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By Mike Bryant, Journal of the American Theatre Organ Society

September/October 2014 Issue

During the “first resurgence” of interest in theatre organs, generally considered to be the early 1950s, electronic home organs began to gain a foothold. When stereophonic high-fidelity systems began to appear in dealers’ showrooms, they were often demonstrated with a George Wright theatre organ recording. The Wright Hi-Fi Records output no doubt helped close a huge number of stereo system sales. It’s a fair thing to conclude that these same systems and records helped to promote the popularity of home organs.

How, then, to account for the two questions that every home organ sales person from the ’60s and ’70s heard from nearly every prospect: “Does it have a banjo stop?” and “Can it play Hawaiian music?” Now, perhaps I led a sheltered life, but I never heard a pipe organ with a believable banjo stop, or a pitch-slide switch on the swell pedal. But, we weren’t selling pipe organs, so we dutifully demonstrated with a few bars of “The Chicken Polka” and “Aloha Oe.”

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