Fox Theatre - Brooklyn, N.Y. (AJWB Collection)
 
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Fox Theatre

20 Flatbush Avenue at Fulton Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217





Interior of  Fox Theatre - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Library of Congress)  
   
Fox Theatre - Brooklyn, N.Y. (AJWB Collection)  






The opulent Brooklyn Fox Theatre, with seating for 4,305 patrons, was designed by architect C. Howard Crane and opened on August 21, 1928. Only a few years later, William Fox lost control of the theatre when he went bankrupt at the start of the Depression. Several banks that held mortgages on the Brooklyn Fox got together and tried (unsuccessfully) to run it themselves, finally granting a long-term lease (1934-1966) to Fabian Theatres, one of the circuits owned by Warner Brothers. For many years, the Fox was a centerpiece of "Downtown Brooklyn," ultimately becoming a popular concert venue for rock 'n' roll shows emceed by Murray Kaufman (Murray the "K").

Ultimately, the theatre's popularity waned and it sat vacant for approximately two years before being purchased by the Borough of Brooklyn. In 1970, the theatre was demolished, making way for a new building for the Consolidated Edison Company.
             
  Main Console of Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 1904 (1928) in the Fox Theatre - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: AJWB Collection)
  Main console at raised level
  Slave Console of Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 1904 (1928) in the Fox Theatre - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: AJWB Collection)
  Slave console at below-stage level
Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 1904 (1928)
Electro-pneumatic action
Style Fox Special
4 manuals, 37 ranks


The Wurlitzer organ that was in Brooklyn's Fox Theatre was one of five known as "Fox Specials," the others being installed in Fox theatres in St. Louis, Detroit, and San Francisco, and in the Paramount Theatre in Manhattan. While the other "Fox Specials" had 36 ranks of pipes, the organ for the Brooklyn Fox had 37 ranks, due to the addition of a Concert Flute Celeste.

Fox Special organs included a secondary "slave console" where only the keys, pistons and a single master swell pedal were connected to the organ. The stops were dummies for appearance only.

Prior to the theatre's demolition, the Brooklyn Fox Wurlitzer was stored in a Brooklyn church. In the 1970s, the organ was moved to the Cardinal Music Palace in Fort Wayne, Ind. In 1986, Richard Wilcox purchased the organ and built a new house for it (known as "Wurlitzer Manor") in Gig Harbor, Wash. Ed Zollman, organ technician, installed the organ, which was enlarged to 48 ranks. Wurlitzer Manor is now the residence of Barbara Hammerman and Raymond Lavine.
             
Pedal – 32 notes
32
  Diapahone       Cymbal
16
  Bombarde       Snare Drum (large)
16
  Diaphone       Bass Drum
16
  Ophicleide       Cymbal (jazz)
16
  Double English Horn       Snare Drum
16
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Chinese Gong
16
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)  

  Tambourine
16
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)  

  Castanets
16
  Diaphonic Horn       Chinese Block
16
  Clarinet       Triangle
16
  Bass String       Bombarde to Pedal
16
  Bourdon       Great to Pedal
8
  Tuba Mirabilis       Solo to Pedal
8
  Solo Trumpet  
  Accomp. to Pedal
8
  Tuba Horn        
8
  English Horn       Pedal 2nd Touch
8
  Octave  
16
  Bombarde
8
  Open Diapason       Tympani
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Bass Drum (large)
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)       Cymbal
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)       Snare Drum (large)
8
  Solo String       Kettle Drum
8
  Gamba       Chinese Gong
8
  Horn Diapason       Snare Drum
8
  Strings (2 ranks)       Triangle
8
  Clarinet        
8
  Cello       Pedal Pizzicato
4
  Flute  
16
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)
4
  Piccolo  
16
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)
16
  Piano  
16
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)
8
  Piano  
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)
    Solo Harp  
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)
    Harp  
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)
    Tympani (tuned)       Tibia Ensemble
    Bass Drum (large)        
              
Accompaniment (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Tuba Mirabilis  
8
  Piano
8
  English Horn  
4
  Piano
8
  Tuba Horn       Mandolin
8
  Solo Trumpet       Solo Marimba
8
  Diaphonic Diapason       Marimba
8
  Open Diapason       Solo Harp
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Harp
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)       Xylophone
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)       Chrysoglott
8
  Strings (2 ranks)       Chrysoglott
8
  Horn Diapason       Snare Drum (large)
8
  Gamba       Snare Drum
8
  Gamba Celeste       Tambourine
8
  Saxophone       Castanets
8
  Clarinet       Chinese Block
8
  Viole d'Orchestre       Tom Tom
8
  Viole Celeste       Sand Block
8
  Krumet       Accomp. Octave
8
  French Horn       Solo to Accomp.
8
  Oboe Horn        
8
  Salicional       Accompaniment 2nd Touch
8
  Quintadena  
8
  English Horn
8
  Concert Flute  
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
8
  Concert Flute Celeste  
8
  Tuba Horn
8
  Lieblich Flute  
8
  Diaphonic Diapason
8
  Vox Humana (Orch.)  
8
  Tibia Clausa
8
  Vox Humana (Foun.)  
8
  Tiba Clausa (2 ranks)
8
  Vox Humana (Solo)  
8
  Saxophone
8
  Vox Humana (Main)  
8
  Trumpet
8
  Dulciana  
8
  Clarinet
4
  Horn Octave  
8
  Solo String
4
  Piccolo  
4
  Piccolo
4
  Piccolo  
4
  Piccolo (2 ranks)
4
  Gambette (2 ranks)  
2
  Piccolo (2 ranks)
4
  Viole (2 ranks)       Solo Chimes
4
  Harmonic Flute       Cathedral Chimes
4
  Flute       Solo Harp
4
  Lieblich Flute       Glockenspiel
4
  Vox Humana (Orch.)       Triangle
4
  Vox Humana (Foun.)       Birds
4
  Vox Humana (Solo)       Great Octave Accomp.
4
  Vox Humana (Main)       Solo to Accomp.
2 2/3
  Twelfth       Solo to Accomp. Pizz. (1st touch)
2
  Harmonic Piccolo        
2
  Piccolo        

           
Great (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Bombarde  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Solo Trumpet [TC]  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Ophicleide  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Diaphone  
4
  Strings (2 ranks)
16
  Diaphonic Horn  
4
  Gambette (2 ranks)
16
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)  
4
  Viole (2 ranks)
16
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)  
4
  Harmonic Flute
16
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)  
4
  Concert Flute
16
  Clarinet  
4
  Concert Flute Celeste
16
  Saxophone [TC]  
4
  Lieblich Flute
16
  Solo String  
2 2/3
  Twelfth
16
  String Ensemble [TC]  
2 2/3
  Tibia Twelfth
16
  Vox Humana [TC] (Orch.)  
2 2/3
  Tibia Twelfth
16
  Vox Humana [TC] (Foun.)  
2
  Fifteenth
16
  Vox Humana [TC] (Solo)  
2
  Tibia Piccolo
16
  Vox Humana [TC] (Main)  
2
  Tibia Piccolo
8
  Tuba Mirabilis  
2
  Harmonic Piccolo
8
  Solo Trumpet  
2
  Piccolo
8
  Trumpet  
1 3/5
  Tierce
8
  Tuba Horn  
16
  Piano
8
  Diaphonic Diapason  
8
  Piano
8
  Open Diapason  
4
  Piano
8
  Horn Diapason       Solo Marimba
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Marimba
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)       Solo Harp
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)       Harp
8
  Strings (2 ranks)       Solo Xylophone
8
  Orchestral Oboe       Solo Xylophone
8
  Kinura       Xylophone
8
  Musette       Chrysoglott
8
  Solo String       Chrysoglott
8
  Gamba       Snare Drum (large)
8
  Gamba Celeste       Snare Drum
8
  Saxophone       Tambourine
8
  Clarinet       Castanets
8
  Viole d'Orchestre       Chinese Block
8
  Viole Celeste       Sand Block
8
  Krumet       Great Sub Octave
8
  French Horn       Accomp. Octave Great
8
  Oboe Horn       Solo Sub Great
8
  Salicional       Solo to Great
8
  Quintadena        
8
  Concert Flute       Great 2nd Touch
8
  Concert Flute Celeste  
16
  Double English Horn
8
  Lieblich Flute  
16
  Solo Trumpet [TC]
8
  Vox Humana (Orch.)  
8
  Tibia Clausa
8
  Vox Humana (Foun.)  
8
  Solo String
8
  Vox Humana (Solo)       Bombarde to Great
8
  Vox Humana (Main)       Solo Sub Great
8
  Dulciana       Solo to Great
4
  Clarion       Solo to Great Pizz. (1st touch)
4
  Horn Octave        

           
Bombarde (Manual III) – 61 notes
16
  Bombarde  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Solo Trumpet [TC]  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Diaphone  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Double English Horn  
4
  Harmonic Flute
16
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)  
2 2/3
  Tibia Twelfth
16
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)  
2
  Tibia Piccolo
16
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)  
8
  Piano
16
  Double String       Solo Xylophone
16
  Strings (2 ranks) [TC]       Solo Xylophone
16
  Vox Humana [TC] (Orch.)       Xylophone
8
  Tuba Mirabilis       Glockenspiel
8
  Solo Trumpet       Chrysoglott (2)
8
  English Horn       Solo Chimes
8
  Diaphonic Diapason       Cathedral Chimes
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Accomp. to Bombarde
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)       Great to Bombarde
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)       Solo Sub Bombarde
8
  Solo String       Solo to Bombarde
8
  Strings (2 ranks)        
8
  Gamba       Bombarde 2nd Touch
8
  Gamba Celeste  
16
  Bombarde
8
  Vox Humana (Orch.)  
16
  Double English Horn
4
  Clarion Mirabilis        

           
Solo (Manual IV) – 61 notes
16
  Solo Trumpet [TC]  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)  
4
  Piccolo
16
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)  
2
  Tibia Piccolo
16
  Saxophone [TC]  
2
  Tibia Piccolo (2 ranks)
8
  Tuba Mirabilis  
8
  Piano
8
  Trumpet  
  Solo Chimes
8
  English Horn  
  Cathedral Chimes
8
  Diaphonic Diapason  
  Solo Marimba
8
  Tibia Clausa (Orch.)       Marimba
8
  Tibia Clausa (Foun.)  
  Solo Harp
8
  Tibia Clausa (Solo)  
  Harp
8
  String Ensemble  

  Solo Xylophone
8
  Orchestral Oboe  

  Solo Xylophone
8
  Kinura  

  Xylophone
8
  Musette  

  Glockenspiel
8
  Krumet  

  Sleigh Bells
8
  Saxophone  

  Chrysoglott (2)
8
  French Horn       Bells
8
  Oboe Horn       Solo Sub Octave
8
  Quintadena       Accomp. to Solo
8
  Vox Humana Ensemble        
             
Adjustable Combination Pistons
   
Pedal PP–P–MF–F–FF–1–2–3–4–5  
Accompaniment PP–P–MF–F–FF–1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8–9–10 Dbl. Touch adds Pedal
Great PP–P–MF–F–FF–1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8–9–10 Dbl. Touch adds Pedal
Bombarde PP–P–MF–F–FF–1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8–9–10 Dbl. Touch adds Pedal
Solo PP–P–MF–F–FF–1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8–9–10 Dbl. Touch adds Pedal

           
Tremulants (13)
    Orchestral     Foundation
    Tuba Mirabilis (Orch.)     Tibia Clausa (Foun.)
    Tibia Clausa (Orch.)     Vox Humana (Foun.)
    Vox Humana (Orch.)     Main
    Solo     Tuba Horn (Main)
    Tibia Clausa (Solo)     Vox Humana (Main)
    Vox Humana (Solo)      
             
Toe Levers
    Sforzorzdo – Stops   Thunder Pedal – Traps
    Sforzando – Traps   Thunder Pedal – Diaphone 32'
        Thunder Pedal – Tuba Mirabilis 16'
             
Junk Board (Push Buttons)
   
Surf Soft Bell Horse Hoofs
Fire Gong Birds (Main & Foun.) Boat Whistle
Auto Horn Birds (Solo & Orch.) Locomotive Whistle
Loud Bell Chinese Gong Wind Whistle (toggle)
             
General
    Balanced Pedal – Orchestral Signal to operator's booth (toe piston)
    Balanced Pedal – Solo Great Sostenuto (toggle switch)
    Balanced Pedal – Foundation Accomp. Sostenuto (toggle switch)
    Balanced Pedal – Main Door Bell (push button)
    Balanced Pedal – General Piano Sustain (on general swell shoe)
    Balanced Pedal – Crescendo  
       
Swell Couplers (toggle switches)
    Percussion Open  
    Orchestral  
    Solo  
    Foundation  
    Main  
    Percussion  
    General  
             
STOP & CHAMBER ANALYSIS

Main Chamber
16
  Tuba Horn
85 pipes
8
  Open Diapason
61 pipes
16
  Horn Diapason
85 pipes
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
85 pipes
8
  Viol Celeste
73 pipes
8
  Salicional
61 pipes
8
  Dulciana
61 pipes
16
  Concert Flute
97 pipes
8
  Concert Flute Celeste
73 pipes
8
  Lieblich Flute
73 pipes
8
  Krumet
61 pipes
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes
   
Harp/Marimba
49 notes
   
Xylophone
37 notes
   
Chrysoglott [1]
49 notes
   
Snare Drum
   
Tambourine
   
Castanets
   
Chinese Block
   
Tom Tom

Foundation Chamber
8
  Solo Trumpet
61 pipes
16
  Diaphonic Diapason
85 pipes
16
  Tibia Clausa
97 pipes
8
  Musette
61 pipes
8
  Gamba
73 pipes
8
  Gamba Celeste
73 pipes
16
  Clarinet
73 pipes
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes
4
  Harmonic Flute
73 pipes
 
Solo Chamber
8
  Trumpet
61 pipes
16
  Tibia Clausa [25"]
97 pipes
8
  Strings (2 ranks)
146 pipes
8
  Orchestral Oboe
61 pipes
8
  Kinura
61 pipes
8
  Saxophone
61 pipes
8
  French Horn
85 pipes
8
  Oboe Horn
61 pipes
8
  Quintadena
61 pipes
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes
   
Solo Harp/Marimba
49 notes
   
Solo Chimes
25 notes
   
Solo Xylophone [1]
37 notes
   
Glockenspiel
37 notes
   
Chrysoglott [2]
25 notes

Orchestral Chamber
16
  English Horn
73 pipes
16
  Tuba Mirabilis
85 pipes
16
  Tibia Clausa
97 pipes
16
  Solo String [25"]
73 pipes
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes

Percussion
   
Piano
85 notes
   
Cathedral Chimes
25 notes
   
Solo Xylophone [2]
37 notes
   
Sleigh Bells
25 notes
   
Tympani
13 notes
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Cymbal
    Chinese Gong
    Triangle
    Sand Block
             
Sources:
     Cinema Treasures web site: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/602
     Hall, Ben M. The Best Remaining Seats. The story of the Golden Age of the Movie Palace. New York: Bramhall House, 1961.
     Junchen, David L., comp. and ed. by Jeff Weiler. The WurliTzer Pipe Organ – An Illustrated History. Chicago: The American Theatre Organ Society, 2005.
     Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1995.

Illustrations:
     AJWB Collection. Fox interior and stage; main and slave consoles of Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 1904 (1928).
     Library of Congress Print and Photographs Online: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html. Exterior; interior; console (b&w) of Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 1904 (1928).