TINKLING THE IVORIES: Casino Historical Society president Bob Moran and vice-president Barry Dennis try to get a tune out of the old pianola the pair rescued from the Gold Coast. The vintage instrument was once used at Casino’s old Rink Theatre.
TINKLING THE IVORIES: Casino Historical Society president Bob Moran and vice-president Barry Dennis try to get a tune out of the old pianola the pair rescued from the Gold Coast. The vintage instrument was once used at Casino’s old Rink Theatre. Doug Eaton

Encore for old theatre pianola

A PIANOLA that created the musical backdrop for hundreds of silent films at Casino's first movie theatre has found its way back home.

The Casino Historical Society saved the Everard Double Headed Photo Player from a trip to the tip after receiving an SOS from the Gold Coast.

Historical society president Bob Moran said the pianola's owner Ken Beech, of Burleigh Heads had rescued the vintage instrument from a date with the crusher about 10 years earlier.

It had apparently been one of a number of unsold items at a large auction of movie theatre equipment and memorabilia and would have been sent to landfill had he not stepped in.

Mr Beech planned to restore the old pianola, but never got around to it.

It stayed stored in a mate's shed until last week when he was forced to find a new home for it or send it to the tip following the sale of his friend's home.

Mr Beech contacted the Casino Historical Society to see if members were interested in taking the pianola for its collection after learning its working life had been spent at Casino's Rink Theatre.

"A man by the name of Neil Davidge recognised the pianola as coming from Casino because his father used to tune it," Mr Moran said.

"He said he knew it was from Casino because it was the only one of its kind in Australia."

Within 24 hours of getting the phone call, Mr Moran and historical society vice-president Barry Dennis were driving to the Gold Coast to collect the pianola.

Initially, Mr Moran and Mr Dennis thought the pianola had originally resided at the El Gronda Theatre, but historical society member and authority on Casino history, Norma Anderson soon set the record straight.

The historical society eventually hopes to restore the pianola to working condition. In the meantime, members will create room at their museum to display it.



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