James Grebe Theatre & Organ Files

Accession Number: SC 19:25
Location: RB-SPCOLL
Dates: 2019
Size: 1 letter-size Hollinger box. .30 cu. Feet.
Creator/Collector: James Grebe
Acquisition info: Donated to SLPL by the author
Accruals: Further accruals possible.
Custodial history: Mr. Grebe wrote the articles in the collection over a number of years. Sent copies electronically to Special Collections Staff in April 2019.
Language: English
Processed by: Adele Heagney, 2019
Conservation notes:

Articles printed and stored in acid-free folders. Backup copies

in file folder Theaters_J Grebe on Adele Heagney’s PC.

Scope and Content: 30 articles on the history of St. Louis theaters and theater organs. Articles are dated March 12 – April 16, 2019, though they were written over several years. Plus one article on organ at Most Holy Trinity Church in Soulard.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by title.
Restrictions: Collection open for research.

Biographical note from author:

Born at Lesperance Str and South Broadway in 1942.

As a small boy, I used to collect soda bottles to redeem for deposit of .02c to save for admission to my nearby "shows" the Peerless and New Shenandoah. The theatre seem to become ‘holy places’ in my mind for escape from the Soulard area. In the early 1950s my parents would attend meetings on Lindell Blvd and once a month I could go to the Fox Theatre and sit in the first row leaning over the orchestra rail to see and hear Stan Kann weaving his magic on the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ. In 1962 I became employed by the Aeolian CO. Of Mo and entered the piano tuning field. Who would have known that as a small boy back in the 50’s I would wind up tuning the piano for Stan on the Charlotte Peters television show and for Russ David on the Pevely Playhouse on KSD radio. In the mid 1970’s I became a member of the American Theatre Society and the chairman of the local branch.

I began tuning for various promoters at the Ambassador Theatre and Kiel Opera House and was able to roam the Ambassador building as I pleased. Around 1978 I bought and installed the Kimball 2m/8r Theatre Pipe Organ from the Grand Theatre in Wheaton, IL and kept it for 10 years in my homes. I have been collecting theatre organ history, researching all I could gather.

I now wish to share all my findings with those who are interested in theatre organ lore.

James Grebe

James Grebe

Master Piano Pitch Manipulator

Theatre Organ and Vintage Theatre Researcher

Voice or text

314 608-4137

1526 Raspberry Ln

Arnold, MO 63010


James Grebe Theatre & Organ Files
1 Hollinger; 0.30 cu. ft.

Box/Folder Description
1/1 Finding Aid
1/2 "Advertising and Publicity hyperbole at the Ambassador"
1/3 "The Aeolian Company and its Pipe Organs in St. Louis"
1/4 "African-American Only/Owned St. Louis Theatres"
1/5 "Backwards or Forward"
1/6 "The Baden Theatre"
1/7 "Best St. Louis Theatres Master List"
1/8 "The Del Monte Theatre"
1/9 "The Empress Theatre"
1/10 "Fox’s Liberty Theatre"
1/11 "Historic Trinity and Her Pipe Organs"
1/12 "Last Theatre Pipe Organs Built for United States"
1/13 "The Life and Times and Organs of Milton Slosser"
1/14 "Life and Times of Stan Kann"
1/15 "Merry Widow Theatre"
1/16 "The New Grand Theatre"
1/17 "New Majestic Info"
1/18 "The Pageant Theatre"
1/19 "Pipe Organs In St. Louis Theatres"
1/20 "The Ritz (Juniata) Theatre"
1/21 "The Rivoli Theatre"
1/22 "A Sad Kilgen Story"
1/23 "The St. Louis Fox Theatre Lobby Theatre Pipe Organs"

"St. Louis Fox Theatre Wurlitzer 4m/36r Fox Special"

Conversations with Marlin Mackley and Al Haker

1/25 "Soulard Area Neighborhood Theatres"
1/26 "The Strange Case of the Gayety Theatre"
1/27 "A Tale of Two Links : Melba and Cherokee Theatres"
1/28 "The Tivoli Theatre"
1/29 "Wicks Pipe Organs for St. Louis"
1/30 "Wurlitzer Factory Stores"
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