Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

40,000 Leagues Under The Sea.


Guest Roffensis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Roffensis

Did anyone by any chance see the film "40,000 leagues under the sea", starring James Mason, who revealed himself to be a pretty good Organist no less. I had no idea. I suppose one could say his improvisatory skills were "typical" really, the usual sort of thing. Interesting for a minute, but his obvious learned technique got in the way perhaps? As it can.

 

Also in the film is featured a very interesting organ on a Submarine no less, with quite an interesting pipe display (which has been rivalled, it is true, by another modern organ of late) but which gives a very fine account of itself indeed. It put me quite in mind of many organs in the UK for a start, and I almost felt compelled write to the owners of the film now to see if they know which instrument it is. I supsect it may have been actually enhanced onto the negative, probably filmed elsewhere, but the TV people are very good at that sort of thing. The sound of it was certainly something uniquely musical. I have no idea who may have built this organ, but it certainly is worth seeing the film for the organ alone.

 

Was James Mason an FRCO?

 

Anyone who can shed any light on which organ it is, where it is now etc, marvellous stuff.

 

R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did anyone by any chance see the film "40,000 leagues under the sea", starring James Mason, who revealed himself to be a pretty good Organist no less. I had no idea. I suppose one could say his improvisatory skills were "typical" really, the usual sort of thing. Interesting for a minute, but his obvious learned technique got in the way perhaps? As it can.

 

Also in the film is featured a very interesting organ on a Submarine no less, with quite an interesting pipe display (which has been rivalled, it is true, by another modern organ of late) but which gives a very fine account of itself indeed. It put me quite in mind of many organs in the UK for a start, and I almost felt compelled write to the owners of the film now to see if they know which instrument it is. I supsect it may have been actually enhanced onto the negative, probably filmed elsewhere, but the TV people are very good at that sort of thing. The sound of it was certainly something uniquely musical. I have no idea who may have built this organ, but it certainly is worth seeing the film for the organ alone.

 

Was James Mason an FRCO?

 

Anyone who can shed any light on which organ it is, where it is now etc, marvellous stuff.

 

R

 

 

============================

 

 

 

I have trawled the depths, but thus far, I am unable to ascertain the current whereabouts of the instrument. It is known to have been built by the Anglo-American firm of Fischer-Mann & Hook (Hastings) Ltd; ; a collaborative enterprise which suddenly sank without trace. (Many of the sub-contractors went into liquidation as a result).

 

Due to the unique acoustics, the instrument was initially found to be too bright in tone, and all vestiges of upperwork, (including the Shark Mixture), were eventually stripped away; leaving an instrument which many would describe as an Octopod. Even the octave couplers were removed shortly after installation, but the sub-couplers remained.

Way ahead of its time, the organ was harvested from the sea itself; the flues of which were made from the dried and drilled corpses of Pipe Fish. The Bass tones were provided by an intriguing precursor to the Compton Polyphone; made from the tentacles of a dried giant-squid, and valved appropriately to produce several notes. Ultimate gravity was provided by a Sea Serpent at 32ft; this being one of only two reeds found on the instrument; the other being a Regal Tang which topped the Swell.

 

The organ had a floating division, consisting largely of percussions made from crustaceans, a single heavy-pressure conch and multiple Unda Maris registers so beloved of American organ-builders.

The only other tonal percussion was the Cymbal-astern, which consisted of a revolving starfish, on which were mounted tuned barnacles.

 

The oyster-shaped console was not original; being a later improvement on the original jellyfish-mould console, which seemed to have had a mind of its own.

 

The irradiating pedal-board required no illumination; each pedal glowing brightly green in the semi-darkness of the submarine. The music desk was illuminated by two lantern fish kept in a tank above the console.

The organ naturally used tubular pneumatic action throughout, but in many ways, it was the power supply and winding source which were such a source of fascination. With power coming from a small nuclear device way ahead of its time, and designed by the German company of Fas Breeder, (who disappeared in an instant), this was transmitted to a patent paddle compressor designed by a lady engineer from Wales, who went by the unlikely name of Theresha Blowes.

 

As for James Mason being an expert organist, this may or may not have been true, but being from Huddersfield, he would have been immersed in the traditions of the Choral Society and the Willis at the Town Hall. A man of many parts, he did place the letters GRSM after his name on the release of the Joules Vernes classic, but some say that it was a joke, and merely stood for "Greatly reviled sub-mariner."

 

One thing I do know for definite, is the fact that he once owned the Salts Mill complex at Saltaire, (near Bradford), close to which is the reed organ museum and the Wurlitzer organ at the Victoria Hall. I believe they named one of the American Organs after him, which carries the label "Mason & Hamline."

 

Of course, there are many replicas of the Nautilus in existence, but finding Nemo has proved more elusive.

Personally speaking, I am more of an 'Abominable Dr Phibes' man myself, but I did enjoy 'Lurch' playing the organ in the film "The Addams family values"

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Roffensis
I thought it was *twenty* thousand. Or was this a sequel?

 

 

It may well have been!!!! LOL!!!

 

By the way, CE from Rochester Cathedral a good few days ago now, was really very good!

 

Choir A1.

 

R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...