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MMD > Archives > December 1999 > 1999.12.22 > 03Prev  Next

Band Organs at Myrtle Beach Pavilion
By Matthew Caulfield

Both organs at Myrtle Beach were owned by Harry Beach, according to a
1959 ad (in the Billboard, Feb. 2, 1959, p. 61) offering the 165-roll-
playing organ for sale for $6000.  The ad was repeated on p. 105 of the
Apr. 13, 1959, issue of the same magazine, with the price reduced to
$4000.  But Mr. Beach apparently never found a buyer, because the organ
is still playing at Myrtle Beach today.

It was a Bruder, according to Mr. Beach's ad, with an 18-foot wide
facade and five animated statuettes.  The ad has a picture of the organ
as it was then.  It was cut down sometime after the ad appeared, so
that today only the center section remains, both drum wings being gone.

I would guess the Bruder now measures about 8 feet.  To quote Mr. Beach
from his ad, "I had it converted to a Wurlitzer by Mr. Erwin Heller,
who does F. E. Gooding's organ work ... I am replacing this organ with
a larger one which I acquired in Europe last fall."

As I recall, the second ad stated that Mr. Beach was now in the market
for Ruth book music.  The inference I draw from all this is that the
magnificent Ruth at Myrtle Beach, which is located on a trailer rather
than in the M-G-R building, was the new organ bought by Mr. Beach to
replace the Bruder.  But it never did.

Erwin Heller is now gone, like so many old-timers, and I suppose Harry
Beach is too.  But their organs survive.

Last year I placed an inquiry in the MBSI News Bulletin asking for
information about the Myrtle Beach 165 and about "Joyland Louie," the
Wurlitzer 160 ("Mammoth") in Wichita, Kansas, with a view to writing
a piece about both organs for the MBSI News Bulletin.  In response
I received an email from Ron Keisler, a South Carolinian, who had met
both Mr. Heller and late Earl Husted, a Myrtle Beach manager, and was
allowed to record the Ruth.  My article remains to be written, however.

I don't suppose Myrtle Beach sells any recording of either organ,
though they did sell a large color postcard of the Ruth.  I have a
homemade recording of the Bruder playing Wurlitzer roll 6678-6679,
sent to me by Louis May, but that is all.

Matthew Caulfield

(Message sent Thu 23 Dec 1999, 01:43:04 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Beach, Myrtle, Organs, Pavilion

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