Last night I saw two silent movies at the Kentucky Theater. The Haunted House, starring Buster Keaton, and The Unknown, starring Lon Chaney.
I was misinformed, and the Kentucky does *not* have the original Wirlitzer. This showing was part of a fundraiser to restore the original Wirlitzer and reinstall it. They have all the pieces, and they are currently in a store room at the Singletary Center for the Arts. It’s going to cost about $650,000 to restore it, and once restored, it will be one of just 46 operating cinema organs in the world. Pretty cool.
But they did have an organ, and an organist to accompany the movie, so it was almost like the real thing. The Chaney movie was very very odd, with a deeply convoluted and confusing plot. But with the silent movie format, you didn’t actually have much dialog to rely on, just the inter-scene dialog panels, and some panels with plot explanations. It’s a very interesting format.