St. Louis, MO – Five hundred mourners filled the Fox Theatre in St. Louis Sunday to remember the life of a man who filled it with music for many of the last 22 years.
Stan Kann's played his last concert at the keyboard of the beloved Wurlitzer organ he'd helped restore two days before he died, and mourners were treated to a video of that performance. The native St. Louisan died September 29th at the age of 83 after complications from heart surgery.
In addition to playing the organ at the Fox, Kann was also known to television audiences in the fifties and sixties from "The Noon Show" on what was then KSD-TV.
Kann's sidekick on the show, Marty Bronson, quoted Irving Berlin to pay his respects. "His song is ended, but the melody does linger on," Bronson said, his voice cracking. "Goodbye old friend, and thanks for the warm wonderful memories."
In addition to being a talented musician, Kann collected a wide variety of odd gadgets, including vacuum cleaners. In the 2005 documentary "The Happiest Man in the World," Kann talked about his parents bribing him to eat by telling him a neighbor lady would turn on her vacuum cleaner if he ate his dinner.
Kann's longtime friend and podiatrist Lindsay Barth urged those gathered to use Kann's unique hobby to remember him in a unique way.
"he you leave here today, go home and break out that vacuum cleaner, vacuum a rug or carpet in your home, in memory of Stan Kann," Barth said. "That's how he made it big, and that's how he's wanted to be remembered. Holding a vacuum cleaner."
Kann's quirky collection got him on the Johnny Carson Show 77 times and the Mike Douglas show 89 times.
At the end of the service, Fox Theatre volunteer director Ed Schroeder lowered Kann's beloved Wurlitzer organ - surrounded by some of Kann's vacuums -- back below the floor.