Silent film comes to life at the Forum

Local News

BINGHAMTON, NY – Two of the greatest stars of the silent film era graced the screen at the Forum Theater in Binghamton yesterday, accompanied by the musician who inaugurated the theater’s organ.

Master Theater Organist Dennis James played a live soundtrack to the 1927 movie “Love” starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.

The film is based on the classic Tolstoy novel “Anna Karenina.”

James says that while Garbo became a household name, Gilbert himself was the most popular male actor of that time.

James, who travels the world playing theater organs, has performed at the Forum several times, including the first concert in 1978, shortly after the Robert Morton organ was installed.

“It’s a lovely thing because you really get a sense of the passage of time. Just like watching these movies and you really sense the history. And here I am in my own life looking back 40 some years and remembering what it was like to be in Binghamton,” says James.

James, who now lives in Corning, hopes he will be playing for the Binghamton Theater Organ more regularly now with the retirement of former resident organist Jim Ford.

James is scheduled to perform again next season in December.

BTOS has one more show scheduled for this season.

Nancy Wildoner has a special Mother’s Day concert planned for Sunday May 10th called “Pop Pipes: Women.”

For more information, go to

You can watch our entire interview with James, and here him play “Hooray for Hollywood” on the organ here.

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