Silent film organist Bob Mitchell dies at 96

posted by Michael Zoldessy on July 14, 2009 at 7:55 am

LOS ANGELES, CA — World-renowned organist Bob Mitchell passed away last week in Los Angeles.

Bob Mitchell, an organist who was the first such house musician at Dodger Stadium and the last surviving working accompanist from the silent-film era, has died. He was 96.

Mitchell died Saturday from congestive heart failure at Hancock Park Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, said his caregiver, Vincent Morton.

When the Dodgers debuted in 1962 at their stadium in Chavez Ravine, so did Mitchell — on a Wurlitzer double-keyboard organ with a 25-note pedal board. At the time, he was best known as founder and director of a group often called the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir, which would appear in more than 100 movies.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

(Thanks to Haeyong Moon for this terrific video.)

Comments (6)

moviebuff82 on July 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

He must’ve been some talented guy.

DonSolosan on July 14, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Bob was amazing. He performed at the Million Dollar last Halloween for LAHTF’s Spooktacular. They had a sideshow performer named George the Giant for the matinee, and he asked Bob to improv during his show. Bob did such a great job that the magician who came up next insisted that Bob play for him as well. He seemed like a happy little kid when he was playing.

ERD on July 15, 2009 at 6:54 am

The talented Mr. Mitchell brought so much joy to people. He will be fondly remembered.

JohnMLauter on July 16, 2009 at 6:59 am

Bob was a treasure to our community of theatre organists. One correction however: Rosa Rio is still wonderfully active playing for silent films, mainly in Tampa FL. She celebrated her 106th birthday reciently.

academy133 on July 20, 2009 at 11:34 pm

I want to thank Cinema Treasures for including this video on their site. I am glad Mr. Mitchell’s performance will be seen by future generations of cinema fans.

RIP, Mr. Mitchell.

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