Skip to content

2 organ shows: Red Bank Film Fest and Silent Clowns

October 14 – RED BANK, NJ – well, my 4th silent film for the annual Red Bank International Film Festival was a presentation of Don Q, Son of Zorro with Douglas Fairbanks. 35mm print came from Douris, and I accompanied on an Allen electronic theatre organ. Print looked great, and projection was quite good. The show was held in the Count Basie Theater, one of 3 cinemas in Red Bank that the RBIFF uses. The CB is a movie house that opened in November 1926, about 1200 seats with a balcony. Its original TPO is long gone, but the fest has sprung for an Allen (rented) every year. This year the instrument was much like the one I used at Vassar in terms of looks and sound, except this was a 2-manual. The sound is okay, but is not digital samples of real organ ranks. Still better than a piano (and costs about the same as what the CB theater would have charged the fest to use their piano anyway). Film went over great; turnout not so fantastic, but Sat afternoon is a tough sell for classic film in the suburbs I’ve found. We will do another silent next year, and maybe try a different day or time slot.

October 22 – NYC – accompanied Phantom of the Opera on the mighty Miditzer theatre organ. Print was actually a composite of a few prints in 16mm (we can only do 16mm at the SCFS but Bruce (Lawton) makes 16mm look good. Miditzer set-up was pretty straightforward and quick, as always, with the laptop running into XLR inputs (panned L and R for stereo) in the stage. The instrument, while not as ornate or impressive-looking as the rented Allen, sounds way more like a real Wurli. [Allen’s more recent organs do sound like the real thing, but those models generally are not the ones available for rentals. I’ve played their 2-manual C19 for a few shows, and it sounds great.] Not exactly a huge throng (we got squeezed out of being listed…it’s all a matter of space in a mag like TimeOut), but the people who came had a great time and really liked the theatre organ sound. Wish I could use the Miditzer for more shows.

Other shows that’ve happened in the last 10 days, were a couple education programs at AMMI of CC’s The Immigrant, and the opening program of MoMA’s “Friday Night at the Movies“, a weekly series for high school students. The kids get free pizza and a movie, plus a ‘student’ pass to get into MoMA for a year.

Coming up in the next coupla weeks…spooky silent comedy shorts at the Turtle Bay Music School (Bruce and I have been hired to do a 1-hour show as part of their day-long open house), a Nosferatu show (on Miditzer) at Simon’s Rock College (Great Barrington, MA), a few more AMMI Immigrant programs, and a show (on Miditzer) of the recently discovered and preserved “lost” Mabel Normand feature Head Over Heels at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

Leave a Reply