From: Ray Thursby, October 2008
The California San Berdoo organ hasn't been "original" for years, though since much of it remains in its
original home, maybe the question of originality is a matter of semantics.
Some time in the 1960s or '70s, Ann Leaf performed a concert/silent movie show there.
At that time the Post Horn was missing; this was a fate several other Style 216s apparently suffered.
The organ was made playable by for Leaf's show by Les and Olive Pepiot, L.A. area organbuilders.
I talked to Olive about it once; it was not an easy task.
Later, someone boosted the organ to circa 14 ranks, and build the new straight rails for it.
Whoever it was did a better job than most, but those two moves took the organ farther away from originality.
From: Jim Henry, October 2008
The more I work on the California 216 the more "originality" I see there.
The changes that were made were very much done on top of the original.
And they didn't really get much beyond bringing the extra stuff into the chambers.
They might have had one or two of the added ranks playing but they weren't playing when we started
working on the organ.
We are just focusing on getting the original part of the organ playing before we make any decisions
about where we will go with the final configuration.
At this time the backrail is functionally equal to the original.
We are working toward putting the horseshoe back to the original configuration.
Only the ten 216 ranks are playable, so the easiest way to make the organ playable is to go back
to the original configuration.
I've heard that the original back board is still around and intact but we haven't found it yet.