The History of SonLight


Anaheim Gazette
Anaheim, California

August 15, 1963

Giant Wurlitzer Organ In Restoration Process

Restoration of a Wurlitzer consol theater organ has almost been completed by Norman Goodin, owner and manager of the Orange Theater. The organ, originally purchased in 1928, will be ready for a concert premiere this fall.

Goodin stated that probably in September, concerts will be given using the old organ at least once a month. The first concert will feature George Wright or Ann Leaf, both noted organists. Also there will be a showing of a silent movie and a demonstration of the music which accompanied these films.

Shortly after the original purchase of the instrument, talking pictures became prevalent and by 1930 the organ was obsolete for all practical purposes. This sleeping giant lay dormant until 1954 when Goodin took over the Orange Theater and began restoration work.

He found the large consol in bad repair. It was filled with cobwebs and many of its pipes were missing. As the story goes, the former manager had given many of the pipes to theater-going boys to use as exhaust pipes for their cars.

Thousands of dollars and many man-hours have been poured into the restoration process. Pre-war costs for the model console organ were $35,000. Today, if you could get one, it would cost $75,000.

Goodin said much credit for the restoration work should be given to Russ Nelson, Fullerton and Ronald Mitchell, Arlington, for the repair work they did.

The organ will be played periodically during intermissions on regular theater evenings, but will mainly be reserved for concert use.

Bringing this sleeping giant to life is a real cultural contribution to Orange and the surrounding area. Organ associations and interested groups all over Los Angeles and Orange Counties are anxiously awaiting the fall well as the community of Orange, premier of this rebirth.


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