I also watched the terrific "Ellen Coming Out" episode, and I did see the
large barrel orchestrion in the background. Since it did not have its
front panels, it was hard for me to identify, although at that time there
were few standard case designs. It would have definitely been European in
origin, probably late 1890's or early 1900's.
Here are some other neat mechanical music cameos I've seen in the past, I
wish I could remember the movie titles of the first two.
1) I remember a movie where Mae West I believe was playing a Wurlitzer
Style I piano. Real good shot of Mae standing next to the piano enjoying
2) Another movie showed a Seeburg J Orchestrion in a barroom background
while Bette Davis ( I think) sat at a table in front of it planning the
exhaust-pipe murder of her husband in their garage!
3) Isn't there a Wurlitzer CX in a Monty Python movie that starts to play
when someone gets pushed up against it? Perhaps "A Fish Called Wanda"?
4) Don't miss the scene in the excellent film "Dogfight" where a couple
visit a mechanical music museum on a date. Lots of nice shots of different
instruments playing. One of my favorite parts of one of my favorite movies
of all time.
5) In Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train", there are lots of
fairground scenes featuring music from a genuine organ.
John D. Rutoskey
Automatic Music Machines