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Countywide : Silent Films Will Screen With Music at Plummer

October 24, 1994|SHELBY GRAD

A Fullerton auditorium will be transformed into a silent movie hall for one afternoon next month when a nationally known organist performs to the flickering images of Laurel and Hardy.

Stan Kann, who worked for 22 years as the house organist at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, will work behind the console on a Wurlitzer pipe organ that county residents have spent the last year meticulously restoring.

Kann is also expected to give a talk on the history of movie theater organs and the role they play in American musical history.

Before the advent of talking movies in the 1920s, cinemas often employed organists who played background music while the silent films were showing.

"Live music is different from a soundtrack. It's a different sound," said Judy Dennis, one of the volunteers restoring the organ. "It's more like you are involved with" the music.

Theater organs differ from church organs in that they can make a variety of unique sounds including bird whistles, cymbal sounds and drum noises, Dennis said. The Fullerton organ is at least 60 years old and is now housed at Plummer Auditorium, a Fullerton Union High School District building.

Dennis and other volunteers have spent the past few months cleaning the organ's pipes and rebuilding pieces of the instrument.

Kann will perform Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8. The auditorium is at the corner of Chapman Avenue and Lemon Street across from Fullerton High School. For more information, call (714) 671-4300.

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