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MMD > Archives > April 2001 > 2001.04.21 > 01Prev  Next

Organ & Piano at Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square
By Paul Camps

Hi All,  Mark Fudge recently commented on a Weber Grand in an antique
shop with an inflated price tag.  It's history suggested that it was
connected to the Wurlitzer in the Odeon Leicester Square, this
provenance helping the price skyward I dare say.

I am 100% certain that the organ in the Odeon Leicester Square was
a Compton, not a Wurlitzer; also, with some certainty, I don't remember
any player piano being coupled up to it.  I am of course going back to
the early 1980's when Ron Curtis was the resident organist at the Odeon
and a colleague and I were there at his invitation to play the organ.
Mark, I'm sure, would agree with me that this type of antique dealer
needs to be taken out and shot.

Mark is also correct in his view that not just any old player would
be connected to a cinema organ.  When Wurlitzer organs were fitted with
pianos, Wurlitzer supplied their own make as far as I know; indeed, our
model 260 at Ashorne Hall has a piano supplied by Wurlitzer.

Compton, on the other hand, did not make pianos, and where their
installations called for a piano they looked to Ampico or the Aeolian
Co for the solution.  In fact, I have encountered a number of Compton
installations with Ampico or Duo-Art grands attached.  Our Compton at
Ashorne Hall has a Weber Duo-Art upright attached.  I added a set of
KA direct pallet magnets and tee'd them onto the note tubes from the
tracker bar and four additional ones to override the Accomp accordion
to give four levels of expression 1,2,4, and 8.  The piano is available
from the console in 16-, 8- and 4-foot stops.

An ordinary pianola without it's own built-in vacuum generating plant
would have been impractical for just that reason alone.

Paul Camps

(Message sent Sat 21 Apr 2001, 17:34:40 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Cinema, Leicester, Odeon, Organ, Piano, Square

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