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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Inside One Of Hollywood's Most Famous Wurlitzer Pipe Organs

LAist writer Tim Greiving writes about the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ that shaped The Sound of Music and The House with a Clock in its Walls:


The top movie at the box office last weekend was the House with a Clock in its Walls, the family-friendly gothic-horror movie starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. If you bought a ticket, you unknowingly heard a piece of movie history — because the score features the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ that used to sit inside the walls of the scoring stage at 20th Century Fox.

"It had all the bells and whistles that Wurlitzer could put into their machines — and it was magnificent," said Armin Steiner, who has recorded film scores on the Fox stage since 1979. He was hired by Lionel Newman, head of music at the time, and he was the last of the contract studio engineers. He loved working with that Wurlitzer.

Most of the major film studios had pipe organs on their scoring stages back in the day, but only Fox had a Wurlitzer. It was heard on everything from Bernard Herrmann's Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1959, to the wedding scene in 1965's The Sound of Music.

In 1997 — long after the other studios had gotten rid of their organs — Fox sold the Wurlitzer, and it was packed up and put in storage in Reno, Nevada.

Which is where Nathan Barr found it seven years ago.

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