SB 30 Episode 60: The magic and majesty of the Orpheum’s Mighty Wurlitzer, with historian and organist Vincent Astor


“I became very verklempt. It was such a wonder to play it and hear it again. It’s hard to describe. When I was down here and the organ was being demonstrated, he (Tony Thomas) was playing ‘There Will Never Be Another You.’ And I had a flashback. All those hundreds of people who courted in this theatre, during the war . . . they were all around me. Funny how that happens. It’s amazing, really, when you think through all of this, all the things that have happened in this room . . .”

That’s historian and organist Vincent Astor, and the longest-tenured ‘driver’ of the Orpheum’s Mighty Wurlitzer, talking about returning to the seat in front of the majestic keyboards – the manuals – of the organ. For an extra special edition of StoryBoard 30, join host Mark Fleischer and filmmaker Willy Bearden as they visit Mr. Astor on the Orpheum stage and at the organ’s controls for a little reminiscing, a little education, a little music, and a lot of magic from the Mighty Wurlitzer. Recorded November 5th, 2020 by Willy Bearden and Bearden Company for StoryBoard 30 and FM 89.3 WYPL.

If you have headphones or a good sound system, we recommend you listen to this episode with the benefits of full, dynamic sound.

Where it all happens. Vincent Astor sits at the organ stage right.

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