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MMD > Archives > November 2003 > 2003.11.05 > 01Prev  Next

Recordings of Lincoln Park Wurlitzer Band Organ
By Matthew Caulfield

Roger,  I am not certain which Lincoln Park band organ recording you
are referring to.  Is it the reel-to-reel recording that was issued by
Bel Canto (as Vol. 1; although I don't know that any Vol. 2 was ever
issued)?  If that is what you want, I can give you my copy of that tape.

Robbie Rhodes is correct that the organ known as the Lincoln Park organ
is now owned by Ed Openshaw.  There is always some confusion in my mind
between the Lincoln Park and the Griffith Park Wurlitzer 165's -- both
owned by the Davis family -- because the organs were swapped at some
point in their history, the Lincoln Park organ going to Griffith Park
and the Griffith Park organ going to Lincoln Park.

The Lincoln Park organ has a standard 165 facade, with a ribbon banner
painted across it just above the swell shutters, saying "Lincoln Park
-- Ross R. Davis -- Los Angeles."  It also has light bulbs in its
facade.  The (by default) "Griffith Park" organ, being the last one
shipped out by Wurlitzer, has a different facade, that of a Wurlitzer
157 organ.  Apparently Wurlitzer didn't have the proper facade at hand
in 1939 and just made do.  That organ is now owned by Don Neilson.

Several reel-to-reel tape recordings were issued by Ross R. Davis, and
there were at least two 45 r.p.m. kiddie records issued by one of the
big record companies.  Each record side contained one tune.  I remember
"The Thunderer" being on one side of one 45, with "Artist's Life" on
the other.  Since Griffith Park is in Hollywood, its merry-go-round was
a natural for being used in various movies and recording sessions.

The Griffith Park M-G-R is now owned by Warren Deasy and Rosemary West
and has a Stinson 165 organ on it.  The Lincoln Park M-G-R was a victim
of arson (in the 1970's?), although the organ was saved, because it was
in the shop of Don Rand and Ed Openshaw for maintenance and

I have some recordings of one of these two organs that were made by
Ross Davis back in the 1960's.  The organ is referred to on one tape
as the Griffith Park organ, but I believe it is the one which people
generally think of as the Lincoln Park 165.  I visited Ross Davis
around 1960 at Griffith Park and I believe the organ I saw and heard
there was the Lincoln Park organ, though time and age does funny things
to one's memory.  At any rate, if what you want is music from one of
the Davis Wurlitzer 165's, I can supply it.

Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, N.Y.)

(Message sent Wed 5 Nov 2003, 15:36:28 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Lincoln, Organ, Park, Recordings, Wurlitzer

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