Sounds of Australian Theatre Organists

                                         

 

 

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All files are in WMA (Windows Media Audio file) format.  Duration and size in KB of each file is shown after the title to assist you in gauging download times.

Most of the files are derived from acetate discs recorded off-air of broadcasts between 1948 and the early 1950s.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the late Roy Preston for recording (and preserving) them and to Maurice Austin for making them available.  They present a broad coverage of the Australian theatre organ scene some 50 years ago, when the organs were a regular part of cinema shows. Announcements and organists' sign on/off signature tunes have been retained to enhance the listening experience.

The recording quality is variable, so these recordings should be appreciated for their archive interest, rather than their audio fidelity. Some of the playing styles may seem a little dated after fifty to seventy-five years, but this is reality - how things were in the Golden Age of the Theatre Organ in Australia.

 


Manny Aarons - State Theatre, Sydney

Wurlitzer 4/21 Style 270


Newell Alton - Capitol Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260  -  78 rpm recordings made in October, 1929

Newell Alton was an American organist, known in the USA as Newman Alton, who opened the Style 240 Wurlitzer at the Orpheum, Los Angeles

The full history of the Capitol and its organ can be studied here


Lionel Corrick - Regent Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 4/21 Style 270 - extracts from broadcasts aired in 1938

The organ and theatre were destroyed by fire in 1945.  The theatre was rebuilt and reopened in 1947 with a 4/19 Wurlitzer that can be heard played by other organists elsewhere on this web page. View the history of the Regent and its organs here.


Arthur Esgate - Seventh Day Adventist Church, Wahroonga, NSW

Christie 3/10 ex-Palatial Theatre, Burwood (originally installed 1928 in Clou Conzert Haus, Berlin, Germany)

   
Eddie Fitch - Regent Theatre, Mebourne

Wurlitzer 4/21 Style 270 - 78 rpm recording - 29 November 1929.  The 78s featuring Fitch and O'Hagan were long said to have been made at the Plaza Theatre (directly below the Regent, with a 2/12 Wurlitzer), but were clearly made upstairs in the Regent.

View the history of the Regent and its organs here.

 
Reubert Hayes - Capitol Theatre, Sydney

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260. This organ is now owned by TOSA(NSW) and is installed in Campsie Town Hall.


Reubert Hayes - Plaza Theatre, Sydney

Wurlitzer 2/8 - Style 185 + added Tibia.

The organ was originally (as 2/7) in the Wintergarden, Brisbane. It was moved to Sydney in 1938, where it replaced the 2/8 Christie installed in the Plaza when it opened in 1930.  The Wurlitzer now forms the core of the 4/29 instrument at TOSA(SA)'s Capri Theatre, Adelaide


Noreen Hennessy - Prince Edward Theatre, Sydney

Wurlitzer 2/10 - Style H.  This organ is now owned by TOSA(NSW) and installed in Marrickville Town Hall

1953 Broadcast extracts

 


Owen Holland - Savoy Theatre, Hurstville, NSW

Wurlitzer 2/10 Style H


Owen Holland - Roxy Theatre, Parramatta, NSW

Christie 3/10 Style E special


Stanfield Holliday - Capitol Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260

The full history of the Capitol and its organ can be studied here.


Stanfield Holliday - Plaza Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 2/12 - Style F enlarged

The full history of the Plaza Theatre and its organ can be studied here.

The organ is now owned by TOSA(SA) and is installed in Pulteney Grammar School, Adelaide - details here.


 Stanfield Holliday - Regent Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 4/19 - Style 260 enlarged.  This organ was installed in 1947 after the fire had destroyed the original 4/21

View the history of the Regent and its organs here.


 Penn Hughes - Victory Theatre, Kogarah, NSW

Christie 2/7 - an early (1928) model with only the Tibia rank extended, all other ranks 8ft only, with sub and super couplers on the manuals

 


Les Richmond - Regent Theatre, Brisbane

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260 - for details see here


Geoff Robertson - Regent Theatre, Adelaide

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260 - for details see here


Geoff Robertson - Regent Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 4/19 - Style 260 enlarged.  This organ was installed in 1947 after the fire had destroyed the original 4/21

View the history of the Regent and its organs here.


Charles Tuckwell - Arcadia Theatre, Chatswood, NSW

Wurlitzer 2/10 - Style H.  This organ is now in Chatswood/Willoughby Town Hall

Charles Tuckwell, father of French Horn virtuoso Barry Tuckwell, was one of few Australian theatre organists to broadcast in England (Barry Brettoner was another) - recordings of his broadcast on the BBC Theatre OranMoller will be added shortly to the UK page of the Virtual Radiogram.

 
Horace Weber - Capitol Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 3/15 Style 260

The full history of the Capitol and its organ can be studied here


Aubrey Whelan - State Theatre, Melbourne

Wurlitzer 4/21  Style 270  - full details here


 

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