“Speedy” (1927) Silent Film in Atlantic City!

Garden State Theatre Organ Society is a platinum sponsor for an upcoming silent film show featuring Bernie Anderson at the 55 rank Kimball theatre pipe organ at the Adrian Phillips Auditorium, Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.  The date is Wednesday, September 27, at 6:30 PM.  Those of us who have been close to the restorations of the Boardwalk Hall organs can assure you that this organ is a sonic spectacular with remarkable clarity and power.

Parking is most convenient as there is ample underground parking that is barrier free to the Hall.

For tickets and venue information: Click HERE

For more information on the Kimball Organ: Click OHS Database and Boardwalk Organs

Don Kinnier returns to The Brook this Fall!

The Garden State Theatre Organ Society proudly presents the 1919 feature film, “When The Clouds Roll By” starring Douglas Fairbanks.

Doug Fairbanks stars as Daniel Boone Brown, a superstitious but ambitious young New Yorker who is the victim of a demented psychiatrist named Dr. Ulrich Metz, played by Herbert Grimwood.  Dr Metz, with the aid of numberless associates serving him in the interests of science, arranges circumstances intended to drive Daniel to suicide.  “When The Clouds Roll By” is the last of the romantic comedies that Fairbanks starred in before moving on to the bigger productions like Zorro and The Black Pirate for which he known for. At the time of filming When the Clouds Roll By, Fairbanks had just formed United Artists with Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith. This was the first time that a group of major stars broke their ties to the studios to make and distribute their own movies.

Charles Olge as The Monster in Edison’s Frankenstein (1910)

As an added feature, we are also presenting “Edison’s Frankenstein” (1910). The film is considered a loose adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein told in 16 minutes! The film was released towards the end of production for Edison’s Studios which would halt film production by 1918. The cast stars Mary Fuller as Elizabeth, Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein and Charles Stanton Ogle as The Monster and directed by Edison Studio regular, James Searle Dawley. Dawley direct over 300 short films and 56 full length pictures in his career. All his films were silent films with the exception of two experimental films made for Lee DeForrest.  Edison’s Frankenstein was filmed in 3 days in January 1910 at Edison’s Studio in the Bronx, New York City. The film is one of the earlier films to be associated with music cue sheets (published in Edison’s Kinetogram) and included pieces like “You’ll Remember Me” from the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl, the 1852 “Melody in F”, “dramatic music” (presumably the “Wolf’s Glen” scene) from the 1821 opera Der Freischutz, the 1835 song “Annie Laurie”, and the Bridal Chorus from the 1850 opera Lohengrin.

 Tickets may be purchased at the door or by visiting the website https://www.brookarts.org/  

Our accompanist for the screening is no stranger to GSTOS. A Philadelphia area native, Don Kinnier began his organ studies at age 9. His teachers were David Ulrich and Harry Greer. He accompanied his first silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, while a student at Drexel Institute. Though trained in classical music, Don became enamored with the theatre organ, and ultimately decided not to go for Baroque. During the 1960’s he served as house organist at the Lansdowne Theatre in suburban Philadelphia. During the 1970’s he toured the US, Canada, Argentina, and Taiwan performing concerts. Concurrently he was a technical representative for the Baldwin Organ Company. From 1979 to 1995 Don served as house organist at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and as musical director for the Chester County Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to his work with the Betzwood Film Festival, Don accompanies classic silent films at the Philadelphia Film Festival, the Secret Cinema’s showings at Moore College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania. He has maintained a long and fruitful relationship with Longwood Gardens, playing recently at the Fanfare Weekend rededication of the large Aeolian organ there. He also plays at The Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center, and the Allen Theatre. Most recently, Don was named musical director of the New Reading Theatre Orchestra. He has completed a DVD , accompanying the 1925 Rudolph Valentino silent film “The Eagle”.

2023 ATOS Young Organists Competition Winner – Ian Fraser

(from Left to Right) – Declan Poole, Jared Goldinger, Ian Fraser, Luke Staisiunas


an Fraser can be added to the ranks of big names in theatre organ. Congratulations! The recent ATOS Convention was in July located in the greater Chicago area. One of the events of the annual gathering is the ‘Young Theatre Organist Competition’.

It was Independence Day at the Tivoli Theatre in Downer’s Grove that Ian was finalist and competed with Jared Goldringer and Declan Poole. All three young artists have risen to the top of their still-youthful craft and all three put on superior performances with some of the characteristics that signify experience beyond their years. The judges had the difficult task of selecting the best among them.

Ian’s performance included: an opener featuring Cole Porter’s ‘Let’s Misbehave’, followed by ‘Love of My Life’ a Queen ballad, then a ‘Wizard of Oz’ medley, and ending with ‘Sunrise’ from the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Groffe’. Ian is largely self-taught and his arrangements were refreshing, different, and unlike anyone else’s style. The total performance brought him the Win !

GSTOS has been presenting winners and runners-up with prize money for the past 10 years and he received a $1000 check through the generosity of our members. The runners-up each received $500. Ian also was offered a concert date to perform for GSTOS with all expenses paid ‘to New Jersey’ said President Michael Cipolletti, playfully. The award has already offered Ian concert dates in other venues and for other Chapters showcasing that his talent and efforts are being recognized.

It is very hard to describe a theatre organ convention because it is like fireworks and ocean waves. You appreciate it at the moment but you can’t put it into words. It was a week-long experience. For starters, it was a chance to visit with people, some international friends, who we may see once a year. We shared stories, sometimes repetitions and reminiscence, about our quests to save theatre organs. It was an opportunity to learn more about technology to manage these tremendous instruments. Additionally, it was an opportunity to hear some of the finest talent on some of the finest organs in the world.

If we look back at the heyday of theatre organs, it is clear that there are only a small percentage of the original organs still playing. There are only a small number of movie palaces that house these organs. The upside is that the instruments have never been better. We have valued them and taken care of them. We’ve upgraded the operational systems but the true sound has not changed. There is nothing like the sound of air coming out of a pipe!

Today’s organists are wizards. Their skills outperform almost all of the old-time organists and they command the unit orchestra in such a way that it is not a piece of century-old music but a modern-day musical instrument.

We may obtain a highlights CD of the Convention and that will capture some of the listening ‘choices’ of the editor. Yet, only full immersion at the live experience in the stunning halls these instruments inhabit can provide the full experience.

As times move forward, we hope the annual event will continue as it provides musical respite though the glorious musical experience that an ATOS Convention can provide.