Mitch Miller

Host / Conductor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Mitch Miller (1911-2010) talks about his early musical interests and playing the oboe in high school. He talks about his first professional jobs in Rochester, NY, and his move to New York City. He mentions working with George Gershwin and describes the orchestration of "Rhapsody in Blue." He talks about joining the CBS Orchestra in the mid-1930s, and appearing with them on radio through the 1940s. He discusses working at Mercury Records and then Columbia Records and his nurturing of musical talent (such as Johnny Mathis,) as well as his developing of hit songs (including "I Believe"). Miller talks about providing the song "Let Me Go Lover" to the CBS drama anthology series Studio One, which became an instant hit record for unknown Joan Weber. He briefly mentions his own hit record, "The Yellow Rose of Texas." He speaks about getting his first exposure with sing-along songs on television with the special Startime: Sing Along with Mitch. Miller then speaks in great detail about his famed 1960s television series resulting from this special, Sing Along with Mitch. B-roll consists of a shot of a "Look" magazine cover, along with shots of this issue's article and internal photos. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 24, 2004 in New York, NY.

"There never was a bouncing ball. Everyone says there was a bouncing ball, but we just had the lyrics."

Highlights
Mitch Miller on producing his own first album, "Sing Along with Mitch," and on starting to become famous
06:48
Mitch Miller on making the transition to television, and on his series Sing Along with Mitch
04:20
Mitch Miller on the production and format of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the simplicity of the show
04:30
Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
02:51
Mitch Miller on joining the CBS Orchestra in 1936
04:36
Mitch Miller on producing the popular song "The Yellow Rose of Texas"
01:32
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on deciding to become a professional musician; on his earliest jobs as a musician
16:30
On playing music on the radio; on playing with George Gershwin; on joining the CBS Orchestra in 1936 and on playing for Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre"
12:50

Chapter 2

On working with Bernard Hermann on "Mercury Theater" and on "The War of the Worlds"; on becoming a producer for Mercury Records; on becoming a producer for Columbia Records, and on working with Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra
13:26
On the popular music of the early 1950s, when he was producing records, and on what he looked for in a song; on promotion for Columbia Records, and on his Monday sessions; on the changing technology of recording music in the 1950s, and on the various artists he worked with
15:43

Chapter 3

On producing records for Johnny Mathis; on Studio One using a song he produced, "Let Me Go Devil," which made it a big hit; on producing the popular song "The Yellow Rose of Texas"
12:14
On the record industry in the 1950s, and on the "payola" scandal; on producing his own first album, "Sing Along with Mitch," and on starting to become famous; on making the transition to television, and on his series Sing Along with Mitch
15:31

Chapter 4

On the "Sing Along with Mitch" episode of Ford Startime, which led to his regular series; on Sing Along with Mitch spinning off from an episode of Ford Startime; on the production and format of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the simplicity of the show
11:18
On the skits and sketches that were performed on Sing Along with Mitch; on getting the rights to the songs he performed on Sing Along with Mitch, and on the number of shows per year; on his conducting style on television, and on the featured vocalists on the show
09:50
On having the lyrics on the screen while the songs played on Sing Along with Mitch; on the end of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the rise of rock and roll
07:05

Chapter 5

On appearing on Person to Person, with Edward R. Murrow, What's My Line? and Password; on guest-starring on The Leslie Uggams Show and Car 54, Where Are You?, and on his activities after his show was cancelled; on his conducting style
04:19
On his political activism, and on the John F. Kennedy assassination; on his greatest achievement, and on the power of television; on music on television
09:39
On music he enjoys, and on his fans; on his advice to an aspiring music professional; on how he would like to be remembered
04:47
B-roll of photos and memorabilia from his career
09:27
Shows

Car 54, Where Are You?

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Mitch Miller on guest-starring on The Leslie Uggams Show and Car 54, Where Are You?, and on his activities after his show was cancelled
01:19

Ford Startime

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Mitch Miller on the "Sing Along with Mitch" episode of Ford Startime, which led to his regular series
03:25

Leslie Uggams Show, The

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Mitch Miller on guest-starring on The Leslie Uggams Show and Car 54, Where Are You?, and on his activities after his show was cancelled
01:19

Password

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Mitch Miller on appearing on Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow, What's My Line? and Password
01:54

Person to Person

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Mitch Miller on appearing on Person to Person, with Edward R. Murrow, What's My Line? and Password
01:54

Sing Along with Mitch

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Mitch Miller on making the transition to television, and on his series Sing Along with Mitch
04:20
Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch spinning off from an episode of Ford Startime
03:23
Mitch Miller on the production and format of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the simplicity of the show
04:30
Mitch Miller on the skits and sketches that were performed on Sing Along with Mitch
01:06
Mitch Miller on getting the rights to the songs he performed on Sing Along with Mitch, and on the number of shows per year
01:05
Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
02:51
Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
03:24
Mitch Miller on having the lyrics on the screen while the songs played on Sing Along with Mitch
02:12
Mitch Miller on the end of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the rise of rock and roll
04:53

Studio One

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Mitch Miller on Studio One using a song he produced, "Let Me Go Devil," which made it a big hit
07:33

What's My Line?

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Mitch Miller on appearing on Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow, What's My Line? and Password
01:54
Topics

Advice

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Mitch Miller on his advice to an aspiring music professional
02:11

Civil Rights Movement

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Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
02:51

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Mitch Miller on how he first came to play music - through his father and through the public schools in Rochester, NY
02:52

Historic Events and Social Change

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Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
02:51
Mitch Miller on his political activism, and on the John F. Kennedy assassination
03:53

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Mitch Miller on his political activism, and on the John F. Kennedy assassination
03:53

Pivotal Career Moments

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Mitch Miller on how he first came to play music - through his father and through the public schools in Rochester, NY
02:52

Pop Culture

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Columbia Records executive Mitch Miller on providing Studio One with the title song for the production "Let Me Go, Lover" which became an instant hit for unknown singer Joan Weber
05:34

Technological Innovation

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Mitch Miller on the changing technology of recording music in the 1950s
01:10

Television Industry

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Mitch Miller on his greatest achievement, and on the power of television
03:05
Mitch Miller on music on television
02:41
Mitch Miller on his advice to an aspiring music professional
02:11
Professions

Music Professionals

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Mitch Miller on his conducting style on television
01:22
Mitch Miller on his conducting style
01:06
Mitch Miller on his advice to an aspiring music professional
02:11

Musician

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Mitch Miller on his conducting style on television
01:22
Mitch Miller on his conducting style
01:06
Mitch Miller on his advice to an aspiring music professional
02:11
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Mitch Miller on Studio One using a song he produced, "Let Me Go Devil," which made it a big hit
07:33

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Mitch Miller on making the transition to television, and on his series Sing Along with Mitch
04:20
Mitch Miller on creating and hosting Sing Along with Mitch
28:13
People

Rosemary Clooney

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Mitch Miller on working with Rosemary Clooney when he was a producer at Columbia Records
01:15

George Gershwin

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Mitch Miller on playing with George Gershwin
03:15

Bernard Herrmann

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Mitch Miller on working with Bernard Hermann on "Mercury Theater" and on "The War of the Worlds"
03:45

Gloria Lambert

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Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
03:24

Johnny Mathis

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Mitch Miller on producing records for Johnny Mathis
02:56

Bob McGrath

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Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
03:24

Louise O'Brien

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Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
03:24

Frank Sinatra

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Mitch Miller on working Frank Sinatra when he was a producer at Columbia Records
03:34

Diana Trask

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Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
03:24

Leslie Uggams

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Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
02:51

Orson Welles

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Mitch Miller on playing in the orchestra for Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre" radio show
03:53

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