted back into a theatre. Possible?
The Lawler Theatre appears to have opened with a Barton pipe organ. The Barton was replaced by Wurlitzer pipe organ opus 1350, a Style B Special, III/5, installed in 1926.
The Harris (Casino) had 2 Wurlitzer organs during the 1920’s. The first, opus 961, dated December 1924, was a highly customized Style B – listed as a 3 manual, 8 rank organ. The 2nd, opus 1344, dated May 1926, was a stock E-X, 2 manuals, 7 ranks.
In 1926 the Sheridan Square Theatre got a new Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 1344, a style E-X, 2 manuals, 7 ranks. Interestingly, the next Wurlitzer opus number, 1345, an identical organ, went to Pittsburg’s Harris Theatre. Were the Harris and the Sheridan Square under the same management?
The Balboa got the Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 1339, a style B, 2 manuals 4 ranks in 1930. This was the organ originally installed at the Uptown Theatre in Seattle in 1926. The organ reportedly moved to a church in Oak Harbor Washington in 1941.