Alabama Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society

Wurlitzer Photos

This is the starting point for a behind-the-scenes look at the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ as installed at the Alabama Theatre, Birmingham, Alabama.

The organ is a collection of elements, which can be roughly organized as follows:

Our first stop is to take a look at some of the electronics inside Bertha's console.

The console with the horseshoe raised to expose the stop tabs.

The console with the horseshoe raised to expose the stop tabs. [PhotoCredit: Andy Fox]


Console. [PhotoCredit: Andy Fox]

Computer boards and power supply inside the organ console.

The view inside the console after the back covers are removed, showing the computer interface boards (blue rectangles) and the power supply (large black box at the bottom). The wooden vertical pieces are mechanical connections from the swell pedals to their indicators on the front of the console. You can see the back-side of some stop tabs, which are electro-mechanical switches which control which ranks are playable. [PhotoCredit: Larry Donaldson]

Betha with her new dress.

Bertha wearing her new dress.[PhotoCredit: Andy Fox]

From the console, we have to decide which pipe chamber(s) to tour.

The Solo Chamber is stage left (on the right-side of the auditorium). This is accessed by climbing two flights of stairs from the stage up to one of the dressing rooms, which has a small door which leads into the Solo Chamber .

The String Chamber and the Main Chamber are one above the other at stage right (on the left-side of the auditorium). Up until a few years ago, they were only accessible by getting a ladder and putting it on the stage floor and climbing the ten-feet or so up to the lower part of the vertical steel chamber ladder mounted on the side wall of the stage. Now, however, that steel chamber ladder is accessible through a second-level dressing room access door, allowing a person to step right onto the String Chamber ladder platform.

The String Chamber is the lower of the two chambers. From the ladder platform, you swing open the heavy steel fireproof door and step inside the String Chamber .

The Main Chamber is the upper of the two chambers. From the ladder platform outside the String Chamber, you must climb up the vertical steel chamber ladder, through an opening in the upper platform (watch your head), step from the ladder to the platform, and then swing open the steel fireproof door and step inside the Main Chamber .