RADIO STATION ORGANS AND ORGANISTS FROM RADIO'S GOLDEN AGE
This is a comprehensive listing of all known radio station pipe organs and the organists who played them.
By the very early 1930's, motion picture sound had reached most tbeatres in the United States. The "Mighty Wurlitzer", a much desired fixture from the last decade, was rendered obsolete over night. Many theatres discontinued their use of the organ, and theatre organists began looking for other lines of work.
At the same time, Radio was entering the American home and live radio production was sweeping the nation. In local radio stations across the land, there developed a need for relatively low cost live music for these in-studio productions. Studio orchestras were standard at most of the larger stations and network program centers, but many station managers and producers realized that the theatre organ was a perfect fit for this application. As theatres removed their organs and organists, the instruments and the musicians found their way to radio stations across the land where they became the substitute for a more expensive studio orchestra. This is a listing of those radio stations with theatre organs installed. We have combined the station organ page with a previous page, by the late Harry Heth, that lists organists who were involved in the radio profession. The two lists are now connected so that searches span both realms of information.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this list was provided from numerous sources including The Theatre Organ Encyclopedia, the original installation database on theatreorgans.com, and from list members and visitors to the site. Please notify John DeMajo (jdemajo (at) demajo.net (replace the at with @) if you wish to contribute information or offer corrections.
Above: Ed Zollman at the console of the KOMO pipe organ.
RADIO STATIONS LISTED
|WAPI||Birmingham, AL||WHDH||Boston MA||WNEW||New York, NY|
|WBBM||Chicago, IL||WHEC||Rochester, NY||NWDR||Hamburg, Germany|
|WBBR||Brooklyn, NY||WHIO||Dayton, Ohio||KNX||Los Angeles, CA|
|WCAU||Philadelphia, PA||KHJ||Los Angeles, CA||KOIN||Portland, OR|
|WCBS||New York, NY||WHK||Cleveland, OH||KOL||Seattle, WA|
|WCCO||Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN||KHQ||Spokane, WA||KOMO||Seattle, WA|
|WCDA||Parsippany, N.J||WHT||Chicago, IL||WOR||New York, NY|
|WCFL||Chicago, IL||WIOD||Miami, FL||WOWO||Ft. Wayne, IN.|
|WCLO||Green Bay WI||KIT||Yakima, WA||KPO||San Francisco, CA|
|WDAY||Fargo, ND||WJJD||Chicago, IL||KPOF||Denver, CO|
|KDKA||Pittsburgh, PA||CJOR||Vancouver, B.C.||WPTF||Raleigh, NC|
|WDOD||Chattanooga, TN||KJR||Seattle, WA||WSMK||Dayton, OH|
|WEAR||Cleveland, OH||WKAF||Milwaukee, WI||WSOC||Charlotte, NC|
|WEII||Boston, MA||WKBW||Buffalo, N.Y||WSPA||Spartanburg, SC|
|KELW||Burbank, CA (see KTAR)||CKLA||Windsor, Ontario||WSPD||Toledo, OH|
|WENR||Chicago, IL||WKRC||Cincinnati, OH||KSTP||Minneapolis, MN|
|KEX||Portland, OR||WKY||Oklahoma City, OK||WSUN||St. Petersburg, FL|
|KFI||Los Angeles, CA||WLAC||Nashville, TN||KTAB||San Francisco, CA|
|WFIL||Philadelphia, PA||WLAW||Lawrence, MA||WTAM||Cleveland, OH|
|KFOX||Long Beach, CA||WLS||Chicago, IL||WTAR||Phoenix, AZ|
|KFPW||Ft. Smith, AR||WLW||Cincinnati, OH||WTMJ||Milwaukee, WI|
|KFPY||Spokane, WA||WMAQ||Chicago IL||WTOC||Savannah, GA|
|CFRB||Toronto Canada||KMBC||Kansas City, MO||WTPG||Raleigh, NC|
|KFRC||San Francisco, CA||WMBI||Chicago, IL||KVOO||Tulsa, OK|
|KFVD||Culver City, CA||WMCA||New York, NY||WWJ||Detroit, MI|
|KFWB||Los Angeles, CA||WMEX||Boston, MA||WWL||New Orleans, LA|
|WGBN||Chicago, IL||KMJ||Fresno, CA||WWVA||Wheeling, WV|
|KGDM||Stockton, CA||KMO||Tacoma, WA||KXL||Portland OR|
|KGER||Long Beach, CA||KMOX||St.Louis, MO||NBC Merch. Mart||Chicago, IL|
|WGN||Chicago, IL||KMTR||Los Angeles, CA||NBC_Studios||New York, NY|
|WGR||Buffalo, N. Y.||WNAC||Boston, MA||NBC Studios||Los Angeles, CA|
|KGW||Portland, OR||KNBC||San Francisco, CA||Radio City||San Francisco, CA|
|WHAD||MIlwaukee, WI||WNBC||New York, NY||AFRS||Armed Forces Radio Svc/|
|Roxy Studio||New York, NY|
|Haven of Rest Studio||Hollywood, CA|
HISTORY OF RADIO STATON ORGANS
The organist at WAPI was none other than Stanleigh Malotte, better known for his work at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham. The only known recording of Malotte that exists today is an eleven minute demonstration called "A Walk Through The Organ." The tape was released to the public in 1990 as a fundraiser, however, Malotte's first name was mis-spelled as "Stanley." Malotte's bio from Wikipedia appears below and you can hear the recording by clicking here.
Stanleigh Malotte came from a musical family; his father, mother, and brother were also musicians. He began violin lessons at six and began taking organ lessons from his church choirmaster at 12.
Malotte first became a theatre organist for Sid Grauman on the west coast, but later got a job with the Paramount/Publix chain and wound up working for Francis Falkenburg at the Olympia Theatre in Miami, Florida. Malotte was in Miami for approximately ten years, doing some work on radio as well as later working as organist at the Capitol Theatre. Falkenburg brought in Malotte from Florida shortly after Falkenburg transferred to the Alabama Theatre. Malotte's first performance at the Alabama was on May 27, 1937.
During his time at the Alabama, Malotte was well known for rewriting the lyrics of popular songs of the time with lyrics pertaining to current events, from the local to national levels. He also often selected music to be performed based on the movie being shown. He was also known to drink quite a bit, although some maintain this actually made him a better entertainer. Malotte also played the organ for WAPI-AM from their studios in the Protective Life Building.
In August 1947 Malotte left his organist job to become a morning disc jockey at radio station WWSW in Pittsburgh. On September 19, The Birmingham News published on its front page a lengthy letter by Malotte that was highly critical of Pittsburgh and its residents, calling them "dim-witted citizens—a race of robots—human refuse . . . with a complete absence of social consciousness . . . ." He was fired from his job by program director Fred Joyner the day the letter was published, although Joyner cited Malotte's failure to come to work twice that week as the cause. A few days later, the Alabama announced Malotte would be returning to its organ console on October 2.
After leaving the Alabama Theatre in 1955, Malotte was associated with the Hammond Organ Company. He also wrote material for television and commercials. Malotte later returned to his birthplace of Philadelphia. He died of a heart attack in New York City.
BBC organist Reginald Foort at Langham Place St. George's Hall.
One organist who eventually ended up in England after WW-II was Stanley Willie. He originally played at Radio NWDR in Hamburg, but was later appointed organist to the British Forces Network (British equivalent to our U.S. Armed Forces Radio Service) in 1946. Here is a photo of Willie at the NWDR organ. (Thanks to Gordon Crook for the NWDR photos)
WBBM staff organist Milton Charles
Edith White was the staff organist.
The following information was provided by Frank Muller
- WBBR was erected by the Watchtower Society (then International Bible Students) and began to broadcast in 1924
Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
This long time CBS affiliate had a Wurlitzer 3 Manual Style 260 (Opus 2080) built in 1929. It was installed in the Nicollet Island Hotel studios near downtown Minneapolis. It was then moved to the station’s new facilities on Second Avenue and South 7th. Street. Staff organists were Eddie Dunstedter and Ramona Gerhard. After being away for nearly five decades, the WCCO Wurlitzer is being restored to be installed in the Historic Heights Theater located in Columbia Heights, MN. There was an article written about the WCCO Wurlitzer in the Saturday October 2002 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Estey 2/3 OPUS 2829 GRAND MINUETTE
Barton 3/10 1923 Blower # 14240. Eddie Hansen was staff organist and Ralph Waldo Emerson recorded on this instrument.
Green Bay, WI
Kimball 2 manual
3 Rank Barton that was played by Hildegarde Usselman Krauss who also played in theatres well into her 90's. The Barton was later moved to a roller rink. The station continued to utilize live organ music into the 80's first with a Hammond and later with a Conn.
KDKA music staff gathered at the KDKA console.
Chattanooga, TN. (Contributed by Larry Davis)
had a style 150 Wurlitzer, Opus 1981, in the station's studio. Disposition of this organ is being checked out.
Wurlitzer Opus 1099 3/15 Special
Estey 3/7 OPUS 2618 from Castillo Studio
Console is owned by Doug Powers. It was said to have been played by Jesse and Helen Crawford regularly. This was a special console which was fully loaded with 72 tabs on each of two stop rails. The console has undergone modifications by Chuck Blair and finally Ken Crome. Some of the pipework was reportedly in the possession of Ron Rhode. The present console owner, Doug Powers, has converted it to operate a Walker Digital organ.
And here is another one of Irma Glen's publicity shots...
Photo courtesy of Gordon Crook
An advertising brochure from the WENR radio organ era.
Wood 2 manual
The following information was submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:
KFI, Los Angeles. KFI was the NBC Red affiliate owned by Earl C.
Anthony, California Packard dealer, who also owned KECA, the NBC Blue affiliate. KFI had a
Maas organ of two-manuals and 4-ranks. I saw that organ in the Vermont Street
building and remember that the console was painted in the same institutional green
color as the wainscoting of the studio! The building has been destroyed and I have
no idea where the organ went. It is possible that KFI may have had an organ before this time in some earlier studio location, but I have never heard about it. I don't think that the Maas organ was installed early enough to have ever been used
Information from Steve Frank stevenfrank@MAC.COM
When I lived in Albany from mid 60s-72 that was my main practice organ!
I'll send you a private email with a picture.
It was WFIL, Philadelphia, 1937 according to the current owner, Al Adair.
He and I were both students of Jim Barnett, whose organ it was. He also acquired a number of Skinners and peppered the city with collections of pipework and various consoles (including the 1928 Grace Church, NYC Skinner)
In 1980, Jim Spohn purchased the organ and installed it in a studio in Bakersfield. Jim later purchased the Granada Theatre and installed the organ there where it is still playing.
Jim also has part of the KNX Columbia Square Hollywood organ at the Granada also.
Ft. Smith, AR.
Kilgen 2/6 OPUS 5616
In 1953, the organ was removed and Balcom and Vaughan installed it in Seattle’s Rolladium Skating Rink.
Wurlitzer Opus 1743, 2/4
KFRC, San Francisco. KFRC was owned by Don Lee, the California Ca. The Robert-Morton organ in your list was in the Don Lee building, but the only photograph of it shows it in the Cadillac showroom on the first floor. It may have been moved into the studios and used there, but I never heard about that. The main KFRC organ was installed, I would guess, when they modernized the studios in 1935. It was a three-manual, 19-rank (I believe) put-together job using parts mainly from the Murray M. Harris succession of companies. As I remember, it had American Photoplayer or Spencer and Murray M. Harris or Johnston chests among others. I believe the console was a Spencer. The organ was a terrible mongrel, but sounded very nice on the radio. It was maintained (and I believe installed) by a local firm, Martin and Fallis. It was later sold to a Lutheran church in the East Bay and then broken up for parts and replaced by a Möller organ.
Culver City, CA.
Kilgen 3/5 OPUS 4444
The following is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:
KFWB, Los Angeles. At one time, the KFWB studios were located on Brothers, Sunset Boulevard lot. I believe the main studio served both as a sound stage for picture recording and as a radio studio. I have one picture which shows it set up as an auditorium studio. This is Wurlitzer opus 2022 of 1929, a three-manual, 18-rank Wurlitzer. The organ was acquired later by radio actor, Joe Kerns, and put in his Hollywood home. (I don't know anything about the KMTR organ mentioned in your KFWB listing. I know Buddy Cole had a studio organ, but I'm not sure of its origins. I believe the KMTR organ should be listed separately.)
Page 3 manual (specs unknown) (disposition unknown)
The 3/7 Moller in the studios of KGDM in Stockton, CA. I have an interest in all things KGDM because it is the station which I favored with my radio debut in about 1949!
Note: the March/April, 1992 issue of Theatre Organ Magazine includes a letter, signed by Tom DeLay, describing this organ.
Long Beach, CA
(Information provided by Ray Thursby)
Wurlitzer Special 3M, #2047, was sold from the factory to radio station KGER in Long Beach, CA in 1929. Sometime in the 1950s, it was sold to Bill Coffman and Bill Field, who kept it in storage for many years. It was later sold to an unknown individual.
When the organ was removed from WGN, the Kimball portions, including the console, were sold to a private individual, and the Wurlitzer portion was installed at Mundelein. The Kimball console and the 16’ Open Diapason were destroyed in a house fire in Wisconsin.
THE ABOVE INFORMATION, REGARDING THE WGN CONSOLE, WAS CORRECTED BY PAUL@ SZYMKOWSKI.NET ON 8/22/2010. PAUL REPORTS THAT HE HAS THE ORIGINAL CONSOLE AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF RESTORING IT. A further report from Jon C, indicates that the Kimball console was sold to Balcom and Vaughn, and that it ended up in Seattle.
A photo of the WGN console
The WGN organ was heard into the late 1950’s with staff organist Harold Turner providing program each Sunday morning called "Pipe Dreams". After Harold Turner retired, the organ was used infrequently if at all. (see comment from Walt Strony below)
One notable program that originated from WGN was the Hartz-Mountain program. Jon Habernaas recalls that the program featured live canaries in the studio that were trained to sing along with melodies played by an organist referred to as Gloria and violinist referred to as Gene. Jon tells us that the WGN organ survived much longer than most broadcast organs as it was a favorite of Colonel McCormick and was included in the move from the Michigan Avenue studios to the new broadcast facility on Bradley Court, which was located about a mile NW of the old Riverview Park location at Western and Belmont. The organ was removed from the Michigan Ave studio by Frank Wichlac and Associates and later installed by him in the new studio. Jon had the opportunity to work on the crew during both the removal and new installation. The organ was installed in the larger TV studio at Bradley Place and remained there until WGN-TV decided that the space occupied by the organ chambers could be better used to store the equipment used by the station for the Illinois Lottery. The organ was donated by WGN to the Archdiocese of Chicago which sent it to be added to the theatre organ in the auditorium at Mundelein. The original 7 rank Wurlitzer portion along with the Vibraharp was used and the Kimball portion rest of the percussions were sold to help defray the cost of the installation. The organ had a xylophone and bells originally, but no traps.
Additionally submitted by John Scott:
An additional note from Walt Strony:
I am offering a correction / addition about the WGN Organ. I knew Harold Turner quite well and the Executive Vice-President of WGN, Alexander Field was a close friend. I was in contact with both of them (especially Al Field) until they passed away.
Al Field was an organ enthusiast and member of CATOE when I was young and just getting started as a theatre organist. When Harold retired, as you state, the organ wasn't used. There were calls from the public stating that they missed it. Al Field arranged for WGN to hire me to videotape some Christmas music. That music was aired several times in several versions, usually with another choir. To my knowledge, that was the last time the organ was played for broadcast. The director was Orlando White, a black man - so his name will forever be in my brain!
Supposedly the console still exists, having survived a fire, and it is in storage somewhere. (see note above indicating tha the console is now in Seattle WA.
Buffalo, New York
Wurlitzer Opus 1118 3/10 stated as a Style F
(contributed by Terry Hochmuth)
KGW / KEX
The following information on Glen Shelly was submitted by Tom DeLay:
Shelly specified for Wurlitzer many Pacific Northwest instruments including the 3/8 instrument once in the Capitol Theatre Salem, the 3/14 formerly in the Elsinore Theatre Salem, and the 3/10 Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay (nee Marshfield) OR (still in place.) The present hybrid Wurlitzer in the Elsinore was owned and assembled by the Park Family and has no relation to the original Elsinore organ other than a couple ranks when the original organ was unfortunately broken for parts.
According to Bob Rickett, this was a very good broadcast organ and it was played for many years by Glen Shelley. In 1946, a fire at the studios damaged the console but not the pipe work. The insurance company sold the organ to Jerry Gilmore and two of the regulators made their way to Bob Rickett’s organ in Portland.
Wurlitzer Opus 1579 2/5 R5 Special
Herbie Koch at the WHAS Kilgen console
Haven of Rest Studio. The Haven of Rest religious broadcast had an art deco building done in a nautical motif. It had a 1921 style 210 Wurlitzer from the Apollo Theater opus 415. I never saw the organ but heard it on the air many times and it may still be there.
Also submitted by Tom DeLay: Indeed as Jack said, the basic organ was the Wurlitzer opus 415 from the Apollo Theatre--Hollywood--and added to by Dean McNichols and Lorin Whitney interests over the years. When the organ was removed around 1985/86 or so, the organ had grown from the original 10 rank style 215 Sp to 16 ranks and had long since become a put-together organ and lost its original identity..
Information by Mr. Jack Bethards:
(Information provided by Kenneth Evans)
Wurlitzer style 235 3/11, opus 411 Installed in WHEC's auditorium studio in 1934. (Opus 411 was originally in the Palace Theatre in Dallas, TX and was moved to the Coconut Grove at LA's Ambassador Hotel before reinstallation by Wurlitzer at WHEC.) The dedication at WHEC was by Ann Leaf on October 10, 1934. The first regular WHEC staff organist was Dick Hull and the last staff WHEC organist was Jerry Vogt. It was used in conjunction with several live variety organ solo programs originating from its studio until WHEC moved to new studios. It was then purchased by Dick Hull (WHEC's first staff organist) and moved to Denver, CO.
Wurlitzer Opus 394, a 160 3Manual Special installed in 1934. The instrument was originally installed in the Warwick Theatre of Kansas City in 1921.
The following information was submitted by Jim Lewis:
Staff organist Helen Wyant at the WHK Gottfried console (Photo courtesy of Gordon Crook)
The KHQ organ was another 1939 Balcom and Vaughan installation based around a 2/6 Wurlitzer Opus 792, which was originally installed Seattle’s Venetian (Olympic) Theatre. In 1963, the instrument found its way back to Seattle and was installed in the Kirkland residence of Ernie Manly.
Chicago, IL (Studios in Wrigley Building)
(contributed by Larry Davis)
Page Organ 4 Manual, 15 Ranks (10 HP blower serial # 21042) Voiced on 15" pressure.
Organ is now in Stephenson High School, Stone Mountain, GA.
Previous to the Page organ, there was a Kilgen organ installed at this station. William Wrigley liked the sound of Page organs and replaced the Kilgen with the Page. He also installed a Page organ in his Catalina Island theatre off the coast of California.
In 1929, the WHT Page organ was relocated to the Michigan Theatre in Flint, Michigan.
Wurlitzer Opus 1466 2/7 EX
KIT Radio first broadcast on April 8, 1929. It was the first commercial station in Central Washington. In 1939, Balcom and Vaughan installed a 2/5 Wurlitzer at the station that was based around a 2/4 Style B Wurlitzer (Opus 835). The organ was lost in a fire in 1961
(contributed by Les Hickory)
WJJD first put on the air in 1924 by J.J. Davies (WJJD) in 1924 at Moosehart, the Moose Club Children's Home, located north of Aurora, Illinois. It was reallocated to Chicago in 1941 and operated on "limited hours" from 1941 to 1980.
The first organ music broadcast over WJJD was the Geneva Marr and Colton 3/16. from the Arcadia Theatre in St. Charles, Il. The original Marr and Colton was a 3/10. Geneva made two modifications to the Marr and Colton with each organist hired after the first. There were two and Howard Peterson being the 3rd. The original Marr and Colton was installed over the summer of 1926 and was ready for the opening on Labor Day in September 1926. Nine months later the organist left and 2nd one wanted changes. 3 ranks and a piano were added to what was a cold air return and would have been a chamber if a larger organ would have been installed. A 2nd blower and relay were added in the basement next to the boiler in a room where the electric service entered the building. One year later Howard was hired. The Marr and Colton console was stationary in the pit. The pit was expanded, a whole dug and a cable lift installed and a new console build by Geneva and design by the theatre owner, who was an artist, was built and installed. Three more ranks were added and installed in the back of the theatre in what was a storage room in the booth area. The Geneva relay that was installed a year ago was added to and the wind from that blower was ran to the back of the house. No other changes were made to the organ after that. We don't know when Howard left, but do know that a Les Doyle played the organ either during WW2 or after. Then the organ was silent for many years until CATOE came in and I became the next paid house organist. 1974 to 1985..
Kimball 2 Manual 4 Rank
According to the Junchen opus lists, CJOR had a 2/4 Kimball. The install date and theatre of origin are unknown.
1930 Estey Opus 2945 2 manual 3 rank OPUS 2945 GRAND MINUETTE
The organ was removed in 1939 and was transferred to the Bethany Lutheran Church in Warren, Oregon. Two ranks were added at that time. In 1947, it was enlarged to 12 ranks and went to the home of William Hubley in Seattle.
Kilgen Opus 3740 2/4 installed 1926 (according to database, this organ was shipped but not accepted.)
Wurlitzer Opus 2238 (last organ out) was originally shipped to the Rialto Theatre in Lockport, N.Y. It was then repossessed by Wurlitzer and installed in WKBW. In 1947, it was removed from the radio station and purchase by Transfiguration Catholic Church in Cheektawoga, NY (suburb of Buffalo). Terry reports that he purchased it in 1992 and removed it for installation in his office supply store. After an accident and fire in 1995, Terry sold it to Jerry Critser in Joliet who Terry believes still has it in storage. The organ was a 3/10 with a single stop rail console. Specs were: Main- Open Flute, Solo String, Celeste and Kinura swapped out with a church Quint. Solo- Tibia, Tuba, Vox, Orch. Oboe, and Kinura but the percussions were gone. The trap counter was also with the instrument but all of the traps had been removed and the holes stuffed with rags.
Wurlitzer Opus 1483 2/5 Style B Special
Wurlitzer Opus 2643, 2/4 Style B Special
T he following update was submitted by Max Gould:
The WKY studios were in the Skirvin Tower Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. When the Kilgen four manual was no longer used by WKY radio, it was moved to the Municipal Auditorium and used there for a few years. I understand that the instrument is complete and in storage awaiting installation at the Oklahoma Historic Center.
While organist at First Church of Christ Scientist in Oklahoma City, I played the Kilgen in the Municipal Auditorium Christian Science lectures.
It was/is a Kilgen theatre organ. From WKY, it went to the Civic Center, and thence to the Oklahoma History Museum. A local hack was hired to install it, and it never played. It sits silent on display. There is some talk of a proper restoration in the not-too-distant future. (from a follow-up post from Jeremy on Theatreorgans-L)
Organist Al Bain at the WLAC Kimball organ
(Information provided by Jeff Weiler)
Wurlitzer Style "H" 1937 (OPUS 1347) 3 Manual
WLS also had a 1928 Link 2/3 with blower # 21959
The following information is provided by Jon Habermaas:
The Sunday funnies were also aired on WLS radio with Howard Peterson at the Barton.
WLS organist Ralph W. Emerson II at the console of the WLS Barton.
This station, owned by Powell Crosley, actually had three pipe organs including a Style B. The main organ. Wurlitzer Opus 1001 began as a Style H Special and was enlarged, including the addition of a three manual console in 1929.
The organ was removed and relocated in the Shady Nook restaurant in Cincinnati. At some point, the restaurant closed and the owners had the power to the building cut off. Which disabled sump pumps and allowed the organ chambers to flood. The crew who removed the organ had to wear masks because of the mold that had formed. There was some question about how much of this organ was actually the WLW organ because of the various additions that had been made in 1929. John Alford obtained some of the pipe work at that time on the chance that they were actually the pipes used at WLW and played by Lee Erwin. During the time at the restaurant, however, the owner swapped out some of the ranks, which clouded the whole matter of what parts were from the original organ. At this time, the Shady Nook Restaurant is in bad condition.
Pat Gillick seated at the WLW console in a 1932 photo.
Another photo of the WLW studio. The "Moon River" program originated in this room.
Wurlitzer Opus 309 shown in the WMAQ studio.
Message from Charlie Porter regarding KMBC and the above recording:
I have information concerning the KMBC studio organ in Kansas City, Mo.
Not only do I have info, but I have found in my archives the last broadcast studio transcription recording of the organ in Feb. 1951. This recording was loaned to me a number of years ago by the late Don Keilhack, who resided here in San Diego for a number of years, and moved back to his hometown of Kansas City. I copied these recordings onto a high quality TDK hi bias cassette tape (the best available) back in the early 90s. Don took his studio recordings with him when he moved back to KC. He personally new the (then) organist P. Hans Flath. Flath was a well known organist in KC for years. He opened the Loew’s Midland Theatre “Wonder Morton“ in 1929, as well as a very respectable church organist. I have found a picture of Flath, courtesy of the University of Kansas, The Arthur B. Church KMBC Collection . Not sure what might have happened to those original recordings upon Don’s sudden demise, as I lost touch with him after he left SD. In my research at the University Website I found no existence of these particular recordings. Don was also an excellent theatre organist and copied Flath’s style. Being somewhat of a reclusive, he never really did public performances.
The organ at KMBC was a 3/10 Robert Morton Opus # 23450, not a Wurlitzer. It was an organ transplant from the Wade Hamilton Organ & Piano Studios in Tulsa, OK. installed there in 1929. See page 579 in the Encyclopedia Of The American Theatre Organ Vol. II. Not sure when KMBC acquired it, page 536 (same volume II) has a picture of Ann Reiling (no info on Ann) at the KMBC console in KC. That finish on the console looks to be a ugly thick textured finish. It was a faded almost Army green. Arrrrg!
Now this recording is of good fidelity, except for some LP surface noise. It has now been transferred onto CD. It could easily be “cleaned up” with today’s many digital programs available for computers. However, it is quite listenable and enjoyable. The announcer is Paul Taylor, and he identifies with the station call letters at the end of the late night ½ hour broadcast. But what makes this recording even more eventful and rare is Flath himself comes on at the end with Paul Taylor and they have a friendly exchange about the organs imminent removal, being sure to give the date of this historic broadcast. Apparently more recording was done after the broadcast that evening, as there is another person in the studio which you hear making a request of Flath. Could it have been Flath’s wife? There is even a short cipher noted several tunes later, but Flath plays it out. At the very end of the recording are two selections played at the pipe organ by Flath in the 3rd Christian Science Church of KC, accompanying an unknown soloist.
Sadly the KMBC organ was dismantled quickly as the old building was scheduled for demolition. It was seen as not cost effective to re-install and besides, the new station had provided a new Hammond organ and grand piano in it's own studio room for Flath's broadcast. The Morton eventually found it’s final resting place in a barn, on a dirt floor, outside of Kansas City for over 30 years.
When it became available, time had taken it’s toll. What remained and salvageable, was rescued by a local member of our Theatre Organ Society of San Diego about 25 years ago. Wood crates with wood pipes had suffered major termite damage. The console was falling apart. But all was packed up and lovingly brought back to San Diego anyway to be parted out like an old junk car. The console was a basket case, but has been rebuilt and brought back to the beautiful original oak finish and is now playing in a home installation here of I believe about 20 ranks. Well there you have it. A real lost treasure!
Now I have also found your site with the recordings of famous broadcast organist, and this recording belongs with them, but I’m not sure who should receive this. If you can give me your address, I can forward this recording on to you. I can mail two, one for you and one for the archive site (Sounds Of American Organs). I also intend to contact the University of Kansas to see if they want a copy for their KMBC archives. I could be wrong, but in my research of their site I don't believe they have this recording. Many studio transcriptions pryor to 1951 seem not to exist.
Thanks and best wishes from San Diego!
Original studions of Moody Bible Institute Ministries (1920's-1930's)
Information provided by Larry Kessler:
Two Manual Kimball, enclosed in one chamber
New York, NY
Wurlitzer Opus 748 2/7 Style E
1934 Wurlitzer Opus 1795 Style" B" Special
(contributed by Tom DeLay)
The KMJ organ was soldt, intact, to Bob Kates in Berkeley, CA. Bob added 4 ranks to the organ when it was in his home, now comprising a 2/13. Bob made a few recordings on the instrument. In 1962, it was sold to the late Carsten Henningsen and installed in his Ye Olde Pizza Joynt in Haward/San Leandro, CA. In the late 1960s a 3 manual style 235 console was added to the Fresno State/KMJ organ and surplused the original 2m console. This console was not sent through a series of owners. From Carsten Henningsen, the original 2m Fresno console was sold to Warren Blankenship in Pacific Grove, CA. The console remained the property of Mr. Blankenship until his death in the late 1990s. The hybrid instrument owned by Mr. Blankenship (including the Fresno State/KMJ console) was donated to Nor Cal Theatre Organ Society based in Berkeley, CA. The Fresno console was then sold to local enthusiast Bob Coffin. He then sold the console to Dick Taylor who will use the console as parts.
Robert Morton 2 manual 8 rank
A 1931 installation by Balcom and Vaughan based aroung a 2/4 Wicks manufactured Morton from Tacoma’s Park Theatre. In 1953, the organ was moved to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tacoma. In 1956, it was removed from the church and the current disposition is unknown.
Additional information from Terry Charles: Hi gang... When I was attending a Georgia college, I became involved with the Kilgen Organ from the
More from Terry:
Here's the interesting story about how the famed KMOX Kilgen came to rest in the Cuthbert Methodist Church, Cuthbert, Georgia.
I had "discovered" in the Covenant Presbyterian Church, Albany Georgia the
almost twin to Fred Pillsbury's KMOX Kilgen, the 4/14 Kilgen from WFIL in
Philadelphia (after all these years believing that organ was the WHAS Kilgen.
Steven Frank substantiates it was really the WFIL Kilgen). Now I have to look
at your site and find the WHAS data.,
Anyway, the story - I wrote to Fred, described everything about the Covenant
installation including the added, exposed copper positive. I described the two
large chambers under the choir loft floor area. The organ spoke into a hallway
sort of area, maybe 6-8 feet deep and the sound reflected upward. I told him
what he already knew by his own KMOX Kilgen, that the organ was a POWER
house, with a huge scaled Tibia Clausa, 16' Post Horn and Oboe Horn. The
strings were gorgeous. The trems did not work or were disconnected.
A friend and I tuned it a couple of times while I was in college.
Well, Fred wrote to me that he was very impressed with my keen interest in
the Kilgen Organs, mentioned he was selling his KMOX Kilgen in preparation
to install the Saint Louis Ambassador Wurlitzer. I hadn't had the chance to
write back when on a Saturday afternoon, my girlfriend, Carolyn Milner and
I were seated in the town's only movie theatre when on the screen in little
letters came the words "Terry Charles Come To The Box Office". Startled, I went as fast as I could and they gave me the phone... it was FRED!
He again commented on my keen interest in the pipe organ and said "IF YOU
CAN FIND A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION YOU MAY SELECT THE PLACE
FOR MY ORGAN TO GO TO AND I WILL PAY FOR INSTALLATION."
I'm sure I didn't sleep and my grades probably suffered... but I wasn't happy
with the hierarchy of the College (which had a Hammond Model D I think it was)
and ruled the college out immediately.
Trellis Case was the music professor at the college AND the organist at the
Cuthbert Methodist Church of which I was a member. So I told Trellis about
the whole thing and we went before the board and they accepted the offer.
The church had an old tracker organ in terrible condition.
When the organ came for installation it was summer and college was out for
the time. When fall arrived and I returned I found the installation a success in
every way... except the console was SO big it had to be placed on the floor
outside the choir loft.
And then years later I returned to play it and I remembered it was LOUD... LOL
And more years later, I was informed by friends in Cuthbert that the church has
a new Greenwood Pipe Organ. I immediately contacted them and was told
ALL was junked...
The following is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:
(I don't know anything about the KMTR organ mentioned in your KFWB listing. I know Buddy Cole had a studio organ, but I'm not sure of its origins. I believe the KMTR organ should be listed separately.)
Wurlitzer Opus 1742, 2/8 190
Comment by Norm Howard Lehfeldt of San Francisco:
The station you list as KNBC should probably be listed as KPO. It did not become KNBC until 1949.It shared space with KGO, the Blue Network station in NBC's still standing building at Taylor and O'Farrell streets. Although the Taylor/O'Farrell building was sometimes called Radio City, I believe the building you call Radio City is probably the NBC studio at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Before the Taylor/O'Farrell building was constructed NBC had leased space in a building at 111 Sutter Street. I don't think there was ever an organ there.
NBC Studios, Hollywood. The first stand-alone NBC Studio was buillt at 5515 Melrose Avenue right near the Paramount lot. It was a beautiful art deco building and still exists as a television studio. I don't believe it had a pipe organ. It is possible that they may have used the Paramount Studio organ for broadcasts since it was literally a walk-away. That may also be the reason that they acquired the Paramount organ for their San Francisco building since they may have been familiar with it. (The Melrose building had a very fascinating history. Radio grew so quickly that this 1935 building was obsolete by 1938. It was then used by KHJ and the Mutual Don Lee Broadcasting System, then by Capitol Records and later by a succession of radio and television stations.)
The 1938 NBC building was a magnificent plant with many large auditoriums It is certainly one of the finest studios ever built. Strangely enough, given the lavish expenditure on the property, it is surprising that they had a hybrid organ made up for their studio G. The basis of it was the KPO San Francisco Welte organ. To it was added a lot of Wurlitzer material to the specifications of Paul Carson. The organ was installed by Charlie Hershman and Henry Pope. Later, Charlie left the job and Henry Pope finished it along with his helper Will Knights. I met Henry Pope at NBC and I knew Mr. Knights as well. That organ was one of the most famous radio organs because it became the One Man's Family and Bridge to Dreamland organ after those shows moved from San Francisco to Hollywood. That organ was later acquired by Paul Michelson and I'm not sure where it is now. It has been well documented in the theatre organ magazines from time-to-time.
Henry Pope at the NBC Studio organ in Los Angeles
|NBC Merchandise Mart
Wurlitzer 3 manual
This organ went to Colorado Springs where it was eventually broken up.
NBC Studios New York City
Glen Pratt, Resident Staff Organist at NBC studios in New York. Console is unknown organ.
Located at the 111 Sutter Street Studio on the 22nd Floor of the Hunter-Dublin Building (1929) Six rank, 2 Manual Robert Morton from the Don George Teaching Studios
1942: at the new 420 Taylor Street studios: Wurltizer (Opus 464) 210SP 19 rank 3 Manual. Original 1921 installation from the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.
The following exerpt, written by Mr Jack Bethards, gives a picture of the relationships between local studios of network affiliates and the actual network production centers in large cities.
NBC Network, San Francisco. It is important to separate networks local station studios. In big cities they were often separate. Until 1927, NBC programs originated from KPO, their local red network affiliate. In 1927, NBC built a large network complex on the 22nd floor of the Hunter-Dulin building at 111 Sutter Street. From here they broadcast both on their red and blue networks (the local blue network affiliate was KGO and I don't believe it ever had a pipe organ.) In 1927, NBC bought an organ from the Don George theatre organ teaching studio and had it installed at 111 Sutter. It was a Robert-Morton two-manual, 6-rank job very highly unified. This organ was used on the famous network programs, One Man's Family and Paul Carson's Bridge to Dreamland. By 1935, most network production had moved to Hollywood. In 1942, the organ was sold to Charles Hershman, who removed it and re-installed it in 1944 with some modifications at St. Paul's Community Church in South San Francisco. It is currently being re-located to the Western States Museum of Broadcasting in Ashland, OR.
(Above: A 1929 photo of Elmer Crowhurst at the 6 rank Morton in the 111 Sutter Street NBC Studios. This organ provided the music for the long-running NBC serial "One Man's Family" and Paul Carson's "Bridge to Dreamland")
The following information on Elmer Crowhurst was provided by his grand-daughter:
Francis Elmore Crowhurst born 19 May 1890 Oakland, CA. He married Melva Amelia Pringle on the 10 of February 1911 in Seattle, WA. He hated the name Francis so he used Elmor instead, not sure why he left off the final e. But it was frequently misspelled as Elmer. When he was between engagements, he advertised in the trade papers using F.E. Crowhurst possibly to save the cost of the ad.
Mr. Crowhurst's grand-daughter interviewed her grandmother Melva Crowhurst in 1980 about her grandfather's musical history. This is what she related:
1929 He moved to radio work – first played on Charlie Marshall's Hillbilly Band (he played the Jew's Harp) and for One Man's Family at NBC radio. He played the Theme Music “Memory Lane”. Vera Vey played Barbara Jo Allen the little girl in Memory Lane. Baton Yarboro was an actor on OMF and ILAM. At the 3rd anniversary of NBC radio in S.F. Mel got to dance with Carlton E. Morse, who was writer of One Man's Family. He later married and he and his wife wrote “I Love a Mystery” together.
1930 or 31 – For 8 months he had a ½ hour organ concert at 11 to 11:30 pm, also on NBC radio, later the show became Paul Carson's Bridge to Dreamland.
Note: When he was playing at NBC (KPO) they did not have many good selections of saxophone solos so he wrote “Melva” a Volks Caprice type of waltz. He also played on the first Jaquard type player piano rolls that allowed style to be added to the music.
Francis Elmore "Elmer" Crowhurst in tux.
Paul Carson, composer of "Patricia" and organist for the One Man's Family program at undetermined console.
In 1942, NBC opened what was probably the most modern and perfect ra ever built at 420 Taylor Street. It also housed local stations KPO (later KNBC, later KNBR) and KGO. It was a modern-style building and still exists although the interior has been converted into office use. For studio B in that building they acquired, and Charles Hershman installed, the very fine Wurlitzer opus 2035 of 1929 from the Famous Players - Paramount Motion Picture Studio in Hollywood. This is the instrument mentioned in your Radio City Studios (NBC) citation. You mention the same instrument under KNBC, but KNBC never had a pipe organ of its own and should not be listed. (By the way, the NBC building was known as the Radio City of the West.) This organ was sold to Richard Simonton and installed with additions in his North Hollywood home.
New York, NY
Marr and Colton 1928 Blower serial # 22362
Stanley Willie, a former BBC organist, later played for NWDR in Hamburg. Here he is shown at the NWDR Console.
Below: A colleague of Willie's was Gregor Gerhard, also shown here at the NWDR organ in Hamburg, Germany
More info on current status of this organ:
I just found your web site http://www.savetheorgan.org/
This is the original Wurlitzer Opus Walla Walla Legion (Capitol) theatre Wurlitzer that was installed in KNX by Balcom and Vaughan in 1937
Mr. Jack Bethards has kindly submitted information on KNX as follows:
KNX, Los Angeles. The organ you list for KNX should be listed und CBS-Columbia Square, Studio 4. This as a CBS network facility primarily and also housed their local affiliate KNX. Before that facility was built in 1937, KNX had its own studio down the street on Sunset that housed a three-manual, 10-rank Robert-Morton. That studio was taken over by KMPC subsequently and I'm not sure whether they kept the organ or not. It is now a restaurant and the organ is gone.
Supplement to Mr. Bethard's comment above: The original KNX studio on Sunset, later became a Spaghetti Factory restaurant. That has now closed and the building was demolished.
Above: The 3 manual Robert Morton organ at the old KNX studio in Hollywood. The studio later became KMPC and then it was gutted to become an Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant. The facility has since been demolished.
INFORMATION ON KNX WAS FURTHER SUPPLEMENTED IN JULY OF 2011 WITH THE FOLLOWING FROM TOM DELAY :
I was again looking at your list of radio studio pipe organs and there is a conflict on the Los Angeles KNX (Columbia Square) organ.
I see Jack Bethards has correctly added some information regarding the CBS Columbia Square organ. However, there is more to the story and likely far more than you will ever need!
First of all, KNX/CBS Columbia Square had a 2/5 Kilgen organ opus 4931, 2/5 installed in 1932.
The photo you have showing Ivan Ditmars at the 3m "KNX" console isn't correct. The KNX console is much more like the KOMO Seattle console with Ed Zollman, Sr. which you show near the top of your page.
In 1937, Balcom and Vaughn sold KNX/CBS Columbia Square Hollywood the style F 2/8 from Walla Walla, WA. B &V rebuilt the original 2m F console into a 3m with rather simple somewhat crude moderne lines. Two unit chests from the Kilgen were used to add a Gottfried English Horn and Gottfried Brass Trumpet. The original style F Clarinet was removed and a Gottfried "Bell" Clarinet was put in the spot where the Wurlitzer set had been. The Junchen list says this organ was a 3/11. It was not. It was a 3/10 but B & V did purchase the 3 ranks from Gottfried for this organ.
When KNX/CBS Columbia Square got rid of the organ, the console was sold to Marguerite Moore in Porterville, CA for her hybrid 3/18 organ. The balance of the KNX organ was installed in the Filmore Presbyterian Church (now Filmore Bible Church.) The two Kilgen chests were sold to George Wright for use in his Pasadena studio organ (that burned in 1970.) To replace the Kilgen chests, Richard Villemin of Porterville added a Wurlitzer style 165 from the El Campanile Theatre Antioch, CA. He placed the English Horn (where the 165 Vox Humana had been) and Brass Trumpet (where the 165 Trumpet had been) on this chest and retained the rest of the style 165 ranks. With the B &V KNX console sold to Mrs. Moore, Richard Villemin installed a 3m Moller console from the Hillstreet Theatre in Los Angeles. As far as I know, the KNX/Columbia Square organ is still installed in Filmore. The Moore organ was donated to Fresno Pacific University in 1981 and installed there in 1982 where it and the B & V console remains.
Eventually, the 3/18 or 20 Wurlitzer from one of the LA sound-stage studios (can't recall which one right now) to replace the B & V adapted style F. The 3/18-20 Wurlitzer was never installed at Columbia Square and was sold to Actor Joseph Kearns (Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace TV show in the early 1960s.) Upon Kearns' death in 1962, this organ was taken over by Robert Carson in the Kerns' home. The organ has since been installed in the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, OH.
I realize this is far more info than you need for your radio organ page, but this is what I learned and experienced from working with the late Dick Villemin (1919-1987) and also in helping him service the former KNX organ in Filmore, CA.
Supplement from Jim Lewis:
I really enjoy reading through your page on radio station organs. Attached is a photo of the 3/10 Robert-Morton that was in the KNX studios in Hollywood. This was before Columbia Square was built. This studio later became KMPC, then was gutted on the interior to become The Old Spaghetti Factory. It was demolished not long ago.
KOIN radio started in 1926 in the basement of the original Heathman Hotel in Portland. The new Heathman Hotel was constructed in 1927, and KOIN eventually moved its studios to the new building. Between 1933 and 1939, several modifications were made to the mezzanine level to accommodate the expanding needs of the radio station. In 1935, the 3/6 Robert Morton organ was installed by Balcom and Vaughan in the new Heathman building studios. At that time, KOIN had a larger staff of musicians and entertainers than all other Portland stations combined.
In 1955, the organ was again moved to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oregon City. It was eventually broken up for parts by Mike Dillon, with the trumpet going to Dale Haskin and the Tibia to Bert Hedderly.
Mark Andersen of Artisan Instruments reports the following:
The KOMO organ is still around. We just finished rebuildign that organ and I did the inagural concert last weekend. It is now in the Fisher family home. The Fisher family owned KOMO and sold it to a Canadian Broadcasting company but they kept the organ for their home here. The rebuild of the organ includes enlarging it to 13 ranks. The chest and pipe work was done by Greg Smith using all Wurlitzer components and ranks. The new control system was done by Artisan. The organ will now be featured regularly on the weekly television show Crescendo and can be heard on line https://www.facebook.com/CrescendoTVShow
Additional information submitted by John Scott:
The following information was submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:
KPO, San Francisco. KPO was affiliated with and later owned by NB early days it was owned by the Hale Brothers department store and later in partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. It's studios were on the sixth floor of the Hale Brothers department store building on Market Street. I believe their first organ was a Robert-Morton two-manual, 4-rank style 59. It was replaced in 1927 by a three-manual, 18-rank Welte. I got the specification for this organ from the original installation drawing in the Schoenstein files. It was moved to NBC in Hollywood in 1938.
Robert Morton 2 Manual
House organist Kingham Scott, pictured with organ pipes, at the WPTF 2/6 Moller console
If you will permit, I’d like to add some info regarding (Raleigh, NC) WPTF. About 1929 a 2/6 Moller was installed in their studios here. Picture attached with house organist Kingham Scott pictured with organ pipes at the console. Know nothing of the disposition of this Moller organ in 1938.
WPTF (Durham Life Insurance Company) built new studios (reputed to be a miniature recreation of RCA-NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Center, NYC) in Raleigh in 1938 at which time they purchased and installed the 3/7 Kimball (#7045) that was originally installed in the Richard Theatre, Ahoskie, NC, 1928. Photo attached with console behind male quartet at one of two 9’ Baldwin concert grand pianos in Studio A.
It is my understanding that Kingham Scott continued to play and the organ was used well into the fifties, but no longer in regular use by 1956 when Frank Netherland became acquainted with it while a student at the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Frank played the organ for over two years while at UNC and was offered the organ in 1958 when the station decided that it was no longer needed. He purchased and moved it temporarily to the Roxy Theatre in Martinsville, VA where it was installed on the stage and remained until the theatre was razed in 1962 at which time he built his home in Stuart, VA where he then installed the Kimball. It is still in the Netherland home.
I am trying to acquire other photos of it in its radio station home as well as its present location. Be assured that I will share anything else that I discover with you.
The following information is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:
Roxy Theatre Studio, New York. The broadcasting studio in the Roxy, had. a two-manual, 8-rank Kimball organ built in 1927. I saw the organ just a day before the building was demolished. I believe that studio was used for many broadcasts and recordings and should perhaps have a place on your list.
Note by the present owner of the organ, John Scott:
Thanks very much for all your work in compiling the info about Radio Station organs. As a person interested in this sort of history, I had thought of starting such a project myself. I am glad to see that you included WSMK among the Ohio stations. However, I am curious as to your source(s) of information about Wurlitzer Opus 1750, since the listing as style R is not correct. The Wurlitzer lists compiled by Judd Walton, updated in 1973, indicate that its designation should be Style E Special. It was a special because it had an extra rank, and because it had a player. I now own this organ, and the small relay for the player is still with it, because that small relay makes a nice pedestal for one of the switch stacks.
Organ programs originated from the Carolina Theatre with organist and station traffic director Paul Norris.
Click the photo of Paul to read his story as provided by Michael Johnston. (Article requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view). Acrobat Reader is available from www.adobe.com.
Submitted by Aubrey Calton of Forest City, NC.:
That organ is still in service at Lattimore Baptist Church, Lattimore, NC. The church purchased the organ from WSPA in 1948 or 1949 . There is a date of 1933 on the organ which probably is the year installed at WSPA.
The Lattimore organ was played for my wedding in 1954 and I have played it several times over the years and am giving a mini-concert there August 30th.
The organ has undergone a major renovation in the last 2 years, but the original console (outfitted with new keyboards & solid state switching) is in use as is the pipework. A harp was removed from service during the renovation.
Wurlitzer Opus 1425 2/5 Style B Special
This station had two organs.
St. Petersburg, FL.
Estey E/3 OPUS 2830 FROM ALCAZAR HOTEL
The following was submitted by Tom DeLay: San Francisco station KTAB had a 2/3 Welte. The station studio was located in the Pickwick Hotel, which still stands in the SF South of Market area. I have no idea what became of the organ
Wurlitzer Opus 1099 3/15 Special
Estey Opus 2831 2 Manual, 3 Rank
Organ was later moved to radio station KELW in Burbank
1929 Barton 3 Manual (Blower 3hp. Serial # 23331) 12" wp
Wurlitzer Opus 1578, 2/4 Style B
Moller 2/6 OPUS 5792
I may have told you but we have another mystery. In the Spencer Turbine Co. shipping list it states that the blower that we now have at the Circle Theatre was originally installed at a theatre in Missouri and then that organ went to radio station KVOO here in Tulsa. There is a railway express shipping label attached to the blower addressed to Wade Hamilton.
I never heard of a pipe organ at KVOO although I had heard that the original Circle Blower was traded with another organ since one of them needed a single phase motor. Harry Rasmussen who worked as an engineer at KVOO never mentioned KVOO having a pipe organ, although he was involved with organs in the twenties and thirties in Tulsa. Unfortunately who do we ask?.
I suspect that the four-rank organ that belonged to Bob and Betty Weddle may have been the KVOO organ. It had a single phase blower and had come from a church (Evangelical Temple) that was located at 12th and Boulder. (Building still there) After Bob died, Betty sold that organ to Bob Maes in Kansas City who broke it up for parts. It is likely the KVOO sold the organ to the church.
WWJ was first licensed in 1921 as WBL. On March 3, 1922, it was issued the new call letters of WWJ, The station was owned by the the publisher of the Detroit News.
A 1931 photo of a WWJ broadcast.
Bev Brown at the WWL pipe organ.
(From Tom DeLay): The console shown for the 2m WWL New Orleans organ is a sawed off style 135 Wurlitzer piano console adapted as a 2m console with the piano removed. I know the design well as I have an intact piano console organ in my living room!
This instrument was removed from the Oregon Theatre in Portland by the original manufacturer, William Wood and reinstalled in the studios of KXL in the Multnomah Hotel in Portland. According to sources, the Wood company repossessed the organ during the depression and sold it to KXL. After KXL moved, the hotel reportedly cut the main cable with an axe. In 1940, the instrument was purchased by Bob Rickett and Jerry Gilmore of Portland for $250. Bob used the Tibia, Tuba and VDO Celeste (made by Gottfried) as additions to his 2/5 Wicks residence organ, and the remainder of the instrument was sold to Milton Hunt in 1940. Those parts were resold to Randall Olsen (Thompson?) in 1966 for $750.00.
THE FOLLOWING IS A TABLE LISTING ORGANISTS WHO PROVIDED MUSIC
FOR RADIO SHOWS.
(Provided by The American Theatre Organ Society and Harry Heth)
PROGRAMS OR STATIONS
|Ed Bebko||N.Y Radio|
|Al Bain||WLAC Nashville Staff|
|Fred Beck||WJJD Staff|
|Don Berger||WSUN St. Petersburg, FL.|
|Elaine Blair||WUSI Staff|
|Beverly Brown||WWL Staff|
|Al Carney||WCFL Staff, WHT Staff|
|Paul Carson||NBC San Francisco studio, One Man's Family (Composer of Patricia, the program's theme), Bridge to Dreamland, I Love A Mystery.|
|Gaylord Carter||Amos N' Andy; The Big Payoff; Breakfast In Hollywood; Bride and Groom; Glamour Girl; Hollywood Hotel; The Packard Show; Raffles; The Second Mrs. Burton, Jack Kirkwood Show, Phantom of the Organ.|
|Del Castillo||Affairs Of Ann Scotland; Escape; Skippy Hollywood Theatre; Tell It Again;That's A Good Idea; T-Man|
|Milton Charles||Straight Arrow; WBBM Staff|
|Sylil Chism||Lum And Abner; One Man's Family|
|Al De Crescent||Your Lucky Strike|
|Francis J. Cronin||WNAC Staff|
|Francis "Elmer" Crowhurst||KPO and NBC Sutter Street studios staff organist, Memory Lane program|
|Ivan Ditmars||Escape; Make Believe Town, Fromtier Town, Hollywood|
|Eddie Dunstedter||Comedy Of Errors; Escape; Let George Do It; Pursuit; The Lineup; Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Dunstedter played the organ at CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis.|
|Howard Ely||Staff organist KMBC Kansas City|
|Elise May Emerson||Lum And Abner|
|Ralph W. Emerson II||Lum And Abner, KOY, WLS (Chicago), Lil' Abner|
|Lee Erwin||NY Radio, Arthur Godfrey Time; Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, WLW Moon River Program, Boys Town, The Barbasol Man, Singin' Sam, WCKY Staff.|
|Mildred Fitzpatrick||WBBM Staff|
|P. Hans Flath||KMBC Staff|
|Dean Fossler||Amos N' Andy (Also did Sherlock Homes program on a Hammond)|
|John Gart||Adventure Parade; Big Town; Bright Horizon; Cloak And Dagger; Crime Does Not Pay, Adventures of Superman, Criminal Casebook, This Life Is Mine, Mr. Mercury, That's A Good One.|
|Ramona Gerhard||WCCO Staff|
|Irma Glenn||WENR Staff|
|Abe Goldman||Grand Slam|
|Martha Green||One Man's Family|
|Eddie Hanson||WCFL Staff|
|Freddie Hause||WBBM Staff|
|Porter Heaps||WGN Staff|
|George Henninger||Mystery Playhouse|
|Mary Elizabeth Hicks||WLAC Staff|
|Hannah Jacobs||WIND Staff|
|Marian Jordan||Fibber McGee & Molly|
|Gordon Kibbe||The Beulah Show|
|Chet Kingsbury||Back Stage Wife; Special Investigator; The Whisper Men, The Second Mrs. Burton|
|Herbie Koch||WHAS staff|
|Rex Koury||The Croupier; Defense Attorney; Ellery Queen; I Love Adventure; The Lone Wolf, Gunsmoke*|
|Larry Larsen||WGN Staff|
|Ann Leaf||Doc Barklay's Daughters; The Fred Allen Show; Lorenzo Jones|
|Richard Leibert||Big Sister; Stella Dallas; When A Girl Marries|
|Marian Payne Louisfell||WCOU Staff|
|Stanleigh Malotte||WAPI Staff|
|William Meeder||Blackstone; Brave Tomorrow; The Magic Detective; Perry Mason; Worlds At War|
|Al Melgard||WBBM Staff|
|Bob Mitchell||Between The Bookends|
|Billy Nalle||I Remember Mama.|
|Elwyn Owen||Vic And Sade|
|Korla Pandit||aka John Red, Juan Rolando; Chandu The Magician|
|Charles Paul||A Brighter Tomorrow; Behind The Front Page; Chip Davis; Commando; City Desk; Ellery Queen; Murder At Midnight; My Son And I; Road To Life; The Shadow; This Is Nora Drake; Young Doctor Malone|
|Howard Peterson||WGN / WLS Staff|
|Rosa Rio||Between The Bookends; Cavalcade Of America; Court Of Missing Heirs; Deadline Dramas; Ethel And Albert; Front Page Ferrell; Lorenzo Jones; My True Story; The Shadow; Town Hall Tonight; When A Girl Marries|
|Murray Ross||Colgate Sports Newsreel|
|Eloise Rowan||Candy Matson, NBC San Francisco|
|Len Salvo||WGN Staff|
|John Schrader||WHAS in Louisville Staff|
|Kingham Scott||Staff organist for WPTF, Raleigh, NC.|
|Preston Sellers||WGN / WLS Staff|
|Glen Shelly||KGW Staff|
|Hank Sylvern||Nick Carter, Master Detective|
|Paul Taubman||Frank Merriwell; True Detective Mysteries|
|Elise Thompson||Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories; The Shadow|
|Harold Turner||WGN / WLS Staff|
|Jack Ward||The Big Guy; The Magnificent Montague|
|Lou Webb||Vernon Crane's Storybook|
|Clark "Doc" Whipple||Ma Perkins; The Light Of The World|
|Edith White||WBBR Staff|
|Lew White||Nick Carter, Master Detective|
|Louise Wilcher||March Of Games|
|John Winters||When A Girl Marries; Young Widder Brown (also did Adventures of Frank Merriwell prior to Paul Taubman)|
|George Wright||Archie Andrews; The Big Guy; Nick Carter, Master Detective, KFRC|
|Helen Wyant||Staff organist at WHK in Cleveland, OH. She was featured on a program called Matinee Memories.|
|Bernice Yanocek||The Guiding Light|
|Harry Zimmerman||WJJD Staff|
* Veteran organist Rex Koury conducted an orchestra on the "Gunsmoke" radio programs. He was also the composer of the theme song used on the radio version, and of most of the internal snippets of music in the show. In the absence of a studio orchestra, Koury often used the theatre organ to provide music for rehearsals of the program. CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO LISTEN TO AN EPISODE WITH KOURY AT THE THEATRE ORGAN.
The following list of WLW organists was supplied by Stan Krider
Theatre organists for radio station WLW:
NOTE: In addition to the organists listed above, there were countless organists who conducted radio shows, featuring pipe organs, from local theatres. Bernard Carpenter, and J. Louis Sayre from the Imperial in Augusta and Bob Van Camp from the Atlanta Fox were names submitted by Larry Davis.
Jack Bethards submitted these names as well: These organists are likely to have played some pipe organ dates: Eunice Steel, Floyd Wright, Don George. Finally, Richard Purvis played for many years a regular broadcast from the Chapel of the Chimes mausoleum under the name Richard Irvin.
In Terre Haute Indiana the only local station until after WWII was little 250W WBOW (the BOW standing for Banks of the Wabash). That station in the Hammond period featured organ music by Shirley Armstrong and, later, Leo Baxter. Baxter led a local dance band that dated back to the 1920s, was on the station staff as Program Director, and for several years after WWII had three different 1/2 hour organ programs on weekdays. (Submitted by John Scott)
|The following addendum has been supplied by Ian McIver. This is a listing of organs used in non-USA radio stations.|
UNITED LINGDOM (all in London)
There were non-theatre-style pipe organs in national broadcasting studios in Belgium, Denmark and France, and possibly other countries as well.
Special thanks to Jeff Weiler, Dr. Barry Henry, Tom DeLay, Ray Thursby, Larry Davis, Jim Spohn, Gordon Crook, and all of the people who submitted information and corrections to supplement my original informaiton.