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The Shopping Mall Organ Vendors 70's and 80's what do you remember about them?

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    #31
    As I read your Thread I am amazed at how similar our experiences were back then. I'm now in my 40's. When I was around 10 years old I would take the bus with my friend who was 4 years younger, and ride up to the town center to the organ store. Hartford, CT. I would sit there for hours playing on the different organs. Most of them were used so I'm not sure what kind of dealer this was. Clearly an independent shop. Oddly enough, the friend of mine had a dad who, you'd never guess, taught the organ. Ya, an organ teacher. This guy wasn't very nice and never offered to teach me or show me around the organ in their house. Odd. I also remember the Lowrey store in the mall. Actually several malls. I was completely amazed at how incredible the organs were and the salesmen were slimy but talented all in the same. The used store in the center though let me play for long periods of time. I was equally fascinated with VW Bus's. Needles to say I would also go to the local VW dealership and hang out in the Westfalia Camper bus's. I bring this up because guess what?, the dudes father also had at least 5 VW bus's in his driveway at any given time which he would trade parts around so at least one of them was working at any given time. Only one though. He used them to transport his organs to and from wherever he would transport them to and from. Amazing as this is, I was eating pizza with my girlfriend a few towns from where I live and heard a guy playing the organ in the other area of the restaurant. I walked over to check the guy out and it was, ya, it was him. Looked the same but a lot older. I said hello, he greeted me with a hug. He never once as a child even said hello to me. I asked him how his son was and he said they hadn't talked in many years. Sad. His other son moved to Spain, became a language professor, was gay in a traditional italian family , but they actually talk and visit each other. I guess some solace after having been such an awful dad to his sons. Anyway, I just remember as you do how amazing those organs were, looked , and sounded. I also think I was the only kid who had such a fascination, now I know that isn't the case. OH, I do remember one other thing. If anyone can help with this.... I remember being with my mom, I think in a Sears. There was a whole department of organs. HOWEVER< they weren't the big fancy "real" organs, they were Magnus Chord Organs. Lots of them, lots of styles, and even the top of the line one wasn't like the old organ store models such as Wurlitzer, Conn, Hammond, Thomas, Kimball, they were kind of like toys. I had one, but I'm ahead of myself. There was a sales guy that acted as though these were real organs and adults not kids were buying them. What was with that????. When I was 11 years old I convinced my dad to take me to Service Merchandise and let me spend my $48 allowance saved up on a Magnus Chord Organ. I got it and took it home and spent hours putting it together , only like 4 pieces but my brother wasn't home to help me figure it out and I wasn't very mechanically oriented, plus the bench also had to be put together. I thought that thing was the most amazing "toy" I ever had. I learned to play so many by the NUMBERS songs. The point was I learned to make music on that thing and it was incredible. Green Sleeves was my favorite. My mom sold that in a tag sale when I was away at college for my first year. $3. It worked well too, I still remind her of this. I now have a Hammond M-111 and A Leslie 44. I'm trying to sell them since I have officially purchased, although not paid yet, so not sure how official until I get the guy a check, a 1970's WHITE Conn 650 with numerous Conn speakers and pipe speakers. He refinished it will all the gold embellishments and more. This should all happen in the next few weeks but shipping is EXPENSIVE but it is the most gorgeous thing on earth. Anyway, that is a short history on my passion for the organ. Thanks for bringing me back and letting me fantasize all over again about those wonderful days of organs and VW Bus's. PS> I owned a 75 VW Bus for a year until it caught fire in front of the VW dealership by happenstance. Another story for another blog.

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      #32
      Sorry to drop in on the thread, but there was a thread on the Forum recently where people posted signs of present vendors (not shopping mall). Can anyone find that thread? I have a photo to share--finally.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

      Comment


        #33
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
        Sorry to drop in on the thread, but there was a thread on the Forum recently where people posted signs of present vendors (not shopping mall). Can anyone find that thread? I have a photo to share--finally.

        Michael
        Michael, it' in the Home Organs forum, a couple pages back...

        http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...t=organ+stores
        Now: Yamaha FX-10, Hammond Phoenix (comatose), Yamaha U3HS piano, Yamaha YPG-535 Portable Grand
        Past: Yamaha YC45D, 2x RA-200 amp, Rhodes Suitcase 88, MiniMoog Synth; Hammond CV + Leslie 122; Hammond T-412 + Leslie 225; Gulbransen Pacemaker; Bradford (W. T. Grant) chord organ (1966, my first organ); Hohner Melodica - Soprano (1964, my first instrument)

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          #34
          Originally posted by MVSlice View Post
          Michael, it' in the Home Organs forum, a couple pages back...

          http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...t=organ+stores
          MVSlice,

          Thank you so much!

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


            #35
            Originally posted by ggolds5 View Post
            I also remember the Lowrey store in the mall. Actually several malls. I was completely amazed at how incredible the organs were and the salesmen were slimy but talented all in the same.
            In the 1980s, maybe early 90s, Lowery seemed to be pushing their dealers to open a lot of mall stores. There was a big Lowery dealer out of Hazleton, PA--Moratto and Lesante--that opened at least two mall stores in our area, complete big ad campaigns in newspapers, radio, and local TV ("Everybody LOVES Moratto and Lesante!!!") I assume Lowery was helping out financially because, even in those days, the mall overhead brutal. Jumping to malls killed several of the dealers around Harrisburg.

            Originally posted by ggolds5 View Post
            I remember being with my mom, I think in a Sears. There was a whole department of organs. HOWEVER< they weren't the big fancy "real" organs, they were Magnus Chord Organs.
            In the early 70s the Harrisburg Sears store displayed several Thomas organs (branded as Silvertone) in their TV and stereo department. I spent a good bit of time playing them while my parents shopped. A few of the salesmen were sort of hostile at first, until they realized I could play well enough that people were stopping and looking at the organs. Eventually one of them showed me where the kill switch (second power switch) was on the underside of the keyboard--they usually kept them turned off unless they actually had a serious customer looking--so anytime I was there, I was able to play them.

            Originally posted by ggolds5 View Post
            I have officially purchased, although not paid yet, so not sure how official until I get the guy a check, a 1970's WHITE Conn 650 with numerous Conn speakers and pipe speakers. He refinished it will all the gold embellishments and more. This should all happen in the next few weeks but shipping is EXPENSIVE but it is the most gorgeous thing on earth.
            Congrats, ggolds5!!! My last job in instrument sales was in 1977 at a family-owned full-service music store. They were Conn and Yamaha organ dealers, along with Yamaha and a few cheaper brands of pianos. I got paid $1 per hour plus a 10% commission on instrument I sold. The owner's son and son-in-law grabbed all the institutional Yamaha piano customers, and they sold a boatload of high-end Yamaha uprights and grands to local churches, schools, and colleges. My biggest sale, and commission, during the year I worked there was on a Conn 650 they had sitting off to the side of the organ room. I'm not a theater organ guy, and didn't play it much. But one day, while the son and son-in-law were both out, an older man walked in and asked to hear the 650. I played it for about 10 minutes, then he played it awhile. He thanked me and walked out, then about 10 minutes later walked back in with his checkbook and put a 20% deposit on it. Even with the cash discount they offered him, the organ must have been just under $7,000, judging from my commission.

            That 650 was the standard dark wood--your white one must be a real beauty!

            One last thing...you might be interested in a post I made in the Home Organs forum about the bankruptcy of my first employer, Fulton Piano and Organ Co. in 1985. I included a link to a copy of their bankruptcy sale ad listing all the organs they were selling:

            http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...he-world/page3
            Now: Yamaha FX-10, Hammond Phoenix (comatose), Yamaha U3HS piano, Yamaha YPG-535 Portable Grand
            Past: Yamaha YC45D, 2x RA-200 amp, Rhodes Suitcase 88, MiniMoog Synth; Hammond CV + Leslie 122; Hammond T-412 + Leslie 225; Gulbransen Pacemaker; Bradford (W. T. Grant) chord organ (1966, my first organ); Hohner Melodica - Soprano (1964, my first instrument)

            Comment


              #36
              I remember the mall in my area having a Keyboard World store, which sold Lowrey organs and had group organ classes. I visited the store a couple times and one of those times, they had a Technics EA5, and I played a couple songs on it.

              You are so right, Royal...the GA3 is a mighty organ! My local free-standing music store has one, and I go there and play it regularly. The GA3 has been most helpful in my quest to get back into organ-playing. The GA3 inspires me and really brings out the organist in me, and it is helping to re-spark my interest in my EA1.
              Denise

              You are never too young or old to enjoy playing the organ!

              There's no right or wrong way, it's however YOU want to play!

              Current Organs:
              Technics SX-GA3
              Technics SX-EA1
              Magnus chord organ, model unknown
              Lowrey TG-1 Magic Teenie Genie (recently given by a friend)

              Past Organs:
              Lowrey TG-1 Magic Teenie Genie
              Magnus 8200 chord organ

              Organ Lessons on Yamaha Electone HS6 in 1998-99

              Comment


                #37
                Hey guys, I'm still here. ....and I still play my F100 every day (and my GA3 every couple of weeks - just to let it know that I still love it too). I have to stick to my previous assessment that the last generation of the Technics were the very best of the home organs. The best news is that they require little to no maintenance and have so much flexibility that I never tire of the sound quality or variety. Pity that they are gone.

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                  #38
                  How can one forget those golden days of the home organ. With the advent of the transistor spinets I remember they displayed - and played them in the drive in cinemas. Now I go back many years. In this country in those years there was a healthy competition between Lowrey and Conn and every so often one of them would park a demo model near the cafeteria and thump away on it during specially extended intermissions. For you younger ones - in those days we had no TV an city hall-cinemas were not too much preferred for parking problems, the need to dress up (in those days we still did that) and so on. It was much better and more comfortable to just sit in your car and do whatever yougnsters did in those days while watching their favorite movie - some never saw the movie or bothered with the musical organs.... .

                  But the organ demo thing was quite effective and I remember crowds gathering around that demo player ooohing and aaahing and even buying one of those right there! I am sure it must be some of those very ones we oldsters are now trying to get back to life.... Come to think of it, never saw a Hammond being paraded that way!

                  Nico
                  "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Back in the '60's I was able to demonstrate the Lowrey organs in our local organ store in Shamokin, Pa. There I was at the ripe old age of 14, demonstrating all of those spinets whose model names I will never remember to this day. But the "big one" was the Festival Coronation, a full console beauty that I totally lusted for. I had to play it in my stocking feet because the owner didn't want me to scratch the pedals with my shoes! I cannot tell you how many of those organs we sold as a result of Bob telling me to "play the Hawaiian Guitar, Phil." It wowed 'em every time! I got $5.00 for every organ that sold as a result of my demos - which was promptly spent at the local "juvenile headquarters" two doors up the street from the store. Bob arranged for Larry Ferrari to give a concert on the big Lowrey (2 external leslies!) and he made that thing talk. It was held at our high school auditorium where he sold out the joint - not one seat was available. For the record, Larry was one of the nicest people I ever met and at that point I was just totally in awe of him. Those were the days!
                    Allen Q285D

                    Comment


                      #40
                      I couldn't agree more, Royal! Technics organs put an entire orchestra at your fingertips, and the setup and interface makes your creative options endless! It breaks my heart that Technics is gone...they made spectacular organs! I have a beautiful little EA1 and even after 17 years, I am still amazed at what that little organ can do! I hope to own a GA3 someday, to supplement and complement my EA1. The one at my local music store is crazy expensive...maybe I'll find one online that is fairly close to my location.
                      Denise

                      You are never too young or old to enjoy playing the organ!

                      There's no right or wrong way, it's however YOU want to play!

                      Current Organs:
                      Technics SX-GA3
                      Technics SX-EA1
                      Magnus chord organ, model unknown
                      Lowrey TG-1 Magic Teenie Genie (recently given by a friend)

                      Past Organs:
                      Lowrey TG-1 Magic Teenie Genie
                      Magnus 8200 chord organ

                      Organ Lessons on Yamaha Electone HS6 in 1998-99

                      Comment

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