Mighty Wurlitzer Awakens at Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay, Ore.
Having raised more than $1 million for the theater’s restoration, the Egyptian Theater Preservation Association has only a few finishing touches remaining to complete its task. Guests at the reopening on the evening of June 20, 2014, were serenaded by Paul Quarino on the Wurlitzer, one of the famous pipe organs installed in theaters, homes, churches and other places between 1914 and 1943. Quarino has cared for the instrument for 30 years and kept it in perfect condition. The organ accompanied silent movies when the theater opened in 1925. Later, another organ was attached to the original, creating an instrument with four manuals, or keyboards, and 18 sets of pipes. The organ fell silent as talkies replaced silent films, and the theater closed in 2005. In addition to the organ music, last month’s grand opening featured a film-cutting in place of a traditional ribbon-cutting, speeches by dignitaries, live jazz, silent movies and, of course popcorn. Ten or 12 beautifully restored Model A Fords graced the sidewalk in front of the theater and down the street.
Source: Nelson, Shirley. First-hand observations at the theater’s reopening.