Real pipes – the kind that make sounds with air – are being installed in a big chamber by the Hollywood Theatre organ in preparation for a silent film season.
The Columbia River Theatre Organ Society is replacing “sampled” pipes with the real thing, said member Terry Robson.
Sampled pipes produce the sounds of air pipes that have been recorded on very high-end equipment, Robson said. They don’t take up as much space as air pipes nor require as much maintenance.
But they are, in a way, like audio films or digitized sound.
Nevertheless, they can make beautiful music, Robson said. He knows a man who “collects,” in effect, the sampled sounds of Dutch organs he especially admires.
Society members will work on the initial installation of air pipes for the fall schedule of silent films, Robson said, which include It with Clara Bow, Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney, and The Iron Horse, directed by John Ford.
“Our films are all presented as they were originally intended – with live musical accompaniment,” Robson said. A local musician creates and plays an original score for each film, he said.
General admission tickets are $12 and $10 for seniors. The Hollywood Theatre is located at 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
It, from 1927, scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 23, is a romantic comedy about a shop girl who sets her sights on the wealthy department store boss. It turned actress Clara Bow into a major star. The film was presumed lost for many years, but a nitrate copy was found in Prague in the 1960s.
Phantom of the Opera, from 1925, scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 21, is a horror masterpiece directed by Rupert Julian. At the Paris opera, a mysterious phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta, forcing her to give up her role as Marguerite in Faust for the unknown Christine Daae.
The Iron Horse, from 1924, scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 25, is a Western set in the 1850s when a father and son seek a shorter passage for the Overland Route. They discover a shorter route but encounter a murderous man with missing fingers. The film presents an idealized image of the construction of the first transcontinental railroad.