Uncle Milt's Pizza Co. - 3/18 Wurlitzer
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WORLD'S LARGEST HORSESHOE CONSOLE HELPS TO SELL PIZZA
Excerpt from The Console magazine, June 1980 (v18, No 6, pp1,5):
IDEA FOR BIG KEYDESK ENTRANCE CONCEIVED BY ARTIST AND OWNER AND BUILT FROM JUST A SKETCH
There have been designs drawn for massive multi-level manual organ consoles that could
hardly be expected to serve any purpose other than having conversation value. The largest
consoles are the great Atlantic City Auditorium Midmer Losh giant and a six-manual Barton
in the Chicago Stadium, plus the great classical Wanamaker keydesk in Philadelphia. And
there have been attempts to build grant pianos on a large scale to serve as entry into a
piano sales store (the big Red Grand on Venice Blvd., in Los Angeles that advertised the
old Manning Piano Company) - but information is not readily available that would in any
way refute the claim that Uncle Milt's Pizza Parlor in Vancouver, Washington, has the
biggest three-manual organ console and exterior pipe display to be seen anywhere! And
it's a mighty fine replica of what a theatre organ console looks like.
The idea to build the console was conceived by an artist friend of owner Milton Kieffer,
and himself. "The plans for the structure were never drawn and we worked from a drawing,
which was just little more than a sketch," Kieffer said.
|Located at 4th Plain Blvd. and Grand Blvd., in Vancouver,
just across the street from the 4th Plain Fred Meyer Store, the pizza parlor was built in an abandoned
church and has about 14,000 square feet of interior space. The restaurant seats 450 people on the main
floor and in the balcony.
The organ is a hybrid and came from several sources - the console is from the Capitol
Theatre, Atlantic City, N. J., the bulk of pipework are out of the Seattle, Washington,
Orpheum Theatre Wurlitzer. "I purchased the Orpheum instrument for this installation from
Harry Dost in Seattle," Kieffer noted. The pizza organ is a three-manual, 18-rank
instrument with two Tibias (both Wurlitzer, as are most of the ranks), Tuba Horn, Brass
Trumpet, two Vox Humanas, Horn Diapason, Diapason, Viol, Viol Celeste, 49-note Brass
Trumpet, Clarinet Kinura, Orchestral Oboe, Oboe Horn, Flute, Salicional, and a Moller
Post Horn. There is a toy counter, marimba, xylophone, chimes, chrysoglott, piano and
The console rises three feet on its own lift to stage level from the floor. Judging from
the photo of the interior, pizza patrons also enjoy occasional music other than the
Wurlitzer - the stage is loaded with musical instruments and various speakers that look to
be part of musical instrument amplification.
This is the first restaurant venture for Milton Kieffer. He has been an organ buff for
quite a spell - 15 years with electronics and about six or seven years in pipes. He owns
another Wurlitzer, a two-manual, ten-rank organ that is installed in his home in
Vancouver. "I have frequent concerts for ATOS in my home on the Wurlitzer. It is Opus
1885 and came from the Roxy Theatre in Irvington, New Jersey. I enjoy rebuilding and
refinishing theatre organs although I do not play them," he added.