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TOPIC: Theatre Organs: Any interest?

Theatre Organs: Any interest? 16 Feb 2005 09:57 #9837

  • RedDawg
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Do you have an organ (pipe, not electronic) in your venue? Do you want one? This is my favorite theatre topic and would be happy to discuss with any and all. Will host a separate forum if demand is great enough. Cheers.

-RedDawg


The parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 16 Feb 2005 11:52 #9838

  • jimor
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I hope that you can lead many theatre/cinema owners to install pipe organs in their venues; such investments lend a 'soul' to the place that cannot otherwise be. They are not cheap, but can be a determining factor in encouraging patrons to come to such a finer place of entertainment than just some screening room nearby, and making one's place stand out from the rest is the showmanship that brings people back. Even just an overture before an evening performance may be enough to spread the word that it is fun and special to come out to 'the place with the organ'; finding an organist may be the hardest part, but one should plan to build a locked enclosure around the console to keep opportunists from jumping upon it and interrupting the movie, as has happened at some places. Mostly, though, patrons will be pleasantly surprised by it, and welcome some live entertainment in today's world of canned noise. Even if you have to settle for an electronic organ, it is still LIVE entertainment that can set the mood, mark the day, and distinguish the theatre. You want to give people more than they could ever get from a DVD at home, or else, why come to a theatre/cinema?
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 16 Feb 2005 12:12 #9839

  • Ken Layton
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The Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society is very active in western Washington state and has a great website. There are still some very nice older theaters in Washington and Oregon with pipe organs. One of our own local organists, Mr. Andy Crow, (a good friend of mine who lives just two miles from me) also travels the USA and puts on organ concerts in all types of theaters and often accompanies silent movies.
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 16 Feb 2005 15:17 #9840

Since we bought our theater in August 2004, I came accross a 1924 Paige Theater Organ, 2 manual, 5 rank with a toy chest. It was in Orlando FL. We paid $1400 for it (alot of work was already done to it including leathering), bought 2 one way plane tickets from PA to Orlando, and drove it back home. It is currently in storage until we get the theater open, take a break from renovations for a little, then slowly put it in the Grand.

I think an old theater isnt an old theater without an organ!

Ed Buchinski,
Grand Theater,
East Greenville PA
www.thegrandtheater.org
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 16 Feb 2005 18:09 #9841

  • RoxyVaudeville
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What... you mean there are theatres without organs?

Seriously, thank god that there aren't many that do in my area. That makes our theatre special then, because if they all had them, we wouldn't stand out.

Yes we have a small Mighty WurliTzer here at the Roxy. A style B 2/7. We use it every Saturday evening before both shows, and on other special occasions as well. I wish we had an organist available more often as it is a real crown pleaser. We get many people on Saturday evenings who come just for the organ.

At all the theatres that I book, the percentage of increase in business from Friday to Saturday is not nearly as high as it is at my theatre. The only difference is that we have the organ. I wouldn't know what else to contribute it to.

There is one other theatre about 10 miles from me that has an organ. It is an old vaydeville/film house built in the late 20s, much like mine, built a few years after mine, they still use there organ on Tuesday evenings. They run art film whereas I run commercial film. Both theatres even though having entirely difference audiences, both have patrons that appreciate the organ.

Having a pipe organ can certainly add a positive impression of true showmanship to a theatre operation.

Oh, and RedDawg... I would love to come down and see the Parkway sometime. I looked at the exterior of it about 10 years ago, but didn't feel too safe in the neighborhood at that time. I hope things have changed.

I have seen photos of the interior of what it looked like when it first opened and then again when it was slightly redone when Loew's took over... a beautiful house, indeed. I hope it gets restored back to how it was back then.

Good luck on your project.
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 17 Feb 2005 12:22 #9842

  • jimor
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And another thing: if your place is not as ornate and therefore interesting to look at as a movie palace, at least spice up the look of the stage during an organ interlude. For example, if you don't have electrically operated draperies, consider getting some so that the giant 'eyeball' of the screen doesn't stare out at the audience. Even if you can't get drapery to cover it, use at least a COLOR WHEEL spotlight, such as those once sold for christmas, at the bottom of the screen where the footlights would be, and cast its changing colors on the screen or draperies to at least give people something to look at during the organ. You can easily and cheaply make it more interesting yet by simply putting some artificial greenery in front of the COLOR WHEEL and thereby cause it to put some vague patterns on the drapery or screen. Of course, you can go to any theatre supply and get gobos (small metal screens cut in a pattern to cast a pattern -- there are thousands of designs available!) and place them in the lens frame of a suitable floodlight, but I used the commercial COLOR WHEEL example and foilage for its low cost and simplicity. Just a little effort can make your place look so much more classy, and patrons DO notice any such efforts to make the experience more fulfilling, and that makes them think of your place first and come back.

No--DO NOT use this as an opportunity to put more advertising on the screen; the organ interlude is intended to be entertaining, not raucus with blatant advetising, the very thing people are going out to you to escape from seeing on television, ad infinitum. It's all about the total, wonderful, experience folks, but if you are the type who checks in, turns on the projector, turns it off, and checks out and goes home, you shouldn't wonder if your patronage is falling off. Good exhibition entails effort which produces SHOWMANSHIP, and people react to that by being fully entertained and wanting to come back. People have choices these days and will vote for the best with their feet and pocketbooks!
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Theatre Organs: Any interest? 17 Feb 2005 14:02 #9843

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jimor:
And another thing: if your place is not as ornate and therefore interesting to look at as a movie palace, at least spice up the look of the stage during an organ interlude. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you've seen the PICTURES you will see there are/will be plenty of sights to hold the audience attention during the organ performances. Several TO concert venues such as Dickenson High School, Wilmington DE (DTOS) and Free State Theatre Organ Society (FSTOS), Catonsville, MD are using ceiling mounted cameras and video projection systems to throw an image of the organist to the screen. The sight of the organist and all he/she is doing with the stops and keys can be VERY entertaiining. Of course, you need to prepare for the occasional "chrome dome" when doing this as the glare CAN be a bit distracting.

The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!

[This message has been edited by RedDawg (edited February 18, 2005).]
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
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