Anton Karas is my homeboy
Anton Karas’ all zither score for Orson Welles' “The Third Man” film was hit record after the film came out in 1949 and raised the profile of the instrument enough that this toy from Harbert in Milan, Italy was sold as “The 3rd Man Jr. Zither”. While this toy is in no way able to replicate the sound of a full Viennese Zither, it is fun to play and makes an interesting sound.
The Jr. Zither has 15 stings tuned diatonically. It came tuned to a major key, but I love how haunting it sounds in A harmonic minor. The body is incredibly simple with just a plastic top and sides with particle board nailed to the back.
I bought another one that was made about 35 years later and although it was made just the same, it doesn’t sound as good. Maybe it’s the 70 year old strings!
Here’s a video of Anton Karas playing the Harry Lime Theme on the full instrument...
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