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Will Dunklin, thank you for posting the information on the Wurlitzer! I enjoyed the update.
Thanks, Dave. I tried to load a picture of C Sharpe Minor, as well as the restored Wurlitzer,, but the system was having issues.
Tomorrow, November 14th, 2020, marks the 90th Anniversary of ‘Opening Night’ of the Nashville Paramount Theatre, with C. Sharpe Minor, organist, at the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ console, Opus 2132.
The new courthouse on Church Street between seventh and eighth Avenue will take up the entire city block due to a requirement since Oklahoma City bombing of that courthouse, The former Paramount theatre is within this block which means the courthouse will be on top of where the Paramount theater was located. The two older buildings still on the lot on eighth Avenue, where the former Hammond organ dealer was, will be staying.
Church Street Park, between Capitol Boulevard and 6th Ave. North, which is across from the public library, is where the Paramount tower was planned. To learn more about what’s happening in downtown Nashville go to the UrbanPlanet.Org and select Nashville. There is a thread on the link for the Paramount and the courthouse .
The new US Federal Courthouse is being built at 8th and Church St. The Paramount was the second building from the corner (it closed in 1979) and its' building footprint will be included in the Courthouse building.
The park you mentioned is across Church St from the entrance to the demolished Loew’s.Theatre. There was to be a Hotel/Condo combo built there, and it was to be called The Paramount, but those plans are on hold.
There is an advertisement of a play at Ebay (12/9/18) https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-1920-s-Peafowl-Theatre-Advertisement-Adam-Tames-His-Eve-Nashville-TN/223276892145?hash=item33fc56fff1:g:yP0AAOSwo1lcDMlo:rk:1:pf:0 If this link doesn’t work, search Peafowl Theatre Nashville TN
Bob Luck, and my organ instructor, Mary Doster, were some of the organists in the latter years before the Wurlitzer was removed.
Will, I researched my theatre organ books and material and could not locate the name of the theatre organ builder for the Belmont. I checked the opus lists of Wurlitzer, Kimball, Robert Morton, and Reuter, but didn’t see the theatre listed.
I do have a copy of a Tennessean Newspaper article from 12-20-25 in which Leon Coles had been ‘secured to preside at the console of the organ’ at the Belmont. With Hammonds not in production yet, one would assume it was a threatre pipe organ of some nature, especially for that section of Nashville in which the theatre was located. Belmont United Methodist, just up the street on 21st Ave. S., has a Reuter pipe organ, and the Hillsboro Theatre, a block away, had a Kimball.
On the contrary, MPotts, if you’ll check the book “The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ” – An Illustrated History, by David Junchen, published in 2005, you’ll see a picture of the restored 1930 Nashville Paramount Wurlitzer, Opus 2132, 3 manual/15 rank, Balaban 3 style, on page ix in the Preface section of the book. Jeff Weiler, present day theatre organist, is posing in front of the console. The organ is very much alive and playable!
The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 410, by David Junchen, published 1985, lists a Moller Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 2812, as orignally being installed in 1919. Three manuals/sixteen ranks costing approximately $6,000.00.
The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.4, known more as the ‘Wurlitzer Illustrated History’ volume, page 660, completed and published in 2005 after organman David Junchen’s death, lists a Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 1268, as being installed February 8, 1926, and being a Style H Special, which I believe to have been a three manual organ with probably more ranks than were on the Moller it replaced.
The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 259, by David Junchen, published 1985, lists a Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ being installed in 1925. The organ consisted of two manuals/five ranks.
According to the Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 259, by David Junchen, published 1985, and referencing the theatre’s summary at the top of this page, a Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ was installed in 1916. Three manuals/twelve ranks, including a two rank echo chamber, probably positioned near the back of the auditorium.
Interesting bookman. I think a number of theatres, and information from the former site, are not here > which is unfortunate.
For those theatre organ fans of the Marbro Wurlitzer, there are approximately 5 to 6 negatives for sale presently on ebay, supposedly of this Marbo organ, during its removal from the theatre in 1959. There are three negatives of the console, one of the bottom of the organ lift pit, and some from a pipe chamber. If interested, type in www.ebay.com then enter the following item number in the search box, which will take you to one of the negatives. From there, you can search for the others. The item number is: 330520706101.
Sadly, it has been 50 years now since the Belmont Theatre closed on March 15th, 1961.
Hey tisloews, thanks for the information you share here and on others theatres. Bits of information of behind the scenes operations of the theatres are always a vital part of the history, so I think the thoughts are welcomed for those of us who consider movie theatres so fascinating and such a part of cinema history.
You are correct tisloews, as I have that postcard.
Thanks for your article Dave. It’s always great to get a new prospective on a theatre that has been familiar to millions thru the years. I have never heard the information you related and it gives missing details to the history of a well loved site.
I wish I had experienced the organ at the Vendome, like I was able to at the Paramount, but it was either no longer played, or long removed, by the time I had begun patronizing the Loew’s as a child in the early 1960s.
Drug store is shuttered, and the Inglewood Bowling Alley is still there tisloews, although shuttered and fenced. Will get the Loews article to you, I owe you, soon.
I have a copy of that article, with a picture of the inside after the fire, tisloews. I spent many a Sunday afternoon in the late 1970s at the Nashville library looking at old Tennessean Newspapers on microfish and would print out articles about theatres.
tisloews, I did enjoy seeing the two pics you posted. I had never seen the first one with the older marquee. I was most accustomed to the last marquee with just the word Loew’s on it. I wish there had been more pics. I even questioned my organ teacher’s son, at her death, to see if he had any pictures of her at the Paramount, or at the Hippodrome, but I never heard from him. I guess she had disposed of any memorabilia by the time of her death.
The original Madison Theatre in the middle of Madison, as you mentioned tisloews, was for a long time, after it ceased being a theatre, a furniture store.
The State was situated north of the Farmer’s Market, now north of the BiCentennial Mall, at the corner of 8th Ave., N., and Monroe St. in what is today considered the Germantown section of north Nashville. The theatre may have been attached to other retail stores, but from the 1960s and forward, it was unto itself. There was a nice marquee with the word STATE on the front.
In the theatre’s later years, it became a Jasper Transmission repair store.
Tisloews, I think it is amazing just how huge I thought the Paramount and the Loew’s Vendome were when I was a kid in the early 60s. The picture post by Life’s too short above really shows how kind of narrow and unimpressive the Paramount lobby really was. I can barely remember the Wurlitzer rising on Saturdays for the kids matinee.
Hey DM3891, I went to the Martin too as a High School teen. Now and then you can find a picture postcard for sale on eBay so I would watch there as I have seen a pic of it there.