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Compton Cinema Organ on Ocean Liner!

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  • Compton Cinema Organ on Ocean Liner!

    I caught this detail today on a FB group Lovers of Ocean Liners, and had to pass it along, since it's the first I have heard of a cinema organ being fitted aboard ship.
    Click image for larger version

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    Click image for larger version

Name:	southern cross cinema organ.jpg
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    Gee dad,it's a Compton!
    The Southern Cross was launched in 1954, maiden voyage the following year
    Casey

  • #2
    First time I came across this model was in an ice rink in Brighton! I'm sure our resident expert Lucien Nunes will be able to tell us more about the model and maybe even this installation on the Southern Cross (great looking liner, by the way, along with her near sister Northern Star).
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
    Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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    • #3
      Wow - thanks for sharing those pics! However, I'm afraid the instrument falls rather short of being a cinema organ. It looks like an Electrone model 352 a.k.a 'Melotone', Compton's first off-the-shelf 2m entertainment console, that saw wide service in clubs, halls, holiday camps and homes from the early 1950s onwards. It was a solid and practical instrument, contained in a well-built AGO-spec console available in both black & white and wood finishes. Yet tonal resources were distinctly limited, as in order to keep the cost down and accommodate everything but the speakers within the console, Compton designed compact 7-octave 2.5" tone generators that had no higher harmonics than a Hammond. Additive synthesis with a top frequency of about 4kHz and purely even-tempered tones limits the reed stops, in particular, to being rather approximate imitations.

      Regardless of its shortcomings, it sold well and was still available into the 1960s. There were enhanced versions, for example a 3m in the same styling and a horseshoe-console version, but these sold only in very small numbers. Brochure scans c/w specification and endorsement by Reginald Dixon are here: http://www.electrokinetica.org/d8/8/1.php

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      • #4
        Hopefully it had an unda maris stop ;)

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