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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinema Yak   » How many theatres used organs?

Author Topic: How many theatres used organs?
John Dodge
New Member

Posts: 19
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Jul 2005

 - posted July 27, 2005 06:25 PM      Profile for John Dodge   Email John Dodge         Edit/Delete Post 
Does anyone know how many theatres used organs during the 1920's? How many houses still have organs? I used to belong to LATOS 10 years ago and they put on wonderful concerts at the San Gabriel Mission. There was a wonderful organist who came over to Los Angeles from Arizona but I forgot his name. John D.

[ July 27, 2005, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: John Dodge ]

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Ron Newman

Posts: 145
From: Somerville, MA
Registered: Jan 2005

 - posted July 27, 2005 08:02 PM      Profile for Ron Newman   Email Ron Newman         Edit/Delete Post 
[message deleted by author]

[ July 28, 2005, 05:02 AM: Message edited by: Ron Newman ]

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William Hooper

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted July 27, 2005 10:51 PM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Does anyone know how many theatres used organs during the 1920's?
By the mid & late 1920s, almost all the theatres had organs. Pianos were considered too small & associated with old-fashioned nickelodeons, so even the small houses had at least a 2/4 put in. New builds by then all had organs or photoplayers (small player organ/piano hybrids of different types), & the smaller ones had organs only (no orchestra). The big houses which had orchestras had organs when built, because for early shows, union requirements, etc., the organ was used.

I think there are some good estimations in Junchen's _Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ_, but my copy is being borrowed now. The problem is that even though records remain from Wurlitzer, Moller, Wicks, & some other TO builders, there were MANY other builders that went out of business as talkies came in, & their records were lost.

There's a search engine to locate organs' & theatres' original installations at

It acknowledges incompleteness, but since it was 1st put up, much more information has been added to its database by folks sending in info about original installations.

How many houses still have organs?
The ATOS has a list of existing, functional theatre organs at

Not all are used regularly, or have even been used for years, for different reasons. Also the list omits some organ installations which still exist, but are in considerable disrepair (vandalized; damaged by roof leaks, subcontractors, theatre personnel; left for years & having little prospect of becoming 'organs' again).

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