Phantom of the Opera - 1990

program cover

UCLA Center for the Performing Arts
and the UCLA Film & Televison Archives

The Golden Age of Silent Films

Curated by Geoff Gilmore

A Salute to the Songs of 1925
“All Singing, All Dancing”

presented by

The Students of the UCLA Music Theatre Workshop

Under the direction of
John Hall

Stan Kann, Organ

Program Notes

“Phantom of the Opera”

Directed by Rupert Julian
Stan Kann, Organ

This program made possible with the support of the Ahmanson Foundation.

Thursday, October 18, 1990 at 7:00 p.m.
Royce Hall

Phantom of the Opera

Directed by Rupert Julian

Based on Le Fantome de L’Opera, a 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux, this Phantom is the definitive version of all phantoms before or since, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recent mega-hit musical. Lon Chaney is magnificent as a disfigured maniac composer who covertly guides a Paris Opera understudy to stardom by unleashing a series of terrors that force the leading soprano to step down. In one of cinema’s most famous scenes, the masked phantom sends an enormous chandelier crashing into the audience during a performance of Wagner. When the Phantom begins to collect on his Faustian bargain by forcing the beautiful young singer to give up her fiance, she rebels with drastic consequences - the Phantom kidnaps her to his underground chambers. When a raging mob pursues the Phantom through the streets of Paris (including a marvelous set from The Hunchback of Notre Dame), he removes his mask and reveals himself to be hideous beyond description.

This cinema classic had a inauspicious beginning when a preview audience panned it. It was withheld from release for two years, reworked into a swashbuckling comedy, then reconverted to horror melodrama. Ultimately Phantom of the Opera pulled in big box office for Universal Pictures and launched Lon Chaney into super stardom. It was reissued in 1929, dubbed with talking sequences and arias from Faust, in a misguided attempt to appeal to an audience avid for “talkies.”

Directed by Rupert Julian.
Additional direction by Edward Sedgwick.
Presented by Carl Laemmle.
Written by Raymond Schrock, Elliot J. Clawson (based on the Leroux novel).
Cinematography by Virgil Miller.
Additional photography by Milton Bridenbecker, Charles J. Van Enger.
Art Direction by Charles D. Hall.
With Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Snitz Edwards.
B&W with Technicolor sequences.
80 min.
Silent, with organ accompaniment by Stan Kann.
Print courtesy of Paul Killiam Shows.

About the Artist

Stan Kann was senior organist from 1952-75 on the country’s second largest Wurlitzer Organ at the world-renowned Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri. He has played countless organ concerts nationally, primarily on restored theater organs. Mr. Kann has appeared on numerous network television programs including nearly 100 episodes of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, and even more episodes of the Mike Douglas Show, the Merv Griffin Show and many other talk shows; he has also had his own television show in Canada. For the last twelve years Mr. Kann has been a regular organist at various prestigious Los Angeles institutions and events. He will play his own compiled version of the score of The Phantom of the Opera.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive

serves the past, present and future in assuring that the invaluable audiovisual records of our century survive to be used and studied for generations to come. Charged with caring for the world’s largest University-held collection of motion pictures and broadcast programming, the Archive has a unique responsibility to a culture increasingly shaped by these media. The Archive’s vast holdings of original film, television and radion materials serve local, national and international constituencies through a wide range of programs dedicated to preservation, public screenings and educational innovation.

Royce Hall’s Skinner Organ

Since its inauguration on September 7, 1930, the great four-manual, 80-rank Skinner organ has been an integral part of Royce Hall. As one of the largest and best preserved examples of Ernest Skinner’s work, the organ is noteworthy for its many fine imitative influence of the instrument’s designers, Harold Gleason and G. Donald Harrison, can be heard in the abundance and range of instrument mutations, including the bright voicing of the principal choruses and the chorus reeds of the Swell division.

A complete restoration of the organ was carried out between 1968 and 1971, including the installation of a new, movable console. During the refurbishing of the Royce Hall auditorium, the organ chambers were carefully sealed and protected, and the new console was removed for the refinishing of its cabinetry and installation of solid state electronics. With the installation of a new pit elevator, the console may now be located anywhere on the stage as well as on the main floor of the auditorium.

The tonal openings of the organ loft above the proscenium have been reshaped into a graceful arcade. And beautiful wood panels, which may be raised and lowered electronically, have been installed to make it possible to close off the organ loft visually and acoustically when the instrument is not in use.


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