From: Allen Walker, December 2002

The Keith Memorial Theatre organ had gone through a lot before it was dismantled and sold for parts back in the nineteen-seventies. It had to have damage and vandalism repaired more than once. Finally, in an attempt to restore a downtown theatre elegance, it was used for intermission performances during shows. Lou Weir as organist there had some ranks swapped, including "borrowing" the Post Horn from the large Wurlitzer in the Metropolitan Theatre in Boston (run by the same management). The Keith's organ, a 260 special, didn't have a Post Horn originally and it never occurred to me that it needed one. Silly me, I just loved the sound as it originally was.

The Keith Memorial Theatre had its stage converted to a small movie theatre (sort of a mini-multiplex), then finally closed. An opera company leased it, renaming it the Boston Opera House. [By then, the original opera house that Boston had was long gone.] This company was chronically short of funds, and the building was closed again, with its roof in danger of collapsing.

Clear Channel Entertainment entered the picture, wanting to spend many millions on refurbishing the Opera House, and using it as a venue for touring shows. After some battles with abutting high-priced condo owners (who objected to the increased activity that a busy downtown theatre would bring!) the refurbishment has started.

There are no plans for an organ in the refurbished theatre. I don't even plan on thinking about it. There already is the example of the gorgeous Beacon Theatre in New York City with its splendid Wurlitzer. Amount of organ use: zero. Modern mass market commercial showbiz and organs seem to have nothing to do with each other.

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