Last Chance Saloon "Band Box" has an intrituing history

Ted Carter, from Calgary, explains how he found, and restored this priceless jem, which you will find
in the Last Chance Saloon, in Wayne Alberta. 

www.century21.ca/100533139

THE BAND BOX

IN THE EARLY FORTIES, THE AMERICAN WURLITZER COMPANY INTRODUCED THE
“BAND BOX” TO THEIR BUSINESS, THE UNIT CONSISTED OF A SMALL STAGE AND
SEVEN SMALL ELECTRONICALLY OPERATED BAND MEMBERS. THE BAND PLAYED IN
CONJUNCTION WITH THE WURLITZER THROUGH AUTOMATIC TIMERS. THE PIANO
PLAYER MOVES HIS HEAD BACK AND FORTH. THE VIOLINIST STROKES HIS BOW. ANOTHER
PUMPS THE SLIDE ON HIS TROMBONE. THE BASS FIDDLE PLAYER STROKES HIS BOW
AND MOVES HIS HEAD BACK AND FORTH. THE DRUMMER JUMPS UP AND DOWN OVER
HIS DRUMS. THE EFFECT IS VERY NOVEL AND UNUSUAL.
 
ACCORDING TO INFORMATION I GAINED FROM SOUTHERN MUSIC IN CALGARY, ONLY
TWO OF THESE BAND BOXES WERE SOLD IN CANADA, BOTH IN CALGARY. ONE WENT
TO THE CALGARY TRANSIT SYSTEM FOR THEIR BOWNESS PAVILION, THE OTHER TO
THE SOUTHAM BUILDING, BOTH UNITS WERE SOLD BY SOUTHERN MUSIC.
 
AROUND 1950 THE BOWNESS PAVILION BURNED TO THE GROUND TAKING THE BAND
BOX WITH IT. AROUND 1970,  THE SOUTHAM BUILDING, HOME OF THE ONLY REMAINING
BAND BOX,  WAS DEMOLISHED, A FRIEND OF MINE WAS WORKING WITH THE
DEMOLITION CREW AND DISCOVERED THE BAND BOX IN THE BASEMENT IN A STATE OF
TOTAL DISREPAIR. KNOWING A TREASURE WHEN HE SAW ONE, HE SAVED IT FROM
THE RUBBLE AND TOOK IT HOME, HE TRIED FOR MANY MONTHS TO REPAIR IT AND
FINALLY GAVE UP IN VEIN. KNOWING I HAD A COMPLETE WORKSHOP, HE OFFERED IT
TO ME. SINCE I HAD SEEN BOTH MACHINES WORKING IN THE 1950’S GLADLY
ACCEPTED.
 
THEN THE FUN BEGAN, I QUESTIONED SOUTHERN MUSIC ON THE HISTORY AND
WORKINGS OF THE MACHINE IN ADDITION TO WHAT I ALREADY RELATED, THEY
SUGGESTED THAT THERE MAY BE ONE LEFT IN CANADA, BUT HAD NO IDEA WHERE IT
MIGHT BE, I KNEW, IT WAS IN MY WORKSHOP. WHEN I ASKED WHAT IT MIGHT BE
WORTH TO A COLLECTOR THEY SAID IT WAS PRICELESS. I HAVE SINCE DETERMINED
THAT THE ORIGINAL UNIT SOLD FOR $3,000 NEW WITH AN ADDITIONAL $5,000 FOR THE
WURLITZER. THE TWO MACHINES WERE AUTOMATED TOGETHER. SINCE I DIDN’T
HAVE A WURLITZER, I DISCONECTED THE AUTOMATIC CONTROLS AND REWIRED IT TO
RESTORED TO AN ORIGINAL ANTIQUE.
 
THE MECHANICAL WORKINGS WERE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION THE MEN HOWEVER,
WERE IN BAD SHAPE, I RESTORED THEM WITH LATEX RUBBER, AFTER A PERIOD OF
TWO YEARS I WAS ABLE TO MAKE THE BAND MEMBERS PLAY THEIR INSTRUMENTS
TOLERABLY WELL, EACH BAND MEMBER HAS HIS OWN LIGHTED STAND AND THE
STAGE LIGHTS ARE FLORESCENT , THE CURTAINS ARE ELECTRIC AND OPERATE WITH
THE MAIN SWITCH, THE MUSIC YOU WILL HEAR PLAYING ARE BENNY GOODMAN
SELECTIONS FROM THE “BIG BAND” ERA, JUST AS I HEARD WHEN I SAW THE BAND
BOX PLAY BACK IN THE 1950’S


TED CARTER, CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA

Bob Sheddy

Bob Sheddy

Broker of Record
CENTURY 21 PowerRealty.ca
Contact Me

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