Wurlitzer Pipe Organ
The Meyer Theatre, once a prominent FOX Theatre, proudly houses its historic Mighty Wurlitizer Pipe Organ, with all 572 pipes beautifully restored, thanks to the generosity of Ms. Irene “Billie” Kress. Using the 1927 blueprint from which the original was crafted, a variety of organ technicians took on the task to bring the organ back to its original state. The pipes range in size from a pencil to 16 feet. With a relay system that was added since the original restoration, the instrument is poised to offer a variety of fun features. Now, with a push of a button, the audience can hear the incredible sounds of the “toys”—special instruments the organ uses in various songs in concert and to accompany silent movies. The toys are horse hooves, sleigh bells, bird whistles, castanets, drums, and cymbals, just to name a few. The organ was also re-wired to be able to record and do playback.
Organs were the “voice” of the silent films in the 1920s and 30s and provided all the sonic drama absent from the films themselves. The Meyer’s Wurlitzer is a style 190 instrument built in 1930 near the end of the boom for constructing theatre organs. The wood and steel pipes have been fully restored and each leather part replaced by hand. Today, only a handful of theatres across the country house their original pipe organs. The Meyer Theatre considers it a true rarity to possess this fascinating instrument. It is truly a distinctive, historic treasure.