Chapter 17 To The Rescue
The 1921-1922 school year would be over in just eight weeks! What away to end the school year! So many good things were happening! Jimmy and Harry continued to take piano lessons with Mr. Edwin, who was delighted to have two eager students. However, Jimmy had shown such natural keyboard talent that Mr. Edwin had been dividing his lessons between the piano and the organ, with Harry watching and learning right along side him.
Long ago, after the boys started in Jr. High School, cornet and violin lessons had been discussed. Harry's parents decided that maybe they should not delay those lessons until Harry started Sr. High School next year. He wanted to be in the school orchestra with Jimmy. Of course, Jimmy and his mother found it necessary to be discrete about music lessons where Mr. Day was concerned.
Mr. Day and Mr. Killman were now partners in the Theatre Company. No time was being wasted in the construction of the Floridian Theatre. Things were, in fact, ahead of schedule which prompted a flurry of communications between Mr. Randolph, who was in charge of the Theatre Company's interests in Jacksonville, and their headquarters in Los Angeles, California.
At first Mrs. Day and Mrs. Killman began inviting the single young Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Day's brother Marcus, to dine with them on Sundays. Judging by the gusto with which the thin Mr. Randolph consumed large amounts of their delicious food, the women felt he must be working too hard and not getting proper meals. When Mrs. Day found out that Mr. Randolph's lease was up on his tiny bungalow she insisted on his boarding with them.
“After all,” she explained to Evelyn Killman “we have all those rooms on the third floor, and this way we can be sure the poor man gets fed properly.”
Soon Sunday dinners gave rise to a weekly Friday night arrangement, too. Supper at the Killman's one Friday, at the Day's the next. Jimmy's Uncle Marcus, whose business had become very successful, was usually there, too.
Marcus Clark MacCowley was single and a hard working man, and his sister and her best friend felt he wasn't taking care of himself, either. Uncle Marcus had become good friends with Mr. Randolph and a share holder in the Floridian Theatre, to boot. Those lively Friday night suppers became the high point of everyone's week. After supper coffee and dessert became an opportunity for the men to catch everyone up on the loose ends of business and to share concerns and information.
This week the Friday night supper had been moved to Saturday due to a trip from which Mr. Randolph, Uncle Marcus, Mr. Killman and Mr. Day had returned on Friday. The men were especially full of news on this night. Jimmy and Harry, always present when theatre business talk was going on, listened carefully. Often much of it was beyond their understanding, but tonight they heard something that they certainly did understand. It appeared that the Theatre company had been in negotiation with the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company for the Unit Orchestra which was to be installed in the new Floridian Theatre.
Wurlitzer was fabricating organs at an astounding rate but the problem was that, with so many organs being sold and ever so many Theatres being built so quickly, the regular Wurlitzer factory organ installation people were much too busy. So busy, in fact, that though Wurlitzer could supply the organ they could not install it by the needed time!
Because there was not an Orchestra, even between Atlanta and Miami, available to provide music for the film premier, the Theatre could not be opened without an organ. Mr. Randolph's boss had made it quite plain that this film was not to premier to the accompaniment of a lowly solo piano or a photoplayer.
This was quite a predicament. The contract with Wurlitzer had been signed but, even though the building was ahead of schedule, Jacksonville was in real danger of losing the big premier of “The Sword and The Diamond” if the organ wasn't ready. The Wurlitzer Company, wanting to keep the sale, suggested that the Theatre Company find a local organ firm to install the organ, with help in the form of detailed written plans from Wurlitzer, of course.
All efforts to find an organ firm had proved futile. It seemed that there was not an organ builder in Jacksonville and none of the local maintenance firms that were qualified to do the job would consider it. They did not wish to be associated with `that kind of work.' In other words, they would only work on `legitimate' church instruments and not those `picture show whistle boxes.'
Mr. Randolph had yet another big problem to solve. He did indeed have to find someone who could install and finish the pipe organ by the end of August, but he also was desperate to find an organist who could play it! Jimmy and Harry exchanged looks.
They began a whispered discussion that turned into an audible exchange which escalated into excited babble. This got the attention of the men who were, by now, staring at the two boys with great curiosity.
Mr. Day interrupted them, “Do you lads have something you want to say?”
Jimmy grinned at Harry and said, “Dad, I think we might be able to help Mr. Randolph with both of his problems!”