I spent part of the weekend chasing down a little bit of musical and culinary history in Greenfield, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee. That’s home to Organ Piper Pizza – as you eat, an organist plays an enormous Wurlitzer organ, which also controls stage lights, disco balls, a mechanical gymnast and a family of singing ducks. Plus – a story that’s, amazingly, not an April Fool’s Day prank, in which police in Madrid respond to a guy on a bus sharpening a big carving knife (!)

Remembering the Dining Fad of ‘Pizza and Pipes’ (CityLab)

False alarm: Knife-wielding man on Metro revealed to be expert ham cutter (El Pais)

Yes, I know it’s April Fools Day – but I have to tell you what I did this weekend! I was chasing down a little bit of musical and culinary history in Greenfield, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee.

That’s home to Organ Piper Pizza, a pizza place where they have a giant pipe organ, called a Mighty Wurlitzer. As you eat, an organist plays this enormous instrument, which by the way, also controls stage lights, disco balls, a mechanical gymnast and a family of singing ducks.

It’s quite a show, and a rare one. Pizza and pipes places started in the late 1950s in California. By the 70s and 80s there were hundreds of them in the US, but Organ Piper Pizza is one of just three today; the others are in Lansing, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona.

Though these restaurants do have their own offspring: the idea for Chuck E Cheese, with singing animatronic characters, is based directly on the pizza and pipe organ connection. That’s a legacy of sorts.

Meanwhile, here’s a story that is, amazingly, not an April Fool’s Day prank. Police in Madrid, Spain responded a couple weeks ago to reports of a man sitting on a Metro train, sharpening a big carving knife. It turns out the man was not planning anything untoward, but was merely a professional ham cutter on his way to work.