Comments from opus1280

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opus1280 commented about Orange Theatre on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Nevermind, answered my own question. Found the interior shots on the Son Of Light website. Same theatre as in the Junchen book, and the console is most defintely a Wicks and not a Wurlitzer!

opus1280 commented about Orange Theatre on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Was there more than one Orange Theatre in Orange, CA? The Son Of Light website declares a “Wurlitzer Organ” having been installed there. But on page 710 of Junchens book, its said (with interior pictures) that Wicks opus 879,a 2/8 (and the last new Wicks threatre organ installed in a theatre) was installed in the Orange in 1929. Cost $17,500, less $10,075 for used organ traded in. Wonder where they got the trade in from!

opus1280 commented about Hollywood Theater on Oct 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Should note.. the above sale and shipping of the Hollywood organ took place in 2002-2003.

opus1280 commented about Hollywood Theater on Oct 25, 2008 at 1:14 pm

The Wurlitzer from the Hollywood was removed from the theatre in i think 1978 and installed in a private residence in Tonawanda NY. It was maintained and restored in pristine original condition. From what i understand after the death of its owner, it was offered to the Hollywood for a sum by his wife, but was declined (not sure why). It was purchased by w Welsh organist, and local organ folk including myself, dismantled and packed it into a shipping container and off it went across the Atlantic, probabaly never to be seen on our shores again. Sad, it would have been nice to have a home coming at the Hollywood, I think the organ is one of the very few original components to have left that building. It was a small organ, yes (style DX, 2/6), but it had a sound much bigger than one would think!

opus1280 commented about Palace Theatre on Oct 25, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I scanned in my photos for Patsy, if anyone else wants to see them, send me an email and ill forward them on. All exterior shots of the front and rear of the theatre.

opus1280 commented about Riviera Theatre on Aug 26, 2007 at 8:17 am

Thats a shame that that happened again. Thats what happens when the cable isnt guided on the spindle properly. I hope not too much was lost on this last fall!

opus1280 commented about Riviera Theatre on Dec 24, 2006 at 1:55 pm

btw Merry Christmas all! :-D

opus1280 commented about Riviera Theatre on Dec 24, 2006 at 1:45 pm

I am, to say the least, quite offended by John Basils last posting. When I spoke of the chandelier housed at the RIVIERA, I was speaking about the chandelier housed at the RIVIERA. Not when it was housed at the Genesee, please take the time to read future postings carefully before commenting. There were no suppositions made on my part about which I stated, as I was there, and either experienced it personally, or was informed of a certain instance to prevent it from happening again while performing work. Now, When myself, and Jim Davis were in the attic of the RIVIERA preparing to lower the chandelier for cleaning and relamping, I was specifically told to keep downward tension on the cable and guide it so that it didn’t overlap on the spindle and snap back into place, thus causing the chandelier to free fall like it had on Jim’s watch some 15 years before. It was as a result of that incident, which I recalled, that the crystal chains, the pins of which attach each crystal together to form a chain, being original and no different from anything you would find in residential fixture use, broke under the stress and allowed chains and several pendants to fall directly the the auditorium floor. You are indeed correct about the locking mechanism, but that does no good if the cable overlaps itself on the spindle and jumps back into place, as i stated. If you look closely, from the RIVIERA balcony, you can see the damage, more so in the pendants. If you have been in the attic of the RIVIERA, you would see why this care is necessary, given the way the mechanism had to be mounted on the structure, at an angle. When I referred to the “Dome,” i was referring to the dome at the RIVIERA. Perhaps you noticed it when you were there with your mother, its 54' from the ventilation grill to the auditorium floor below, its rather hard to miss when looking at the chandelier. I do recall the work light circuit, it contained 300 watt bulbs (i cant remember if they were standard or Mogul bases, but they were indeed “bulbs” and the sockets are the originals with their pressed brass flower petal surounds) while in the RIVIERA. It was wired up as such when installed at the RIVIERA, but was reconfigured when “myself, Don Lange, Jim Davis and Bill Howland” rewired the fixture and added more circuits, im not supposing we did that, it was done, and I was physically there.
Im rather amused that you questioned rather or not the chandelier at the RIVIERA is indeed that from the Genesee. I have two B&W photographs of the Genesee, one of the Auditorium, taken from house left at the rear, showing the specific chandelier (although not on) that is now housed at the RIVIERA (there really is no mistaking it, and i can see the inner works behind the many chains of crystal) and one of what I think is the lobby, with some rather scantily clad chandeliers that look like half their crystal chains were missing. I can tell, just by examining the photo that they are indeed one in the same. While I may, as you stated, be a neophyte compared to your long theatre experience, ive heard no such mention any other Buffalo area house having such a large Empire style crystal chandelier that could be so uncanny in size, shape and design as that which resides at the RIVIERA today. It is indeed the Genesee chandelier.
The fixture, contrary to what was stated, is also easily dismantled. It was made from stock components, assembled, and disassembled in sections. I can verify this by virtue of the fact that I was personally there to aid in its dismantling for cleaning, and at that time rewiring, which required its dismantling. You would be hard pressed to perform electrical improvements and updating on the fixture with out taking it appart. It was not made to not to be dismantled. No more made in such a way than the Pearlman fixtures at the Buffalo theatre, which are actually of superior quality, thats no supposition either.
Ive also taken offense to your jab about no “volunteers” touching the cherished chandelier while at the Genesee. Speaking as one of those volunteers, although relocated and not able to be involved at the Riviera anymore, the Riviera theatre and the former Genesee theatre chandelier as well as the rest of the relics that have been rescued over the years, would probably not be here today without them! I highly doubt that the “Skilled Employees” of the Genesee included any chandelier craftsman, anymore than the Riviera does. If it wasn’t for that family of dedicated people working their fannies off to keep that theatre afloat, often using their OWN money and materials, WNY would much the poorer.
I meant nothing malicious by my previous posting, just to correct some foggy information, which Mr. Basil may have not been aware of. But then I come back several months later a read his somewhat nose in the air insulting response and back tracking on several points.
When I read words like “Skilled Craftsman,” “chained crystals were very very secure”,“A free fall of a foot would not affect any part of the chandelier”, “disassembled without damage,” “Electrical improvments”, “updating”, “The big question is”,“my mother and attorney Curtis told me ,”“My book,” all are suppositions with no validations from curmudgeons guessing and distorting True Theatre History. I gave you facts, about the fixture while housed inside the RIVIERA, and you made the choice to misconstrue them and twist it around to fit your own agenda and then insult me. I must say, i now doubt the credibility of your memory and notes, but it certainly will be interesting to read this “book.” Now, if you wish to discuss the “True” Theatre History of the Genesee, then do it on its own page! Cory Wright

opus1280 commented about Riviera Theatre on Sep 2, 2006 at 6:43 pm

Its been awhile since I looked at this! Look at all the posts! To correct Kenroe’s post from Jan 03,2005, The organ was a 3/11(not 10) model 235 sp. What made it an SP was the omission (in 1926) of the Salicional in favor of an Oboe Horn, no Marimba or piano, and a smaller 5hp blower. JohnBasil said that there were more crystals and more bulbs on the Rivs chandelier while at the Genesee, i have to disagree. In regards to the crystal i cant say for sure but, I remember hearing a story about an early cleaning fiasco at the Riviera,not too long after that fixture was installed in 1974 in which the cable used to lower the fixture overlapped on itself on the spindle in the attic, and then jumped violently back into place, allowing the chandelier to free fall an inch or so, and jerk to a stop suddenly, causing a horrific cascade of crystals to jettison down to the aud floor (its a 54' drop from the top of that dome to the aud floor). Volunteers then used what was not shattered to recreate the chains and rehang what they could. Thats why the fixture looks so naked currently. At one time, there was a box of crystal pieces left over from that accident in what is now the double door work shop in the basement, probably still in there. As for the bulbs, I have to disagree. I was one of the people whom helped add the additional circuits to both the upper and lower baskets of the fixture back in the late 90s, myself, Don Lange, Jim Davis and Bill Howland. There were far less bulbs in that fixture as originally constructed than there are currently. Perhaps while at the Genesee, there was only one circuit, which was white. At the Riviera, when I started there we had 3, White, Red and Blue. Now, in its original state it could have all been one “white” circuit and then split off into 3 after installation at the Riviera. It currently has White, Red, Blue, Green and Amber. Or did anyway before I moved away 3 years ago. If all combined circuits were fitted with white bulbs today, it would shine much brighter than it did at the Genesee! Now you know the rest of the story! Golly gee I miss that place!

opus1280 commented about Palace Theatre on Sep 2, 2006 at 5:45 pm

I just came across a bunch of emails I received and printed out as the entire Palace saga was unfolding way back in the 90s! Which prompted me to look it up here. The Palace in Olean (as well as several neighboring buildings) was demolished in Sept, 1998 by Benderson Development, and replaced with (as RichardG stated) an Eckards Drug store. Im not sure of its build date, but a 3/12 Moller theatre organ was installed at the Palace in 1916. I remember its proposed demolition being quite controversial, having first heard about it on the evening news in Buffalo, 70 or so miles north. So I ventured down to Olean 7/6/98 to attend a meeting on the subject in the city court room. I remember sitting there, after spending some time walking around the Palace and snapping some photos, wondering how some of those buffoons could be so short sighted. Mayor Griffin didn’t even show up for the meeting. There was one guy there, whom I had seen before at some theatre organ concerts in the Buffalo area, that stated that the theatre itself was in ruins and wasn’t salvageable. I wondered if he had ever seen the dilapidated Allendale in Buffalo which the Theatre Of Youth (TOY) was restoring at the time. Now THAT was a classic example of a theatre in ruins, and look at it now!! It ended with a 4-3 vote in favor of the Benderson project, I remember feeling like a deer caught in head lights watching this entire drama laid out before me, it was quite disturbing. I was told later that, challenging an article in the town charter, that the city was taken to court over the matter. But while that was still being deliberated, plans for the sale of the Palace from the Bordonaros to Benderson were finalized. I got an email on 9/13/98 stating that Benderson had rolled into town, under seal of darkness (supposedly at 3 or 4am), and just had at it, basically catching everyone off guard. I never went back to Olean, but from what I understand, it wasn’t just the Palace but pretty much most of that block of N. Union that was demolished. It was quite sad watching (and reading about) these residents grasping at whatever they could to keep out-of-towners and their own city government from destroying the downtown landscape. Does anyone know if any interior photos of this place exist? I wanted to see inside so bad that night in 98, but didnt feel like going to jail for breaking and entering! lol

opus1280 commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 14, 2005 at 5:42 pm

<<Bernie at the Organ was a regular live feature at the RKO Keith’s for many years and well loved.
posted by lorraine on Dec 10, 2003 at 5:01am>>

I just returned from an organ tuning trip to Branson, MO where I saw the Keiths original Wurlitzer pipe organ (Opus 1975 style 260). Its been installed (intact and original)in the Jones Learning Center auditorium at the the College Of The Ozarks since its removal from Keiths in around 1971.

As the story goes, while in transit from Flushing to Branson the tractor trailer crashed, flipped over and burst into flames. Some of the pipe work was damaged, some chests and other wooden parts felt some heat,and console cable was cut into 4 segments. But it was all repaired. What a survivor!

I took a few photo’s while i was there, if anyone is interested, drop me a line.

opus1280 commented about Lafayette Theatre on May 21, 2004 at 7:08 pm

If im not mistaken, only the Brass Trumpet was harvested from the Lafayette Wurlitzer for the Temple Beth. It serves as the Trumpet Enchamade in its current state.

opus1280 commented about Palace Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 6:30 pm

The style H SP (special) Wurlitzer, Opus 1066, from the Palace is currently scattered about the country side. The three manual console currently controls the organ at the Tampa Theatre in Florida. Some of the chestwork and pipework were given religion, and incorporated into a large hybrid organ in a Florida church.

opus1280 commented about Majestic Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 5:34 pm

The organ from the Majestic, Wurlitzer Opus 1222 (shipped to the theatre on 12/12/25), currently entertains patrons as the lobby organ at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO.

opus1280 commented about Riviera Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for filling in that info RJT. The Chandelier in the auditorium did come from the Genesee. The Willard Lusk Studios did do the interior decoration, with the mural above the stage from what ive been told, painted by Ferdinand Kebely (not sure on the spelling). The Riviera is infact filled with many components from other venues. The sconces in the aud were removed from the Rapids Theatre, Niagara Falls, NY, and replace the added 1940s era sconces which once littered the building. The 1950s era main drape was harvested from the Century (formerly Lowes State, Buffalo, NY) Theatre before it fell. Components from Wurlitzer Opus 1490 (style 260), Kensington Theatre, Buffalo, NY, were added to the Rivieras instrument during the 1970s. Parts of the Century theatres Moller pipe organ also made it to the Riviera prior to its demise.

As for the 1400 seats figure. I read that as well in newspaper accounts. However, I think that was pure hype. The original seats (of which some are in my possession) are of approx. the same size as those that replaced them in 1941 (originals can be found in church choir lofts all over North Tonawanda). Even with the seating that was removed (approx. 50, from the orchestra floor and balcony loges), 1200 may be a more accurate number.

I volunteered there for 12 years before i moved out of state. Its a great place, with great people. Should anyone ever be in the area, its worth a visit. For those visiting and looking for an interesting glimpse into the past, ask to see the J. C. Hall Co. NYC blueprints for the “proposed” theatre from June 1, 1925. While the interior is dramatically different, the Lempert facade appears to have been lifted from the Hall prints, complete with the twin “mermaids” perched atop.

Cory Wright

opus1280 commented about Theaters Listed for Sale on the Web on Apr 11, 2004 at 11:10 am

Great listing! Was neat to see the Capital in Niagara Falls listed here for sale. I was in that building just a few years ago, and remember it vividly. The main floor of the auditorium had been converted into a roller rink at some point in its life, and badly suffers from extensive warping of the hardwood floor boards. While plaster work remains in the lobby, balcony front and dome, and some ceiling medallions, everything else was lost in the remodel for the rink. The only thing left of what would have been the proscenium arch is its squared off outline. The booth is empty of its contents, except for a loan arch spot. It was ment as a film only house from the start, the “stage” is very small and has no fly space or rigging. I personally think the $129,900 asking price is quite high considering the overall condition of the place, and the area of the city it is in.