This Melody Masters short (WB number 6803) opens in the class room with Robert Mitchell leading the boys in several songs. The other half of the day has the boys, as members of a local Boy Scout troupe, hiking along singing some rousing renditions of some old traditional songs, and then participating in a wiener roast. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
The Robert Mitchell Choir School of Hollywood, California, provides a solid education for talented boys from ages 8 to 14, giving them the chance to perform and excel academically & musically.
Nominated for an Academy Award, FORTY BOYS AND A SONG is an informative & highly entertaining little film which spotlights a premiere American musical institution from years past. We watch the young fellows in the classroom, at play and at church. Always, music is being taught, performed & enjoyed and we get to hear the boys' renditions of "Home On The Range," "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" & "Shortenin' Bread."
Born October 12, 1912, Bob Mitchell showed an acute aptitude & appreciation of music at a very early age. In 1924, when still only 12, Bob started playing organ accompaniment to silent films, beginning a passion for silent cinema music that would last a lifetime. In the 1930's he started his Boys Choir, which gained much success; the Mitchell Singing Boys would appear in scores of films, most notably GOING MY WAY (1944) with Bing Crosby. On his 90th birthday in 2002, Bob Mitchell was still keeping very busy playing the organ for church and weddings, personal appearances and silent films - delighting new audiences with his gift of music.
Bob Mitchell died on July 4, 2009, in Los Angeles, at the age of 96.
Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something akin to writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.
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