Wuritzer Style K Photoplayer
from the Bowers Collection



Wurlitzer style K duplex music roll mechanism and keyboardsFront view of side cabinet containing pipes for the Wurlitzer style K PhotoplayerThe Wurlitzer style K Photoplayer was one of the largest and most musically versatile of all the Wurlitzer photoplayers, and it could be played automatically using Concert PianOrchestra music rolls, which were ideally suited to this large instrument because of their extensive set of register and trapwork controls. Easy to install, the style K photoplayer was a self-contained unit, which sat in the orchestra pit, if there was one, or, if not, below the movie screen. It was situated so that the operator (who sat at the piano keyboard) could watch the movie while coordinating music and/or sound effects that matched the mood of any on-screen action. If a theater wanted anything much more musically extensive a theater organ would have to be installed, which required custom pipe chambers built into the auditorium building, along with an organ console and a complex cabling system consisting of miles of electrical wiring, all of which was an elaborate and costly installation process at best.

Front view of the side cabinet containing the trapwork for the Wurlitzer style K Photoplayer.The tape recording used to create this CD was made by Tim Westman on April 7, 1986. At the time of the recording, the Style K Photoplayer was located in Tim Westman's restoration shop, with the large and noisy motor powered blower that supplied both vacuum and wind-pressure to the instrument sitting nearby. This arrangement did not make for an ideal recording environment, but, at the time, it was never thought that this tape might someday be made available to a general audience. Nonetheless, once digitized, the audio signal was equalized to compensate for tape roll-off and poor microphone placement, all of which greatly exaggerated the mid-range and especially the bass frequencies. Then, extensive noise reduction technology was applied in order to eliminate the distractingly loud mechanical blower noise and whine. This was followed by the addition of a minor amount of reverberation to replace room ambiance lost due to the high level of blower noise that completely masked these subtle qualities. All in all, this CD provides a good audio characterization of a large Wurlitzer Photoplayer, but it is also not the high quality recording that I would otherwise like to offer.

Playing Wurlitzer Concert PianOrchestra music rolls, this impressive Wurlitzer style K Photoplayer amply demonstrates the musical and tonal breadth of scale built into this top-of-the-line photoplayer. The rich, full violin and reed tones are bolstered by foundational bass timbres that must have brought chills to the avid movie goers of the silent film era. The musical selections on this CD range from classical to marches and popular music of the day, all played with equal finesse.

Wurlitzer Style K Photoplayer
27 Tracks -- Total Time: 73:22

1.Entry Of The Gladiators
2.Die Fledermaus Selections
3.Gold and Silver Waltz
4.Troica! Waltz Russe
5.Man Steight Nach! Tanzlied
6.Honey Boy
7.Red Wing
8.Love Me and The World is Mine
14.Gloryland, March
15.Comrades Of The Legion, March
16.For All And Forever, March
17.The Gallant Hero, March
18.unknown Popular or Blues
19.unknown Blues
20.unknown Popular or Blues
21.Men To The Front, March
22.Repazz Band, March
23.Sabres and Spurs, March
24.unknown Popular
25.How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm (After They've Seen Paree), One-Step
26.Good-bye France (You'll Never BE Forgotten By The USA), One-Step
27.American Red Cross, March
9.Old Flags
10.One Fine Day
11.Doodle Do Do
12.Skin-a-Ma-Rink-a-Ree, March

Listen to a sample.....




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