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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.04 > 10Prev  Next

Chicago Paradise Theatre Wurlitzer Organ
By Robert Ridgeway

In response to the inquiry from Mike Walter about the Chicago
Paradise Theatre Wurlitzer:  It was removed around 1948 and was taken
to the Los Angeles area and installed in the home of HiFi Records
executive Richard Vaughn.

The Paradise was one of three original 5 manual organs built by
Wurlitzer.  The Paradise and Marbro Theatres (in the same Chicago
neighborhood) each had 21 ranks and the largest, at 28 ranks, was
installed in the Michigan Theatre in Detroit.

The Paradise had one of the most ornate and elaborate consoles that
Wurlitzer ever built, but this apparently did not appeal to Richard
Vaughn, who had the console completely stripped and covered in a
"moderne" mahogany (like Radio City Music Hall).

In the early 1960's the former Paradise organ was sold to William P.
Brown and moved to Phoenix, where it still resides in his expansive
home.  Bill added to the original 21 ranks and later added a digital
playback system.  Lyn Larsen, among others, has recorded an album on
it in its present home.  It is, without doubt, one of the finest
installations in the country.

As a side note, the late David Junchen always felt that the Paradise
console was so stunning that it should be replicated, and when he
designed the instrument for Jasper Sanfilippo in Barrington IL, he had
it duplicated, only to a larger scale to accommodate the organ being
nearly 4 times larger.  At 5 manuals and 80 ranks it is the largest
theatre organ ever built.

Robert Ridgeway

(Message sent Mon 4 Jan 1999, 13:57:37 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Chicago, Organ, Paradise, Theatre, Wurlitzer

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