Wurlitzer Theater Organ

Built by Wurlitzer (1927), Opus 1818

In the Church Hall of St. John Cantius is found a Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ. It was built in 1927 and is listed as Opus 1818. This organ was originally installed in the Terrace Theatre at 361 West 23rd Street in 1927, and, in 1935, it was moved to the WOR Radio Studio, 1440 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10018. After restoration, this instrument was installed on the stage of the Church Hall at St. John Cantius in 2012.   

WOR began broadcasting from the 6th floor of Bamberger’s Department Store at 131 Market Street in Newark, N.J. WOR was the only station to broadcast on Christmas Day 1922, and thus was the first sound heard by those who found a crystal set under the tree that year. In December 1924, WOR added a studio in Manhattan, on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street. Later that year, the station moved its New York studio to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square. In the autumn of 1934, WOR formed the Mutual Broadcasting System. Additional studios were built at the New Amsterdam Theatre and the converted Guild and Longacre Theatres in the Times Square district. Alot of best-known dramatic programs originated from WOR’s studios, including “The Shadow”, “Nick Carter, Private Detective” and “True Detective Mysteries.”

Today, this organ is used to accompany silent films in the Church Hall of St. John Cantius. We are grateful to Jay Warren of the Silent Film Society of Chicago for his collaboration in assisting us with our ongoing silent film series. The organ is also used for the annual St. Nick Sing-a-long to accompany the singing of popular Christmas carols, and for other parish social events throughout the year.

Specifications

Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 1818 (1927)
Electro-pneumatic action
Style E
2 manuals, 7 ranks

Pedals —32 notes

16 Diaphone
16 Bourdon
8 Trumpet
8 Diaphonic Diapason
8 Tibia Clausa
8 Flute
8 Cello

Pedal 2nd Touch
Bass Drum
Kettle Drum
Crash Cymbal
Cymbal

Accompaniment (Manual I) –- 61 notes

16 Contra Viole [TC]
16 Vox Humana [TC]
8 Trumpet
8 Diaphonic Diapason
8 Tibia Clausa
8 Violin
8 Violin Celeste [TC]
8 Concert Flute
8 Vox Humana
4 Octave
4 Piccolo
4 Viole
4 Octave Celeste
4 Flute
4 Vox Humana
2 Piccolo
Harp Chrysoglott
Snare Drum
Tambourine
Castanets
Chinese Block
Tom-Tom
Sleigh Bells

Accompaniment 2nd Touch
Trumpet
Tibia Clausa
Cathedral Chimes
Triangle
 
Five Adjustable Combination Pistons

Solo (Manual II) – 61 notes

16 Diaphone
16 Tibia Clausa [TC]
16 Bourdon
16 Vox Humana [TC]
8 Trumpet
8 Diaphonic Diapason
8 Tibia Clausa
8 Violin
8 Violin Celeste [TC]
8 Concert Flute
8 Vox Humana
4 Octave
4 Piccolo
4 Viole
4 Viole Celeste
4 Flute
2 2/3 Twelfth
2 Piccolo
1 3/5 Tierce
Cathedral Chimes
Xylophone
Glockenspiel
Harp Chrysoglott

Solo 2nd Touch

16 Trumpet [TC]
8 Tibia Clausa
 
Five Adjustable Combination Pistons

General

One Balanced Expression Pedal
One General Tremulant
One Vox Humana Tremulant

Effects (operated by pistons)

Horse Hoofs
Surf Effect
Bird
Train
Auto Horn
Fire Gong
Fire Gong (reiterating)
Steamboat Whistle
Siren
Door Bell (push button)

Sources:
   
    Cinema Treasures website: http://www.cinematreasures.org Junchen, David L., comp. and ed. by
    Jeff Weiler. The WurliTzer Pipe Organ – An Illustrated History. Chicago: The American Theatre
    Organ Society, 2005.
   
    Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Pasadena: Showcase
    Publications, 1995.