From: Rob Richards, March 2006
Regarding the San Francisco Fox organ: The organ is installed at the El Capitan complete as received by Disney.
This includes changes made in the Fox by George Wright, Judd Walton and others. The organ is as it was,
with the exception of the electronic relay, and pipework on the Lieblich Flute and Solo Tibia manual chests.
All three original 16' Tibias (and 8' offsets, too) are in the El Capitan installation.
The Wurlitzer Solo chamber Tibia was altered in the theatre by George Wright.
Robert Morton "Muted Horn" pipes (from the St. Francis theatre) were placed on the manual chest.
(Where the original Fox Solo Tibia pipes went is unknown.)
The Morton pipes parted company from the organ before Disney acquired it.
A very nice Wurlitzer 10" Tibia was installed in the Solo in
the El Capitan in 1999. I wanted a more colorful sound, and placed my own
Murray Harris Tibia in notes 25-49. The Wurlitzer metal trebles (including
capped metals) remain, as well as the offset basses.
The Musette which came with the organ is not original. It is one of several
copies of the original, made during the timeframe when the organ was in the
Fox. Judd Walton was allowed to keep the original, which I understand is now
in the Berkeley organ.
I also understand the Wurlitzer Brass Sax now with the El Capitan (San Francisco Fox) organ may be
the original Oakland Paramount Sax. If true, this happened decades before Disney acquired the organ.
I have no information as to why this swap was made.
The original Wurlitzer Lieblich Flute was the only disappointment of the Fox
pipework; not pretty and didn't take a trem well. A good Lieblich should have the
singing quality of a Tibia, without the fundamental and weight. The
manual chest woods have been replaced with a Murray Harris Stopped Flute which I
purchased especially for this application. These pipes are extraordinary, and add great
color to accompaniment combinations. (The original Fox Lieblich pipes are carefully packed and will remain with
the organ for historical reasons, even though not installed and playing.)
Both Harris ranks can be heard on my El Capitan recording. Particularly, in
"Tammy," it starts with the Harris Stopped Flute, answered by the Harris Tibia in the Solo.
Prior to my recording, I moved the Oboe Horn from the Solo to the Foundation, better to
blend with other accompaniment sounds on the left side
of the theatre. It replaced the Musette, which was moved to the Solo to blend with the Tibia, Sax and Vox.
The slave console is indeed carefully packed away in a Disney storage facility.
The Walt Disney Company takes very seriously the maintenance, preservation
and legacy of this historic organ through their ongoing commitment to its
caretaking and presentation. It is heard before every screening of all major
movies, premieres and special events. I personally have been honored to play
nearly four thousand performances since the organ's installation in 1999. It
has been estimated the organ is heard by more than a half million guests a year.