I used to own some commercially pressed Brunswick 12 inch records that were used for the alternative method of presenting Wings with a live score (whether orchestral or just a piano/organ) and a "cued disc" system using two or more turntables. When I mentioned this on Nitrateville, my impression was that nobody else had even heard about these and that other sound effects discs were supplied to the restorers. I remember the "Gotha Bomber" was especially impressive for a late 1920s recording! From: "Very Nearly To Talkies Without the Costs" by Simon Murphy, p.25-7:
Simon Murphy wrote:
Donald Crafton mentions that Paramount’s head of special effects, Roy Pomeroy, had devised two sound systems for Wings, and that one used what he calls ‘cued discs’. Emphasising the use of RCA speakers in the set-up, he fails to mention that this system employed a unit comprising four Brunswick Panatrope turntables with individual amplifiers and volume controls.
These details were recalled in a paper presented at the Audio Engineering Society’s 1971 convention, by Robert J Callen. As a young disc recording engineer at Brunswick, Callen was called in by Pomeroy to make adjustments to a trial installation of the equipment at New York’s Rivoli Theatre, using discs of aeroplane, machine gun and bombing sounds, recorded especially by Brunswick for the film. After the necessary adjustments the rig was moved to the Criterion, where it reportedly remained for the duration of Wings’ one year run. With the four turntables, he recalls, ‘a clever operator (in this instance Roy Deshart* of Paramount) could follow with sound the flight of a plane across the screen’ - an early attempt at stereo (or even surround-sound) presentation, giving an impression of movement through the manipulation of the turntable faders.
In London, at the Carlton Theatre in April 1928, copies of the same records were used to accompany the film’s live music setting. Although there is no mention of anything other than a standard dual turntable Panatrope in use in London, the effects were still impressive and novel, drawing particular praise from Edwin Evans, a Bioscope writer nominally reviewing the musical setting for the film, composed by J S Zamecnik. Evans concluded that whilst the score was ‘admirable ... I confess it was the Panatrope effects that most conveyed dramatic conviction.’Their dramatic impact was heightened by pauses in the music at key points, allowing the ‘whirr of the engines, the rattle of machine guns and the noise of falling planes’ to be heard alone, prompting another Bioscope man to comment: ‘It is difficult to believe that all this roar and noise is being produced from a small gramophone record.’
Milking the novelty value for all it was worth, The Carlton arranged for the effects for one screening in May to be broadcast live from the Criterion in New York as a further publicity stunt. The Brunswick effects records for Wings were subsequently offered to any cinema in the country with a reproducer: ‘For the first time it is possible for the smallest hall in the country to present its pictures with the identical effects used at the London and New York presentations.'
* Albert W Desart, according to Jack Theakston on Nitrateville.