Copyright: Friends of Beer Wurlitzer 2017
In the issue dated 24th January 1925, the Walsall Observer newspaper reported:
Once word got out about the new installation, one of the cinema trade magazines published an article in 1925:
This truly wonderful instrument is built especially for theatre work, giving a wonderful orchestral character of tone in the most refined manner, and combining with this, the tone of a cathedral organ. The one operator seated at the key-desk has it his control all the musical tones that go to make or complete symphony orchestra or jazz band - and at the same time the tone of a cathedral organ. Such orchestral sounds as the strings, flute, trumpet, etc, and all of the percussion instruments, the glockenspiel, cymbals, bass and snare drums, tambourines and triangles are to be found in this instrument.
Most delightful of all, perhaps, is the beautiful set of Vox Humana pipes. These pipes are very delicate and sweet in their tone character, and produce a tone similar to the human voice. Used in quartet work, the organist is able to produce music that could hardly be told from human voices singing at a distance.
The console, or key-desk is connected with the main instrument by electric action. A high pressure blower furnishes the air, and also generates the electricity to be used underneath the keyboards. This arrangement makes it possible for instantaneous response to the player’s touch upon the keys, that he may execute the most difficult and rapid passages instantaneously. The organist can, by simple pressure upon the foot pedal, control the swell shutters so that he can cut down his tone to the merest whisper, or let it come forth crashing as in the grand finale of a great orchestra.
Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Limited are the first cinema proprietors in this country to discover the merits of this unit orchestra and to install the instrument in one of their theatres.
The first to be installed in any picture house in England, a ‘Wonder’ organ, which is stated to have cost £4,000 has been placed in the Bridge Street Picture House, and will be used for the first time on Monday next, the organist being Mr Jack Courtnay, who was for nearly a year been concert organist at the Stoll Theatre, London, where he was described as ‘The Wonder Organist’, and his manipulation of the new Bridge Street instrument is certainly remarkable. The organ has numerous stops permitting the operator to introduce novel effects such as the swish of the waves, the howling of the wind, the screeching of motorcar hooters, and ships fog sirens, etc, in addition to the orchestral effects. In an ordinary organ there is always a certain amount of ‘drag’ in the notes, but the inventor of this instrument (who by the way was an Englishman, Mr Hope Jones) has overcome this, and staccato passages are as clear cut as if played on a piano. During next week's, and succeeding programmes Mr Courtnay will play selections of classical and jazz music, and will, by introducing the ‘effects’ demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument.
Newspaper Reports about the Walsall Wurlitzer