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MMD > Archives > May 2009 > 2009.05.03 > 02Prev  Next

Wurlitzer 165 Roll Collections Expanded
By Matthew Caulfield

Seabreeze Park prides itself on having the most complete collection
of Wurlitzer 165 rolls in existence.  It has copies of all the known
rolls made by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company and all those made by its
successor, T.R.T. Manufacturing Company.  The 6-tune rolls are in the
form of shortened 12-tune composites, which greatly improves their

By choice, the park does not have any of the B.A.B.-to-Wurlitzer
transcriptions.  And it has only a selection of rolls by modern
arrangers, including all those arranged by Rich Olsen.  All of the
rolls are present in the most complete form known.

Initially, Play-Rite issued some rolls in an incomplete form, missing
one or two of the tunes.  As complete versions were discovered or as
modern arrangers like David Stumpf, Tom Meijer, or Bob Stuhmer were
commissioned to make new arrangements of missing tunes, the Seabreeze
copy of a roll was replaced with the more perfect version.

Lately two new 165 music enthusiasts have begun to upgrade their roll
collection to rival that owned by Seabreeze Park.  James (Jimmy) H.
Drew III, owner of Drew Exposition, Augusta, Georgia, is one.  Jimmy
has been having every Wurlitzer and T.R.T. roll lacking in his
collection produced in a single laser-cut copy for him by Valley Forge
Music Roll Company, Audubon, Pennsylvania.  That amounts to about 60
rolls, in addition to about 15 that he has purchased from other people
since the project began.  I am reboxing every roll in his collection in
beautiful, custom-made burgundy-red boxes with gold labels.  Jimmy has
had his carpenter build a huge new cabinet to hold the roll collection.

The other person is Glenn Thomas, Belle Mead, New Jersey, who is the
owner of an organ upgraded to Wurlitzer 166 specifications by Joe
Hilferty, York, Pennsylvania.  Glenn is also having his collection
brought to completion (or close to it) by Valley Forge Music Rolls.

The fervor of Jimmy Drew and Glenn Thomas and the ability of Valley
Forge to produce single copies has made this an opportune time to have
all the missing tunes on 165 rolls created and added to the three
collections.  This would not be possible without the talent and
enthusiasm of San Diego arranger Rich Olsen.  But Rich is thoroughly
onboard with this project, in addition to his custom work arranging new
music for the Wurlitzer scale and other scales.

So far three missing tunes have been arranged.  "The Sheik Of Araby"
has been added to roll 6606 to make that roll complete.  "Smiles" and
"Girls Of France" have been arranged for roll 6546 and sent to Valley
Forge for production.  There are still seven missing tunes to go on
other rolls.  But we will get there.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Sun 3 May 2009, 15:26:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Collections, Expanded, Roll, Wurlitzer

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