PipeChat Digest #4563 - Thursday, June 17, 2004
 
Additional area theatre organ events for July ATOS NATIONAL CONVENTION at
  by <MUSCUR@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Additional area theatre organ events for July ATOS NATIONAL CONVENTION attendees From: <MUSCUR@aol.com> Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 18:55:30 EDT   THE AL RINGLING THEATRE CELEBRATES THE BARABOO CIRCUS FESTIVAL with Theatre=20 Pipe Organ performances by DENNIS JAMES, June 30 to July 3, 2004- Baraboo,=20 Wisconsin   =B7 June 30 and July 2 - The Baraboo Theatre Guild presents Live On Stage: "= Ice=20 Cream 7 Times a Day." This play tells the story of the Ringling Brothers=20 before they reached circus fame. Performance June 30 at 7:30 p.m. and July 2= at=20 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 adults and $10 seniors/children. As=20= a=20 very special feature, Dennis James will play the 1928 Barton Theatre Organ=20 before and at intermission at each performance.   =B7 July 1 - THEATRE TOURS featuring theatre organist Dennis James, tour tim= es=20 9:00 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.=20   =B7 July 1 at 3:00 p.m. SILENT FILM CLASSIC featuring scoring by Dennis Jame= s.=20 This feature film with live organ music accompaniment is free and open to th= e=20 public.=20   Information and tickets will be available by contacting the Al Ringling=20 Theatre at 608-356-8864, by e-mail at ringling@baraboo.com or by writing ART= =20 Friends, P.O. Box 381, Baraboo, WI 53913   THE AL RINGLING THEATRE:   The Al. Ringling was "America's Prettiest Playhouse" from the very beginning= ..=20 The American Theatre Historical Society says it "pointed the way to the grea= t=20 palatial theatres of the following decade...One of the finest examples of=20 palatial design applied to a motion picture theatre in this country. The env= y of=20 Broadway."   By 1900, the Ringling Brothers had one of the largest circus shows on the=20 road, and began absorbing other circuses. By the time they were able to buy=20= out=20 James A. Bailey's show, the year after Bailey's death in 1907, they had unde= r=20 their control the largest circus in America: The Ringling Brothers and Barnu= m &=20 Bailey Circus. The Ringling Brothers portion of the circus maintained its=20 winter quarters in Baraboo. Al. Ringling was Baraboo's leading citizen, one=20= of=20 the best-known names in Wisconsin, and a national and world traveler, with w= orld=20 renown due to the circus. During his visits to Europe, he was fascinated wit= h=20 the beauty and majesty of the European Opera Houses. Yet Baraboo was home,=20 and it appears from the very beginning that the theatre project was intended= as=20 a memorial gift to the city.   After only seven months of construction and at a cost of around $100,000, th= e=20 magnificent theatre opened on Wednesday, November 17, 1915, hailed at the=20 time as the greatest event in the history of Baraboo. If it was an extravaga= nt=20 theatre for a town of that size, its character as a memorial was clear and=20 recognized even as it was being built. The first movie was shown on November= 22,=20 1915. But sadly, less than seven weeks after the theatre opened, Al. Ringlin= g=20 passed away just after noon on New Year's Day, 1916. The entire city of Bara= boo=20 went into mourning. Services at the German Lutheran Church were in both Germ= an=20 and English.   The Al. Ringling Theatre was built with the intention of providing Baraboo=20 with a multi-purpose entertainment facility. In the early years Baraboo was=20 fortunate in being able to host touring companies of major Broadway producti= ons=20 which would pause at Baraboo en route to Minneapolis from either Chicago or=20 Milwaukee. During its first fourteen years, the Al. Ringling hosted 109 tour= ing=20 shows on its stage. Prices ranged from 50 cents to $1.50. Actors and scenery= =20 came by rail freight carts and Pullman cars, and theatre tickets could be=20 purchased at rail stations up to 50 miles away. The seven daily trains passi= ng=20 through Baraboo provided access to the theatre for its patrons. Notable perf= ormers=20 who have graced the Al. Ringling stage include Lionel Barrymore in "The Claw= "=20 in 1922, Fiske O'Hara, and May Robson. Plays included Miss Lulu Bett by Zona= =20 Gale of Portage, Hamlet, The Mikado, George White Scandals, Showboat, and HM= S=20 Pinafore.   After Al. Ringling's death, his widow was uninterested in owning the theatre= ,=20 so it passed into the control of the four surviving brothers. They offered i= t=20 in 1917 to the Town of Baraboo for use as a municipal theatre. Legal=20 difficulties surrounding restrictions in the offer led to some local opposit= ion to the=20 gift, and it was withdrawn the following year. As the brothers died, their=20 interests passed to their heirs, eventually to be consolidated under the con= trol=20 of Henry Ringling, Jr. He operated the theatre until his death in 1952, at=20 which time the theatre was sold out of the family's hands.   =20 THE BARTON THEATRE PIPE ORGAN:   The original theatre pipe organ installed in the Al. Ringling Theatre was a=20 Style 1, Opus 9202 Hope Jones unit, manufactured by the Wurlitzer Co. The=20 instrument was purchased from their San Francisco showrooms and shipped to B= araboo=20 in September 1915. The instrument was employed to accompany silent film=20 presentations, to give concerts, and to provide musical prologues for live=20 performances. By 1928 its capabilities and technology were outdated in compa= rison to=20 the newer, more sophisticated instruments being produced. Rather than update= =20 and augment the existing organ, it was decided to replace it with one=20 manufactured by the Barton Co. of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Hope Jones unit, m= inus the=20 percussion and sound effects, was sold to the Baraboo Evangelical Church, wh= ere=20 it served that congregation for 40 years.   Golden-voiced Barton organs, famous for their tonal beauty, had been=20 installed in many leading theatres across the country. In fact, the largest=20= theatre=20 organ ever constructed, located in the Chicago Stadium, was built by the Bar= ton=20 Company. The Barton organ company was the fifth leading theatre organ build= er=20 in America. Company founder Dan Barton was a musician and had toured with=20 Chautauquas, dance bands, carnivals, dog and pony shows, Uncle Tom's Cabin s= hows,=20 and, in 1909, with the Ringling Brothers Circus. In fact, the organ console=20 style used in the Al. Ringling Theatre, and many other installations, is=20 referred to as the "circus wagon,'' because of its lavish use of carvings an= d the=20 red and gold coloring. The "Mighty Barton" features 597 pipes, plus drums,=20 bells, wood blocks, bird calls and thunder.=20   Shortly after the nine rank organ was installed, talking pictures made their= =20 debut at the Al. Ringling. In 1929, sound equipment was permanently added to= =20 the theatre. Soon afterward the Great Depression put an end to the economic=20 practicality of the professional stage shows. The new Barton continued to gi= ve=20 Sunday concerts, however, and to provide musical prologues to the movie=20 showings. This curtailed usage continued for the most part until the mid-194= 0s when=20 the instrument was retired and used only for special occasions. The Barton=20 returned to active duty for a short time in the early 1950s in an attempt to= give=20 the theatre an edge in its fight against the new entertainment=20 form--television. In the early 70s, a group of dedicated volunteers began r= estoring the=20 instrument to its original glory. They emptied dust from the pipes, patched=20= and=20 replaced the miles and miles of wiring, and cleaned off the grime from 30 ye= ars=20 of coal heat. The organ is now in excellent playing condition and, through t= he=20 efforts of dedicated volunteers, will continue to delight Al. Ringling=20 audiences for generations to come.   DENNIS JAMES, THEATRE ORGANIST   Internationally celebrated theatre organist Dennis James appeared most=20 recently at the Al Ringling Theatre on April 1, 2004 accompanying silent fil= m=20 comedies for the theatre's Lively Arts Series. With countless performances a= t=20 theatres up and down Hollywood Boulevard since his 1999 Hollywood debut, the= atre=20 organist Dennis James has carved a permanent in Hollywood's entertainment=20 history. Following an extensive nationwide search, James was selected to de= but the=20 El Capitan Theatre's Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Appointed the theatre's=20 premiere House Organist, James has since appeared before tens of thousands=20 enthusiastic patrons at the Hollywood landmark. Of James' debut performance=20= of the=20 restored silent film classic PETER PAN at the El Capitan, the Theatre Organ=20 Journal correspondent Rob Richards reported: "Dennis James played a meticulo= usly=20 prepared score . . . a complete sellout, rumor has it tickets were being sca= lped=20 outside the theatre for $100 a seat!" James also performs solo=20 organ-accompanied silent films at Hollywood's restored Egyptian Theatre jus= t a few blocks=20 east of the El Capitan plus the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Royce=20 Hall (UCLA). Recently named "Hollywood's International Ambassador of the Si= lent=20 Film," James' silent film revivals, already a Hollywood tradition, now tour=20 worldwide with performances upcoming throughout Australia and New Zealand la= ter=20 this year.   Listing sent from: Silent Film Concerts 7095 Hollywood Boulevard, #483 Hollywood, CA 90028-8903 USA Phone: 323-883-1514 E-mail: muscur@aol.com   To be removed from this mailing list, please respond with written request to= =20 muscur@aol.com   =20 Listing sent from: Silent Film Concerts 7095 Hollywood Boulevard, #483 Hollywood, CA 90028-8903 USA Phone: 323-883-1514 E-mail: muscur@aol.com   To be removed from this mailing list, please respond with written request to= =20 muscur@aol.com