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

887 Prospect Avenue at East 161st Street
The Bronx, N.Y. 10459





The Franklin Theatre was one of the largest theatres built by B.S. Moss. Named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, whom Moss considered the greatest American that ever lived, the Franklin was also known as Moss's 161st Street Theatre. Architect Eugene DeRosa designed the 2,937-seat theatre in the Beaux Art style. When it opened on September 5, 1921, the Franklin presented Keith-Albee vaudeville and movies. Eventually, the theatre was taken over by the RKO circuit and renamed RKO Franklin Theatre.

By the 1960s the West Morrisania neighborhood had declined and the Franklin Theatre closed and was converted into a supermarket. The building was demolished in the 1980s, and was replaced by garden apartments.
     
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 2953 (1921)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 35 stops, 17 ranks


The organ in B.S. Moss's Franklin Theatre was built in 1921 by M.P. Möller of Hagerstown, Md., at a cost of $8,000. With three manuals and 17 ranks, this was one of Möller's standard theatre organ models.
               
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/6913
     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.

Illustration:
     Bow Tie Partners web site: http://www.bowtiepartners.com/index.htm. 1921 Exterior.