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MMD > Archives > January 2001 > 2001.01.08 > 02Prev  Next


Golden Gate Park Wurlitzer Band Organ
By Al Sefl

[ In MMDigest 010105 Bruce Pier wrote about the organ in
 [ Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Hello Bruce and MMDers, sorry to have missed the beginning of this
thread.  The band organ in Golden Gate Park was converted to play the
Wurlitzer 150 roll.

As a child I had unlimited rides on the merry-go-round because my dad
worked on the organ.  He knew the family of Peter Bacigalupi (I believe
he was Louis Bacigalupi's brother) and we lived at 1433 Haight Street,
so when the organ needed something it was just a short walk to the
park.  I still have the original Wurlitzer 150 test roll that he used
on the organ.  I don't remember much about the actual carousel or the
organ except that I loved the Sousa marches the best.  The crank
mechanism that raised and lowered the animals also stuck in my memory.

San Francisco -- the city that let the world's finest movie palace,
the Fox, be torn down -- also let the carousel organ go.  That was in
the late 1960s, if memory serves, and the excuse was that it would be
too expensive to renovate the organ.  Knott's Berry Farm now has the
organ and uses it every day.

Too bad the replacement on the present merry-go-round sounds so bad
and plays poorly.  I heard it when I took my son out there to ride many
years ago, and the books were not tracking correctly.  About six months
ago I went by myself, as my son is now grown.  The organ sounded better
on the Wurlitzer rolls, but the sound quality of the pipes is not up to
the Wurlitzer organ it replaced, in my opinion.

Al Sefl,
who went around on the merry-go-round
so much that he's dizzy to this day!

P.S.:  As a footnote, I got the very last Edison Phonograph from the
Peter Bacigalupi family, who had it still in the original packing
crate.  That was from Joseph Bacigalupi who had it sitting in his
basement in San Rafael with no explanation of why it never was sold.
That machine started my Edison collection which, to my knowledge, is
the only complete collection of Edison domestic machines in the world.


(Message sent Mon 8 Jan 2001, 19:19:20 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Gate, Golden, Organ, Park, Wurlitzer

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