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Oklahoma piano store is gone, its player pianos not forgotten

The big-screen TV was not always the center of home entertainment.
by Richard Mize Published: September 22, 2012

Steve, his brother, Phillip, and their sister, Elaine Evans Walters, took me down their Memory Lane. Here are some snippets from Steve that couldn't fit in the feature story I had in Friday's paper:

• “The player piano was kind of like the big-screen TV of its day. Everybody wanted one and wished they had one,” he said. “The whole family would gather around the player piano and they would sing songs and really have a fun time. It was good to put the kids on the player piano and let them pedal away and get rid of a lot of (that) high energy.”

• “They punched paper, like the early computers worked off of punch cards. An interesting thing that a lot of people don't know is they work off of vacuum. When you pedal the pedals it's actually sucking air through the whole system,” he said.

• “Nowadays, people just love to hear a player piano, especially if it's a little out of tune — they sound a little bit better if they're a little bit out of tune. They had an attachment called a rinky-tink attachment that gave them a little bit of a metallic sound,” he said. The effect later became known as a honky-tonk sound. “If it was a party, you just put on a paper roll and started pumping the pedals, or if it was electric you could plug it in — and you had an instant party.”

To the Evans family and their father's legacy.

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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