Monday, August 2, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Mitch Miller, 1911 - 2010

The Flaming Nose is very sorry to hear today of the death, at age 99, of television choral conductor and music industry pioneer Mitch Miller, most famous in pop culture circles for his multi-year run (1961 - 1964) as the host of NBC's variety show Sing Along With Mitch.

Miller's goatee and his male chorus' cheerful and full-throated renditions of old favorites was a favorite around my house when I was growing up. My dad was a big Mitch Miller fan, and up until the end of his life he enjoyed listening to Miller's cassettes, even when he wasn't interested in hearing much of anything else. The combination of nostalgic songs and the good-hearted singing of them was irresistible and also comforting, and there's a part of that feeling still alive for many of us who've been fans over the years.

You might enjoy reading more about Mitch Miller's life other than as a TV empresario, too. He was crucial in the rise of the music producer as the driving force guiding the music industry's hit-making machine, and not without controversy for doing so. Wikipedia's entry on Mitch Miller is very interesting, and we also highly recommend Bruce Eder's fantastic write-up on the All Music Guide; it's amazing. The Mitch Miller obituary from The New York Times by Bruce Severo is full of great anecdotes, Yahoo has the Associated Press article available here, and The Los Angeles Times has Mitch Miller's obituary here, but the formatting appears to be messed up right now. (Also, the Library of Congress evidently has a large collection of 16mm Sing Along With Mitch episodes which are going into their permanent collection.)

Luckly for us there is a nice selection of clips from various Sing Along With Mitch shows available for viewing on YouTube, thanks to YT user dentelTV2's wonderful uploads. We'll start with Part 1 of a 4-part episode, and then you should look up more to watch at your leisure.

My father especially like Mitch Miller and the Gang singing "Heart of My Heart" --

Our condolences to the legendary Mitch Miller's family, friends and fans on this sad day.


Judith said...

thanks so much for posting. i was in the middle of writing a post. yours is better than the one i wrote.

Lisa said...

Judith, please add yours! We want to read it! :-)

Jane said...

What a lovely tribute to Mitch. It brings back fond memories of a different time. Families gathered around the one (black and white) TV singing along with good old Mitch Miller. All of that is gone with the wind. Now we have American Idol and the caterwauling mobs.

I would like to read Judith's post too!