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'Flickers at the Junction' to play Saturday with tribute to Bob Mitchell

Posted: July 6, 2009 6:50 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2009 3:27 p.m.

Silent film organist Bob Mitchell passed away on July 4, at the age of 96.

Bob had been with the SCV Historical Society as an organist since "Flickers" began in 2007. He was one of the last people on earth (if not the last) to have accompanied silent films in the 1920s who was still playing for them in 2009.

Bob also had an eight-decade career as a choir leader, and headed the "Robert Mitchell Choir Boys" troupe, who appeared in 100 films, including the 1944 Best Picture Oscar winner "Going My Way." He was also a familiar voice on L.A. radio for many years, and was the very first organist at Dodger Stadium in 1962.

Bob was scheduled to accompany Buster Keaton's "The General" next Saturday night. The film will still be presented, either with its original soundtrack or with a guest organist, and will be showing some video tributes to Bob before the show.

The film will be presented outdoors on Saturday, July 11, at Heritage Junction in Newhall (inside William S. Hart Park). The show will begin at dusk and the gates will open at 7:30 p.m. The cost is only $5, which includes a free bag of popcorn. Guests are welcome to bring lawnchairs, blankets, and food.

Silent films were never silent, as Bob pointed out many times. Silent organists controlled the mood of an entire audience. And with the passing of Bob, who was the "Last of the Silent Era Organists," an era has truly passed.

People are encouraged to come to "Flickers at the Junction" Saturday night to see a wonderful silent comedy and to pay tribute to an amazing man who helped keep this tremendous art form alive.


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