Silent-Film-Era Organist Dies

bobmitchellThe media are (still!) obsessing about the death of you know who, but my favorite obituary of the moment involves Bob Mitchell (pictured), an organist who was the first such house musician at Dodger Stadium and the last surviving working accompanist from the silent-film era. Mitchell died at 96. Among the many trippy details in his obit: ‘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.’ I wonder if he knew “Kitten on the Keys.”

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