Richard Simonton (1915–1979), who also used the pseudonym Doug Malloy, was a Hollywood businessman and entrepreneur, known for his rescue of the Steamboat Delta Queen, his work in preserving the work of musicians in the Welte-Mignon piano rolls, and for founding the American Theatre Organ Society.
The Welte-Mignon Reproducing Piano, a more sophisticated cousin of the player piano, was a mechanical instrument that could reproduce the subtleties of master pianists' styles on paper rolls. Invented by Edwin Welte and his brother-in-law Karl Bockisch in Freiburg, Germany, in 1904, the rolls, recorded between 1904 and 1932 on Welte Philharmonic-Organs, are now historically significant as evidence of the playing styles of many prominent musicians. These include Mahler, Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Scriabin, and others, playing their own compositions.
The Welte firm and its founders suffered heavily in World War II. After the war, Simonton wrote to Edwin Welte in an attempt to locate music rolls for his pipe organ. Welte answered that he had only managed to save about sixteen organ rolls, but had managed to hide some more in a barn in the Black Forest. In 1948 Simonton travelled to Germany and worked with Welte and Bockisch to rescue the remaining rolls. They played the rolls on Bockisch's Steinway-Welte piano and Simonton recorded the sound onto a tape recorder, an invention which was also extremely rare at the time. These tapes were released as LPs by Columbia Records in 1950. Welte and Bockisch selected and sold the best of the rolls to Simonton in 1948 and he bought more from Bockisch's widow in 1952. After the initial purchase, Welte and Bockisch also found a Steinway-Welte piano for Simonton. Many of the rolls have since been re-recorded from that piano and issued on CD.
[Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Simonton]