August 15, 1963
Giant Wurlitzer Organ In Restoration
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
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.