Paramount Theater | KALW

Paramount Theater

David Wakely

All week long we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

The anonymous celebrity behind the Wurlitzer organ

Feb 23, 2012

You probably know Jim Riggs best by the back of his head. He's often seen rising out of the stage in Bay Area movie theaters playing the organ. He is among a handful of people in the world who can tame the Mighty Wurlitzer, a massive instrument with eighteen hundred pipes, 244 keys, and 32 foot pedals. April Dembosky sat down with Riggs at the Paramount Theater in Oakland to talk about the history of the organ, his technique, and what it's like being an anonymous celebrity.

DEMBOSKY: Can you explain the anatomy of the organ? It seems very complicated.