Organist Directory :- Theatre

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Henry T. Abley b. 24th Mar 1917
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Henry Thomas Abley was born 24th Mar 1917 in Nighton, Radnorshire.
He studied under the local parish organist and at secondary school. Harry passed all Association Board organ examinations with honours, the final with distinction at the age of 15.
He continued his studies at the Trinity College of Music, London, and the London College of Music.
He spent five years as organist at St. Davids parish church, Nighton. He joined ABC in 1938 holding appointments at Regal, Uxbridge; Ritz, Richmond and Commodore, Hammersmith.
Joined the Forces in 1940, served for six years in R.A.S.C & R.A.O.C.. Last nine months of service taken up with army entertainments. Demobbed March 1946.
Rejoined A.B.C on April 1st at the Savoy, Enfield then moving to the Regal Putney
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Arthur Aikman
Arthur Aikman opened the Rex Cinema, Coventry
J.W. Ainsworth
J.W. Ainsworth opened the Capitol Theatre, Scarborough, he played in the Bradford area for many years.
Jenny Allan
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Joyce Alldred
MP3 of Joyce Alldred organist Joyce Alldred
Stockport Town Hall 4/20 Wurlitzer
Joyce Alldred started her musical career in her native town of Hyde in Cheshire, UK, taking piano lessons, from the age of seven. During her teens the pull of the pipe organ saw her taking lessons at the organ of Flowery Field Church.
Joyce's interest in the Theatre Organ was as a result of a visit to the Regal Cinema in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Some years later due to the kindness of George Baker, General Manager of the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester, Joyce had use of the Theatre`s 4/14 Wurlitzer for practice. This eventually led Joyce to taking lessons.
Her Theatre Organ playing started with the ABC Minors Matinees at the Apollo, Ardwick, Manchester, and the Children's Matinees at the Odeon, Sale, Manchester.
Joyce often played at Theatre Organ Club and Cinema Organ Society meetings throughout the country, travelling by train and bus to reach venues as far away as London and the South Coast. Joyce was among the first members to join the C.O.S after its inception in 1952 by her teacher Hubert Selby.
Over the years Joyce Alldred has played many of the fine theatre organ installation in the UK prior to the wreckers ball demolishing the theatres and the organs being sold for scrap or broken down to enlarge other instruments.
Extract:- Joyce Alldred Web site
Sidney Amos 12th Nov 1917 - Feb 1994
Sidney Amos organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Sidney Stephen Amos was born on the 12th Nov 1910 in Ashford, Kent.
Studied piano, organ and theory under
Dr. C. Merrill Dr Charles Henry Merrill
1875 - 1935
. First appointment aged 13. Conducted the Ashford Male Voice Choir at the age of 18.
Church appointments St. Paul’s, Ashford; St. Peter and Paul’s, Headcorn.
Sidneys first theatre organ appointment was at the Capitol, Tonbridge then the Granada, Dover. After five years he left Dover and went to the Majestic, Reigate.
Joined Gaumont British in August 1945, playing at Plymouth and Chadwell Heath leaving Gaumont in April 1946 to go freelance.
Sidney Amos died February 1994.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
John Armitage
John Armitage opened the Luxor Picture Theatre, Twickenham
Albert E. Askew
Albert E. Askew opened the Rialto Cinema Bebington.
Cecil Atkinson 11th Apr 1910 - Jul 1967
Cecil G. E. Atkinson was born 11th April 1910.
Trained under Cannon Cully, M.A. and
Dr. M.P. ConwayDr Marmaduke P. Conway
1885 - 1961
F.R.C.O., A.R.C.M.
Studied at the Royal College of Music.
organist at Chichester Cathedral & Ely Cathedral
at Ely Cathedral
Joined Gaumont British in Scotland in 1932, transferring to London in 1935.
On th 15th April 1935 he opened the Majestic Rochester'
Left to go to the Regal, Cambridge in 1937.
Served in the Beds and Herts regiment 1940-1944.
Returned to play at the Regal Cambridge after being demobilised.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Martin Atterbury Facebook link logo
Burton's Wurlitzer Organ 2010 Playing the Wurlitzer Organ at the Town Hall, Burton upon Trent, at the Burton Beer and Food Festival Sep 17th 2010

Burton's Wurlitzer Organ 2009 Playing the Wurlitzer Organ at the Town Hall, Burton upon Trent, at the Burton Beer Festival 2009

I do like to be beside the seaside Playing the Wurlitzer Organ at the Town Hall, Burton upon Trent, at the Burton Beer Festival 2013

There always be an England Playing the Wurlitzer Organ at the Town Hall, Burton upon Trent, at the Burton Beer Festival 2013
Organist Martin Atterbury
Image from Martins FaceBook Page
Martin Atterbury profile will be updated when information becomes public.
Harry Austin
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Stephen Austin OrganFax link logo
My Wish For Christmas Played on the Wurlitzer in The Opera House of The Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Lancashire.

Royalty Wurlitzer Organ mini concert on Wurlitzer
Organist Stephen Austin
Image from Stephens COS page
Cinema Organ Society web page link icon
Stephen Austin was born in 1952 in Taplow, Buckinghamshire and spent the next 21 years living around the home counties during which time he studied piano and classical organ in Essex to Grade 8.
On leaving Shenfield High School 6th form, Stephen was offered a position at Hammond Organ UK in Edgware on the recommendation of Ena Baga whom he had come to know through local Hammond Organ Societies, Stephen was appointed as Assistant to Keith Beckingham and George Blackmore at a time when Ena Baga, Bryan Rodwell, Hubert Selby, Len Rawle and Stanley King were regular visitors to the office.
Stephen was then offered a job as demonstrator/salesman/in-house teacher at the famous Cavendish Organ Centre in London's West End. During this period, Stephen was able to spend lunch hours at the New Gallery Wurlitzer and Saturday mornings were "lesson time" with John Stewart at the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn and also continue classical organ studies through the Royal College of Organists although he dare not tell his tutors about his theatre organ activities!
In 1974, Stephen moved up to Blackpool to go into partnership with organist and photography expert John Nunns and together they opened "Camera & Organ Centre" selling a wide range of photographic equipment together with electronic organs and keyboards and also famously stocking a vast range of theatre organ LP records - much visited by theatre organ enthusiasts when in Blackpool.
Stephen is also quite busy on the concert scene and has appeared at various theatre organ venues including The Paramount Studios (Bolton), The Cannock Wurlitzer, The LTOT Heritage Centre at Peel Green, Stockport Town Hall, Ossett Town Hall, The Rex at Elland, Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Gosport, Blackpool's Opera House, Saltaire, Harworth, The Royalty at Bowness as well as a host of electronic organ societies.
Extract:- COS Web page
Celeste Baga 28th Nov 1889 - 1st Aug 1962
Sister to Ena Baga and Florence De-Jong
Married to Alex Wilhelm Coenen Sep 1919 in Rochford, Essex. The Coenen's were all musicians as well, from Holland.
1946 Playing Independently.
September 1950 resident at the Odeon Cinema, Southend on Sea
Played the The Kingsway Compton in 1960.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World & Family history
Ena Baga 5th Jan 1906 – 15th Jul 2004
Granada Harrow Wurlitzer
Remembering the Silents

Florence deJong and Ena Baga play the Warsaw Concerto
an Essex Organ Museum production
Florence deJong and Ena Baga play the Cornish Rhapsody
an Essex Organ Museum production
Organist Ena Baga


Ena Rosina Baga was born in Clerkenwell London on January 5th 1906, her father, Constantine, was Italian and her mother, Charlotte, was Irish. Her father conducted a cinema orchestra at the Angel, Islington.
The family moved to Southend on Sea for the good of Ena's health.
Aged 12 she became the organist at the Roman Catholic church.
Ena Baga had three sisters, all musical - two of them, Florence (De Jong) and Celeste, became cinema organists, the fourth sister, Beatrice, played violin and saxophone.
When the sisters played together they formed an ensemble called Bagatrix.
Enas first cinema appointment was as assistant to her sister Florence De-Jong at the New Gallery Kinema, Regent Street. She went on to be soloist at the Tivoli, Strand where she remained for many years.
Ena has the distinction of being the only lady organist to be invited to play for King George V at Balmoral Castle.
Between 1925 and 1928 Ena played for silent movies, with the 'talkies' not requiring an organist Ena Baga changed direction to entertainer.
From 1940 to 1945 Ena Baga replaced Reginald Dixon at the Tower Ballroom while he completed his 'National Service'.
With many cinemas, including their organs, destroyed during the war and 'Talkies' taking over Ena changed direction again and embraced the new electronic 'Hammond' organ. Changing her repertoire to match the modern technology.
Ena Baga Married Elliot Turnbull in 1929 and Thomas J Hamilton Brown in 1936.
Ena Baga died 15th July 2004.
Extract:- various
Ray Baines 20th Apr 1920

Image from Theatre Organ World

Ray Baines was born 20th April 1920. When he left school he took up accounting but decided he preferred music and at the age of 16 was accompanying Kitty Masters.
Ray studied with Sydney Torch and started playing theatre organ at Union Cinemas. From there he went to the Savoy, Dublin then to the Capitol, Wembley.
Ray completed another tour with Kitty Masters before returning to the theatre organ with Granada Theatres. After five years at Granada he joined Gaumont British.
Recorded for Regal, Zonophone & Columbia. Started regular radio broadcasts in July 1941, did first broadcasts from Granadas Walthamstow & Kingston
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Don Baker
Audio download
Stumbling
Audio download
I Love a Parade-Two Guitars-Liza
Don Baker organist
Paramount Studio, New York City Wurlitzer 4/21
Study note

Discography
Don Baker was born in 1903 at St Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
He played the Rivoli and Rialto, New York, then the Brooklyn Paramount & Staten Island Paramount.
Don Baker toured England's Granada circuit in 1933, opening Empire Theatre Edmonton.  He recorded at the Granada, Tooting.  
He was staff organist at Paramount New York 1935 onwards.
Later was a demonstrator for Conn organs, and played at several pizza parlours in the 1960s and 1970s.
Charlie Balogh
Patriotic Americana - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
The Entertainer - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Puttin on the Ritz - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Phantom of the Opera - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Charlie Balogh organist
Image from Charlies ATOS page
Charlie Balogh is originally from Trenton, New Jersey. His interest in music began at age 11, at which time he started organ instruction. He studied with various teachers and eventually attended Trenton State College where he immersed himself in classical studies with Albert Ludecke. For a short time, he studied with Lee Erwin in New York.
Charlie worked as a staff organist at Organ Stop Pizza in Phoenix, Arizona from 1973 until 1976. In 1977 he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to become organist at the Roaring 20's restaurant. In 1986 Charlie and his family purchased the business, which was renamed Good Time Charley's.
He had his own radio program on WGHN in Grand Haven, Michigan. After 14 years at the console of the Wurlitzer, he decided to close the restaurant in September 1991. After closing Good Time Charley's, Balogh decided to move back to Arizona to play for Organ Stop Pizza, this time in Mesa, at their magnificent new restaurant which features one of the largest Wurlitzer theatre organs in the world. In addition to his schedule at the restaurant, he maintains an active concert schedule throughout the country and abroad. For eight years he was a featured artist at the Century II Civic Center in Wichita, playing the former NY Paramount Wurlitzer with the Wichita State University Jazz Band as part of the Wichita River Festival.
Extract:- Charlie Balogh ATOS page
Gordon Banner b. 5th Sep 1911
Gordon Banner was born 5th September 1911. He began to play the organ at the age of fourteen, receiving tuition from his uncle, the late Alfred Banner , who was organist and choirmaster of the parish church of Tipton, Staffs.
It was Reginald Dixon who introduced him to the cinema organ in 1929, and in 1930 he went to America and made the acquaintance of Jesse Crawford. He appeared as guest organist at various cinemas in the U.S.A.
In this country he has held appointments at the Ritz Oxford, the Commodore Hammersmith, and the Odeon Manchester.
Extract:- Radio Times BBC Home Service 17 December 1940
Clarence Barber 7th Sep 1903 - 25th Mar 1988
Clarence Barber organist
Image from private collection. Believe taken at New Victoria, Bradford, July 1939
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
(Herbert) Clarence Barber was born 7th September 1903 in Bardsley, Lancashire.
Was resident organist of the New Victoria, Bradford, for several years. He broadcast on the BBC Home Service from there.
Clarence had many active interests in the city. He founded the Midday concerts at the Bradford Technical College in 1939, and gave many a pianoforte recital there. He also gave recitals to the Bradford Music Circle, of which he was secretary.
He was a member of the Bradford City Police, whose musical talents were well known in Yorkshire.
His signature tune was 'On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at'
Clarence Barber died 25th March 1988 in Worcester, Worcestershire,
Extract:- Radio Times
Eric Barlow
Conn Theatre Organ
Wurlitzer Organ
Conn Theater Organ
Eric Barlow organist
Image from the Eric Barlow web site
Eric Barlow was born in 1929. Music has been in Eric's blood since appearing in his first engagement at the age of 12 wearing short trousers! Eric's long and extensive career in music has taken him from having his own dance band to holding many organist positions in the North West of England. Eric's long career is too extensive to fully list here,
Highlights of his career include a 40 year residency of playing for dancing on several nights per week at St Peter's RC Social Club in Hazel Grove, Stockport, finishing in 2005. A 20+ year residency as organist of Stockport Town Hall, where as well as dancing, he played for Mayoral Making and other civic functions as and when required.
In 1976, Eric made a strict tempo dance recording using the superb Wurlitzer Organ of the Gaumont Theatre in Manchester. This record, became the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust's top selling recording, a fact that is still true to this day. 'Ballroom Favourites' is now considered a major work of reference for ballroom dancers everywhere, and has been reviewed in America and Australia. Due to its enormous popularity, Ballroom Favourites was re-issued on CD in the mid 1990's. After he had personally initially sold over 1000 copies, Eric was awarded a special engraved tankard by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust. Since making Ballroom Favourites, he has made other recordings and has been featured on radio and television. Eric is one of the very few professional ballroom organists who can play for dancing without the aid of a metronome (time keeping device) as he did with Ballroom Favourites.
Extract:- Eric Barlow Web site
John Barnett Facebook link icon
Wurlitzer Organ Blackpool Tower
Hammond Organ Medley audio only
Pipe Organ Medley audio only
Organist John Barnett
John Barnett comes from Willenhall, near Walsall in the West Midlands.
During a visit to Blackpool Tower at the age of eleven, John became interested in and enthusiastic about organ music and was given tuition by a local organist. He was a church organist at the age of thirteen and also at this time played on occasions at the Majestic Cinema, Cradley Heath on its Christie Pipe organ.
In 1989 John became one of the resident organists at the Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, playing an electronic organ alongside the Wurlitzer for the popular Saturday Party Nights.
Arthur Barraclough 24th Jan 1908 - 1979
Arthur Barraclough organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Arthur Barraclough was born on 24th January 1908
Arthur studied music under Alfred Robinson while attending King's School, Chester.
At the age of 21 he gained his first cinema appointment, as assistant to Felton Rapley at the Coliseum, Burslem, then at the Super Cinema Oxford ( a Spurden Rutt) and the Pavilion, Reading
In 1933 joined ABC, in 1946 playing at the Savoy, Saltergate.
While serving in the R.A.F. in India broadcast several times on the All-India Radio. He also did a considerable amount of camp concert work.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Stuart Barrie 26th Oct 1898
The Virtual Radiogram website has two recording of Stuart, click here for more information
Another clip can be found at Stories of London
Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
Granada Tooting
Wurlitzer
Stuart Barrie organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Eugene Stuart Barrie was born 26th October 1898 in Louisberg, Nova Scotia, Canada.
He was educated in Paris, Berlin, London, Kassel and Leipzig. Honour student at Beyor-Royal Conservatory. Doctor of music, Bachelor of Science in Musicology.
Spent seven years as organist with Paramount Publix Theatre Corp., U.S.A. Five years as chief organist for Warner Bros, Vitaphone Corp. Theatre, U.S.A. opening the Mastbaum Theatre, Philadelphia then seven years with the B.B.C.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Matthew Bason Twitter logo Likedin logo
Medley on 3/13 Wurlitzer
Organist Matthew Bason 1999

StarNow logo
Matthew Bason began his performing career in 1994, working at a range of venues as a pianist and organist
Matthew graduated with a B.A.(Ed) Honours degree in Music and Education in 2002.
From 1994 to 2004 he was Resident Pianist at Sopwell House, St. Albans, where he played as a solo jazz pianist and accompanied other instrumentalist and singers.
From 2000 to 2003 he was Resident Musician at Ashorne Hall, Warwick, where he played the Compton and Wurlitzer Theatre Organs, Piano and Yamaha HX-1, as part of the "Mighty Cinema Organ Show" for the "Nickelodeon Collection" tours, and for their highly-popular "Variety Shows" and "Musical Tea-Parties".This residency was cut short by the sudden death of the owner, Graham Whitehead,
In 2005, Matthew began to produce concerts known as "One-Man Musical Variety Shows".These shows feature Roland AT350c Organ, Yamaha P105 Piano, Weiltmeister Accordion and Vocals.
In May 2014, Matthew became a concert artiste and demonstrator for Allen Organs U.K.
Extract:- Matthew Basons Web site
Foley Bates 26th Jul 1927 - 22nd Oct 2012
Back at the Odeon, Birmingham
Warsaw ConcertoFoley Bates (organ) and Stan Smith (piano) play Warsaw Concerto

Selection Foley Bates plays a selection during a concert at Arthur Russell's Studio in Malvern.

The Robin's ReturnFoley Bates (organ) and Stan Smith (piano) play The Robin's Return by Leander Fisher

A Neapolitan Serenade Foley Bates (organ) and Stan Smith (piano) play 'A Neapolitan Serenade' by Gerard Winkler

Parade of theTin Soldiers Foley Bates (organ) and Stan Smith (piano) play Parade of The Tin Soldiers by Leon Jessel

Dance of the Three Old Maids Foley Bates (organ) and Stan Smith (piano) play 'Dance of The Three Old Maids' by Reginald Porter-Brown
Foley Lancelot Bates was the last of the pre WWII Midlands cinema organists. His last resident post was in the '60s at the Odeon in Birmingham playing the Compton there. His signature tune was 'I'll see you in my dreams'.
He was born 26th Jul 1927.
His signature tune was 'I'll see you in my dreams'
Along with Frederick Warrender opened the Rialto Cinema, Hall Green.
Foley Bates died 22nd October 2012
Jack Bath 2nd Dec 1901 -
Jack Bath organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Jack Bath was born 2nd December 1901, he studied organ under George Guest at St. Pauls Bournemouth.
Between 1921 & 1935 served in silent picture orchestras.
In 1935 he joined Gaumont British as organist, staying there until he was called up to join the R.A.F. in 1940.
On being demobbed joined A.B.C. at the Regal Cinema Torquay.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Miss G. Baxter
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Frederic Bayco 22nd Aug 1913 - Mar 1970
Humoresque' & 'Ay-Ay-Ay' - Silent film accompaniment
Frederic Bayco organist
Image Origin YouTube - Lady Beautiful

BBC Logo

Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Frederic Bayco was born in 1913 in London.
He attended Brighton School of Music, where he was a pupil of R. H. Timberley and
Dr Eric H. Thimanhe Dr Eric H. Thiman
1900 - 1975
Studied at Caterham School; the Guildhall School of Music, London & Royal Academy of Music
. Attained an ARCO. He was later made a fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO)
Best known for his Tudor pastiche 'Elizabethan Masque' other pieces include 'Lady Beautiful, and his marches 'Royal Windsor' and 'Marche Militaire'.
He opened cinemas for Gaumont Exeter, Wolverhampton, Lewisham, Finchley & Wood Green; Empire Palace Theatre, Cardiff
Frederic Bayco died in 1970 in London.
Extract:- Frederic Bayco Wikipedia page
Ronald Baugh
Ronald Baugh organist
Christie 2/6 - Theatre Royal, Preston 1949
Ronald Baugh began his love affair with music as a 10-year-old Horwich schoolboy with piano lessons. By 13 he was the school pianist at Horwich Junior Technical College.
He was introduced to the organ at Horwich Independent Methodist Church, and quickly progressed to playing Handel's Messiah from cover to cover.
After school he signed on as an apprentice at Horwich Loco Works. But the lure of the bright lights of show business proved too much for trainee engineer - especially after a visit to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
Ron recalls: "I was hooked on the idea of becoming a theatre organist because the job looked so glamorous - you could wear a white tuxedo jacket, rise up from the depths in a blaze of spotlights for around three 15-minute periods a day, and people actually asked for your autograph.
"You have to remember that back in the 40s and 50s organists were the pop stars of the day."
But like most so-called 'glamorous' jobs, reality turned out to be rather different. It was hard work, although well-rewarded. As an apprentice he was picking up £6 a week but would earn £11 as an organist.
After being coached in the art of the cinema organ by Reginald Liversidge at the Lido Cinema in Bolton, Ron set about forging a career. Following a lengthy spell with ABC Cinemas in Preston and Barrow-in-Furness, Ron became resident organist at the Odeon, Manchester before moving to the Navada, where he remained for 30 years. Extract:- Bolton News
Extract:- Bolton News Web site
Howard Beaumont
The Grasshoppers Dance
Royalty Cinema
Organis Howard Beaumont
courtesy of World of Music

ATOS logo
CDlogo
Howard Beaumont was born in Halifax, Yorkshire.At the age of seven he commenced with piano tuition, later graduating to the organ.
Howard learnt the art of demonstrating organs during the late 60’s from the late Jerry Allan, Bill Skidmore and Harold Smart.
Having turned professional he toured the country in Cabaret.
Howard later entertained passengers aboard Luxury Cruise Liners in the U.S.A. and, whilst in America, he discovered the mighty Wurlitzer theatre Organ at Radio City Music Hall.
On his return to this country Howard started playing these great organs in various locations around the country, including the famous Wurlitzer Organ at Blackpool Tower.
As well as a full Concert diary Howard is frequently engaged by various electronic organ manufacturers to give promotional demonstrations.
1989 proved to be an important year for Howard as he was appointed resident organist at the Scarborough Spa Park complex where, each summer season, he entertains countless holiday makers in the Sun court.
Howard is regularly featured on the popular BBC Radio 2 programme ‘The Organist Entertains’ and has made over 25 recordings.
Extract:- Web site
Dudley Beaven


Soundcloud Icon
Dudley Beaven organist
Origin:- Stories of London Web site
Dudley Beaven began his career as a chorister in Westminster Abbey, and leaving there he studied piano and organ at the Royal College of Music. One of his earlier appointments was as resident organist at the New Victoria Theatre.
He broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ as a soloist, with ' Band Waggon', and with the Granada Three.
Dudley gave the very first broadcast of Music While You Workon 23rd. June 1940
Extract:- BBC Genome page
John Bee
John Bee organist

Page pic = 4-9 Compton at the Odeon, Birmingham. c. 1980.
This pic = Compton at the Paramount Studio, Bolton
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
James Bell
Broadcasting from the Carlton Kinema, Liverpool in 1933. Made numerous broadcasts on the Light Program, Home Program and Forces radio up to 1947. In 1937 opened the Odeon, Leicester Square 1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Leon Berry 1914 - 27th Aug 1996
2 part. LP recording-The Beast

Leon Berry

Leon C. Berry was born in Alabama in 1914.
He learnt to play the organ while still very young. While a student he took a job at the Hammond Organ factory. A Hammond salesman had sold an organ to a roller rink on the basis he would get someone to play it, Leon auditioned and was given the job.
Leon went on to play pipe organs at a number of Roller Rinks, most notably playing the theatre organ at The Hub roller rink where he resided from 1950 to 1967. His reputation earning him the title Dean of Roller Rink Rock.
Leon Berry was a name familiar to those enjoying the new stereo LPs, Leon released many records that were very popular at the time. The tone of the theatre organ suiting the new recording medium.
In 1953 Leon released his most popular recording, 'Misirlou' it reached No. 6 in the Billboard magazine charts.
Leon installed a theatre organ in the basement of his home, he called it 'The Lion'. All subsequent recordings were made on this instrument.
Extract:- Various sources
Harold Betts
Harold Betts opened the Granada, Bedford.
1934 - 36 played the Rialto, Leytonstone.
Extract:- Wizard Compton

William Birchall
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Frank Bird
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Cyril Birmingham
In 1929 Cyril Birmingham opened the Elite Picture Theatre, Nottingham. 1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
F. Bishop
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
George Blackmore Link to Hammond page icon Died 24th Feb 1994
Russian Medley
The Music of Harry Warren
Butterflies in the Rain

Organist George Blackmore
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
George Blackmore was born in 1921 in Rochester, Kent. He commenced his musical studies as a chorister, attending the Cathedral Choir School.At the age of 12 he became the youngest ever to win the organ scholarship at King's School, Rochester. George developed an interest in the theatre organ and after playing the Compton at the Palace, Chatham he began occasional deputy work at the Compton in the Majestic, Rochester where he finally became organist in 1939 and made his first broadcast in 1941.
In 1946 he took up the post of organist at the Gaumont, Birmingham.However, the Rank Organisation who now ran Gaumont and Odeon theatres began to make cuts in the numbers of circuit organists and in February 1950 George found himself out of a job. George spent seven years in Aberdeen as organist at the Astoria and the Capitol, broadcasting frequently and also acting as Musical Director for Donalds' other live entertainmentsHe also held the post of organist at St John's Episcopal Church.
Finally in 1957, concerned at the general downturn in cinema-going, George left to become editor and arranger at Bosworth's.
Soon he returned to full-time organ playing, initially as demonstrator for manufacturers of electronic instruments and then as one of Britains' foremost freelance performers on both pipes and electronics, his concert tours taking him to the USA and Australia
His death in 1994 robbed the organ world of one of its most popular and talented figures.
Extract:- Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust OrganFax page.
Ray Bohr 2nd Nov 1919 - 15th May 1987
Interview about RCMH and the organ(audio)

Ray Bohr
Image from Theatre Organ World

Ray Bohr was born in Nyack, New York on 2nd November 1919.
He started playing piano at six but he really wanted to play the organ.
By the age of 14 Ray was working for a local organ builder.
Ray took classical organ lessons at St. Johns church, Greenwich village and Wulitzer lessons at the Rockland Theatre Nyack.
Ray served in the Army Signal Corp during WWII.
after the war he worked for the Wurlitzer company as a demonstrator.
Ray Bohr released two albums under the name of Van Talbent.
Ray Bohr went on to be the Radio City organist.
Extract:- Organ Celebrities slide show
Al Bollington

Sound cloud icon
Al Bollington organist
Image from Theatre Organ World

When Al Bollington was only ten years old he was playing the organ in the chapel of his home village, South Normanton, in Derbyshire. A very few years later he got a post as pianist in a local cinema, and was at the same time helping his parents to run a sweet shop, and teaching children to play the piano. In 1924 he started playing in the orchestras of luxury steamships.
He began to study the organ when in America at a time when cinema organs in that country were just becoming the rage. Returning to England Bollington got an appointment with Spiero's orchestra at the Tower, Blackpool, and he later obtained his first solo organist appointment at the Streatham Astoria. He was there for five years, spent two years at the Plaza, Piccadilly Circus, and succeeded Reginald Foort at the Paramount, Tottenham Court Road. In 1937 he opened the Paramount cinema Birmingham He has given a number of broadcasts on the Paramount organ as well as transmissions from the BBC Theatre Organ.
Extract:- BBC Genome Web site
Trevor Bolshaw
Organist Trevor Bolshaw Cinema Organ Society link logo
Trevor Bolshaw is a native of Walsall in the West Midlands. He began studying music at the age of 9 with the well-known Midlands broadcasting organist Leslie Taff.
He displayed a great interest in and aptitude for the theatre organ which he took up at the Regal Cinema, Darlaston, and was playing interludes in the theatre at the age of 16. This was soon to be followed by his first broadcast. From this he progressed to performances in such famous theatres as the Odeons at Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester and, during the same period, taking up cabaret accompaniment and work in theatre orchestras.
Extract:- Trevor Bolshaw COS page
Reginald Bolton 16th Oct 1907 -
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Reginald Albert Bolton was born 16th October 1907.
He studied organ under Charles Hylton-Stewart at Rochester Cathedral. He held church organ appointments in London until 1936.
Reginald the joined Gaumont British as a relief organist the resident at the Regal, Leamington Spa. I(n 1938 joined A.B.C. as resident at the Regal, Handsworth.
Served in H.M. Forces until 1946 then returned to the organ as resident at the Pavilion Cinema, Stirchley, Birmingham
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Edwin Bosworth 29th Dec 1908
Edwin Bosworth organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Edwin Bosworth was born 29th December 1908
Spent ten years playing for Gaumont British as solo organist. Moved to Palace Theatre, Long Eaton as M.D. and organist.
Edwin also played at Scala Theatre, Long Eaton; Regent, Bristol, Coliseum, Burslem; Savoy, Leyton; Super Cinema, Stratford & Lonsdale, Carlisle.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Kennedy Bott

During the German occupation of the Channel Islands W. Kennedy Bott was organist at the Regal Cinema. Along with the cinema manager they had an illegal all-mains (wireless) set concealed in the console of the Compton organ. Twice daily, when the organ came up to be played, the forbidden set was on full display in front of about 700 Germans, and not one of them saw it.
Extract:- The Changing Face of the Channel Islands Occupation

1946 Playing the Lou Morris Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
John Bowdler
The Tower Ballroom19th March 2013
The Tower Ballroom 14th March 2014
The Brighouse Wurlitzer
Favourite Foxtrots Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer
Organist John Bowdler
Born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire, Blackpool Tower organist John Bowdler has been playing the organ since the age of 8.
He has been one of the team of resident organists at the famous Tower Ballroom since 1987, a position he took up at the age of 16 straight from school.
In addition to his commitments at The Tower, John also travels the length and breadth of the country undertaking concerts for organ societies and social groups as well as playing for dance events. He also makes several appearances at organ festivals across the UK.
Extract:- John Bowdler Web site
Josephine Bradley 24th Mar 1893 – 16th Feb 1985
Jive Dance (1943)

A few of Josephines orchestral recordings
Where or when
Charmaine
With a Song in my Heart
It's A Pity To Say Goodnight.
Josephine Bradley organist
Josephine Bradley MBE was born on the 4th March 1893 in Dublin.
She was better known as a dancer, dance teacher and ballroom orchestra leader, competing with Victor Silvestor both on the dance floor and on the orchestral podium.
On the 15th September 1930 along with Charles Willis she opened the Granada, Walthamstow.
Josephine Bradley died 16th February 1985.
Jasper Brentnall 1905 - 1968
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Ronald Brickell 4th Sep 1902
Ronald Brickell organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Ronald Brickell was born 4th September 1902 in Bournemouth.
He studied organ and pianoforte under Enos J. Watkins.
Ronald started his musical career as a orchestral and dance pianist in 1922. Went on to be pianist at W.H. Smiths Restaurant in Bournemouth for twelve years.
He performed with his own band at leading hotels and country functions. Performed before Queen Mary.
In 1935 studied theatre organ under Terence Casey. Went on to be assistant to Frederick Baycoat the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road. In 1937 became solo organist for Gaumont, Haymarket; and played every Gaumont British organ in the West End.
In 1940 was appointed to Regent Theatre, Bournemouth. He created the popular Western Home Service program 'Melody For Late Evening'
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Frederick Bridgman 11th Jun 1896 -
Frederick John Bridgman was born 11th June 1896 in Reading. Was admitted as a choristor to Westminster Abbey staying until 1911. Last official duty taking part in the coronation service of George V.
Scholarship Trinity College of Music. In 1915 was appointed as private organist to Evelyn, Countess of Craven, at Ashdown Park, Shrivenham.
Joined up for military service in France with the Military Transport section.
On being demobbed in 1919 returned to Ashdown Park. Saw a girl he wanted to marry so moved to Manchester, playing a Mustel harmonium.
In 1921 joined Rhodes Pictures Ltd, Manchester staying for six years. In 1927 moved to Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.
In 1932 was engaged to open Savoy Cinema, Cork, staying for 13 years. He then moved to the Gaumont, Lewisham.
Did a number of broadcasts on Radio Eireann.
Died March 1985 in Gravesend, Kent
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Albert Brierly
Albert Brierly organist
Image:- Albert Brierly at the Console of The Compton Theatre Organ of the Apollo Cinema Ardwick Green
Broadcast Extract:- BBC Radio 2, 7th January 1971
from The Odeon, Manchester.
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Noel Briggs 9th Jan 1920 - Q4 1983
Noel Briggs organist
Noel Briggs was born on the 9th January 1920.
He received classical organ training with Mr. F. Keal. He made his first theatre appearance at the age of 17 during a series of concerts at the Queens Hall, Grimsby.
Noel Joined A.B.C. when he was 20 and went on to hold resident positions at Ritz, Scunthorpe; Savoy, Lincoln; Savoy, Leicester; Ritz, Cleethorpes and Regal, Grimsby.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Norman Briggs 17th Nov 1909 - 1973
Norman Briggs organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Norman Briggs was born 17th November 1909 in Bradford, Yorkshire
Norman started piano lesson aged seven taking up organ while working for an organ builder when he was fourteen.
Started his professional music career as an orchestral pianist in various local cinemas. At eighteen was appointed pianist and assistant organist at St. Georges Hall, Bradford. In 1934 he was appointed assistant organist and stage pianist with Sidney Phasey and his orchestra at the New Victoria, Bradford.
Other cinema appointments included Regent Theatre, Hanley; Theatre Royal, Halifax; Gaumont Cinemas in Derby, Sheffield & Norwich and New Victoria & Ritz, Bradford.
He also gave numerous broadcasts on the BBC organ.
Norman Briggs died in 1973 in Bradford, Yorkshire.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Harrold Britton
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Ernest Broadbent 1910 - 19th Jan 1994
For You
Just For You (selection)
Ernest Broadbent

Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Ernest Broadbent was born 22nd of December 1910 in Oldham England.
Ernest married Dorothy Pickard in 1934.
From 1948 to 1952 he was accompanist to Joseph Locke.
In 1952 Ernest joined the Blackpool Tower Company, playing Hammond organ with an orchestra in the Pavilion Theatre and solo in the Tower Lounge.
In 1966 he became resident on the Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer and also played the Opera House and Tower Ballroom Wurlitzers.
In 1970 Earnest Broadbent took over as resident organist at the Tower Ballroom until ill health forced him to retire in 1977.
Earnest Broadbent died 19th January 1994
Extract:- Various)
Norman Brooks 22nd Apr 1913
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Norman Brooks was born 22nd April 1913. Musical training at Associated Royal College.
Started his organ career at the Baptist Church, Sittingbourne, in 1931.
Conscripted in 1940. N.C.O. in charge of the Unit Orchestra and Corps of Drums. Toured South West England and Northern Ireland.
On Demobilisation took a position at Tonic Cinema Co. Down.
Also played the dance hall circuit.
Extract:- Various
Charles Brown
St Peter's Anglican Church - Conn Theatre Organ
Wurlitzer Organ Stockport Town Hall
St Peter's Anglican Church- Conn Theatre Organ
Charles Brown organist
Like many organ enthusiasts, as a young man, Charles Brown became captivated by the broadcasts of the legendary Blackpool Tower Organist Reginald Dixon. Although music hasn't been his full time profession, Charles's musical career has nevertheless been an extensive one. From his time playing the Compton Organ of the Davenport Theatre in Stockport, to his long residency in command of the Stockport Town Hall Wurlitzer Organ, Charles's musical experience is both varied and interesting.
In the 1980's Stockport was unique in having two Compton Theatre Organs in their original homes and playable. Charles would feature the Compton Organ of the former Plaza Cinema, then a bingo hall on a Saturday evening, and then travel up the road to the Davenport Theatre and play for the film shows. Playing the organ at the Davenport gave Charles rare experience of playing an original cinema organ in a venue that was little changed from when it was opened in the 1930's.
In the late 1990's Charles was introduced to Eric Barlow, then resident organist of Stockport Town Hall. Charles is appreciative of the guidance he has received from Eric, in regard to the special technique required for strict tempo playing. As Eric had indicated his desire to retire from the Town Hall, Charles began to share the alternate Monday night dances with Eric, eventually taking over as resident organist upon Eric's retirement in 2000. With 15+ years of playing the Stockport Town Hall Wurlitzer Organ twice a month, Charles has notched up well in excess of 300 appearances at this organ.
Extract:- Charles Brown Web site
Jackie Brown
'Jackie Brown played every instrument under the sun, including the clarinet, the trumpet and piano accordion. Although he was maybe better known as an organist,
I loved to hear his piano playing' Quote from Amanda Brown, Jackies daughter

1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Max Bruce
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Max Bruce opened the New Imperial Cinema, Canning Town in 1939.
He was resident at Regent Picture House, Portsmouth
Kevin Buckley
Chopsticks. played on the Regent Theatre Bournemouth Wultitzer
Kevin Buckley was organist at the Regent, Bournemouth and Picture House, Glasgow.
In 1934 he opened the Forum Cinema, Northenden.
Frank Burrows 1912 - 17th Jul 2010
Frank Burrows organist

Images from Family history
For 22 years, from 1970 onwards, Frank Burrows was the resident organist at Scunthorpe's Woodland Crematorium.
But he was best known to thousands of young cinema-goers as Uncle Frank - from his days as the resident organist at the town's former ABC and Ritz cinema on Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe.
During the Second World War Frank served with the RAF in the Middle East. On being de-mobbed in 1945, he took the job as the resident organist at the cinema.
In the 1950s he became the star of the Saturday morning ABC Minors' Club when thousands of children paid two-and-half-pence to join in a sing-a-long and watch cartoons and serials.
On one occasion he was made the VIP guest at a reunion of former Minors.
But for more than 40 years he played at weddings and parties in North Lincolnshire and he was the resident organist at many local clubs and pubs.
His music brought pleasure to thousands of local people. He continued working as a piano tuner until he was almost 90 years old.
Frank Burrows was regarded as one of the top piano tuners in the country. At one time he was called in by staff at Blackpool Tower to tune the piano played by Reginald Dixon.
Mr Burrows passed away at Scunthorpe General Hospital on Saturday 17th Jul 2010
Extract:- Frank Burrows obituary

1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Cyril Busfield 6th Oct 1897 - Dec 1977
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
John Cyril Busfield was born 6th October 1897 in Calverley, Yorkshire.
Studied piano and organ under Norman Strafford at the Grove School, Apperley Bridge, Yorkshire.
His first organ appointment was playing in church performances aged 15. He was organist and choirmaster at Bradford Church until he was called up for military service.
He served with the West Yorkshire Regiment, played clarinet and acted as concert party pianist while in Cologne.
His first cinema appointment was on a two manual harmonium accompanying silent films with an orchestra, often acting as conductor.
On introduction of the talkies returned to playing the organ, and went on to play all types of organ including the Hammond.
Played to Royalty at the Dome Brighton, then went on to play at Gaumont, Chelsea.
He also played the Astoria Theatre, Brighton.
Died December 1977 in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay & other sources
Jerry Caranagh
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Sydney Carmen
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Gaylord Carter 3rd Aug 1905 – 20th Nov 2000
Silent Movie Organist
on TV 1989
TV 1989, 2nd Show
Final Performance
San Gabriel Civic Wurlitzer
I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Organist Gaylord Carter

Gaylord Beach Carter was born August 3rd, 1905 in Wiesbaden, Germany. His father was a church organist and taught music, while his mother taught voice. His family emigrated to the United States, settling in Wichita, Kansas, where his father opened a conservatory of music and also served as a church organist.
Young Gaylord displayed the family talent for music and became a soloist in a church choir. He also played the organ in another church from the age of ten. As the "Jazz Age" evolved, Gaylord found himself drawn to the new musical form and dared to try jazz on the church organ.By the time he was fourteen Gaylord was playing at a local movie theatre, accompanying the silent films at children's matinees.
The family remained in Wichita until 1922 when theymoved to Los Angeles, California, where 16-year-old Gaylord was enrolled at Lincoln High School in the Lincoln Heights district. Gaylord found employment at a local theatre accompanying movies on the piano and then, as the theatre prospered, a new Estey organ. After graduating from Lincoln High, he attended UCLA where, by 1926, he was engaged in pre-law studies. He continued playing in theatres to finance his education.
Gaylord Carter was spotted by an agent of the Harold Lloyd Company. Impressed by the description of Carter's playing, Lloyd recommended him to Sid Grauman, who offered the 21-year-old $110 a week to be the full-time organist at his downtown Los Angeles movie palace, the Million Dollar Theatre.
Through the remainder of the 1920s, Carter played at the Million Dollar and other theatres. The introduction of sound films, and then the onset of the depression, led to a declining demand for theatre organists, and by the mid-1930s Carter had launched a career in the booming new medium of radio. He played on several network shows and also had his own local music show on Los Angeles station KHJ. In 1936 Carter became the staff organist for the hugely popular Amos N Andy radio show, a position he maintained until entering the Navy in 1942.
Gaylord spent the war years serving in the Navy as a film officer in Alaska. Following the war he resumed his radio career. He then moved on to television in the 1950s where he was the musical accompanist on the Pinky Lee Show. In 1961-1962 Carter had another local show of his own, "Everybody Sing with Gaylord" on Los Angeles channel 13 KCOP-TV.
In the 1960s Carter helped fuel a revived public interest in silent movies with his production company Flicker Fingers Productions. In the 1970s Carter was hired to provide recorded scores for theatrical re-releases of several Mary Pickford movies. Starting in 1975, Carter began recording Wurlitzer organ scores to classic silent films for Blackhawk Films. In the 1980s, he scored a dozen silent classics for home video release by Paramount Pictures. During the late 1960s he also performed as the organist at Los Angeles Lakers games at the Forum
Gaylord Carter remained active into the 1990s. He made tours of North America, Europe, and Australia, performing on many of the world's surviving theater organs.
Gaylord Carter died peacefully in his home overlooking the Pacific ocean at the age of 95.
Extract:- Gaylord Carter Wikipedia page
Terence Casey
Terence Casey trained at the London Academy of Music, intending to become a conductor of opera.
After some years in church work, he took to cinema organ playing in 1914; went to America after the war, and returned to play at the Regent Theatre, Brighton, where he remained for ten years.
He joined Provincial cinematograph theatres and was organist at the Gaumont Palace, Chelsea.
He broadcast regularly on BBC radio and produced many records.
Extract:- BBC Radio Times 15th January 1937

Opened the Palace Cinema, Chatham; Gaumont Palace, Camden Town; Gaumont, Bromley.
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Cecil Chadwick -d. c. 1970
Cecil Chadwick organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
BBC logo
Cecil Chadwick was born in Middleton, Lancashire.
He studied under Fred Forrest & Dr. G. Wilmot Cooper.
Cecil worked in a cotten mill from the age of 12. Joined the Manchester Regimentin 1914 and served in France, Belgium and Italy until February 1919.
On demobilisation started work as a pianist at the Palace Cinema, Middleton, he played there for eighteen months. Cecil then went to the State Cafe, Manchester.
Cecil left Manchester c.1923 to be musical director at the Palace Cinema, Southport where he stayed for seven years, when talkies started.
Took his first organ appointment at the Plaza Cinema, Stockport in 1932, opening the cinema, He resigned on July 1st to take up a post at the Classic Cinema, Belfast. He started broadcasting from there on 24th July 1933 and by July 1934 had made 100 broadcast.
Cecil resigned in 1936 to join Union Cinemas for a year, he then moved to the Savoy, Leicester and then in 1938 moved to the Paramount, Leeds.
In 1940 he moved to Granada Theatres then on to Gaumont British in November 1944 playing at the New Gallery
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Doreen Chadwick Link to Hammond page icon 7th Aug 1918 - 26th June 2014
Marching Strings Compton Organ at Louth Town Hall
Hammond Selection
Me and My Girl - Compton Organ at Louth Town Hall

Organist Doreen Chadwick
Doreen Chadwick was born 7th August 1918 in Maesycoed, Pontypridd, South Wales.
Doreen started playing the piano aged seven and then organ at sixteen, on one of the earliest organs installed in Wales. The Palladium, Pontypridd.
Studied straight organ and won the organ solo at the Carmarthen Eisteddfod. She also won four gold medals at the Reading Music Festival.
At 17 she did her first broadcast. Her first post was at the Rex, Aberdare. After two years she decided to try her luck in London. She was taken on by Granada Theatres and appointed to the Granada, Tooting Doreen was with Granada for three years before moving to the Savoy, Leicester then the Ritz, Richmond.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Alban Chambers 14th Jun 1902 - 1985
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Henry Alban Chambers was born 14th June 1902 in Leeds.
He studied at St. Michael’s College, Leeds.
From 1913 to 1931 was organist of St. Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds,
on the 23rd September 1935 opened the Theatre Royal, Dublin
Alban Chambers died in 1985
Raymond Charles 16th Jul 1908 - 1987

Image from Theatre Organ World
Raymond Charles was born 16th Jul 1908 at Herne Hill, London.
As a boy he played at All Souls Church, Camberwell, became organist to Camberwell Grammar School two years later.
Raymond studied at Trinity College London and was a pupil of Professor Edward d'Every. Raymond became a senior student and pupil teacher at Trinity College. He held several posts as organist and choir master in South London.
Became a theatre organist in 1926. Held appointments with Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, Paramount, and Associated British Cinemas.
Commenced broadcasting for the BBC in 1930 from the provincial Paramount theatres.
From 1938 to 1941 was resident at Savoy, Northampton.
Joined the R.A.F., formed and toured R.A.F. dance orchestras and camp shows.
After demobilisation in 1946 returned to Associated British Cinemas and became resident at the Savoy, Stoke Newington.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Michael Cheshire
pseudonym for Reginald Foort
pseudonyms were often used by players to allow them to record for other record labels.
Obviously if the contracted record company found out there would be big trouble so no photographs of the player were ever on the record cover.
Some record companies had strict rules that covered what could and could not be recorded by an artiste, if an artiste enjoyed playing a bit of jazz but the contract didn't allow it they could record a jazz album for another record company without the original company knowing. Satisfying there inner creativity and putting a bit more cash in the bank.
Oliphant Chuckerbutty 1884–1960
The Queen's Procession for organ - Hans-André Stamm at the Holdich organ
Paean Fanfare - Michael Gagne at the St. Peter's Lutheran Church
Oliphant Chuckerbutty organist
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Soorjo Alexander William Langobard Oliphant Chuckerbutty (A.K.A. Wilson Oliphant) was born 1884 in the county of Kensington, London.
A composer and an organist of Anglo-Indian descent who played in both cinemas and churches. Little known as a composer (except for his piece "Pæan" which has entered the standard repertoire), Chuckerbutty wrote mainly for organ. He began playing the piano at six, and was composing by 14. His careers in church and cinema occurred simultaneously.
Extract:- Wikipedia page
Robinson Cleaver 25th May 1906 - 23rd July 1987
Pathe logo Mr and Mrs Robinson Cleaver perform a duet
Molly & Robinson Cleaver - Granada, Clapham Junction
Medley - New Studio Organ (Compton) at Abbey Road Studios<
Ravel's BOLERO - New Studio Organ (Compton) at Abbey Road Studios
Knave Of Diamonds
Regal, Bexley Heath - 1938
Sleigh Ride
Regent Cinema Leamington Spa
The Whistler And His Dog
Reagal, Bexley Heath
Robinson Cleaver Web logo
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
H Robinson Cleaver was born Harold Arthur Robinson in Eckington, Derbyshire on May 25th 1906 and by the age of nine he was organist at Bramley Parish Church. He took his first cinema organ position at the Albert Hall in Sheffield and commencing studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music where he gained his ARCO degree at the age of 21.
From Sheffield he moved to the La Scala cinema in Hyde, Greater Manchester, here he met Molly Bailey, who was the pianist, she became Mrs Robinson (Cleaver) in 1930.
It was at the Piccadilly Theatre in Manchester that Robbie first got the idea of adding 'Cleaver' to his name after seeing the large, and then well known, department store 'Robinson and Cleaver' opposite the Piccadilly.
After four and a half years at the Piccadilly, Robbie moved to his first unit organ position on the Christie organ of the Lonsdale Cinema in Carlisle for the Sidney Bacon circuit.
He arrived at Bexleyheath in late 1935 and began broadcasting weekly from January of 1936, cutting two 78rpm discs for the Octacros label before signing a recording contract with Parlophone.
The Regal was subsequently taken over by Union Cinemas, which meant touring the circuit
Robbie joined Granada Theatres in early 1938 and made his first broadcast from Clapham Junction Granada before being chosen to play for the opening of the new theatre at Welling in Kent.
Recording and broadcasting continued at Welling and later at Tooting Granada, after which he recorded the Compton organ at EMI Abbey Road studio, both solo and in combination with other soloists, orchestras and dance bands, most notably with Billy Thorburn's band under the title 'The Organ, The Danceband and Me' as well as session work, often un-named, both for EMI and Decca using their Wurlitzer organ at Hampstead.
Robbie stayed with Granada until the cuts of 1958, he then formed a new music publishing company and produced weekly shows and Sunday concerts at Teignmouth and at the Odeon Llandudno. He then did a ten-year stint playing summer seasons at Bognor Regis and Scarborough with winters at Richmond Sportsdrome.
Opened Regal, Bexleyheath; Ritz Barnsley, & Luton and Granada Welling
H Robinson Cleaver died on July 23rd 1987.
Extract:- The Theatre Organ Club
David Clegg 1867 - 31st Oct 1923
David Clegg organist
Source; Family History Page
David Clegg was born 1867 in Heywood, Lancashire
He designed a Military Band Organ with 9 keyboards in 1913.
He opened the King's Theatre, Sunderland in 1918 playing a Vincent 3 Manual 26 Ranks straight organ
In 1921 he was organist at Blackpool Winter Gardens.
David Clegg died 31st October 1923 in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Rosalind Clynes
Rosalind Clynes organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Rosalind Clynes was born in Dublin.
She studied piano and organ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music under Dr. George Hewson.
Rosalind received her first theatre organ lesson from Sidney Gostard at the Trocadero Cinema, Liverpool. Her first cinema organist appointment was at the Savoy Cinema, Dublin. She had the distinction of being the first lady organist in Ireland.
Her musical career was temporarily halted when she married a doctor. The war intervened and her two boys were evacuated and she was persuaded to return to the theatre organ.
Returning to the Odeon circuit she played every key theatre in London including Leicester Square finally at the New Odion-Astoria Streatham
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Buddy Cole Link to Hammond page icon 15th Dec 1916 – 5th Nov 1964
Buddy Cole

CD link icon
Edwin LeMar Cole, known as Buddy Cole was a jazz pianist and orchestra leader.
Buddy Cole was born in Irving, Illinois, and started his musical career in the theater playing between movies.
He moved to Hollywood and played with a couple of bands, including the Alvino Rey big band, before becoming a studio musician.
He played piano for Bing Crosby and toured with Rosemary Clooney.
Although primarily known as a pianist, he had an abiding love for the organ, both Hammond and theatre organ. He worked extensively with Henry Mancini, who used his distinctive Hammond organ sound for the sound track to the TV series "Mr. Lucky". He also recorded several albums for Warner Brothers records on piano, Hammond organ and theatre pipe organ.
He married Yvonne King, member of the King Sisters, They had two daughters, actress Tina Cole and Cathy Cole Green.
He later married Clare Cole.
Extract:- Edwin LeMar Cole Wikipedia page
Vincent Collier
Vincent Collier opened the Odeon and Gaumont Cinemas, Watford
Don Compton
Don Compton opened the Crescent Cinema, Leatherhead. Playing a Hammond LaFleur organ.
Allan Conwell
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Charles Cooksey b. 1909 -
Charles Cooksey was born in 1909. He studied organ and violin theory at the Guildhall School of Music, became organist at a Sydenham Church and to the Sydenham Choral Society.
His first cinema organist appointment was at the Prince of Wales in Harrow Road, he left after six months and became musical director at the Grand Cinema, Holloway Road.
In 1930 he joined Francis Day & Hunters show at Clacton. At the end of the season he moved to the Old Cornet, Notting Hill, playing a Jones' organ, while there managed to practice on the organ at the Palladium, Shedherds Bush.
His first cinema organ job was with County Cinemas in August 1931, playing at Staines, Wembley, etc. In 1934 he left to work for Granada but left them to work at the Corona, Leigh 0n Sea.
He joined the R.A.F in 1940, accumulating 1800 hours flying with Coastal Command.
On return to civy street joined A.B.C. at the Adelphi, Slough
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Harold Coombs
Harold Coombs organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Harold Coombs was born 1903 in Abbeydale, Sheffield where he began his musical career in his early teens as a 'wonder boy pianist' and became a church organist at the age of 14.
He played at the Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield where for 11 years he had played a 'straight' silent film organ. He then moved to the Capitol cinema, Aberdeen. In his first appointment at a 'modern' theatre organ he immediately realised the importance of absorbing the Scottish idiom, adopting as his signature tune the Scott Skinner air 'The Bonny Lass of Bon Accord'.
The gusto with which he delivered his livelier numbers earned him the affectionate nickname of 'bouncing Harold' among his Capitol colleagues. He gave more than 50 BBC broadcasts from the Capitol.
His farewell performance was on Saturday 27 November 1937 and he then moved to the new ABC Westover Cinema, Bournemouth. From 1939 until 1942 he played at the ABC theatre in Woking and Aldershot, also entertaining at the army camps there as part of the war effort.
Always a popular and well-respected figure, he became Borough Organist of Bournemouth in 1946 and presided at the Bournemouth Pavilion's large dual-purpose Compton until he retired in 1962.
Harold died in 1964
Extract:- Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust OrganFax page
Jack Coombs 5th Oct 1913
Jack Coombs was born 5th October 1913 in St Helier, Jersey.
He studied with Leonard Herivel. For two years he accompanied the Jersey Male Voice Choir. He was deputy organist at Gt. Union Rd. Methodist Church.
In 1939 Jack led his own dance orchestra playing Hammond organ at the Plaza Ballroom.
During the German occupation became resident at The Forum Cinema.
Specialised in playing dance music on a Hammond.
Became resident organist at The Regal Cinema, Ilford.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Hubert Cooter
Hubert Cooter orgaist
Hubert Cooter at the console of Adelphi Cinema Slough organ c.1938
Sept. 1953 Organist Congregational Church, Coventry
Extract:- BBC RAdio Times

1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
A. Courtney
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jack Courtnay 14th Sep 1895
Jack Courtnay organist
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Jack Courtnay was born John Ferguson Taylor (brother to Alex Taylor) on the 14th September 1895 in the parish of Garturk, Scotland.
Taught to play the violin and piano by his father. Gained an open scholarship to the Glasgow Atheneum School of Music. Appointed to Coatdyke Parish Church when quite young.
Ran away from home and joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers. 'bought out' by irate father after six weeks. Then went to work as a pattern maker at an iron foundry. Then worked on the railways as a weighing clerk, then disappeared back into the armed forces and enlisted in Royal Marine Bands. Appointed organist at the Shotley Barracks Training Establishment.
On the outbreak of war joined H.M.S. Implacable. History was made when the squadron was hove to so the brothers could have a conversation. At the time Alex was on H.M.S. Cornwallis. After service in the Dardanelles John was discharged disabled.
John emigrated to Toronto, Canada, started working in a bank, quit to play in a Nickleodeon, was appointed to play Loew's Theatre and Winter Garden. Having heard a Wurlitzer took a job at Allen's Beaver Theatre (for lower pay). Toured Canada, opened Capitol Theatre, Winnipeg. Left there to take a position at the State, Minneapolis.
Returned to the UK for a holiday, took a job as a tram conductor in Bournemouth. Was inducted into making valves for submarines, had to retire as only one in ten were serviceable. Ended up washing bottles in a Bournemouth brewery.
Returned to the USA where he opened at Loew's Lexington, then toured. Returned to the UK and introduced the first slide solo at the Kings Theatre, Sunderland. Opened the first five Wurlitzers in the UK and was responsible for introducing Reginald Foort to the Wurlitzer.
Returned to America and located in Florida and held a number of appointments. Broadcast regularly on W.I.O.D., W.T.O.C. and W.J.A.X.. Opened the Wurlitzer at the De Soto Hotel, Savana.
When the slump hit ran one of the largest chicken farms in Florida.
Back to the UK to work for Southend Council. Returned to cinema organ playing in 1943, opening at the Regal, Old Kent Road.
Appointed musical contributor to Kinema Weekly and Ideal Cinema in 1945. In 1946 published Theatre Organ World.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jesse Crawford Link to Hammond page icon 2nd Dec 1895 – 28th May 1962
Pathe logo Filmed on his first visit to England

A Broken Rosary
Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London
Hold Me
Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London
A Broken Rosary
Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London
My Love Song
Organist Jesse Crawford

Article icon- Link :- Organ Forum page on Jessie Crawford
Jesse Crawford was born December 2, 1895 his father died when he was one year old, leaving an impoverished wife and mother, she placed the baby in an orphanage asylum near Woodland, California. Jesse Crawford taught himself music there. By age nine, he was playing a cornet in the orphanage band. At age 14 he left the orphanage to play piano in a small dance band, and then took a job playing piano in a ten-cent-admission silent film house.
His early theatre organ experience was at Washington's Spokane Gem Theater in 1911 and at the Clemmer-owned Casino He next played briefly at theatres in Billings, Montana, Spokane, Washington and Seattle. When he met Oliver Wallace.
In the 1920s Crawford began forming a fan base and was dubbed the 'Poet of the Organ' for his style of playing ballads in Chicago. In 1921, he was employed by the Balaban and Katz theatre chain playing its 29-rank Wurlitzer in the Chicago Theatre.
From 1926 to 1933, he performed at New York City's Paramount Theater, with his wife Helen Anderson playing a twin organ console. They met in 1923, and married in 1924.
After some recordings for the small local Autograph Records label, Crawford made a series of gramophone records for the Victor Records label which proved very popular with record buyers.
With the end of the silent film era, work for theatre organists in movie houses dried up. Crawford played a Kilgen organ at Chicago's Century of Progress World's Fair in 1934, and in 1936 he got a job as staff organist in NBC Radio studios in Chicago.
In the 1930s, Crawford switched to the Hammond organ, and began playing engagements across the United States. Between 1937 and 1940, he appeared with his wife Helen in several Vitaphone short films released by Warner Brothers
Jesse Crawford died May 28th 1962.
Extract:- Jesse Crawford Wikipedia page
Harry Croft
Harry Croft organist
Origin:- postcard e-bay
Harry Croft opened the Odeon, Bolton and Ritz Cinema, Workington 1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Henry Croudson 13th Nov 1898 - 30th Nov 1971
Henry Croudson organist
Image from Theatre Organ World

Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Henry Croudson was born 13th Nov 1898 in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Originally a bank clerk working for the Midland Bank, Leeds, gave up counting notes to take up playing them.
After seven years at the Majestic, Leeds joined Paramount playing Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow to name a few.
Commenced broadcasting while at Leeds in 1934, went on to make over 300 broadcasts.
Made twenty four double sided albums for Regal-Zonophone while at the Paramount, Manchester, just prior to the war.
Organised and conducted a number of bands of all kinds, including a ladies orchestra called 'The Rhythm Girls'
After being Blitzed in Liverpool he gave up playing and became a publican at the Ship Inn at Briggate, just across the road from the Paramount cinema.
After a month behind the bar he was asked to go back and play at the Paramount, which he did.
After the war he went on to play at the Gaumont, Haymarket.
In 1959 Henry decided to give up regular cinema organ recitals and returned to being a publican, this time at the Red Lion in Nazeing, Essex. He took with him his Selmer Electronic Organ, with which he entertained the customers.
Henry died 30th Nov 1971 at St Margeret's Hospital, Epping, Essex, England.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World + other sources
William Crozier
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Frederic Curzon 4th Sep 1899 - 6th Dec 1973
Some of Frederic Curzon compositions performed by various orchestras.


March of the Bowmen - Martin Ellis
Frederic Curzon organist
Image from Theatre Organ World


BBC Logo
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Frederic Curzon was born 4th September 1899 in Lambeth, London.
Frederic studied piano and violin from the age of 9, and became pianist in a small orchestra at 16.
After the 1914-18 war became musical director of a cinema in the West End of London.
Eventually turning his attention to the organ, became one of the first demonstrators of the then new electronic organ.
Went on to succeed Quentin Maclean at Shepherds Bush Pavilion, remaining there for eight years.
Frederic then spent twelve years with Gaumont British playing at all their largest London theatres.
Frederic had been composing music since 1920 with some success. When his health started to fail it was logical for him to give up public performance and devote his time to composition.
He was put under contract with Boosey & Hawkes and went on to write many popular pieces of music.
Frederic Curzon died on the 6th December 1973 in Weymouth, Dorset.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Basil Cuthbert 30th Mar 1912
Basil Cuthbert organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Basil James Rollo Cuthbert was born 30th March 1912 in Sibford, Oxfordshire.
A student at King Alfred's College, Winchester.
First appointment at the Regal, Winchester from 1931 to 34. Then the Majestic, Reigate from 1934 to 37. followed by the Embassy, Waltham Cross.
Basil joined the A.B.C. at the end of 1937 and played their cinemas at Horsham, Chatham and Hastings.
Joined the R.A.F. and while in service broadcast from the Regal, Torquay & Regent, Leamington Spa.
Rejoined the A.B.C. at the Ritz, Oxford in 1945
Basil Cuthbert died in 1994 at Oxford, Oxfordshire.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World

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