RKO Fordham Theatre - The Bronx, N.Y.
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RKO Fordham Theatre

215 East Fordham Road at Valentine Avenue
The Bronx, N.Y. 10458


Organ Specifications:
• III/13 Robert Morton Organ Co., Op. 2303 (1926)
III/17 M.P. Möller, Op. 2946 (1921)





Keith's Fordham Theatre, as it was originally named, opened on April 14, 1921. Designed by William McElfatrick, the 2,446-seat theatre was built by Keith-Albee as a vaudeville house.

In 1929, following the merger of the Keith theatres into the RKO circuit, the name was changed to RKO Fordham Theatre. That same year, a rivalry began with the opening of the $4 million Loew’s Paradise Theatre on the Grand Concourse. For the next several decades, the two theatres were the top choices for movie patrons.

The RKO Fordham was triplexed in 1976, and a fourth screen was added in 1980. Unfortunately, the once-bustling shopping district declined due to an alarming rise in street crime and the Fordham was finally forced to close. It was demolished in March 1987, and replaced by retail buildings.
   
Robert Morton Organ Co.
Van Nuys, Calif. – Opus 2303 (1926)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 13 ranks


In 1926, a new organ built by the Robert Morton Co. was installed in the theatre. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
   
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 2946 (1921)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 35 stops, 17 ranks


The original organ in Keith's Fordham Theatre was built in 1921 by M.P. Möller of Hagerstown, Md. With three manuals and 17 ranks, this was one of Möller's standard theatre organ models. This organ for Keith's Fordham cost $8,000.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Violin Diapason [TC]
73
2
  Piccolo [Fl. Harm.]
OR
8
  Open Diapason
85
    Mixture III ranks
derived
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
73
16
  Bass Clarinet [TC]
OR
8
  Doppel Flute
73
8
  French Horn
73
4
  Octave [Op. Diap.]
4
  Octave Horn
4
  Zart Flute [Quintadena]
OR
   
Cathedral Chimes
20 Notes
       

 

     
Orchestral Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Violin Diapason
GT
16
  Fagotto [TC]
8
  Horn Diapason (syn)
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
GT
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Viol Celeste [TC]
73
   
Orchestral Bells
25 Notes
8
  Quintadena
73
   
Concert Harp
37 Notes
4
  Flute Harmonic
73
   
Glockenspiel
37 Notes
               
Solo Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gross Flute
85
4
  Gemshorn [TG]
8
  Concert Flute
73
16
  Bass Tuba [TC]
8
  Gemshorn
85
8
  Tuba
73
8
  Violoncello
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
4
  Flute Overte [TG] [Gross Fl.]
   
Xylophone
37 Notes
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason [ext. Gross Fl.]
12
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [lo-press.]
16
  Sub Bass
32
8
  Violoncello
SO
16
  Gemshorn [ext.]
12
8
  Flute
SO
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'       Orch. to Solo  
    Orch. to Pedal 8'       Solo to Orch. 8' 8'  
    Solo to Pedal 8'       Great 4'  
    Orch. to Great 16', 8', 4'       Orch. 16', 4'  
    Solo. to Great 16', 8', 4'       Solo 16', 4'  
               
Mechanicals
    Orchestral Tremulant   Crescendo Indicator
    Solo Tremulant    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Orchestral Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
               
Piston Couplers
    Corresponding Orchestral and Solo Pistons to Great Pistons
    Corresponding Pedal Pistons to Manual Pistons
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Solo Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Orchestral Pedal   Orchestral to Pedal Reversible
    Grand Crescendo Pedal   Thunder Pedal
     
Sources:
     Cinema Treasures web site: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/6253
     Junchen, David L. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 1. Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1985.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 3037 (1921), one of the firm's standard III/17 theatre organs built for Keith's 81st Street Theatre, Manhattan.

Illustration:
     Mann, George. 1931 photo of exterior.