“The Mighty Wurlitzer” theatre organ was designed, originally by Robert Hope-Jones, as a “one man orchestra” to accompany silent movies. In all, Wurlitzer built over 2,200 pipe organs. The largest one originally built was the 4/58 instrument at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Music Hall instrument is actually a concert instrument, capable of playing classical as well as non-classical repertoire. It was the only Wurlitzer installation still in use that has dual identical, but independent consoles. Other large Wurlitzer organs still in their original locations include the Fox Theatres in Saint Louis, Missouri and Detroit, Michigan; Shea’s Theater in Buffalo, New York; the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee; the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma; the Denver Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado, and the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids, IA. Smaller instruments in the UK exist in their original installations, such as the Gaumont State Cinema, Kilburn and the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in the UK. These instruments are still being played several times a week.
It’s quite charming to play and with some ingenuity some of the sounds for example “Chimes” can be tailored to react like sound effects…Church Bells in the distance, Sleigh Bells, lower the pitch for bigger bells, you get the idea.