Alf Werolin, who used to work for Ampico, sent me a letter dated Sept 7,
1992, in which he describes a "comparison performance" which he helped to
stage. For those interested in an actual itinerary of events on stage in
that particular format, here is a portion of the plan revealed for the
1. The two artists began playing their final selection together.
2. One artist left the stage in the middle of the number while his piano
(#1 Ampico) kept playing along.
3. The second artist then left the stage, at which point Ampico #1 was
turned off and Ampico #2 turned on. (The roll in piano #2 was a four-
handed arrangement played by the duo, recorded especially for this
4. This procedure was then repeated -- first one piano playing, then the
other. In a couple of places, one Ampico, playing alone, would play part
of the number which just _one_ artist had recorded, for example, an
elaborated version in the treble of the arrangement. Then the other
artist would take over with the recording artist playing a jazzed-up
version in the bass. The switching back and forth _gave the impression_
that both pianos had been playing together at the same time.
5. Finally, the two pianists returned to the stage and both sat at the
same piano. When the Ampico in that piano was turned off, they completed
the final portion of the arrangement, playing together on one piano with
the Ampico in the other piano playing the four-handed version. End of
Alf believes that these special rolls and Ampicos were designed to start
and stop somewhat automatically. They would change rolls when the
curtains were closed. (Possibly by just removing the take-up spools with
the spent rolls and replacing a new spool and roll together).
Alf recalls controlling the pianos when an entire number, or the final
portion of a number was to be played on the Ampico. His memory is a
little hazy on some points.
He recalls that the concerts were a success, and packed houses were
common. He very much expected sales for the Ampico to really take off as
a result. He said that when that didn't happen, that he did his best to
forget his experience with the Ampico corporation. (Of course, the
depression put an end to what would have been a wonderful personal
experience for millions of families otherwise).