Edna Purviance's bio

Currently working on Edna Purviance's family biography. Draft is done. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Silent Film Organist Bob Mitchell passing

Bob Mitchell, said to be the last surviving organ accompanist from the silent era, died on July 4, 2009. Local Santa Clarita public TV station has this memorial edition interview called The Robert Mitchell Story with host Philip Scorza (about 40 minutes). LINK

"On Christmas Day 1924, Mitchell was practicing carols on the organ at the Strand Theater in Pasadena when the lights went down and a movie about the Yukon went up. The 12-year-old kept playing, improvising a soundtrack. Soon he was accompanying matinee shows five times a week. He played for films such as the romantic wartime drama "What Price Glory," the action-adventure "Beau Geste" and the Fritz Lang futuristic fantasy "Metropolis." With the arrival of talkies and Al Jolson in the 1927 film "The Jazz Singer," Mitchell's first silent-movie career ended when he was 16." - Los Angeles Times

In the video, Mitchell has some interesting comments about Charlie Chaplin and also, what it was like for black boy singers during his day running a boys choir.

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