One of the largest automatic instruments made, weighing over 2,000 pounds, this Wurlitzer Style 165 origina...
One of the largest automatic instruments made, weighing over 2,000 pounds, this Wurlitzer Style 165 originally was installed in the Playland-at-the-Beach amusement park in San Francisco until the park's closure in 1972. It remained in private hands from then until 31 March 2007, when it moved into its spot here at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It will be joined soon by a Wurlitzer Style 146 as well as the Boardwalk's original Ruth und Sohn band organ from 1894 which is being renovated.
This Wurlitzer has an attachment that allows it to be controlled by MIDI files rather than the original paper rolls. I noticed it seems to be playing mostly tunes that people today might recognize (for example, here you'll hear "Stars & Stripes Forever" and "Ain't We Got Fun"), whereas the old Ruth und Sohn never played anything I recognized (it still used paper rolls). I was amused -- but did not record -- to hear the Wurlitzer play "Don't Bring Lulu"! Apparently they also have it playing anachronistic 1950s rock'n'roll songs, but I didn't hear one.
The instrument is installed next to the Boardwalk's 1911 Looff Carousel. They keep the wooden horses in great condition despite the abuse they get from modern children.
Also originally installed at Playland but now at the Boardwalk is one of the few remaining examples of Laffing Sal. After the closure of Playland, this animatronic character had remained in San Francisco at the Musée Mécanique until now.