Sunday, September 16, 2007

An Afternoon with the Mighty Wurlitzer


My posse and I went to El Segundo* to watch the 1920's silent film The Mark of Zorro with live accompaniment provided by a Wurlitzer organist. What a treat! First of all, the organ at the Old Time Music Hall is no ordinary organ -- it's a Mighty Wurlitzer, not unlike the one in the Disney-owned El Capitan Theatre. But this one had extras. Drums! A gong! Bells! All mechanically controlled by the organist and decorated with glow-in-the-dark paint. This Wurlitzer is the largest musical instrument /one-man-band / automaton I've ever seen!

The theatre itself is adorable, with Laurel & Hardy dolls and 1920s architecture. There's a tiny ticket office with a precariously small access passageway. A friendly elderly man offers popcorn and candy for a buck. They host silent films and musical performances regularly. We enjoyed singing along to the authentic-looking pre-show Sing-a-long slides with lyrics to "Ain't She Sweet?" and "I'm in the Mood for Love." (I remember when I was little they used to show older Harvey "Little Audrie" & "Caspar The Friendly Ghost" cartoons on TV with "Follow the Bouncing Ball" sing-a-longs, so I already knew "Aint She Sweet?")

* which turns out to be a nice quiet little neighborhood, not an apocalyptic area next to refineries and an airport as I had previously imagined.

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posted by Brian at 11:08 AM

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