Jenny Shain, Artist who Creates Only from Her Heart

Alabama Theatre Series, “The Mighty Wurlitzer”

“The Mighty Wurlitzer”

Photography by Jenny Shain

The Might Wurlitzer, also known as “Big Bertha” is the only gold leafed Wurlitzer of it’s kind. Installed in 1927 for the opening of the “Showplace of The South,” this tremendous antique instrument can be seen and heard at The Alabama Theatre.

It’s design included eight sets of percussion, complete sound effects for silent films, and now has been expanded to blow 2,008 pipes! *Secret: many of which are hidden behind the theatre’s right curtain!*

The Alabama Theatre was titled “The State Historical Theatre” in 1993 and has undergone an incredible floor to ceiling restoration that included cleaning or replacing the vast areas of gold leaf paint.

For me, the Alabama Theatre will always hold a very special place in my heart. It reminds me of the good ole days, leaning over the balcony watching “White Christmas” with my family. Thinking about my grandad, “Gene,” climbing up the back alley fire escape to watch a movie here when he was a kid, too poor to buy a ticket. And thinking about one day when it was being built in 1927, my great grandmother was giving birth to my Papaw grandfather. I guess as an artist and a musician, it seems like the perfect place too. Showing that the fine arts do matter, that good design, great architecture, history, & family all come together to celebrate life & talent. I think that is really important. Don’t you?

See the Mighty Wurlitzer in action!

1817 Third Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
(205)ALA-BAMA  (205) 252-2262

“The Mighty Wurlitzer”

The Alabama Theatre Series (Click on photo for larger view)

Photography by Artist & Life Coach Jenny Fox Shain

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All rights & copyrights to photos & blog owned by Jenny Shain


3 responses

  1. mommy

    Beautiful! Of course it brought a tear to my eyes to read of your memories. And when I was just in the 5th grade I would ride the bus to matinees in the summer. Then as a teenager I would sometimes have a date there. Back then you always wore a skirt and it was expected that your escort would wear something like a monogramed sweater. Wow things have changed. Can’t wait to see this unfold and I am hoping you also have a front view. Didn’t you get to sit at the Wurlitzer once-and I know you got to “ride” it-but then that’s another story!

    December 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  2. LifeCoach

    In Memory of Cecil Whitmire. Alabama will always remember his persevering efforts & incredible talent.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:31 am

  3. It is really informative and useful. i like this

    August 10, 2012 at 1:45 am

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