The Wurlitzer Organ to be installed in the new Riviera Theatre was shipped from the Wurlitzer Factory on November 19, 1926. In the early 20th century, thousands of these gigantic pipe organs were installed in movie theaters throughout the United States, Canada, England and Australia to accompany silent movies.
Of the more than 5,000 organs manufactured in the early 1900s, only a few hundred remain in public venues. Only a handful are in their original theater installations. Richmond, Virginia, has three theaters with original organs, the Chicago Theatre still has its Wurlitzer, and some of the truly grand movie palaces have original organ installations, including the Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit and the Orpheum in Los Angeles as well as the Rivera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Wurlitzer touted its instruments as ‘Unit Orchestras’ originally with the sounds of strings, flutes, reeds and percussions all represented.