Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. (Opus 1984, 1928)

Location:

Paramount Theatre / Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus)
385 Flatbush Avenue Extension at DeKalb Avenue
New York City: Brooklyn, NY 11201 US
Organ ID: 47370

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Colleges and Universities
  • The organ is unaltered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is good, used occasionally.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Jeff Scofield on November 12, 2020.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Wurlitzer
  • 26 ranks. 1,838 pipes. 9 divisions. 4 manuals. 26 stops. 177 registers.
All:
  • Chest Type(s): Wurlitzer chests
  • Position: In side chambers at the front of the room. No visible pipes.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Main:
  • Manuals: 4
  • Divisions: 9
  • Stops: 26
  • Registers: 177
  • Position: Console on lift.
  • Manual Compass: 61
  • Pedal Compass: 32
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
  • Console Style: Horseshoe style console.
  • Stop Controls: Stop keys in horseshoe curves.
  • Combination Action: Adjustable combination pistons.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard meeting AGO Standards.
  • Has Crescendo Pedal
  • Has Combination Action Thumb Piston(s)
We received the most recent update for this console from Jeff Scofield on November 12, 2020.
Jeff Scofield on November 12, 2020:

From the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project: In 1950, the Paramount building was sold to Long Island University, which gradually converted the upper floors into college administrative offices, but the auditorium continued to function as a theatre venue for another decade. It was during the 1950s that the Paramount created a sensation with Alan Freed’s famous Rock ‘n’ Roll show with Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and others musical stars. The Paramount was also a center for jazz in New York. Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis are just some of the legends that performed on the stage. After the Paramount closed for the last time in August 21, 1962, the auditorium was converted into a basketball court for LIU's Blackbirds teams, opening on November 30, 1963. A second renovation and expansion of the gymnasium took place in the summer of 1975. The building is now called the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Athletic Center. In January 2006, the Blackbirds moved to the 17,000-seat arena in the $40 million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center, and the Schwartz basketball court is now used as a 1200-seat multi-purpose arena. In recent years, the gymnasium has been elegantly decorated and cosmetically revived for dinners to raise funds for scholarships. Much of the theatre’s decor is intact in its legendary auditorium and magnificent lobby.

The organ in the Schwartz Athletic Center was built in 1928 by the Wurlitzer Organ Company for the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. Known by Wurlitzer as a "Publix 4" style, its specification of four manuals and 26 ranks was designed to produce the same tonal effect as the 4/36 Wurlitzer in the Times Square Paramount, but at lower cost. The Brooklyn Paramount organ was the first of only two "Publix 4" instruments built, the other going to the Metropolitan ("Met") Theatre, Boston (1930, Op. 2101). While the Boston Met's organ was broken up for parts in the 1970s, the Brooklyn Paramount organ remains unaltered and is still operational. A total of 257 stops control more than 2,000 pipes to imitate a variety of sounds — a brass band, percussion instruments, piano, train whistles, bird calls, horse hoofs, etc. — enabling the organist to accompany a movie and provide popular music between features. The pipes and percussions are located in four chambers, two each flanking the proscenium. As originally installed, the organ had one console, located on its own lift on the left end of the orchestra pit and extant today. At some point, a second, nearly identical "slave" console was installed on the right side of the pit; it could also be moved on-stage when desired. The slave console was later moved to DeKalb, Illinois. Since the more than 4,000 plush theatre seats and carpeting were removed and replaced by bleachers and a hardwood gym floor, the auditorium has gained a very reverberant acoustic. As a result, the Wurlitzer organ is now heard with an incomparable "mighty" sound in this unique environment. For many years the organ has been maintained by a crew of the New York Theatre Organ Society.

We received the most recent update for this note from Jeff Scofield on November 12, 2020.

Database Manager on July 04, 2016:

Wurlitzer "Style Publix 4" - with slave console
Factory date: October 29, 1928

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on March 09, 2013:

An original installation. Identified by Thomas J. Stehle, based on personal knowledge of the organ. --

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.
from NYC AGO Organ Project website: Open In New Tab Typed specification
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Instrument Images:

Console: Photograph by Steven E. Lawson via the NYC AGO Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2012-08-18

Console: Photograph by Steven E. Lawson via the NYC AGO Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2012-08-18

Console side view: Photograph by New York Theatre Organ Society via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2007-11-01

Hall interior: Photograph by Flavorwire via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2008-07-23

1928 exterior, with theatre to right of the office tower: Photograph by "Cinema Treasures" via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken approx. 1928

Building exterior: Photograph by Steven E. Lawson via the NYC AGO Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2012-08-20

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