Sing Along with Mitch


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

From Wikipedia:

Initially airing as a one-shot episode of the NBC television show Startime (season 1, episode 32) on 24 May 1960, Sing Along with Mitch went on to become a weekly series in 1961 as a community sing-along program hosted by Mitch Miller and featuring a male chorus: which was, basically, an extension of his series of Columbia record albums of the same name. In keeping with the show's title, viewers were presented with lyrics at the bottom of the television screen, and while many insist there was a bouncing ball to keep time, Miller correctly said this was something they remember from movie theater Screen Songs and Song Cartunes sing-along cartoons.

Singer Leslie Uggams, pianist Dick Hyman, and the singing Quinto Sisters were regularly featured on Sing Along with Mitch. One of the singers in Miller's chorale, Bob McGrath, later went on to a long and successful career on the PBS children's show Sesame Street (he was a founding member of the "human" cast in 1969 and McGrath became its longest-serving cast member until his enforced retirement in 2016). One of the show's trademarks was the final number, a group sing-along with the regular house chorale, among whom would be an uncredited celebrity not necessarily known for their singing ability, who was dressed like the others. "Hidden" guests in this closing singalong included Johnny Carson, Jerry Lewis, George Burns, Shirley Temple and Milton Berle.

As the popularity of the TV show rose, Miller produced and recorded several "Sing Along with Mitch" record albums, complete with tear-out lyric sheets.

Sing Along with Mitch ran on television from 1961 until the network canceled it in 1964, a victim of changing musical tastes. Selected repeats aired briefly on NBC during the spring of 1966. The show's primary audience was over the age of 40 and it did not gain the favor of advertisers targeting the youth market.

Highlights
Bob McGrath on Mitch Miller's conducting style
Leslie Uggams on her relationship with Mitch Miller and working with him on Sing Along with Mitch
Bob McGrath on Mitch Miller and his musical preferences
Leslie Uggams on the barriers she broke on Sing Along with Mitch and being the first African American woman appearing weekly on a variety show
Who talked about this show

Larry Auerbach

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Larry Auerbach on packaging Sing Along with Mitch

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on speaking up to Bob Sarnoff and pitching Sing Along with Mitch

Bob McGrath

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Bob McGrath on Mitch Miller's conducting style
Bob McGrath on Mitch Miller and his musical preferences
Bob McGrath on Mitch Miller's conducting style

Mitch Miller

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Mitch Miller on making the transition to television and his series Sing Along with Mitch
Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch spinning off from an episode of Ford Startime
Mitch Miller on the production and format of Sing Along with Mitch and the simplicity of the show
Mitch Miller on the skits and sketches that were performed on Sing Along with Mitch
Mitch Miller on getting the rights to the songs he performed on Sing Along with Mitch; on the number of shows per year
Mitch Miller on Leslie Uggams, who was a featured vocalist on Sing Along with Mitch
Mitch Miller on Sing Along with Mitch's featured vocalists Diana Trask, Gloria Lambert, Bob McGrath, and Louise O'Brien
Mitch Miller on having the lyrics on the screen while the songs played on Sing Along with Mitch
Mitch Miller on the end of Sing Along with Mitch, and on the rise of Rock 'n' Roll

Walter C. Miller

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sing Along with Mitch starring Mitch Miller, and on directing a George Balanchine ballet

Leslie Uggams

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Leslie Uggams on her relationship with Mitch Miller and working with him on Sing Along with Mitch
Leslie Uggams on Sing Along with Mitch and the performers lip-syncing on the show
Leslie Uggams on the wardrobe and makeup for Sing Along with Mitch
Leslie Uggams on getting recognized on the street after appearing on Sing Along with Mitch Miller and the extra pressure she felt as an African American woman in the spotlight
Leslie Uggams on the pushback from the network to her being on Sing Along with Mitch because she was African American and how Mitch Miller stood up for her
Leslie Uggams on the barriers she broke on Sing Along with Mitch and being the first African American woman appearing weekly on a variety show

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