Talking pictures: Silent film fund-raiser will help give theater new voice
Organ Loft is coming to aid of Ogden's Egyptian
Deseret Morning News Archives
When the Bray family opened the Organ Loft, the instrument they installed featured parts, including lengths of pipe, that were "cannibalized" from other organs including one in the original Egyptian Theatre in Ogden.
In essence, when the Egyptian's organ "died," it eventually gave voice to the Organ Loft. So it seems somewhat fitting that now the Organ Loft is contributing to efforts to give the Egyptian back its voice.
The continuing restoration projects at Ogden's Egyptian Theatre, 2415 Washington Blvd., include the installation of a new, "three-console" theater organ. However, that part of the project alone will cost $90,000, and the group in charge of the restoration is still in the process of raising funds.
To help, the Organ Loft, at 3331 S. Edison (just east of State) in South Salt Lake, is screening the classic Buster Keaton comedy "The General" as a special five-night fund-raiser. The 1927 film, generally considered one of the greatest of the silent era, features Old Stoneface as an engineer who must rescue his beloved train and his girlfriend during the Civil War.
All proceeds from the screenings will go toward the Egyptian's organ-restoration project, according to Organ Loft owner and operator Larry Bray, "We're doing everything we can to help that great old theater," Bray said.
That includes the musical/sound-effects wizardry of Organ Loft musicians Blaine Gale and David Massey, who are donating their services (Gale performs Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while Massey will play Tuesday and Thursday).
For Gale, the "Godfather" of local theater organists, it's an exciting opportunity in more ways than one. "It's a very worthy cause," he said, "and when this is done, we will have another wonderful venue to see and hear silent films in the way they were meant to be experienced."
Current plans are to have the organ installed and ready for the Egyptian Theatre's grand reopening celebration July 14.
Tickets for "The General" are $5; show time is 7:30 p.m. For more information or for group reservations, call 485-9265.Those who can't attend the screenings may contribute to the fund-raising in other ways. Commemorative plaques are available for seats in the Egyptian theater (available at $250 for companies or $150 for individuals). Contributions are also being taken directly (checks can be made out to the Egyptian Foundation). For more information, contact Luckey Heath at 1-801-621-0060 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A SILENT SPRING: The Organ Loft will kick off its annual Silent Spring Film Series on April 8 and 9 with "King of Kings," director Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 biblical epic starring H.B. Warner as Jesus.
The series continues through April and May, with showings of the drama "Walking Back" (April 22 and 23); "The Mark of Zorro" (May 6 and 7), with Douglas Fairbanks in the title role; and D.W. Griffith's "Broken Blossoms," starring Lillian Gish (May 20 and 21).All programs feature organ accompaniment from such local musicians as Gale, Massey, Greg Owen and Mitzi Booth. As with all Organ Loft programs, tickets are $5.
SILENTS ARE GOLDEN: The Organ Loft is not the only theater spotlighting silent classics. The Broadway Centre Cinemas is showing the documentary "Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin." And on Friday, the Broadway will begin showing a restored print of Chaplin's classic 1936 comedy "Modern Times."For more information, including show times and prices for showings, browse the Salt Lake Film Society Web site, www.saltlakefilmsociety.org, or call 321-0310.
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