The Chapter's Robert Morton Organ

Morton Console

The organ was built in 1927 by the Robert-Morton Company of Van Nuys, California, and installed in 1928 in the Old Mill Theatre at 1525 Elm Street in Dallas, where it replaced a smaller Wurlitzer organ. It was used primarily to accompany the silent movies of the day and later vaudeville and other live acts. In 1932, the theatre closed, and was later remodeled and reopened in December 1935 as the Rialto. At that time, the organ was de-installed and stored in the basement where it remained for many years. As the theatre was about to be demolished in the 1950s, the organ was rescued and stored in a warehouse before being sold again to a funeral parlor in Austin Texas, and later to a man in Victoria Texas. It changed hands again in the 1960s, and was purchased by Earl McDonald, a member of the NTC-ATOS. It was kept in Earl's three garages for another 20 years.

In January of 1984, the chapter learned that the Lakewood Theatre was being re-opened. This 1938 Art Deco style movie house in old East Dallas had been leased by B. B. and Jo Barr. The chapter contacted the Barrs, offering to install a theatre organ in the Lakewood. Earl & Donna McDonald generously donated their 3/8 Robert Morton, and the work to install it commenced. Finally in 1985 the installation was completed, and for the next 10 years, the organ was played regularly before and after movies. In 1994 the Lakewood closed again, and the organ remained housed there. Much water damage occurred, but faithful chapter members kept up the maintenance on it. In 1996, the theatre was re-opened under new management, and the organ was once again used in a variety of performances, including radio and television specials, and even a Rock concert. The organ remained there for a number of years and became a "STAR" in numerous concerts and other events, on TV, live and taped

Unfortunately the organ had to be removed from the theatre and is now in storage. The Chapter continues to look for suitable locations to house the organ so that it can once again be enjoyed by Chapter members and the public.

Specification

Trumpet8'61 pipes **
Tuba16'-4'85 pipes
Diapason/Diaphone16'-4'85 pipes
Tibia8'-4'73 pipes
Orchestral Oboe8'61 pipes
Kinura8'61 pipes **
Clarinet8'61 pipes **
Viol d'Orchestre8'-4'73 pipes
Viol d'Orch Celeste8'-4'73 pipes
Bourdon/Flute16'-2'97 pipes
Vox Humana 8'-4'73 pipes
 
**  =  Prepared for
 
Tuned Percussions
Xylophone 37 bars
Glockenspiel 37 bars
Chrysoglott 49 bars
Catherdal Chimes 20 bars
 
Traps Toy Counter
Bass Drum Siren
Snare DrumFire Bell
Tap Cymbal Boat Whistle
Crash Cymbal** Bird Whistle
Castanets  
Tom Tom  
Triangle  
Sleigh Bell  
Tambourine  
Wood Block  

The North Texas Chapter -American Theatre Organ Society is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) corporation, EID #23-7307920
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